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Bringing words to visual life

I see what you did there


It can't hurt to ask.

This is something I've prescribed to most of my life - thanks Mom! After all, you never know what the response will be and at worst it's no, which means you've lost nothing regardless.

And a few months ago I asked.

I asked Suzanne Wagstaff, who runs the NYC Alumni chapter of Washington University, my alma mater, about doing a Personal Branding panel. As someone who's an active attendee of alumni events, I've seen a number of panels across topic and industry, but I hadn't seen anything in the marketing or branding space.

It's not a surprise that this topic had been requested and they just hadn't put it together. Ask + timing = success.


Assembling the dream team

Now that I had the go ahead, it was time to find the participants. One I already knew, Elizabeth Lewis, as she and I had been introduced by another alum and had already done a workshop together. Her focus was on Personal Branding in terms of style and color. But who else?

A quick google search turned up a photographer, Erin Silber, who was also an alumni and turns out had photographed someone I know quite well. We had many connections in common. That's three!

And then the Sr. Director of the Alumni Network found our moderator, Kendra Kelly, an alum who works for Lancome. So now we had an all women panel and one with both entrepreneurs and a corporate employee.


Putting a plan in place

Of course getting the panel assembled was important, but we also needed to nail down a date and a space, something that took months. Once we solidified the location and date, we could start to formulate the event. Suzanne wanted to offer headshots to all attendees, so Erin needed to bring all her equipment and a second photographer.

Elizabeth had recently launched her own line of knitwear and wanted to set up a table to display it. And I offered to do some live LinkedIn bio makeovers for anyone who submitted their profile. which meant slides, screens and AV support.


The response

For me the reward of any event is the response from attendees. Here are just a few takeaways:

  • Attendees ranged from recent grads to those with 40 or 50-year careers

  • The chair of the NY Alumni group said that our panel should be mandatory for all graduates (I concur, and also, everyone!)

  • I gave out so many business cards!

  • You never know what your impact will be as evidenced by this amazing drawing from an attendee with her notes on the session! She captured one tip from all of us:

    • The goal of your bio is for someone to feel like they know you - Me

    • Have people see you how you want to be seen - Erin Silber, Photographer

    • What are your three superpowers for personal style? - Elizabeth Lewis, Brand, Style & Bloom

Kendra, Elizabeth and yours truly. (Erin was too busy packing up to pose - typical photographer!)

I'm so grateful to Wash U for having such a rich network and support system but I'm also grateful to myself for having the courage to make the ask. Because you just never know. It might turn out to be better than you ever expected.

Want to bring a panel or event to your school or organization?


Want to truly love what you do?

I'm partnering with CollabWORK to bring you some of the hottest jobs around. If you or someone you know is looking, feel free to share this newsletter with them.  

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