Advance Insider: First-Hand Account from Building Your Personal Brand

First-hand accounts from motivated professional women on what inspired them to attend a Women of Influence Advancement Centre course. Discover how the program has helped them advance in their career goals, and turn their insights into action with Christine Laperriere’s expert advice on how to practice the skills within your current role.

Registrant: Journalist & Instructor

Course attended: Building Your Personal Brand

Why did you enrol and what big objectives do you have for 2015?
I’m a newcomer to the city and my career is in transition. I enrolled in the course to get tips on presenting my non-linear career path and experience in a way that resonates with others. My objective in 2015 is to set the stage for new professional opportunities to arise, and be ready to “bring it” when they do!

What was your biggest “a-ha!” moment from the course?
One of my biggest moments came from looking at the differences between how men and women present themselves and their professional experiences. The course helped me identify vocabulary, body language, and behaviour (don’t sit at the back of the room!) that get in the way of the message and image I want to project.

What did you learn or how will you improve yourself going forward?
“What got you to this point won’t necessarily get you to the next one,” was one of my key takeaways—I learned more effective ways to tell my story, and that I will need to keep editing it to get to the next chapter of my career.

Who would you recommend to take this course?
I would recommend the course for people in career transition, or those who are trying to get to the next level. How often do you get the opportunity to take a step back and look at your personal brand from a new angle? What are you presenting, and what do you want to present? Shoana is a down-to-earth facilitator who makes participants feel comfortable sharing their stories and learning from each other’s feedback. Everyone left the course feeling more inspired and confident about personal branding.


“Try this on your own and Advance Your Skills Today”

Expert Advice from Christine Laperierre Executive Director of the Women of Influence Advancement Centre

Would you like some quick tips on how to help you build your personal brand?

This article from Forbes gives great ideas you can use today.

 

Two Essentials that Brand Us as Caring and Effective Leaders

When you are blessed with the opportunity to work with talented influential women you learn a lot every day. As a workshop leader for Women of Influence I am ecstatic when my participants are thrilled with the experience they receive, that’s my goal but the bonus I receive is the learning and inspiration I regularly get from them.

Our focus shifts when we look for the positive contribution of others and we begin to see what was there all along. Acknowledging the contributions of my workshop participants has enabled me to amplify them and incorporate the best of them into future workshops.

Here are two leadership essentials I have become much more aware of since working with Women of Influence.

Pay attention to what you see. What we pay attention to, we amplify.

Our focus shifts when we look for the positive contribution of others and we begin to see what was there all along.

To get the most out of a team sometimes we need to put on rose coloured glasses and look at all the qualities and skills of those around us. We begin to see what was there all along, while our attention was elsewhere.

Have you ever had the experience of something (a word, a concept, a new food, an exercise or brand ) brought to your attention, and immediately you notice it everywhere? Did you wonder whether it was synchronicity?

Perhaps there is something wonderful and even unique about your company or organization, your products and systems, or your team you were unaware of, that when seen in a positive light can bring greater satisfaction to your customers and more profit to your company. In the process you may even have your team grow in the pride of seeing their contribution to the community they serve.

Leadership is not just about what you do but how your being motivates and inspires your team. If your being is positive by nature and you see your team as amazing, with the ability to do almost anything with a little; help or training, or by leveraging the strengths of each other more, or by being just a little less critical of each other you will not just motivate them but begin to better use them for their unique and powerful strengths.

There are Two Essential Ways of Being for leaders that motivate their followers, help bring out their best and help them see beyond what they think is possible:

1. Pay attention to your seeing. What you focus on, you amplify.

2. Be a person of high expectation. People live up (or down) to your expectations of them. Where is your focus of attention? Is it on problems, what’s wrong, what’s not working … do you easily find fault with others? If we focus on problems, what’s not working or someone’s annoying character traits–that is what we see and we often see it to the exclusion of other things. If we focus on problems in the false belief we are problem solving we can suck the energy and creativity out of the room and overwhelm ourselves. On the other hand if we focus on what we do well and look for ways to improve it we might just find the breakthrough that is unique to us and essential to our clients.

People live up (or down) to your expectations of them.

Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson two psychology researchers set out to prove that a person’s IQ can actually be improved just by the expectations people have of them. In a study conducted over a one year period those identified as high potential grew their IQ at a 50% greater rate than the control group. We don’t just get more work out of people by expecting more we also get better work. The phenomena became known as the Pygmalion Effect.

Leaders that view their team as high potential will give their team tougher challenges, expect deeper thinking, and listen more intently to their suggestions. Recent research with 1500 companies has revealed that teams better challenged where their immediate supervisor is seen as listening to and appreciating their input perform up to four times more effectively and contribute up to 20% more to the bottom line.

Dr. Lois P. Frankel a recognized expert in the field of leadership development for women suggests who has helped diverse clients such as Walt Disney, The World Bank, The Indonesia Women’s Leadership Summit, Miller Brewing Lockheed Martin, and McKinsey & Company, has a rule she calls the 7:1 rule give people seven pieces of positive feedback for every developmental criticism.

Most of us avoid giving developmental criticism rather than setting high expectations and expecting them to be met and when we finally do address the problem it is not in a positive light of high expectation and ends up coming out as sharp, blunt or abrupt. We are not leaders to judge others but rather to help them perform in an extraordinary manner.

