Ladies I Love: Fashion, Fitness, Finance and everything in between.

Looking for some new inspiration? These ladies always keep me coming back for more.

In honor of Woman Crush Wednesday, I am sharing some of my favorite resources for ambitious women; created by women whom I think are pretty inspiring themselves. No matter how busy my week is, I always make time to check in with these ladies. If you’re looking for new ways to stay informed, motivated and inspired, keep reading for my top picks.

Ellevest Magazine

You already know about the gender pay gap. You’ve probably already heard the news that working women still do 2/3 more unpaid domestic work than their male counterparts. But what do we do about it? Financial literacy is key to building self-confidence, and empowering women at home and in their careers. Ellevest doesn’t claim to have all the answers, but the digital magazine includes informative, action-oriented advice from the company’s CEO Sallie Krawcheck that will have you thinking more critically about how to manage your money with confidence.

Boss Babe

If you’re not already following Boss Babe on Instagram you need to, stat. I’m a sucker for those inspiring quotes you want to send to all your girlfriends, and Boss Babe never disappoints. Behind the crush-worthy Instagram feed is a team of smart women who are building an impressive business by providing like-minded ambitious women with useful business advice and lifestyle tips you actually want to read about.

Shameless Mom Academy with Sara Dean

While Sara’s podcast targets moms, you don’t have to be a parent to be inspired by the meaningful conversations she shares with her listeners. There is no topic she leaves uncovered, and I love her for what she shares with her listeners. Her podcast is a must-listen for anyone wanting to push themselves out of their comfort zone.

Tone It Up

Tone It Up is a fitness company with an inspiring community of women focused on body positivity and living their best lives. Tone It Up’s co-founders, Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn, are pioneers in body positivity and women supporting women in the fitness industry. I used to dread workouts that used negative self-talk and fat shaming to sell you products, but there weren’t many other options. Not with these ladies. I love their message of empowerment and self-acceptance, and their workouts are simply the best.

Lauren Conrad

Lauren has created the perfect mix of lifestyle, fashion and beauty advice that never feels overwhelming. Her posts always leave me feeling inspired to try something new without feeling like I have to spend a fortune. I also love that she is a working mom who doesn’t pretend to have it all figured out. Her site offers easy tips for staying on trend with minimal effort. Always a win in my book!

I love hearing about new trends. Who do you love to follow?

8 Steps You Can Take Today to Create a Meaningful Personal Brand

When I talk with people about their personal brands, I often hear the same things come up over and over. Most professionals have enough self-awareness to recognize their strengths and weaknesses. I also hear a lot of people saying that they would like to work on their personal brands, but they’re not sure where to begin.

If this sounds familiar, keep reading to learn a few of my proven steps to get you focused on building your brand with purpose.

Know who you are. The key here is to take the time to reflect on your past experiences and where you are now in your life. What were the defining moments that shaped who you are today? What do you want to carry with you into the future and what is best left in your past?

Part of understanding yourself is accepting that we all have flaws and limitations. Some of these limitations, such as a fear of public speaking, you can work through. But sometimes the best path forward is to accept what you cannot change and let go of the expectations that do not serve you in creating your best self.

Clearly define your brand goals. Set realistic goals for yourself and create a step by step plan to help you achieve them. One of the most important parts of setting realistic goals, is to take the time to consider any potential hurdles you might encounter. You can then make sure you have the right tools and support at your disposal to help you on your journey.

Understand how other people perceive you. This is a tough step for many people. One of the greatest threats to your success is to assume that people see you the way you want to be seen. This is not always the case. Be sure to take the time to really understand how people perceive you in various situations. I know this can be an intimidating endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. Remind yourself that this is a valuable step in your personal journey of self-discovery that will help you achieve your goals.

It is helpful to enlist trusted friends, colleagues and family members in this process. I find it useful to write a script, this way you can be confident that you are clearly communicating your values and goals for getting the feedback you need to grow. When you are asking for help, be sure to clearly define how you would like feedback and what you plan to do with it. If you’re not comfortable having these conversations directly, you can use email or a free online survey tool like Survey Monkey to collect this feedback anonymously.

Examine your behavior. Does your behavior clearly demonstrate who you are to the world? When people engage with you, do they walk away from those encounters with an understanding of who you are? Your values? What they can expect from you?

As you go through your week, keep these questions in the back of your mind. Check in with yourself periodically and evaluate whether you are demonstrating your brand values through your behavior. Are you late to every meeting? Do you spend more time staring at your phone during conversations than looking at the person you’re speaking with? When you take the time to go through your week more conscientiously you might be surprised by some of your patterns of behavior. Once you’ve identified areas for improvement, get to work immediately on strategies to resolve these discrepancies between your real behavior and your intended brand.

