Taking the Plunge: I’m Heading Back to Corporate America

Posted: January 26th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Taking the Plunge: I’m Heading Back to Corporate America

After more than a decade leading my business, I’m taking off my Entrepreneur hat for the Employee hat. On January 30th I will start my first day as the Division Vice President, Social Media Marketing at a Fortune 100 Company here in Chicago. I’ve had all the freshmanesque jitters of what do I wear on the first day? What’s the environment really like? How far is the Starbucks? (okay, let’s be honest, I already know the answer to the last one, after all, it’s my addiction).

Why It Matters To You
It’s proof positive that my career coaching methodologies work. I used the exact resume format and layout, interview kit and techniques (including questions to ask the hiring managers), 30/60/90 day plan and follow-up strategy that I coach my clients to use during their career transitions. I ran to FedExOffice and printed off resume packets with clear vinyl covers and vinyl backs, I included reference sheets, I hand wrote thank you notes and mailed them promptly – only after sending email thank you notes within 24 hours. Most importantly, I networked my toukas off throughout the entire process and was (and still am) ever grateful for the internal champion that supported my candidacy.

How To Find Me

I’m not exactly disappearing, in fact, I’m not even moving. The best way to stay connected with me is on LinkedIn.  I’ll also continue to be an active blogger on the Personal Branding Blog where you can find my posts every Monday morning or via my Twitter account on Tuesday mornings.  If you still can’t find me, head to Starbucks in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood on a weekend morning and any barista can point me out!

What I’ll Be Doing

Social media marketing – Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest and Social Media games for a retailer I believe in greatly. Who is it? I’ll disclose more after I start on the 30th. Most importantly, I’ll be engaging with consumers via social media and getting you (aka – American consumers) excited through fun, engaging and viral campaigns. Seriously, how exciting is this? As you can tell, I’m excited!


It’s because of you and your support that I have the opportunity to grow my professional journey in this direction. Thank you. I appreciate you.

Personal Branding Author Interview: James Marshall Reilly

Posted: January 10th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Career Coach, Job Searching, Personal Branding | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Personal Branding Author Interview: James Marshall Reilly

Today, I spoke to James Marshall Reilly who is the author of Shake The World: It’s Not About Finding a Job, It’s About Creating a Life and the founder of Guild Agency Speakers Bureau & Intellectual Talent Management. Reilly was honored at the White House as one of the Top 100 entrepreneurs in the U.S. age 30 or under. In this interview Reilly shares an aggregate of stories from leaders in humanitarian and corporate ventures, what success looks like, the role personal branding plays today, and much more.

What inspired you to write Shake The World?

I left a job and (like many people) didn’t know what I wanted to do next but I knew I wanted it to be something different, something productive and meaningful in more than just a financial way. That got me thinking about the amazing people that were doing things to change the world (e.g. building schools, reducing malnutrition, leading multi-million dollar companies). This book was a way to showcase the stories of the ones we often don’t hear about.

You interviewed inspired leaders and entrepreneurs, is there a common thread they all share?

Let me share that Reilly interviewed humanitarians to corporate leaders including Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, Inc. and Blake Mycoskie of TOMS.

There were several common threads, which is ultimately the underlying argument of the book. The core set of commonalities and the biggest, most important is to “act as a disruptive force” whether that’s within an industry or your own life. This action will lead to the greatest result. Tony Hsieh disrupted the shoe industry with Zappos and the industry, consumers and his company are all in a better place. Shawn Fanning created disruption in the music industry and while he got in trouble, 10 years later, we’re able to consume music better and easier and record labels are paid for it.

What does success look like?
Each person defines success different, for one it may be donating 65MM shoes and for another it may be personal happiness. For most of these leaders success is when daily life+work intersect in a way that Sunday and Wednesday are interchangeable.

Take Ellen Gustafson who was working at the UN shortly after being inspired, in a nearly obsessive way, by food and healthy eating, during a ski trip. While partnering on a project with Lauren Bush they developed the original FEED bag to address global hunger and malnutrition. After the UN declined the project and several other groups and companies passed on them, they opened their own company. By 2010 the GAP was selling their FEED handbags and products. Half a million bag sales later, fifty-five million children have been fed and their little company has generated millions in sales too.

This is just a sample of the type of story you’ll find in Shake The World, and how anyone can turn their passion into a business.

How relevant is personal branding, for anyone, including job seekers today?

Personal branding is incredibly important whether you’re Tony Hsieh or Joe the Job Seeker. We all have a personal brand. Take any of these rising companies (e.g. TOMS Shoes, Zappos) and there are strong leaders in front of the brand. We all know the CEO and feel like we know the CEO personally; look at the impact when Steve Jobs was lost. We all felt as if we know him. When we like the company or brand’s leader, their businesses do well.

The same goes for a job seeker or employee. If I’m an intern at a company and I post a bunch of pictures on my Facebook account, that’s my personal brand. If I tweet a bunch of socially relevant things, that’s also my personal brand. The most important part of anyone’s brand is authenticity. People respond to authenticity.

What one piece of advice do you want to convey about Shake The World?