Consider trying this Experiment

Look for the inherent gifts, the positive in someone who pushes your buttons, someone you don’t like, someone who you believe is a low performer. Then give authentic, positive feedback to that person. Notice how you feel and how that person responds. See what happens over time.

I hope you will join us on Feb7 when I will be leading a small group of exceptional women in a workshop on Mastering Me – Creating Your Best Self. I am looking forward to seeing everyone grow not just from the material and exercises I present but from the contributions of from the whole group and the learning I received from previous groups. For more information click here.

Speaking Up: Marcia Moffat

Presenting yourself and negotiating with confidence.

BY MARCIA MOFFAT, VP OF HOME EQUITY FINANCING PRODUCTS


In the past several years, I’ve made significant career transitions in a variety of roles. While each position has had its own set of unique opportunities and challenges, there have been key experiences that have shaped my perspective and prepared me for the next step and challenge.

Leading Investor Relations for a large, complex financial institution during the height of the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008 was an invaluable experience and taught me how important it is to “look before you leap.”

As someone who likes to get things done, I would rush to make a decision quickly — especially early on in my career. But I’ve come to learn that most things aren’t as they first appear. Over the course of my career, I’ve learned to sleep on a decision — even if I think I have the answer. When you are part of a large organization, giving an incorrect response immediately can be worse than taking longer to develop the correct response, which has an effect on long-term credibility. During the financial crisis, the level of misinformation in the public markets made each day a unique challenge. There was a crisis of confidence in financial institutions, with daily speculation and rumours affecting our clients, not just our stock price. In this pressure-filled environment, it was tempting to quickly correct rumours. Yet it was important to strike the right balance between being responsive and resisting the urge to put out every fire. We needed to stay calm and take a long-term, methodical approach. My team and I did this by staying attuned to evolving investor concerns, getting solid answers and being disciplined as to when and what to communicate publicly.

There may be times you want to respond immediately, but it’s wisest to save that email as a draft, sleep on it and re-evaluate the next day. There’s a good chance your thought process will have changed.

ACROSS THE DIFFERENT ROLES IN MY CAREER, CERTAIN COMMON THEMES HAVE HELPED GUIDE MY THINKING AND STILL INFLUENCE ME TODAY. HERE ARE FIVE POINTERS I WOULD SHARE WITH ANY AMBITIOUS YOUNG WOMAN EARLY IN HER CAREER:

 
1. BE AUTHENTIC AND TRUE TO YOURSELF

You will work with many different people over your career and have the opportunity to see a variety of leadership styles. It can be easy to fall into the trap of emulating someone and doing things exactly as they do, particularly early in your career.

I suggest you instead find aspects of other styles that resonate with you and incorporate these into your own approach. This will help you develop a credible and authentic style that is uniquely personal and that you can continue to build on throughout your career.

2. SPEAK UP AND TAKE A SEAT AT THE TABLE

I love when junior employees speak up in a meeting, especially when there are senior people in the room. This is an issue I grappled with early on in my career and I gradually learned that speaking up is the only way you will have your perspective heard. People cannot read your mind, so you need to voice your opinion to others.

It’s also important to take a seat at the table, literally. In one of my previous roles, there were not enough seats at the meeting table for everyone, so chairs were added around the perimeter of the room. It was easier to be part of the conversation, share ideas and foster engagement if you were at the table itself.

3. BUILD GOOD RELATIONSHIPS

This is especially true of peers. Navigating a large organization like RBC, with almost 80,000 employees, can be difficult. Having the support of colleagues makes the work environment enjoyable and can help you gain insight on organizational issues that you may be struggling with.

4. ASK FOR HELP

No matter how hard you try, you will face issues at work that you can’t solve on your own. In large organizations, you have access to a multitude of ideas, experiences and opinions and it’s crucial to draw on these.

As someone with a Type A personality, asking for help isn’t always easy. We all like to think we can do everything ourselves. But it’s important to remember you are only one person. Asking for help, either by delegating or by asking a senior member of your team for advice, benefits the entire organization as it ensures projects will run more efficiently.

5. BE PREPARED TO EARN YOUR STRIPES IN EVERY ROLE

It’s important to be your own advocate and recognize the value of your contribution. But realize that you will have to continuously prove yourself throughout your career, whether with a new client, employer, audience or subject matter. I’m reminded of a conversation with a young employee who questioned having to repeatedly prove herself as she moved to new roles. Over time, I’ve learned this is normal — you have to accept it and get into a flow of establishing credibility with various parties as you take on new challenges.

The more often you put yourself into new situations, the more comfortable you will become over time. Be prepared and confident, and your worth will show through.


Over the past 15 years, Marcia Moffat has been in some of the most impressive positions in the financial world. She has held various roles throughout RBC, including leading the Investor Relations team through the global financial crisis, setting the communication strategy with shareholders, research analysts and credit rating agencies. She has also practised corporate securities law in New York and Paris, in addition to obtaining an MBA. She currently leads RBC’s Canadian residential mortgage and secured credit lines business, a core business for RBC that represents approximately $200 billion in balances. As an expert communicator and facilitator, there is no one better than Moffat to explain the importance of speaking up in the workplace.