I’ve been called a lot of things…

Altorfer_bioI’ve been called a lot of things (both positive and negative), but I got a new moniker recently: “Connector.”

I work with a person I consider a good friend and valued colleague. I haven’t known her personally for a long time, but our professional interactions increased a few years ago when her job duties changed. In that time, we have served on committees together, pondered marketing plans and debated media buys, and sometimes commiserated on the stress of our jobs. She’s intelligent, quick witted, and makes me laugh – but what I value most about her is her innate ability to read people, and that she uses this insight to attempt to better their lives. A psychologist by training (and nature, I presume), she can’t help but psychoanalyze everyone. Intimidating at first? Yes. But now I find it’s one of her most endearing traits. And I’m pretty sure she’s got me pegged, for better or worse.

In a conversation I had with her earlier today, I inquired about a specific employment position for which Mount Mercy is advertising for applicants (you can find Mount Mercy’s full list of position openings here). I was hoping to pass this information on to a friend, so she could in turn pass it onto her friend. My friend and colleague blurted out, “You’re a connector.” I looked at her quizzically and she informed me that this is a profile type of one of those personality prognosticating tests/books/blogs. I chuckled.

I’m a sucker for any online personality test. When I receive them in e-mail forwards, I take them immediately. And then I sit back and ruminate about the fact that I am still an “INTP”-type personality (Briggs-Myers). Did I think I was suddenly going to ditch the personality quirks that I’ve displayed for 30 years? Fat chance. I’m still goal-oriented, deadline-driven, competitive, and sometimes intense. (And for those who may not like me, this can sometimes translate to anal retentive, Type A, alpha-doggish, pushy, and overbearing). Note: at least I’m occasionally self-reflective, right?

I looked online for the test to which my colleague was referring (I had to find out for myself if I truly am a “connector”). Then my thoughts switched to our most recent photo shoot for the Mount Mercy Magazine — and how it turned out to be a resounding success. Undoubtedly, there was one main reason for its success: the people we were working with — Mount Mercy alumni and members of the Cedar Rapids Police Department — are inherently “connectors.”

CRPD officers Chris Carton, Doug Doyle, Captain Joe Hanrahan, and officer Laura Larson

We started the shoot at 2 p.m. last Friday, and in the course of four hours, we had pulled in more law enforcement officers than we thought possible. An officer and Mount Mercy alum in the K-9 unit dropped by with his dog, Jinx. We gratefully snapped a few photos of the dynamic duo. An officer who is a Mount Mercy alumni — and seven months pregnant! — squeezed into her uniform to help us out. A camera-shy Captain finally agreed to be photographed, but was most helpful in hooking us up with the props we needed to complete the photos (namely: a squad car with flashing lights).

And our saving graces: two officers and Mount Mercy alumni who got out of bed three hours earlier than normal in order to make our photo shoot before their 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. “swing shift.” Each of these individuals enabled our staff to make additional connections and pull more people into the photo shoot, thus widening the circle of hard-working, talented, and committed law enforcement officers we will be able to profile. Sure, these connections rendered the photo shoot schedule useless, but we accomplished so much more than we imagined was possible at the beginning of the day. All because we were working with “connectors.”

So, if I’m dubbed a “connector” again I’ll take it as a compliment. Because last Friday’s photo shoot proved that if I surrender to this moniker I’ll be among some oustanding company.