I have never been party to naming a child. I’ve given my opinion many times but (usually) only when asked. So when Eveline told me we were going to rename ACRJ I feel like I had the tiniest bit of understanding of how daunting the task of naming can be. But we weren’t naming a child. Maybe what we have done is closer to the experience of many of my friends who have renamed themselves over the years. We were renaming an organization with a personality, a history, and expansive web relationships crossing many communities and places. We were the same organization but we wanted to be more “us.”
Yep, it was daunting. First I felt excited and then overwhelmed by all the questions in my head: How do you even pick a name? Are there any names left? Can you capture the essence of an organization in a name? Will people think my ideas are corny? Can someone else just decide?
While I was not responsible for the final outcome, I was responsible for managing the process. So we did what anyone who doesn’t know what they are doing would do. We brought in professionals – Lightbox Collaborative and Mission Minded – two firms that steadily guided us through the morass of questions and anxieties. And then we brought in friends. My favorite moment in the naming process was sitting in a room with over 20 loving supporters of ACRJ brainstorming over 200 possible options for a new name. It was a glorious explosion of ideas generated from a circle of friends that truly wanted to help us become more us. Each one of them deserves a toast for their work to help us see who we are.