Community, GHC15

GHC15 Building your brand as an emerging leader/tech expert.

I blogged Jo Miller’s talk last year and was elated when the schedule came out and she was on it. Jo gives amazing career advice and now that I’m living my first year in corporate life, it’s only fitting that I continue to learn from the absolute best.


I actually made sure I got my golden ticket early yesterday after picking up my badge. Jo packed the house last year and I was more than sure she’d do it all over again.

So we all know and can relate to the emerging leader’s quandary -> You can’t get a higher-level job without leadership experience…..

but you can’t get leadership experience without the job.

We all want to be great. At the same time we can’t afford to wait. We shouldn’t be the best kept secret at our company/organization. What can we do? Be famous for something! Know what your claim to fame is. hmm. I’ll admit I was intrigued but I wanted to learn more since I had been walking around for years trying to convince people I was Batman in my best Michael Keaton voice.

Jo mentioned we’d be learning how in the workshop our ideal career niche, out leadership brand and how to make this value visible.

First up, leadership brand. The 3 essential elements needed for a great leadership brand included being able to answer: What are you passionate about?, What are your skills and talents? and finally What does your company/industry need to value? Jo reiterated we needed to have all 3 and noted those of us who work in fast paced industries like tech should reevaluate the last question every 6 months to a year. She also mentioned to be authentic about our own leadership style. To own it, communicate it and put a value on it; essentially put a brand on it.

Jo asked us to think about where we want to be in 2 years. In 5 years. I’ve always had an idea of where I’d like to end up but with an ever-changing lifestyle, I worried I wouldn’t have some concrete answer. I thought of my father’s generation of workers. Those who’d started and ended their career at the same company. I felt almost like if I followed that career stance, I’d have an immediate answer. This definitely wasn’t the case. Jo also asked us to chew on what brand do I need to become known as now in order to get there? She discussed how our brands must evolve throughout our careers. I agreed as after almost a year into my career, I’m ready to tackle more complex projects and or work with even larger multi-service clients. I’m sure most would agree a way we grow is to be challenged.

Next to making our value visible. When we were in college, the recipe for success was this:

results = reward + recognition. As we progress in our careers however, that simply isn’t the case. Jo shared the 4 steps for making our brands visible.

  • To work less.

Jo Miller gets me! I perked up and thought..YES! SHE GETS ME.

  • Communicate your brand to others.

Jo had us create a 30 second commercial.

  • Work hard on the right projects.

I took this idea to heart. I’ve been given lots of opportunities to work on various projects as a new comer to my team. At this level, I need to continue to work hard but I need to begin to target those projects that can push my brand to the next level.

  • Promote your accomplishments

“It’s not what you know and it’s not who you know. It’s who knows what you know.” (-Nora Denzel)

Jo gave us ideas on how we could promote our accomplishments. They included ideas such as presenting in meetings and inviting leaders. Writing a blog or paper for publication or asking a colleague to “toot your horn”, and reciprocate.

Everyone wants to be recognized for the hard work and dedication they have to their jobs. We put in 40+ hours each week and bring our best selves. It’s only natural we’d want to receive recognition unfortunately the older we get, the less that happens. It’s our job to step up and really begin to communicate our brand to others.

Couldn’t join us at Grace Hopper this year? Read the slide deck here

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