Women

How badass lawyer ladies can take their career expertise outside of the courtroom and build a personal brand

We live in a world where just simply doing a good job in your role is no longer enough. If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it actually fall? If we do good work and know our s*it, but don’t tweet about it, does it even matter? How do you build a personal brand without seeming over the top?

I recently showed a group of super badass ladies from the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania and their guests how to get started on building their personal brand. Managing identities as both a woman and a minority make it difficult to grasp the concept of building a personal brand without feeling like one is bragging or being obnoxious. Studies show it’s especially crucial for women to be their own cheerleaders. In a male-dominated field such as law, it’s an especially sensitive art to master. In today’s society, it’s becoming increasingly important to not only do a good job in our work, but to also establish ourselves as industry experts and share our expertise to the twitterverse, instagrammers, and Linkedin connections. Through an effective personal brand, we attract clients, influence others, and become more respected by our peers for our work.

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Below are some takeaways from this session that will help other badass lawyer ladies build their personal brand and help them share their expertise outside of the office.

Be yourself. The most important part of personal branding is simple, but perhaps the most difficult. Be yourself. Your voice is your power, and I want you to make sure you’re leveraging yours in the best possible way. Having knowledge is one thing, but sharing it (in the right way) is what sets you apart as a real thought leader.

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Regardless of your audience, platform, or forum, knowing and understanding who you are and how you provide value is imperative. During our session, we did my favorite character building exercise, where I challenged the women to define what they believe to be their personal brand. Here’s what I came up with for myself:

Forward-thinking career and content strategist who gets to the point and uncovers your best self. English major geek. Recovering New Yorker. Bravo enthusiast. Mom of two boys who always have dirty faces. 

Getting Started. During a webinar hosted by Shewolf, founder Jordan Lacenski shared, “Your personal brand is what other people think about when they hear your name.” What do people think when they hear yours? You’re responsible for putting the information you want at the front of their minds. I asked the group if they wanted people to think of cheese fries, litigation, immigration law, or something totally different. There are a variety of ways to share knowledge and to connect with constituents. Making yourself visible is important! This can be through engaging in Twitter or engaging with the right people at your firm through networking events.

Overall, to build a strong personal brand, you want to make sure you are choosing the right platforms (this can be within the virtual space, such as social media, or the real world, like meetings and conferences).

Also, think about your message - what do you want to say? What are your expertise? What are your goals?

Get on the right platform

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This shows the reach of the popular platforms. Consider your audience. Who are your target clients? Where do you find them? Strategically reaching them is key. Remember to start small. Pick one platform that you think your audience is on and go full force. No one is expecting you to be a social media guru out of the gate.

Content is king. Be consistent. Make sure you’re posting a good amount (but don't be obnoxious). I doubt that this has reached the law industry but most people don't read a thing. Trying to tell stories in fun pretty pictures or gifs/jifs (whatever the kids are saying these days) will grab people’s attention. Gifs are great resources

Sharing is caring. Share what cool people are doing. The bigger the following the better. This will get you noticed in their realm and have them see what you’re doing eventually too. Think about how you’d act in real life. Have dialogues. Engage. Also keep in mind that hashtags are the secret code you need to get into the cool parties. Piggybacking off of big ones will help you to get noticed and be part of the community

Work smarter. There are tools out there to help you schedule and manage your postings. Hootsuite is what I use. Feedly is a great way to aggregate content to find articles to post. Anything you can do to keep consistent, quality content will help you stay visible and interesting.

Who’s doing it well. Believe it or not, some lawyers are out there doing cool stuff on social media! Here are some examples I shared during the session:

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Get in with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a powerful tool in many ways. You can both target clients by having a compelling, searchable headline and share content through its blog feature. You can also make connections with the right people and participate in industry-specific groups.

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Get out there IRL. Folks need to see you to hear you. Get out there and not only attend conferences, but present at them. Join affinity groups and participate (or even organize) networking events. Whatever direction you go in, it’s important to take initiative beyond the everyday grind of your job. Invest time in yourself and in your interests.

When in doubt think like a white man. So many women are apprehensive about putting ourselves out there in this way. Traditionally, white men don’t give a crap if what they say is compelling or interesting. Channel some of that confidence, while mastering the sharing of yourself.

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Have fun with all of this! Building a personal brand serves as a way to express your creativity, build meaningful relationships, create more visibility for yourself and your firm, and establish yourself as a true innovator in your field.

Need help? Feel free to contact me for a free consultation!

Keeping it real in the mom and the professional jobs

Motherhood. The name itself inspires a complexity of thoughts. Regardless of whether you’re a stay at home mom, a tiger mom, a foster mom, a desperately trying to become a mom, a career mom, or a Pinterest mom, motherhood evokes emotions never experienced prior to taking on the great mom job.

One thing is for sure, I am not a Pinterest mom. Exhibit A: #browniefail.

 Poop or brownies? You decide.

Poop or brownies? You decide.

I’m more of an eat off of the floor/get your ass to bed no later than 7:30pm so I can have a glass of wine kind of mom.

