Michelle Obama Covers More Magazine

Michelle Obama covers the February 2012 issue of More Magazine.  I am not a subscriber to this magazine but when I saw the picture, I just had to pick up a copy!  I think this is one of the best cover photographs of the First Lady that I have ever seen.  She looks radiant and happy.

In the article, Mrs. Obama describes her campaign to build self-confidence in young women through her mentorship campaign.  The program pairs quietly selected teenage girls with senior female advisors in the President’s administration.  The goal is to not only motivate the young ladies, but to truly show them that anything is possible.  The young ladies are able to build one-on-one relationships with women who understand where they are in life and who can help them get to where they want to go.  The goal is to help the ladies understand that their dreams are not abstract and are totally attainable.  This program sounds like a well needed initiative.  I’m proud of the First Lady and all of the women in the Obama Administration for participating in this program.

Pick up the February issue of More Magazine to read the entire article.


Rosalind Brewer – New CEO of Sam’s Club

Ms. Rosalind Brewer has been named the new CEO of Sam’s Club.  This beautiful Spelman alumna, will not only be the first woman, but also the first African-American to hold this prestigious position at the huge retail powerhouse.   Ms. Brewer and Ms. Burns will now be the only two black women CEO’s of billion dollar corporations.  Kudos to them! 


Are You Managing Your Reputation Offline?

Picture Courtesy of Cleanreputations.com

Here I discussed the importance of managing your online reputation.  It is also important to manage your offline reputation.  How do you know if people have an accurate perception of you?  When was the last time you asked someone what they truly thought of you?

I used to work at a law firm in a department that was separated from the rest of the firm.  As a result, my coworkers and I had very little interaction with anyone outside of the department.  After working with one particular coworker for almost two years, she resigned and moved to another job.  After she left, people started to say how they really felt about the young lady.

“She was really bossy and talked too much.”

“I think we will be more efficient now.  She wasn’t much of a team player.”

“Everything was always about her.”

WHAT!!!  I was stunned.  I had no idea how strongly people felt about her.  When I started to ask questions, I learned that just because people were nice to the young lady, that didn’t mean that they liked her.  In their minds, they were being professionals.  People felt that she talked at them and not to them.  People also felt that she was selfish.  I’m sure that the young lady had no idea how she was perceived.  I’m also sure that if I were to tell her what her old coworkers had to say about her, she would be crushed.  I felt badly because I knew that she had good intentions and had no idea that she was rubbing people the wrong way.

People will always pass judgement on other people.  It is just nature.  Your job as  a person who wants to build and maintain your personal brand is to make sure the conclusions people are making about you are correct.  You have to actively make sure people are judging you correctly.  Here are my five tips to do just that:

  1. Treat people as you want to be treated.  People say this all the time but do they actually do it?  Small gestures leave big impressions.  Smile more.
  2. Don’t take my word for it… Or anybody else’s word for that matter.  Make your own decisions about people.  People will always volunteer their opinions about others.  But are they right?  Don’t assume they are.  This also goes back to number 1.  You would want someone to give you the benefit of the doubt right?
  3. Be proactive.  Show people the real you.  If people know who you really are, there won’t be room for any misconceptions.
  4. Always do your best.  This will change from day-to-day.  But if you do your best, and try to be your best self every day, you will have little regrets.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions.  Find someone you trust and ask them the questions you don’t want the answers to.  This will help you make changes for the better.  Don’t be afraid of change.  Life is change.
Want to add any tips to my list?  Add them in the comments section.

Your Brand vs. Branding

I recently read this article by Deborah Shane entitled “5 Ways Your Brand and Branding Define You.”  She gave five excellent tips to keep in mind while managing your brand and relates it to well-known corporate brands.  Her definitions of brand and branding really resounded with me.  She says,

Your brand is you: who you are, what you do, what you stand for, your DNA personality.

“Your branding is what you do: every way you put your brand in action to create associations with you…”

I think that might be one of the most clear and concise definitions of brand and branding I have ever read.  As you work towards building and maintaining your personal brand, (keeping in mind that you must do this every day because the internet and information moves faster than a blink of an eye), what is your brand and what is your branding?  How do you use your branding to build your brand?

