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Karen Edwards Blogger

Owning Your Personal Brand

Posted by Karen Edwards | October 21, 2015

​Welcome to the October edition of the ÖWLI blog! This month we held our first ÖWLI Book Club and had two interesting discussions on Sheryl Sandberg's book, "Lean In." Though our turnout was small, the discussion was extremely engaging and we all found the book to be not only educational, but inspirational in our own lives. Everyone unanimously voted to continue the book club, and we will hold our next one at the end of January. We will announce the next reading selection in our November blog, and we encourage you to participate if you can. And watch your inbox for the registration for our November webinar. This will be our most exciting to date! On Friday, November 20 we will host author and speaker Selena Rezvani whose webinar is entitled, "The Art of the Ask:  Negotiating with Confidence." Read more about Selena Rezvani in our calendar section at the end of the blog.

By now we are all realizing that the more women we have in leadership roles, the less gender and gender biases are issues; hence, the more equitable our leadership is, the stronger our industry will be.  Many of us strive to become leaders whether that of a business owner, lead practitioner, chapter board member, advisory board member or one of many other roles that exist in our field. One of the key first steps to advancing your career and moving into a leadership position is to establish your "personal brand." According to "Personal Branding for Dummies,"[i] creating a personal brand involves figuring out who you really are (your skills, values, passions and personality), what you are "selling" (perhaps your skills as an exceptional prosthetist, a great organizer, a motivator), who you are targeting (your customer base, your superiors, your peers, etc.) and how you differ from your competition (what is unique about YOU).

A successful brand creates a consistent, targeted impression that helps you achieve your personal and professional goals. It means defining who you are and consistently selling your "brand" to those around you. However, some of the personality traits inherent to women, often make doing so an uncomfortable experience. As William Arruda, a contributor to Forbes.com, writes, women resist taking steps to build their personal brand due to the following:

  1. Women sometimes feel that doing a good job is enough to get recognized and promoted, whereas, men are more likely to speak about their accomplishments publicly.
  2. The "schmoozing" part of networking and telling others about our accomplishments can feel self-centered and uncomfortable to women as we typically don't like to put a spotlight on ourselves.
  3. Women prefer to tout their team's accomplishments ("we") rather than their own ("me"). Women are generally less comfortable with self-promotion, preferring good work to do the speaking for them. [ii]

The good news, according to Arruda, is that once women learn that personal branding isn't about shouting "Me, me, me!" from the rooftops, most become very open to the idea of promoting their own unique value and skills.

Arruda points out that the first tenant of personal branding is authenticity. And given that women have a greater degree of self-awareness than men, women are actually very good at uncovering their "brand."

The second big thing he notes is that personal branding is giving versus bragging. He says there is a misconception that personal branding requires a lot of taking when in fact, the most effective personal branding requires generosity. It's about giving value, sharing knowledge, acknowledging others, nurturing relationships, showering praise and expressing gratitude – all traits in which women excel.

Arruda suggests three steps to help build your brand most effectively:

  1.  Multi-Task:  Use your multi-tasking skills to turn your regular work into actions that will build your brand. For example, when you are reading articles or blogs related to your expertise, share them on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook or via email with your contacts you know will benefit from them.
  2. Give to the Group:  Build community and relationships on the web. LinkedIn groups provide the opportunity to have conversations and build relationships with like-minded leaders.
  3. Don't Toot – Let Others Tout:  If you are uncomfortable tooting your own horn, make it easy for others to sing your praise. Request recommendations for LinkedIn – and the best way to do that is to give LinkedIn recommendations. Also, tout the successes of others around you and encourage others to do so for you.

If you haven't already established a personal brand statement, read this article on how to get started. We hope you will find your brand and the uniqueness you bring to the profession, and that you will feel confident sharing your unique talents and perspectives with others!

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:  Reserve a spot on your schedule for the following upcoming ÖWLI events…

Nov. 20:  ÖWLI Webinar, 12-1pm EDT:  Selena Rezvani, "The Art of the Ask: Negotiating with Confidence." Selena Rezvani is the author of "Pushback: How Smart Women Ask and Stand Up For What They Want." Her experience and success in the women and leadership arena make Rezvani a frequent resource for news media and an in-demand business speaker. She is a former commentator on NPR's nationally syndicated 'The 51% Perspective'. In addition, she writes a column on women and leadership for The Washington Post, for which she won the coveted Jane Cunningham Croly Award for Excellence in Journalism Covering Issues of Concern to Women in 2012. She also writes a weekly blog on women and work for Forbes.com.

Jan. 26, 2016:  ÖWLI Book Club. Title TBA

April 1-16, 2016 (TENTATIVE):  Össur Women's Leadership Initiative Conference, Orlando, FL. More details to come on this event and how to register!

Have you joined our Facebook page? If not, join us today!! Our Facebook page offers a forum for you to communicate with other women in the profession. Please use this page as a forum to ask questions, share informative articles and ideas, and stay up to date on everything ÖWLI. Just search for "Ossur Women's Leadership Initiative." Thanks, as always, for being a part of ÖWLI and continue to submit ideas and suggestions as to how we can help you develop as a leader via email, Facebook or Twitter!

Until November,

Karen Edwards

Director, Össur Women's Leadership Initiative

 

ÖWLI Quote of the Month:  "Your own words are the bricks and mortar of the dreams you want to realize. Your words are the greatest power you have." – Sonia Choquette

 

Talk to us!! Your feedback is welcomed and encouraged! Please let us know what you think of our initiative, share your ideas, share your victories, or just say "hi" by emailing us at OWLI@Ossur.com. And follow us on Twitter @OWLIOssur and Facebook at Össur Women's Leadership Initiative page.

 

[i] "Personal Branding for Dummies", Copyright 2015, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., //www.dummies.com/how-to/content/personal-branding-for-dummies-cheat-sheet.html.

 

[ii] "Women and Personal Branding:  Oil and Water," by Kathy Caprino, Forbes.com, August 7, 2014, //www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2014/08/07/women-and-personal-branding-oil-and-water/3/