Personal Branding and Networking

19 Apr

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Last week I attended the Step Up Network’s Personal Branding and Networking Panel with Beth Schoenfeldt, Co Founder, Collective- E as the moderator and featuring panelists:

Carla Harris, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley
Hope Hughes, Director, Deloitte Consulting
Christine Beauchamp, President Ann Taylor Stores
Juliette Powell, Media Entrepreneur

Have you thought about your personal brand? If you haven’t, you are not alone. In a nutshell, a brand is a collection of experiences and associations connected with a service, a person or any other entity. Great examples of brands are Oprah, Martha Stewart, or Coca Cola. Those are brands known around the globe that we associate with things.

What stood out among the panelists is how that strategically made choices on how they wanted people to see them. Some of the best words of wisdom came from Harris “pick three words that you want for people to say about you when you are not in the room, because most of the decisions about your career will happen when you are not in the room”.

While it may daunting to think about branding yourself, know that you brand is not set in stone. Your branding changes as you change so do not be scared to take risks then make changes if something is not working for you.

When branding it’s impossible to not think about how you are going to networking and vice versa. If you are seeking a new job or thinking about changing careers, tap into your network. Each panelist said that women need to stop being scared to ask for help. Sometimes all you have to do is ask. Never assume that you don’t already have the right connections to land where you want. If you have a goal and you never let anyone know where you are trying to go they cannot help you. Several of the panelists, Beauchamp and Powell, had different careers, but tapped into their network to open doors for opportunities. Remember to ask and cultivate you network!

Harris also stated that instead of playing small, play big and take risks. A company will take notice and know how valuable you are. If you play small and keep your head down that could make you expendable. It was emphasized that even though companies are laying people off, those same companies are hiring.

Develop your brand, develop the relationships in your network, and get yourself noticed. It can take you anywhere you want to go.

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