As I read Ms. Shane’s words, I realize I have some work to do.  I better get to it! What about you?

Super Sweets – Two Women of the WNBA

Laurel J. Richie - President of the WNBA

Laurel J. Richie - President of the WNBA

On May 16, 2011, Laurel J. Richie assumed the role of President of the WNBA.  Previously the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Girl Scouts of the United States of America, Ms. Richie is no stranger to organizations that uplift women.  She is credited with keeping the Girl Scout brand current and fresh.

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Ms. Richie has over 3 years experiences in marketing, public relations, corporate management, and branding.  She will now apply all of those skills to the WNBA.  Her goal in her new role is to “reach out to people and engage them.”

Lisa Leslie - Part owner of the Los Angeles Sparks

The WNBA has just made another amazing announcement.  Lisa Leslie has just become part owner of the Los Angeles Sparks.  She will be the first WNBA player to invest in a team.  Being first at something is not new to Ms. Leslie.  She was the first player to reach 6000 points in the WNBA as well as the first WNBA player to dunk during a game.

I’m a basketball fan but I must admit that I don’t follow women’s basketball.  I’m hoping that these two savvy business women will increase my interest in the WNBA and give basketball lovers something to follow since the NBA is still locked out with no resolution in sight.  Only time will tell.  Do you follow the WNBA?  What do you think of these two changes?

Branding Sweets Book Review – The Alchemist

I just finishing reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho twice through back-to-back.  To say that this book has given me a new outlook on life is an understatement.  Back in July 2010, Will Smith gave an interview where he mentioned The Alchemist and he discusses how much he believes in it.  I even posted the interview here but did not read the book until now.

So many aspects of The Alchemist can be quickly translated into our every day lives.  The Alchemist tells the story of Santiago, a boy on a search to realize his personal legend.  The book defines one’s personal legend as “what you have always wanted to accomplish.”  Santiago goes on an inspirational journey to do what he was put on this earth to do.  There are so many juicy tidbits and quotes that I would literally need to reprint the entire book in this post to do it any sort of justice.  Here are five of my favorite quotes from The Alchemist.

“When you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe.  It’s your mission on this earth.”

“Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.”

“Never stop dreaming.”

“It’s not what enters men’s mouth that’s evil… It’s what comes out of their mouths that is.”

“It’s true; life really is generous to those who pursue their Personal Legend.”

Have you ever read this book?  What did you think of it?  Has it changed your perspective in any way?  The one major thing that resounded with me after finishing this book is that if you stop trying, you could be one step away from reaching your goal.  Persistence truly is the name of the game.  I’ve mentioned that before on this blog but I think recently I have failed to follow my own advice.  This book has served as a good reminder.  Your thoughts?

The Most Powerful Black Women in America

Forbes.com has posted a list of the most powerful black women in America.  There are 12 women on the list and I must say that I am quite surprised.  The site does not explain how they came up with the list and it does not confirm whether or not the women are presented in any particular order.  Here is the list:

  1. Beyoncé, Entertainer
  2. Oprah, Media Icon
  3. Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States
  4. Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO of Xerox
  5. Debra Lee, Chairman and CEO of BET
  6. Halle Berry, Entertainer
  7. Condoleezza Rice, Former Secretary of the United States
  8. Tyra Banks, TV Personality and Model
  9. Ruth Simmons, President of Brown University
  10. Venus and Serena Williams, Tennis Stars
  11. Robin Roberts, TV Newscaster
  12. Whoopi Goldberg – Actress and TV Personality
I think some names are missing.  I also hope that the names are not in any particular order.  Where are Valerie JarrettDesiree Rogers, and Mellody Hobson on the list?  Are you really telling me that Beyoncé is more powerful than the First Lady of the United States?  Is this the extent of the Black woman’s power?  This list is a little scary.  Are there other names you would have liked to see?  Do you think the list is accurate?  What are your thoughts?