Writer Lisa Duchene loves to find and tell stories about people and the natural world. Through her communications consulting company Polished Oak Communications, Lisa has found a way to couple her passion for conservation with community-building to help support local small businesses. The business helps others pinpoint, polish, and strategically tell their stories to advance their mission. Her professional and passionate approach to communication earns her high praise with her clients and peers.
When Lisa was seeking to fill some gaps “behind the scenes” in running a small business, she reached out to the Penn State SBDC for support. She worked with business consultant Elizabeth Hay on business modeling and building out QuickBooks for her business. Lisa was able to make incremental changes to her business while building out her dream. In Spring of 2021, she took the 3-part QuickBooks training series and was able to check that off her list of growing business to-dos.
Lisa’s passion and experience working with local artists and agricultural businesses shines in her work. Throughout their consulting appointments, Elizabeth and Lisa discussed Lisa’s great value to the agricultural community, specifically customers who are looking to connect more through stories on their social media and websites. Lisa partnered with the Penn State SBDC’s Agricultural Center for Excellence in August of 2021 to host a webinar in Agricultural Storytelling. During the presentation, she gave examples of how farmers can use storytelling techniques to connect with their audience, create a following, and display their passion in a relatable way. She continues to offer insight to the Agricultural Center for Excellence through partnership opportunities.
Polished Oak Communications continues to expand its reach in the local community through workshops and seminars. Her most recent success was a webinar in partnership with a local social media firm, Hello Social, for its “Focus on Local Network”. Lisa developed an online learning module to help small business owners learn how to write an effective press release. Lisa’s passion for community is an evident as pillar behind her business blog, “Thanksgiving in February,” where she shares personal stories and details her passion for building relationships.
The SBDC looks forward to continued work with Polished Oak Communications and the community that Lisa works so diligently to build.
“Elizabeth has been a valuable advisor on my business model and a helpful information source on the nuts and bolts of building out this business concept,” says Lisa. “Working as a solo, creative entrepreneur is both exhilarating and somewhat isolating. So, it’s incredibly helpful to know SBDC always has a program, webinar, or networking conversation where I can learn with others to build or improve my small business.”