Development Crossroads Wins “Best New Blog of 2011”

by Shana Montesol Johnson

I am thrilled and delighted to announce that Development Crossroads has been named Best New Blog of 2011 in the Aid Bloggers’ Best Awards (ABBAs)!

It is definitely an honor simply to be nominated among such impressive bloggers – so to actually win is amazing.

I started this blog because I believe that it’s possible to have a career or job that you love, that makes an impact on the world, and that enables you to have a life outside of work. And given that Development Crossroads garnered 43.9% of the vote as Best New Blog, it seems other people share that belief.

I am sending a huge THANK YOU to the Development Crossroads community of whose votes and support made this possible!

Specifically, I’d like to thank:

  • Tom Murphy for putting together the ABBAs, and his tireless efforts to highlight aid blogs.
  • Weh Yeoh and Brendan Rigby of for believing in me, my writing, and the work I do in the aid and development community.
  • Mireille Ferrari Cooney for casually suggesting one day over lunch that I should start a blog…and for coming up with the name “Development Crossroads”
  • My “fairy blogmother” Laurie Foley, business coach and blogging instructor whose course, “Blog More, Stress Less,” helped me launch my blog on the right foot, and kept me going toward my goal of 52 posts in as many weeks
  • Nona Jordan, who designed my website to be both functional and visually appealing
  • My mentor coach Pamela Slim for cheering me along the blogging journey
  • My one-on-one coaching clients and “What’s Next?” group coaching participants, for inspiring me to write and for the privilege of working with such amazing people
  • My family and friends, for reading my posts from the very early days
  • My husband, who has not only patiently put up with my “labor of love and madness” (yep, that’s how I refer to blogging), but also has provided wise advice and solid editorial feedback
  • Readers of Development Crossroads from around the world!

One of the happy outcomes of the ABBAs is the exposure that many blogs have gotten to new readers. I know that my own list of blogs to read and Twitter-ers to follow has been enhanced as a result. I encourage readers of this blog to check out all of the ABBAs nominees.

As I enter my second year of blogging, I’d love to know what you would like to read more about here. I usually write about:

  • topics that come up in my coaching sessions (protecting confidentiality and the anonymity of my clients, of course),
  • issues that I hear in conversations with international development professionals,
  • themes that emerge in my consulting projects with international development organizations;
  • what I’m reading (online and in print), and
  • what aid workers are blogging and tweeting about.

For example, lately the topics that have been coming up include: networking (how to do it without feeling slimy), quitting your job, managing overwhelm, should I stay in my current country or move to a new one?

I would love to write more about what blog readers are interested in. What career questions are on your mind? What would YOU like to hear more of? Please let me know in the comments, or via twitter (I’m @devxroads) or via email (shana at developmentcrossroads dot com)

Thank you again for your votes, your support, and for reading this blog. I’ll let have ABBA have the final thank you…enjoy the video below.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Chambers

Hi Shana,
Congrats on the win! Great stuff.
A suggestion about a topic. Its based on my own interest – I have an purely business and research background and wonder how receptive the development field is to people like me making a change in career and moving into the development field. I have spent the last few years building skills that I hope will be transferable to this field.

Do you have any thoughts on this topic and making that transition? Have you had clients who have made this change?

Would love to hear your observations.

Sarah Chambers


Shana Montesol Johnson

Sarah, thanks for your congratulations and comment. Most of the coaching clients I have worked with are already in the field of international development, rather than people trying to transition from other fields. However, if other blog readers want to send me their tips, I am happy to pull them together into a blog post.

In the meantime, I know that there are a number of resources online along this topic. You may be aware of these already, but I’ll list those I know of:
* A great place to start is and specifically the great post that Dave Algoso wrote on “Career advice (from people smarter than me).”
* Alanna Shaikh’s International Development Career List is worth subscribing to (and at $2 per month, it’s a steal!) In the newsletter, Alanna answers reader questions, discusses career topics, and shares job vacancies. She often answers questions from people interested in entering the development field; back issues of the newsletter are also available, and fascinating to read.
* Chris Blattman has a great blog post on “Getting a job in international development,” in which he cites a piece that Alanna wrote on her 5 pieces of advice, and adds 5 of his own. Definitely worth a read

What other resources are readers aware of for people trying to transition into international development work? Please share here!

Or, if you have advice or experiences to share with people trying to transition into international development work, please email me (shana [at] developmentcrossroads [dot] com) or leave a comment here!


Weh Yeoh

Congratulations! Well deserved indeed.


Shana Montesol Johnson

Thanks, Weh, as always, for your support!


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