THE PERSONAL BRANDING MOVEMENT IS HERE. AND I AM HERE FOR IT!
This Conference Is A Women In Media Celebration of Empathy, Intelligence and Good Advice.
I was so honored to join the the panelist Shayla McNair, Olivia Bowdoin, Audrey Martin and Liz Ely to discuss personal branding that gets it right at University of Georgia's annual A Seat At The Table Conference, hosted by Women in Media at UGA. Read on for a closer look at this empowering event planned by students.
Thank you, UGA Grady School of Journalism for having me. I am passionate about joining and encouraging women to be daring enough to look at themselves with a 360 view and effectively tell stories with honesty, especially their own.
Personal branding is authoring your life. It's how you create your story, write your story and live your story. And everyone loves a good story! The focus of my panel's discussion, True to You: Personal Branding that Gets it Right, focused on the power of personal branding, how panelist developed our personal brand and tips to stand out in any profession.
The truth is: people are willing to pay more and work harder to retain people with strong personal brands. This is important when leveraging earning power, improving job security and marketability. A strong personal brand takes time and honesty... and it evolves. Honesty is achieved through confidence and consistency, and vice versa.
Here are a few celebrities that have strong personal brands: Richard Branson, Oprah, Howard Stern, Simon Cowell, Kathy Ireland, Shak, Tim Tebow, Richard Branson, Lady Gaga, Kate Middleton, Matha Stewart, Donald Trump, and Barak Obama.
While preparing for this event I revisited my own personal brand. What I found is below. I think! Does it sound "about right" to you? Or, no? Let me know. And, what is your personal brand?
I am a learner. I am energized by the journey from ignorance to competence and have the skills needed to empower other people to use their talents.
I am passionate about the development of people and businesses. I like to inclusively encourage success especially when it involves contagions communication in academic, corporate and home environments.
I am able to lighten the mood with humor, authentically and honestly.
I enjoy a competitive spirit and am thrilled while solving people and corporations problems.
I am admired for my commitment to my family.
People come to me because of my expertise in using flowers and plants to communicate.
I bring creativity and enthusiasm to lives of people and businesses using intelligence, strong communication, a cheerful approach and plants and flowers.
I am a communicator. I am committed to family. When people get me they know they are getting someone who is own time and interested and enthusiastic.
While on the panel a student asked, "What's the hardest thing about a personal brand and what situation was hardest you've been in?" Honestly, for me, the hardest thing is being honest all the time even those moments you kind-of-don't-want-to-be. When I was growing up you could put out a great photo in a magazine, underscore it with a great quote; and there you have it. Vioa! This is how you were known. You could easily avoid topics you chose and keep your business private. For instance, an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution or one interview on the local news went a lonnng way back in my day because there was no immediate response. Things were more calculated. Today media coverage is constant, up to the second so it is critical to be 100% honest while developing your personal brand.
I explained how my generation was more private and less comfortable sharing personal information, or negative information. Even selfies are an awkward form of communication for me. To answer the student's question, I continued explaining the most challenging moment in my personal branding was when people asking why we made the decision to move our family and our business, the Colonial House of Flowers. We had Tlived in south Georgia our entire lives and the business was founded there over half a century prior.
I wanted to keep my life private. But, people were curious and upset. They deserved an answer. The more I ignored it the more people took it upon themselves to create their own answers, many that were false and hurtful to our business. Colonial House of Flowers was the oldest retail establishment in Bulloch County at the time. We made the decision to explain the changes via our personal and business social media platforms.
From a love of learning to empowering others to prioritizing family and other's success, everything about the move fulfilled the values of my personal brand. In my case, the approach to learning used by our school system is what facilitated the move. According to US & News Reports "less than half of students can read above grade level" in the Bulloch County Public School district. Learning is a value that is part of my personal brand. Additionally, part of my personal mission is to empower others to learn and I have a strong commitment to my family. When my family fell in the group of more than half of the students that are below grade level reading (despite being highly capable of reading) and the school system had no way to help these struggling readers to read we had to make a hard decision to move. I believe ever child has a right to read!
Being transparent with friends and clients was hard but good honest storytelling connects you to others -- that's personal branding for you -- and Colonial House of Flowers is stronger and more profitable than ever. Ironically, I questioned whether to answer the question honestly like do these students really need to know the MOST challenging instance or can I skimp and go with an easy answer. But choosing to be authentic in my answer during this conference proved to be wise because at the end of the event TWO people including Katina Inglis (pictured above) and Emma North (pictured below) approached me to share their own stories about struggling with school, difficulty reading and dyslexia. It made me grateful I stuck true to my personal brand even during the panel.
I enjoyed learning from everyone at this well planned event. Women in Media at UGA is a student-led women's' empowerment and professional development organizations for students entering the media industry. The annual conference, A Seat at the Table, includes panels and workshops featuring diverse women in media industry to foster an inspiring conversation and variety professional and social topics. I encourage you to get involved with subjects you are passionate, do hard things and to keep living your best personal brand!
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