You see, from the moment I left my position at a top-tier marketing firm in Washington D.C. , and stepped out on my own, my mission has been the same: to elevate professional women by giving them the tools, strategies and support to “make a name for themselves.”
HOW IT ALL STARTED - IT WAS 1997…
I was working at an award-winning advertising agency in NYC . I was on a creative team that was responsible for writing radio, television and print for some of the nation’s most recognizable and respected brands: Burger King, AT&T, Texaco and Kraft. As far as I was concerned, I was living the American Dream.
One day, I walked into my Creative Director’s office to get feedback on my latest project, when a magazine sitting on his desk caught my eye. The magazine was Fast Company, which at the time, I had never heard of. The cover story read: The Brand Called You: You Can’t Move Up If You Don’t Stand Out. The title stopped me in my tracks. I picked it up immediately and was blown away by this new concept of personal branding. As I stood in his office reading the article, I literally had a visceral reaction. . By the time I closed the magazine, I knew deep down the trajectory of my career would be altered. I just didn’t know how or how long it would take.
Even though I had attended one of the nation’s leading advertising schools (The Portfolio Center, now Miami Ad School), had learned from leading industry experts, and had worked at advertising agencies in LA, ATL , and DC before landing in NYC, the idea of “people implementing strategies similar to those of corporate brands had never crossed my mind.”
At our agency, my team consisted of me (the copywriter), my art director partner, publicist, account manager, creative director, media buyer and producer. All of us working together with the sole purpose of elevating our client’s corporate brand awareness in the marketplace. It was a massive production in team work, strategy, creativity and skill.
But after finishing The Brand Called You, I had an epiphany? Where could a professional turn when they wanted strategies for developing and elevating their personal brand?
Where could a professional turn when they wanted strategies for developing and elevating their personal brand?
When Tom Peters wrote, The Brand Called You, the “personal branding” industry was non-existent. It would be years before the concept became “commonly accepted as a best practice for professionals and executives.” However, almost immediately, I began to look around my agency (and subsequent agencies) and make the connection between those who had successfully implemented the strategies , Peters referred to and those who hadn’t.
As time went by, it was easy to identify how those who had built a solid personal brand, actively managed their reputation and strategically positioned themselves for their success. They were a magnet for unbelievable opportunities, promotions and big-time bonuses!
On the other hand, it was painful to witness skilled and talented colleagues struggle to get the recognition, traction and opportunities they deserved simply because they weren’t effective with “tooting their own horn,” or owning their reputation.
It would be 10 years, after reading that article, before I transitioned from helping corporate brands influence the general public to supporting individuals develop their personal brand and shape how they were perceived.
Along the way, I picked up critical skills that play a significant role in my overall strategy today as a nationally sought out Personal Brand Strategist:
Head of PR for Newsweek Productions’ television program HealthWeek
Senior Account Manager for one of the nation’s Top 100 PR and Marketing Firms on Capitol Hill.
Senior Strategist for a global Brand Strategy Consultancy in Georgetown
Tom Peters’ article changed my life.
If we have an opportunity to work together, his impact will continue to ripple through yours.
A FEW FUN FACTS:
Born in the Midwest (Indianapolis)
Grew up on the West Coast (Beautiful Los Angeles to be exact)
Educated in the South (Atlanta)
Live on the East Coast (DMV)
Married for almost two decades to a New Yorker, Frederick E. Smith Jr.
Mom of three: two girls and a boy (Bailey 18, Kendell 15, Peyton 9)
Two-time triathlete, although one time I came in almost dead last
Love to TRAVEL
Prefer solitude to company any day, especially at the movies
Unofficial Netflix Ambassador (Love to Binge)
Addicted to everything that has to do with personal development: documentaries, podcasts, books
Spend a ton of money on the following: candles, flowers, and magazines and Black and Contemporary Art