Becoming a mom both saved and nearly ended my life. Not to get too science fictiony, but your brain literally changes from pregnancy. Throw in a traumatic birth experience, and it reeeeeally can cause you to reevaluate things. With new perspective as a mom to two little boys, I wanted to be a better person (although to be fair, there was a lot of low hanging fruit to make that happen after my first child), and wanted to desperately try living happily in the moment (although have been known to scream into a pillow in frustration with two annoyingly inconsolable children in the kitchen). For better or worse, my experience with pregnancy and motherhood taught me invaluable lessons. Many of them can also get incorporated into becoming more successful in your career. In the spirit of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share some thoughts on succeeding in both our mom and professional jobs.

Shit happens. Literally. Motherhood stinks sometimes. You haven’t truly lived until you’re on an Amtrak ride alone with your son and he gets massive diarrhea, or when your baby zombie vomits all over himself when you’re five seconds away from the hotel. During times like this, maintaining a sense of humor, flexibility, and resourcefulness will get you through these crappy times. The same goes for work. Everyone experiences a time when things didn’t go how you painstakingly planned. I’ve given an impromptu presentation in front of 50 people when the scheduled speaker mixed up the day and time. Whatever happens, have confidence (or at least know how to fake it). You are still the badass goddess who deserves to be worshipped. Make sure everyone else knows that, too.

Imperfect perfection gets the job done. I mean is there anything more annoying than the mom on social media whose children are perfectly clean with cherubic smiles and perfectly matching outfits? They likely use #blessed without irony. The truth is, that is probably the seven millionth picture they took, and their kids are smiling from a sugar high. I love a good keeping it real photo.

This was our 701st picture before we gave up because the bus was coming.

 Look how happy we are while daddy is on a five day business trip to Napa without us!

Look how happy we are while daddy is on a five day business trip to Napa without us!

Who has time for perfection? Embrace the imperfection and let it fuel you getting things done. Kid got himself dressed, but his pants are on backwards? Good enough. In the workplace, I’ve seen people so crippled by achieving perfection that they never launch anything new or achieve their goals. Perhaps the backwards pants approach would help.

Build a diverse dream team. I am obsessed with my good friend Tina and Amy’s dope squad video.

We aren’t really friends, but this is my blog post and I’ll frame it however I want.

It’s too true. You need a tribe of people from nannies, to physicians, to shrinks, to friends who won’t let you get away with saying you’re fine when they visibly see things on fire behind your instagram filters. The same goes in the workplace. Surround yourself with mentors and staff who challenge, inspire, and help you get shit done. There’s strength in admitting weakness. Shout your weaknesses from the rooftops, and watch all of the kindred spirits come out and stand with you in solidarity.

If you’re too lazy to read the specifics of this post, the main point I can’t drive home enough is to just keep shit real. No one likes the sanctimonious mom. We’re all lucky to be here and to fight the good mom fight to raise non-serial killer, happy kids.

Be real. Be flexible.  Build a village. Make (good) shit happen.

Working through new motherhood: Leaky boobs, lunch dates, and chunky jewelry

This was me on my first day back to work after a 12 week maternity leave...

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Riiiight. As much as I wish I channeled my inner Olivia Pope, my first days back looked more like...

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New motherhood is the great humbler. Nothing knocks you off your “I got my shit together” high horse like a teeny tiny, nocturnal human. While some make those first days seem easier than others, we all know that a few weeks of time off is not enough to feel like you’re operating at your best when you do go back to your job. I’d like to offer the new moms out there tips to make the transition back to career woman a little easier.

Mind your boobies. If you are breastfeeding, make sure your time is blocked effectively on your calendar. I explicitly posted “PUMP” in capital letters so that no one dared to interrupt my “milking:” time. May as well put it all out there. While we’re talking about pumping strategies. Long meetings could make your boobies ticking time bombs for leakage so make sure you tell people when you have a hard stop.

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Go shopping. Retail therapy solves all of life’s problems, right? Maybe not, but before you throw a toddler level tantrum about none of your clothes fitting, remember you are a badass goddess boss lady who brought life into the world and deserve to be worshipped - stretch marks and all. Investing in a few, reasonably priced pieces that will make you feel comfortable and stylish. I lived in “legging pants” and longer, button down tunics (easy boob access), with a cardigan/blazer over it. Gigantic, chunky necklaces also serve as a nice distraction from other “problem areas”.

Call upon your village. The first day is….rough. It seems unconscionable to leave behind this helpless little bundle of love who JUST started to smile, coo, and provide some sort of return on investment for those lonnnnnnnnnnnng nights. Find other mamas in your company, or who work nearby, and make a lunch date with them. They know your struggles, and it will be nice to have something to look forward to on the first day. For example, my village of working mamas introduced me to this medieval device that made pumping much more efficient.

 Look how happy this model is!

Look how happy this model is!

Don’t quit your day job. New motherhood turned your life inside out. Now everything seems different (who knew diaper commercials were SO emotional???). Before you decide to light your entire career on fire, quit your job, and start a new life where your baby and you live together uninterrupted in mommy/baby bliss, remember working moms are good for babies. Take things day-by-day and know you’re doing the best you can.