Take Your Personal and Professional Brand to the #NextLevel

Metro EDGE recently met with an eclectic panel of Sacramento influencers to discuss the importance of developing, perfecting, and communicating your personal and professional brand. Christine CalvinGinger Elizabeth HahnRoshaun Davis, and Kachet Jackson-Henderson (facilitator) shared many pearls of wisdom throughout the panel. Here are the biggest takeaways:

What is a professional/personal brand? What steps can I take to determine and create my brand?

  • Your personal brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s how other people interpret you. Ask yourself, “What do my professional confidantes say about me when I’m not around?” What are the top 3 adjectives you want them to be repeating?
  • Roshaun described your brand as your vibe. Look at what vibe you want to go for and make those adjustments to go there.
  • Christine shared that when you’re a young professional trying to create a brand for yourself within your industry, you’re likely nervous that it works for everybody, but it’s not going to fit everybody and that’s okay! It’s okay to get passed over for a job that doesn’t fit your brand because it’s possible that job is not right for you.

How authentic should my brand be?

  • Authenticity is important when it comes to your brand! However, you don’t have to show the whole deck. You’re a lot of different things: a friend, a partner, etc. There’s a fine line between personal and private, and some things like sarcasm and political views are, in most cases, best kept private.
  • Roshaun pointed out that your brand is not going to stay the same as you transition throughout your teens, twenties, and thirties, but as long as you can stay authentic throughout those transitions, that’s what matters most.

How can I maintain a good digital presence?

  • Christine believes in managing social media platforms strategically by posting different content on each one. She also advises that we should use a consistent headshot or logo for your social media profile photos. Treat all your platforms as pieces of one another.
  • Ginger shared that her staff looks up everyone who applies to her shop and they won’t hire people if it looks like they’re partying in their social media photos.

How can I effectively communicate/market my personal brand?

  • Network! Sacramento acts like a web: we are a community of relationships. And Sacramento is small, so you should be able to walk in a room and know everyone in there.
  • Ginger stressed the importance of being extremely confident and knowing how to sell yourself. Toot your own horn! If you don’t toot your own horn, your horn goes untooted.

How can I use my personal brand to better the Sacramento region?

  • Christine advised to do volunteer work that you authentically care about and are interested in, not just volunteer work your job mandates. Find something local where you can use your talent.
  • Kachet shared that she gives back by sharing all the knowledge she’s gained over the years on entrepreneurship, freelancing, blogging, and public speaking to help others reach their goals.
  • Ginger advised that people will open doors for you, so make sure you’re opening doors for others because THAT’S charity.
  • Roshaun said it’s not just about getting involved in the Sacramento community, it’s about dating the city: love the city, the people in the city, your neighborhood, etc.

Young professionals are always being advised to keep learning even after we graduate. What are some books or podcasts you’d recommend for professional or personal development?

  • Books: Judgment Detox, Start with Why, What To Do When There’s Too Much To Do, The 12 Week Year, Being Boss, Fierce Conversations, The Big Leap, Building a StoryBrand, Content Inc., Hit Makers, Principles: Life and Work
  • Podcasts: The Goal Digger Podcast, The Influencer Podcast, Side Hustle Pro

Whether you attended this forum in person or you’re using this post to find out what you missed, we hope you gained some helpful advice on how you can take your personal or professional brand to the next level! For more insight on building your personal brand, check out this post.

Gina McLaughlin is a Legislative Coordinator at the California Restaurant Association. She is a new member of Metro EDGE and is currently serving on the Communications Committee and the EMERGE Committee. When she’s not on the clock, she’s probably training for her next run, planning her next travel adventure, or checking out one of the Sacramento grid’s newest restaurants.