Women in Leadership: Personal Branding

At GRG Executive Search, we are committed to increasing the boardroom presence of all historically underrepresented groups, including women. Our annual Women in Leadership event brings together female leaders, encouraging positive connection and delivering key learnings to help elevate careers. 

In March, we partnered with NOVA to host an inspiring evening of conversation and networking, with an esteemed panel sharing insights on topics related to leadership, including personal branding.  

But what is personal branding? Fiona Lambert, Board Advisor, and former Managing Director of retail brand Jaeger believes your personal brand should be developed based on what you would like your legacy to be. 

“What would you want everyone to be saying about you? What do you want to be remembered for? That is your personal brand. 

“I previously worked in retail, where I embodied the brand and was passionate about the products. Now, in my current career, I am the product, so I think about personal branding a lot. 

“I am big believer in writing down your achievements, values, and purpose. Look at them every day and evaluate. Are you creating a personal brand and a legacy that you can be proud of?”  

In business, personal branding is key, helping leaders build a following, foster valuable connections, and position themselves as thought leaders. It is essential to business growth because, ultimately, people invest in people – a strong personal brand naturally has a positive impact on the employer brand. 

With business growth comes career progression, a time where personal branding is more important than ever. However, big change can cause an identity crisis, as Claire Dunn, Co-Founder of angel investment platform OBU, found. 

“I worked in the male-dominated debt industry, and it took a long time for me to figure out what I stood for. During this time, I anchored back into my values. This helped me understand who I was at a time where I felt lost.  

“This is where having a good personal brand and a strong sense of self come into play. If you face challenges in your career, revisit your values and it will help you remember what you stand for.” 

While our panellists all shared their own unique experiences and ideas around personal branding, they all agreed on the positive impact a good personal brand can have on a leader’s confidence and success. 

Chief Financial Officer of Severn Trent Helen Miles shared her experiences of Imposter Syndrome, and how believing in herself and her personal brand helped her to overcome feelings of self-doubt. 

“It is important to remember that the reason you have got to where you are is because you are you! Remember, you have a right to be where you are. 

“There is debate around whether Imposter Syndrome is a real thing; I truly believe it exists, and I have experienced it first-hand. It is that feeling where you think you don’t deserve a job, or the positive feedback you receive. It is the fear and insecurity that your capabilities and strengths are not what got you where you are. 

“I remember when I got my first Chief Financial Officer role. I felt like I should not have been there. I had to remind myself exactly why I deserved the role. Remember, if the person who hired you did not believe in you, you would not be there.”  

Facilitator and Coach Ian McKechnie agreed that Imposter Syndrome exists, with women typically suffering more than men. 

“Women’s perception of risk is higher than men’s. Men will go for a promotion outside of their level of skill, whereas women will make sure they are 100% qualified. This comes down to confidence, and developing a good personal brand can support the growth of confidence, reminding women of their strengths and capabilities. 

“The human mind is typically more negative than positive. To be free, and to really excel, you need to remember who you are and what you stand for.”  

Fiona Lambert echoes this, offering this advice to leaders set on developing a personal brand and excelling professionally. 

“I think it is so important for women to work out what their personal brand is, and not compare themselves to other people. 

“The best advice I can offer is to find out what your purpose is, write down your values, what you have achieved, and what your strengths are. You can then talk confidently about these in any situation, both personally and professionally.” 

This insightful conversation proves the power personal branding can have, helping leaders to present confidently, understand their strengths, and use these strengths to succeed in their careers.  

At GRG Executive Search, promoting equal opportunities and inclusion is key. As recruiters, we understand that we have an important role in supporting an agenda where diversity and acceptance are a minimum expectation of businesses and their leaders. Our annual Women in Leadership event recognises the power of bringing people with diverse perspectives together. 

If you are interested in hearing more insights from our Women in Leadership panellists, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn where we will share further conversation from the event over the coming weeks. 

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