Maddie Grant, CAE and Lindy Dreyer were both well-known association industry bloggers when they met and launched their consulting firm, SocialFish.
Maddie was working as Administrative Director/COO for a professional membership association, and her blog, originally titled Diary of A Reluctant Blogger, was a place she could explore all kinds of issues related to association management, as well as document her path towards getting her Certified Association Executive (CAE) certification. Lindy, on the other hand, worked for a small marketing agency whose clients were associations; she did a lot of direct mail, email and tradeshow marketing and her blog, Association Marketing Springboard, was focused on ideas exploring new media and marketing, PR and communications.
Lindy and Maddie found each other through the association blogosphere and were fast friends online long before they actually met “in real life” at a conference of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). They had found themselves each blogging more and more about how social media is transforming every aspect of the association industry, and they began speaking together on various topics surrounding the massive impact that social media is having on how associations undertake all kinds of traditional activities. The US economy then took a dive, and it became a moral imperative that associations begin to understand how building community in the age of the social web could help them survive this difficult period.
Right around that same time Lindy and Maddie were approached by several white label online community vendors, who said, “we can build social networks for our association clients, but we can’t really give them the strategic advice they need for launching and nurturing those communities. Is that something you could do for our clients?” In other words – they could build it, but they couldn’t help make them come. It didn’t take long for the friends to take the plunge, leave their old jobs, incorporate, build a website, print business cards… And SocialFish was born, in August 2008.