Control Your Narrative, Before Someone Else Does!

Good stories never go out of style, and this is a good one. 

Several years ago, I received a call from a senior-level executive at one of the nation’s leading financial organizations. He had been referred to be by a colleague when he had expressed concerned of learning that his boss was about to retire. 

You see, for the past decade, this whip smart gentleman hadn’t given his personal brand or reputation one iota of thought. Why should he have? He was a “company man,” with an intense work ethic, and a curiosity that was almost unmatchable. But most importantly, he happened to work for someone who believed in him. Championed him. Always put him in a position to win. 

As a communications specialist, he was the person the NYT or WSJ called when they needed an inside source or quote. He was the person gracing the stages at industry events. Now, here is was telling me how “vulnerable” he felt now that his boss was leaving new leadership was about change.  

He looked me dead in the eye and said, “To be honest, I have no idea what it is that separates me from everyone else.”

You should have seen the look on his face when I explained to him, “if he wasn’t about to articulate what his brand stood for, he might as well put money on the fact that nobody else can either.” 

We began working together. I helped him recognize the immense value he brought to the organization and the value he brought to the table. He started leaning into the fact that he has spearheaded the Thought Leadership within the organization for  over five years. 

 Then something quite unexpected happened. His company created a new position within the department for someone to oversee all of the surveys the various departments were producing, and then hired a new employee to serve in that role. 

When the person started, they realized the new position didn’t have a title. So guess what? They asked her what she wanted her title to be. She said, Director of Thought Leadership. 

As you can imagine, my client flipped out when heard the news. “Thought leadership? She’s overseeing surveys that she isn’t even designing.  I’ve been overseeing Thought Leadership for the past five years.”

“Yes, I said. But you never knew that--and therefore neither did anyone else.” 


Jennifer Ransaw Smith is a nationally recognized  Personal Elevation™Architect, Leadership Development Mentor and Personal Brand Strategist. She specializes in igniting the visibility, credibility, and profitability of professional women. If you are interested in joining her tribe of “Undeniably Fierce,” women from across the globe or learning how to Boost Your Status, sign up for her FREE Master Class at