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Personal Branding

Integrate Your Online Personalities

I spent this past weekend at PodCamp AZ, a social media unconference for bloggers and podcasters. It was my third year attending, and I had a great time. I always walk away with new tidbits of information.

gemini   -oh, dedicated to a pisces in his bday-

Image by TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ via Flickr

This year, I attended Carey Pena’s session, “Branding, Not Bragging.” Carey gave great advice on creating and promoting your brand. She challenged us to think about our personal brand, which is hard to do yet so simple – it’s who we are. Our brand is our personality, not our jobs. To promote your brand, you just have to be yourself. The best quote I took from her talk was, “The best branding is authentic branding.”

Someone at Carey’s talked asked if they should have separate Twitter accounts for their personal and professional lives. That question made me smile, because that was my question at PodCamp AZ in 2009. That year the lovely Heather Lynn Herr did a presentation about online personas. I was a 2L at the time and seriously questioning if I need one Twitter account that would be 100% professional and a separate account where I could be a little more outspoken and free with my thoughts. I posed the question to the room and the group responded with a resounding, “No!” They said it was better to rock on with my quirky, geeky, flash mobbing self because some people are going to love it and they are going to seek me out because I’m different, even in the generally conservative legal community. And they were right . . . about everything.

When I think about personal branding, I think about a question that Bill Richards asked me during an interview for a law school externship. He asked, “If you could do anything for a living, what would it be?” That’s a great basis for discovering what your brand is. Your brand is about what’s important to you, how you spend your time, and who you spend it with. Sharing those things gives the rest of a glimpse into who you are. And then when I need to hire someone, I’m going to go to seek out the people I inherently like first and their recommendations before turning to Google or a referral service.

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Walking on Tables: Reflections on Katy Goshtasbi

Last week the law school invited Katy Goshtasbi of Puris Image to speak about personal branding.  My friend said she had good information about how you should dress and act.  I was a little afraid that she was going to prescribe a cookie-cutter uniform that all lawyers need to adopt in order to be successful.  I was so glad I was wrong.

Katy Goshtasbi, Photo from Puris Image

My friends will vouch for me that I am not a typical girl, woman, chick, what’s the female equivalent of “guy?”  I’m a pretty rough-and-tumble person.  I prefer to be comfortable than to be pretty.  I will rarely torture myself with clothing that restricts my movement or shoes that pinch my toes.  At most, I do 5-minute make-up before walking out the door on a typical day.  I have been mistaken for a man.  For my 18th birthday, my sister bought me Victoria Secret lotion and said, “If you’re not going to dress like a girl, you can at least smell like one.”

Now it may seem like I don’t care about how I look, but that’s not true.  I am very particular about the clothes I buy.  When I’m in cute mode, I’m determined to be very cute.  However, you’ll never catch me dressing like a girly girl.  Even when I’m in a dress, it’s obvious that I’m not a girly girl.  Even when I’ve tried to be a girly girly, it doesn’t work.

I was overjoyed when one of Goshtasbi’s take away messages was “Be Yourself.”  Thank you!  I was so happy to hear that someone might get me and promote the fact that there’s more than one way to be portrayed as a successful professional.

I want to be the lawyer to the geeks and I’m glad that my potential clients are typically found in jeans, t-shirts, and hoodies.  Goshtasbi’s talk brought to my attention the fact that I had adopted my future client’s preferred wardrobe as my everyday uniform.  This may not be portraying my desired image of “sassy, smart, and strong.”  Goshtasbi inspired me to become reacquainted with my closet.

Goshtasbi said that she would give a free 40-minute phone consultation to the first 3 people who approached her at the end of her talk.  I wanted one of those slots, but I was sitting 3 rows back and 4 seats in from the aisle in a room with stadium seating with long tables instead of individual desks.  There was no way I could get to her if I went the traditional route.  Drastic measures were required to achieve my goal.  The second Goshtasbi was done talking, I climbed up on top of my table, and walked down the tables as if they were stepping stones to Goshtasbi podium. It was unconventional but it worked.  I can’t wait to talk with her next month during our session.

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