Avoid settling. Don’t be afraid to fail. Take small risks when you feel it’s worth taking them and know that it may not be that you’re going to start a business but that half-baked idea you have today may turn into something big in 3 years.

Keep an open mind and pursue your own interests.

Shake The World was released with Penguin Books in late December, 2011 and can be found at Amazon.com, your local bookstore or on your Kindle. After reading it myself I’d say it’s definitely worth $20. If you’re not inspired to start your own business, these are stories of great leaders you want to know of, about and get connected to. Who knows, maybe they’re building companies you’ll be part of someday soon.

Real Salaries of 2011: What’s Ahead in 2012

Posted: December 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: job offer negotiations, salary negotitation | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Real Salaries of 2011: What’s Ahead in 2012

Considering a new career? Before you jump into a new industry or profession, read this. From personal chefs to commercial pilots, corrections officers and celebrity realtors, here’s what they actually made last year.
Personal chefs to plastic surgeons

  • Allison, a PA-based personal chef, $55,000
  • Angela, Social Media Manager, $42,000
  • AnneMarie, Newspaper Reporter, $26,000
  • Cindy, Elementary School Secretary, $17,500
  • Chad, Beverly Hills Celebrity Realtor, $1 Million+
  • Bill, Corrections Officer, $44,000
  • Bryan, FedEx Pilot, $148,000
  • Frank, Plastic Surgeon, $1 Million
  • Helen, Registered Dietician, $72,000
  • Jeanine, Library Director, $38,000
  • Julie, Food Truck Owner, $43,000
  • Sandi, Emergency Room Registered Nurse, $50,000

A look ahead
With the U.S. economy teetering daily like the teeter-totter on a children’s playground, it’s smart to focus your career on skills that you know well. If you’re considered an expert, employers will pay. If you’re thinking “now’s the time to go out on my own”, check your savings account for 12 months of living expenses and ensure it’s and industry the economy is backing.

Salaries will stay at their current rates for 2012 and those receiving job offers will have room to negotiate for their fair market value. Engage salary tools (e.g. payscale.com, salary.com and glassdoor.com) to determine your fair market value when engaging in salary negotiations.

285,000 jobs a month for 5 years
While the Economic Policy Institute predicts it would take 285,000 new jobs per month for the next 5 years for our economy to return to pre-recession unemployment levels, all it takes for you to return to that state is one new job. Focus on that one and it’s a far more attainable goal.

3 Hot Industries in 2012
The hot industries remain consistent in 2012: Healthcare, Digital/Social Media and Green Energy. If you’re already in these industries, great for you. If you’re looking to break into one of these, focus on skills that transfer easily (e.g. project management, client relations, team management, accounting). Most importantly, connect the dots for the hiring manager in your personal brand, on your resume, LinkedIn profile and during the interview.

HOW TO: Capitalize on Your Brand Like Michael Jackson

Posted: December 9th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Career Coach, Personal Branding | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on HOW TO: Capitalize on Your Brand Like Michael Jackson

Have you seen Michael Jackson’s This Is It” movie? What an inside view into the artist that Michael Jackson truly was on, and off, stage. Before I saw this movie, again recently on TV, I was blind to the deep talent Jackson held.

Group to solo artist
In ’77, after 14 years and 14 albums with the Jackson Five and Motown Records, Michael emerged as his own brand and released his first solo album, “Off The Wall”, with Epic Records. On the heels of “Off The Wall” came “Thriller” , which sold over 50MM copies worldwide, had 7 hit singles, and won Jackson a record-breaking 8 Grammy awards in one night. It was 1984 and he officially announced he was leaving the group and going solo.

Musician, movies and money
When you watch “This Is It” it becomes clear that Jackson is talented in many ways. Every element from selecting principal dancers to reviewing each song note and music key; he had his hand in each part of it. That’s not all he had his hand in though. Jackson was in more than just this movie, he collaborated with Francis Ford Coppola on Captain EO, a $30MM movie that was shown at Disney theme parks.

Businessman and philanthropist
A budding businessman, Jackson acquired ATV Music Publishing, including the Beatles music catalog and rights for $47.5MM in 1985. Just 10 years later, Jackson merged ATV with Sony and sold 50% of his rights for $90MM. By 1992, he founded
Heal the World Foundation, sending millions of dollars around the world to support children threatened by war, poverty and disease. Putting his financial pursuits aside, he donated 100% of the $100MM Dangerous World Tour profits, and the tour broadcast rights sold to HBO for a record-breaking $20MM, to charities.

Children and world aid were just the beginning. Jackson was an avid supporter of the HIV/AIDS movement; petitioning the Clinton Administration to contribute funds to HIV/AIDS charities and research and completing a goodwill ambassador tour to Africa and Egypt visiting over 100K people.

Brand diversity
We can’t all be Grammy-award winning artists, moviemakers, businessmen and philanthropists to this extent. However, we can learn from Jackson’s savvy personal branding. He diversified his brand while keeping each area focused on his core ability: music (e.g. philanthropic via charitable concerts, investments in music publishing companies).

It’s important to keep your personal brand focused on your key skills yet diversify it into areas your skill set will allow you to expand naturally and your skills will transfer into generously.