What’s in a name?

A lot of people have asked me where my company name, Nearwater Consultancy, comes from. Nearwater is the street name of my childhood home in the US. When I had to come up with a company name, Nearwater struck me as the perfect name for the following reasons.  

It represents my roots

It is the location of the home where I spent my childhood, where I was shaped, where I lost my mom 20 years ago and where my dad lived until he passed away 2 years ago. As you can imagine, the house contains a lot of memories, and it is an incredibly special spot with an amazing view of the water. We spend every summer there and it is truly a second home. When I inherited the house as the only child, I could not imagine parting with it and still own it today. I feel closer to my parents when I am there. The house was one of my dad’s proudest accomplishments, having successfully done 3 renovations (including raising it up almost 2 meters!) over 40 years. It represents the successful life my parents built for themselves after immigrating from The Netherlands in 1965, their “American Dream”. It represents my norms, values and cultural diversity, being raised by Dutch parents in a small US town. It is where I was built and shaped as a person.

Water is fluid

Water easily adapts to its environment and can be flexible. These are characteristics that I have, but also that I want my company to represent and have my clients experience…but with some caveats. Adapting to an environment is often important, but for someone like me who is always driving change, it does not mean accepting status quo. It means understanding how an organization works, what their clients need, what drives employees and how best to implement and embed change. Secondly, water is only flexible up until a certain point. When it wants to go somewhere, it goes there! Good consulting means being flexible when it’s possible and adds value but putting your foot down and saying no when being too flexible means negatively impacting results.  

Nearing water can be dangerous

I spent a lot of time on a sailboat when I was younger because my dad was a passionate sailor. While I have always enjoyed being out on the water, the power of water has also always scared me as well. Water has done a lot of damage and taken many lives. So nearing water can mean you are close to drowning. These are exactly the kind of organizations I want to help get onto dry land. Whether they are drowning in too high costs, inefficiencies, unclear priorities, or just general chaos. That’s when I’m in my element. Bringing order in the chaos, creating simplicity from complexity, setting clear priorities, developing and implementing plans and achieving results.

So, what’s in a name? A lot’s in a name, not only for me as you have read but for everyone else who has had to name their company, organisation, group, child or anything else. I’d love to hear the story behind something you’ve named!

4 thoughts on “What’s in a name?”

  1. Tessa: it’s a very compelling story and very well written – I would be interested to know which clients you have worked for and whether you are working for any multinationals. Thanks.
    John Lister

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