The brand called You
By Pamela JefferyNovember 7, 2011
"Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You."
– Tom Peters in Fast Company
Companies spend millions on their "brand identity," trying to craft their public image. And when done right it can truly engage us: think of the success of Apple or IBM .
But have you ever thought about developing your own personal brand to help yourself stand out from the crowd? It sounds complicated, but boils down to needing to figure out just what you do and why you do it.
For example, as founder of the Women's Executive Network, my personal brand is: Leader of a community of smart women.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
Your personal brand must be authentic, a reflection of who you truly are and what you can accomplish. And remember, everything you do and say has an impact on your personal brand and reputation: from how you look, to how you conduct yourself in a meeting, to what you posted on Facebook last night.
Here are some tips on how to get your brand out there:
-Network at industry events and become active in professional organizations. Every interaction is a chance to leave an impression. Make sure you get to know names, and spend time asking about others, not just talking about yourself.
-Become a sought-after expert by writing for publications, and being available for media interviews.
-Volunteer your skills on committees, or for a non-profit organization, or offer to speak or moderate at conferences. One well-executed appearance can lead to another . . .
-Maintain a professional-looking, updated, personal web site or blog. If done well, a blog can give you excellent exposure, invites feedback and discussion and can help build your network and your reputation.
A personal brand is a work in progress. Reading the above list of my own advice, I realize I still have some work to do! But we are lucky to live and work in the age of the Internet and social media, because it makes branding yourself and putting yourself out there even easier.
Title: Founder, Women's Executive Network
Organization: Founder, Canadian Board Diversity Council
Pamela Jeffery began her career as a government relations and communications strategist.
Prior to launching a successful public affairs consulting firm in Toronto in 1994, Pamela enjoyed a career as one of Canada's too few female lobbyists after serving as a Political Advisor in the Ontario government. Recognized by the National Post as a communications wizard, she also served as a Communications Advisor to Prime Minister Martin.
During a consulting assignment, Pamela was inspired to create a network for female leaders because one did not exist after determining she was not the only woman in Canada who wanted to be part of a network of like-minded women. Drawing on her experience in business, government and politics, she designed WXN for women in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. This reflected her concern that all too often, leaders in the private sector were unknown to leaders in other sectors, therefore denying them the opportunity to collaborate and learn from one another as women who were often the first to assume leadership roles in their organizations.
Since its founding in 1997, WXN has grown to 16,000 select women across Canada. In 2003, she founded Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards, now Canada's most prestigious Awards for female leaders. In 2008, WXN launched in Ireland- the first step towards creating an international community of female leaders. In 2012, Pamela was named as a charter member of Fast Company's League of Extraordinary Women in the leadership category, which recognizes 60 women from around the world for their dedication to changing the lives of women and girls.
In 2009, she founded the Canadian Board Diversity Council with a mandate from the federal government and private sector diversity leaders to increase the board representation of women, members of visible minority groups, Aboriginal peoples including First Nations, Inuit and Metis, persons with disabilities and members of the LGBT community over the next five years.
Pamela's commitment to community service is extensive. She is well-versed in corporate governance in the broader public and not-for-profit sectors having served on 12 boards and three governance committees. She currently serves as a Director of The Canadian Opera Company, the Ivey School of Business Entrepreneurship Council, and is a Governor of Trent University.
Pamela holds an MBA and an HBA from the Ivey School of Business. She taught government relations strategy in the MBA and Executive MBA Programs at the Rotman School of Management from 1992-2001.
She lives in Toronto with her husband Norman Inkster and is the mother of two sons Stephen and Samuel.