Sara Wachter-Boettcher (USA)

portrait of Sara Wachter-Boettcher

Sara is an independent content strategist, writer, and rabble-rouser based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She got this way after stints as a journalist, copywriter, and web writer, during which she became increasingly dissatisfied with the chaos typically found in web content projects. In 2008, she launched a content strategy practice at a web agency in Arizona, working closely with IA and UX teams to build a better way forward.

Today Sara focuses on designing systems for flexible, adaptable, future-friendly content, with a heavy interest in making content mobile-ready. When she’s not consulting with clients or partnering with agencies, she’s serving as editor in chief of A List Apart, contributing to publications like Contents magazine, and speaking about content strategy and user experience at conferences worldwide. Her first book, Content Everywhere, is out now from Rosenfeld Media. Read her blog at sarawb.com.

How I Learned to Stop Fixing and Start Facilitating

video thumbnail watch video of Sara’s main stage presentation →

I worked at a rape crisis centre in college, spending my afternoons in middle schools talking to kids about sexual abuse. More often than you want to know, they talked back. Every time a child disclosed abuse he’d experienced, I’d have the same desire: to take him in my arms and promise him it was going to be OK.

But that would have been a lie. I could tell him it wasn’t his fault. I could listen. But I couldn’t fix it.

Years later I realised that the same’s true in my work. Promising solutions to clients may be immediately comforting, but it’s ultimately dishonest. I can’t mastermind a solution and expect it to stick in an organisation any more than I can carry kids out of abusive situations and into a safer world. I can only foment the tiniest of changes: help pinpoint what’s wrong, turn awkward meetings into productive conversations, and make the future feel a little less scary. 

My clients don’t need a saviour. They need a guide.

In this talk, I’ll share how I stopped trying to fix things, and started facilitating tiny revolutions instead. You’ll learn how to: 

  • Use small changes to foment big culture shifts.
  • Empower colleagues and clients to take ownership and lead.
  • Let go of big, monolithic “solutions”—without losing sight of the big picture.

Who’s behind this?

At Together London we organise events to help you change your organisation. We’re here to make Dare Conference a safe space where everyone is treated with respect. Reach us at info@dareconf.com or Together London.

Jonathan Kahn

Jonathan Kahn

organiser
@lucidplot
David Caines

David Caines

branding and illustration
@salon16
Rhiannan Walton

Rhiannan Walton

co-organiser
@RhiannanW
Daniel Howells

Daniel Howells

digital design
@howells
Sara Wachter-Boettcher

Sara Wachter-Boettcher

content strategy
@sara_ann_marie