Communicate your brand. Don’t be shy in communicating who you are with the world. When we talk about brand communication most people think about their verbal and written communication skills. These skills are important, but don’t forget there are many other ways to communicate your brand. These include body language, your physical image (such as your style and personal grooming choices), and your listening skills. Take the time to work through each of these areas of your brand. In what ways do you think you communicate well? Where do you think your brand communication needs some improvement?

Don’t forget that our digital world is still real life. I know it sounds obvious, but I am still surprised by the number of professionals who manage their personal brands well in person only to stray from their brands online. A good example of this is how you use your social media accounts. I don’t care what your social media privacy settings are, if it’s online, it’s not private. Don’t fall into the trap of believing otherwise.

Make sure that the words you use and the images you share online (and that includes what you like and comment on) are really aligned with your values and the goals you outlined above. Nothing has the power to derail your reputation faster than an off the cuff comment online. Don’t let your future self be the victim of your carelessness today.

Show up consistently. If you want people to really know who you are then you better show up consistently. When you behave inconsistently you erode the trust you’ve built with others. We all know someone who we dread having to work with because we don’t know how they are going to behave from day to day. Make sure that person is not you. Stay clear on your personal values and then make sure that you are living them every single day.

Love yourself, love your brand.  I realize this might sound trite but self-acceptance, and self-love matter. This looks different for all of us, but the principle remains the same. Before we can share our authentic selves with others, we must be comfortable with ourselves. We all have weaknesses. We all suffer from self-doubt now and then. And we all fail at some point in life. These things make us human.

Creating a personal brand is not about creating a false image of perfection. Why? Because there is no such thing as perfection. Creating a personal brand is a journey of self-discovery. It is a process in which you reflect on who you are, what matters to you, and what you want to achieve in life. And then it is about going out into the world and letting people know – unabashedly – who you are and where you are going.

Ready to take the next step on your personal branding journey? I’d love to hear from you to discuss how I can help.

Personal branding is good business

Talent branding.

Sales enablement.

Customer experience.

Employee engagement.

Brand ambassadors.

Professional development.

Employer branding.

Brand experience.

There are many ways to talk about the same business challenge we all face in today’s connected world. This collective challenge is how to maintain control of your organization’s brand and your marketing message when you are relying on a countless number of stakeholders to deliver the message for you.

Organizations are often siloed, frequently with conflicting priorities. Oftentimes, a brand or marketing team owns the central marketing message, while a corporate communications team owns the message to employees, sales teams own the message to customers, and human resources owns the message to prospective talent. Does this sound familiar?

When companies are structured in this way, it often makes it challenging to instill ownership and a sense of responsibility for the brand across so many groups.

Here is a situation that I have seen many times.

A new product is launching within a company. The brand or product management team is responsible for the launch, which includes educating internal and external audiences about the new product. Because the product team doesn’t own the various channels they need to use to communicate their message, they collaborate with the key groups that own those channels. Typically, this is a mix of sales teams, corporate communications teams, HR groups, distributors, and public relations teams. These groups typically put together a launch plan and get to work on distributing the workload across the various teams, usually with the bulk of the burden being carried by the product team.

The big day arrives, and the launch plan is executed smoothly – employees are rallied, the media is engaged, sales teams receive new messaging, everyone gets some new branded swag – and launch day is soon just another checked box on everyone’s to do list.

If you have experienced this situation, as I have, you might be thinking…what’s wrong with that?

What I have learned through my experience is that there is a gap between these traditional programs and employee’s own individual interests. Why is this important? Because every one of your employees has a personal brand – and their individual brands matter to your business success.

Not only that, your employee’s understanding of your corporate brand, your mission, the products or services you offer, and your organizational culture all matter to your business success. This becomes an issue when you are trusting that your launch program was effective and that all your employees now fully understand the product message, what is expected of them, and how to execute on your organizational goals.

What is missing from these programs is a focused effort to educate and empower employees at an individual level. Every one of your employees has the power to build your brand or destroy it. This is because how your employees manage their own brands – their communication and people skills, their image, their social media profiles – matters to your business.

