Whenever we hear the phrase, “si se puede,” most of us think of Dolores Huertas. There is a clear understanding that those words automatically associate her with social justice and empowerment of the Latinx community.
There are other brands or people who are introduced by their actions, phrases, or slogans. For example, it’s almost impossible not to think of Nike when we hear, “just do it” or Apple’s “think different.”
However, being this recognizable isn’t only reserved for brands or people with large followings. You, too, have the opportunity to “brand” yourself, hence why it’s so important to know and understand personal branding.
If you are unsure how to start cultivating your personal brand, you’re not alone. The reality is that our community isn’t often allowed to discuss these things with a coach, mentor, or even someone from our families.
Let’s face it; immigrant households don’t usually provide lessons for professional settings. It’s all about the “hustle” and nothing more — even if we don’t know what that means half the time. Luckily, we had the opportunity to speak with the Latina leadership coach, Paulette Piñero.
“It’s important to understand that branding is not just about your business,” Piñero told BELatina News.
“One way that I explain it is that professional branding is what you want people to know what you’re all about.”
Simply put, personal branding is the embodiment of you; this means what you stand for, who you are, the values you embrace, and how you express those values. It’s similar to corporate branding, except you are the product, and you probably have more value than you think.
Piñero has a background in nonprofit leadership, human services, and education. She has 15 years of experience in leadership positions, where she’s honed in on skills such as strategic planning, strategic partnership development, and employee management and coaching. She’s also the CEO of LEAD Media LLC and author of Extraordinary Latinas.
Originally, she went to school for social work. During that time, she worked in suicide prevention and launched education programs. But she realized that her calling lay in developing leaders, and now she is sharing this expertise with many women, especially Latinas.
The Latina coach from Ponce, Puerto Rico, enjoys seeing diversity flourish and believes her unique experience as a Latina in the nonprofit sector, which are predominantly white spaces, gave her the strength to empower others by helping build their personal brand.
“You know, non-profits are anti-racist, but it does not mean that because they’re serving people of color that white supremacy culture is not embedded in it — at the end of the day, it’s all about the intentionality,” Piñero said.
“In 2013, when I moved to Massachusetts, I always had the most diverse teams, and it could’ve been because I’m Latina.”
So, to help Latinas and others in our community elevate themselves in any professional space, Piñero spelled out five tips that will allow anyone to attract opportunities by building their professional brand.
#1 Be where business decisions are made.
“If your focus is on your career or even starting a business, you should be on LinkedIn. Four out of five people on LinkedIn drive business decisions at their companies.”
“If you’re into consulting, any service-based business, launching your career, pivoting, growing, or going into executive leadership, you need to be where your people are.
“Another example is If you are a creative person, meaning, if you’re a creator, then you need to be on TikTok.”
“You just need to focus on where you can create your brand.”
#2 Don’t forget your local network.
“You want to have a presence.”
“I know many successful C-level people, executive directors, and business owners that post on LinkedIn once a week and don’t have any other social media. The reason is that they want to know where the decisions are being made and want to be in those spaces.”
“If your career is through trade, you should be in an association. If you’re a freelancer, you should be a part of the Freelancers Union.”
“Don’t forget the community, the programs, and the networks around where you live — it can be in your town, your city, your state, or a local chapter of an association.”
“These are the places and people that are going to champion you, talk about you, and are going to make connections, which can turn into opportunities.”
“My local networks, the people that I know, and those I can email are what helps me be successful.”
#3 Setting up your systems for success.
“If you want to be seen as an expert, as a leader in your field, then set up your system.”
“This works if you are building your brand around a topic because you want a specific job, you want a feature; you want to sponsor, you want to speak at an event, or anything else.”
“Setting up a system is your best bet. This can even be in the form of Google alerts.”
“Pick your top three things that you want to be seen as an expert and where you want to build your professional brand. Then, set up a Google alert. Do this at least once a week.”
“You can set up a system where you’re like, ