I hosted my very first branding workshop for the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at Delaware State University (DSU). I came prepared to talk about personal branding– the good, the bad and the ugly. And it proved to be absolutely amazing. My unleash the brand within presentation covered four main points:
- Discovering your authentic brand
- Building your network
- Leveraging social media tools to promote your brand
- Setting yourself apart from your peers
I have to admit, I was honored by the invite but I was nervous as heck about speaking to this group. First off, DSU is my alma mater so it holds a very special place in my heart. Its my home away from home. The place that life long-term friendships were formed. The place that comforted me with love after my dad died during my college years. And, the place that I simply didn’t want to disappoint.
My career has been plagued with ups and downs, so why should they listen to me? Could I really talk about my biggest branding mistake? Could I really share how caring too much about what people thought of me, delayed my dream of working independently? Could I really share how the loss of a job, had me in tears, paralyzed in fear and unable to move forward for months?
Of course I could.
The key to building my brand and attracting an audience was getting out of my own way.
Once I began to tell my story that I wasn’t satisfied with a six figure salary, cubicle life and promotions that didn’t make a difference in the world, I found my voice. Once I got comfortable sharing my mishaps with the world and forgiving myself for past business mistakes, doors begin to open.
From that point I turned my life experiences specifically around authenticity and reinvention into inspiring messages and actionable advice for young people and women looking to take the road less traveled.
Sharing my lessons learned with the students made me feel empowered and determined to continue to create more!
Three years ago when my professor invited me to speak to students about “Mass Communications and the real world experience,” I could have never imagined that empowering young people would ignite such a passion within me.
And the funny thing is, I have a gripe with some colleges and universities. Here’s my two cents: Academic institutions need to do a better job at preparing our students with real world skills.
Good grades and 1-2 internships are just not enough to land a job. Millenials are graduating with student loans in excess of $20,000 and they have no clue about how to market themselves.
Why aren’t some schools teaching students how to use social media in technologically savvy ways to promote them selves and search for jobs? Why aren’t schools challenging students to think globally? Why aren’t students exposed to the many examples of success? And better yet, personal branding and intrapreneurship should be apart of a students 4 year curriculum. Anywho rant over, I’m sure you get the message.
I’ll continue my workshops to do what I can to connect young people with people and opportunities that will help them succeed.
Oh and in case you’re wondering what students thought about my workshop, head on over to my Instagram account, where the blessing continue to flow with great feedback.