For organizations that spend millions of dollars a year on marketing and advertising, employees are a brand asset, as well as a reputational risk, that should not be overlooked. This is because your employees must understand your marketing message; accept your culture; care about your mission; feel prepared to deliver your message; and, feel incentivized to deliver on your brand promise to customers. And they need to feel motivated to do all of this for you while also doing the difficult work of identifying their own professional goals, remaining focused on their individual performance, and  ensuring that they are investing their time and energy at an organization that is best aligned with their needs and lifestyle.

When I talk about empowering employees at the individual level, I am talking about not only educating employees on your organizational brand, mission, and values; but taking the time to help employees understand the power of their personal brands. When you help employees identify their own mission, vision and values, and coach them through the process of aligning their values and goals with your organization’s, you help them connect the dots between organizational value and their own. This helps them understand how they can contribute value at the individual level in a way that is meaningful to them.

It’s common these days to see organizations trying to answer the big question for employees – “what’s in it for me?”  Why not take some time to help your employees understand the value they offer and why that matters to your organization’s success?

If you have responsibility for financial performance or other business metrics at your organization, I hope you’re thinking about this issue. Personal branding is a valuable professional development tool for individuals at all levels of their careers. But it is also a valuable brand management tool that can help organizations engage their employees, empower their sales teams, educate the marketplace and mitigate risk.

Personal branding is not just a concern for your employees. Making sure that your employees effectively manage their brands is just good business practice. When you think about your business in this way, you must take the time to ensure that every one of your employees understands your vision, your mission, and your brand values.

If you’re interested in managing your brand with the help of your employees, here are a few steps to get you started:

  1. Evaluate the current situation within your organization and identify any potential gaps that should be addressed.
  2. Take the time to engage the different groups who have ownership of the brand to discuss the value of personal branding at the employee level.
  3. Create a personal branding marketing strategy for employees. Identify opportunities to coach them on developing their own personal brands. Create educational elements to ensure that they understand and have embraced your brand at the organizational and product levels.
  4. Provide training programs that allow front line employees to practice your marketing message, as well as their own. Be sure to offer useful feedback to help them improve their delivery.
  5. Create metrics to help you demonstrate the value of these programs to your various constituents.
  6. Track your organization’s progress. Survey clients and prospects where possible.  Build evaluation criteria into your employee assessments that motivate employees to effectively represent your brand.
  7. Be sure to properly incentivize and reward your employees.
  8. Share what you learn with others. Help more people understand how to effectively create personal branding strategies for their employees in their own organizations.

Click here to learn more about my workshop and training programs or contact me for a complimentary call.

Hiring a Personal Brand Coach

Today’s post is all about what it’s like to work with me.

Think of me as your personal brand manager. I guide you through the work to clearly define your goals, help you to uncover your greatest strengths, and work with you to create a clear brand that aligns your image and behavior with your goals and talents. Then we get to work on communicating who you are (your brand) to the world.

As your image stylist…

I work with you to curate a memorable brand that showcases who you really are. I create look books for you and help you build a wardrobe that has you feeling strong and confident. We will talk through any beauty challenges you’re dealing with and put together a plan to address any negative body related issues you might be struggling with. I’m on call for quick check-ins and decision making which means that when you work with me, I will help you keep your image aligned with your brand; so that you can stay focused on achieving your goals.

As your personal communications manager…

I work with you to create your personal brand story. This is your personal narrative that clearly tells the world who you are, what you stand for, and what you’ve dedicated your time to achieving. I help you craft your story, and then coach you on the best way to deliver your message with impact. Based on your personal goals, I work with you to create a communications plan to make sure that you are sharing your story in the right way with the right audience. I help you overcome any communications challenges you might be struggling with so that you are prepared for those big moments of opportunity when you encounter them. I’m available when you need to practice a few talking points or when you’re stuck on how to position yourself in a big meeting. Think of me as your own personal publicist working hard for you in the background so that you can shine like the star you already are.

Finally, think of me as your personal business manager…

After all, what is a brand if not a business? Once we have your brand plan in place, I’m available to you via text, video or email to help you overcome any roadblocks you encounter throughout your day. Unsure how to navigate a challenging professional environment? I’m available to talk you through it. When you’re feeling unsure which outfit to wear for a big job interview, I’m here for you. If you’re feeling nervous about a big presentation and need to chat through some talking points or want a quick pep talk, I’m here for you. When you hire me as your personal brand manager – I give you my full support and attention – I am your personal stylist, your business manager and your publicist. I don’t just teach you the tools to help you succeed, I work hard along side you to help you achieve your most challenging goals.

When you choose to make an investment in my services, I’m also investing in you. I love hearing from my readers. If you’re curious about how I could help you achieve your goals, contact me for a complimentary call.