Just recently I have been asked this very question and it occurred to me that it is an odd title to announce to people. Despite it’s religious meaning it also means “an enthusiastic advocate”. And by that it means I am an enthusiastic supporter of The National Association of Photoshop Professionals and all that is connected to it. I am also an enthusiastic supporter of my football team, Queens Park Rangers and where possible I will try to convince you that they are the greatest team in the World and hope that you believe me. Sadly, in that instance it’s not strictly true, some days they are not even the best team in their own postcode but I love them all the same.
With NAPP / Kelby Training it’s a different kettle of fish. This is an organisation/company/community that only gets better and better, pushing boundaries, trying new things and always looking to give the absolute best to its members. They have the best instructors, the best selling books and authors, amazing classes on their training site, live seminars, a twice yearly event like no other and the damn nicest people you could wish to meet. That’s why I am enthusiastic and why I became a full member 4 years ago after years of buying Photoshop User magazine wherever I could find it since around 2001.
So, the evangelist thing. I’ve documented how it all started before but in a nutshell, I originally communicated with Nancy Masse (a young lady I can’t find a single bad thing to think or say about, a gem of a woman) nearly 3 years ago about the UK getting a little more love in the way of classes, discounts etc. After about 6 months of positive communication I was asked to be a ‘NAPP Evangelist’. There was no “you must do this, you must do that’, just ‘please spread the word and we’ll love ya'”. That was good enough for me!
I know that there were already US NAPP Evangelists but with no disrespect to them they didn’t have a hard job in getting anything we wanted here, there were already live seminars, special book and DVD offers, the printed magazine automatically included in their membership and the US uptake of memberships covers 90% of all it’s 75,000+ members anyway.
I knew my ‘job’ was harder. I felt I had to not only go out and get members but also hope that getting enough and building a community would show that the UK (and Europe) should get some extra love. With a joining offer available via the NAPPUK code I built my first blog site, Twitter page and the original Facebook page “NAPP – Please come to the UK” and just started mentioning NAPP wherever possible, convincing people that it was totally worth the £65 a year and that the UK will get more from NAPP & Kelby Training Live in good time.
In 2010 we got both Joe McNally and Scott Kelby over for seminars at The Design Centre in Islington. I also went to Photoshop World in Vegas 2010 to show I was serious and got to meet absolutely amazing people and new great friends.
Now in 2012 after an amazing 2011 I am happy that my ‘evangelist’ role is pretty self explanatory but my work is nowhere near done. The UK community of photographers and Photoshop users is huge and I will continue to find new and creative ways to spread the word and encourage more people to join NAPP or Kelby Training – even both !!
For anyone in doubt, it is not a paid position, I don’t work directly for NAPP, I hold down a full time marketing job, I have a small freelance design company, I’m a father of four children and my spare time is very limited. But I wouldn’t enjoy what I love doing and the new skills I learn without NAPP or any of the fine services Scott Kelby and the guys provide. They are beyond helpful and supportive of what I am trying to achieve and yeah, I do get a few perks of the job which include being sent a suitcase full of books, DVDs and T-shirts to give to you lovely chaps and ladies here in the UK to thank you and encourage you to help me get more interest in NAPP.
It goes without saying that without the support of the guys and gals at NAPP HQ and the people associated to them I could not do what I do and get results.
A huge thanks to all the UK supporters and new members who retweet, share, engage, like who have become good friends – especially my old buddy and cohort Mister Glyn Dewis – my brother from another mother. When Glyn got asked to teach at Photoshop World I felt like a proud big brother, he is worth all the trust they have put in him, an absolute star of man who picks me up on the days when it feels like I am fighting a losing battle in getting the message out there for the time I put in.
Ultimately I want and hope that I have created a role that others around the rest of the world can take on to the extent that I feel I have done and spread this community far and wide. Lets see Kelby seminars around the world and make the ‘National’ truly ‘International’. I will support and help anyone who wants to become an Evangelist, don’t be afraid to put yourself forward if you are anywhere in the world, other than UK of course ;o)
I’d eventually love to be leading part of a Worldwide ‘collective’ of evangelists so lets make this happen.
Thanks for reading if you got this far, it was a ramble but I just wanted to let you know that if you like what you hear then you will not be disappointed when you join this wonderful community, on paper it’s a business/stroke organisation but at it’s heart it is a community of extremely friendly and talented people who will share knowledge with you.
If you have any questions, suggestions or constructive criticism or want to somehow sponsor NAPP UK by way of prize items or discounts then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will also leave the comments box open below, I might drop a nice little prize on the best suggestion or feedback that gets left ;o)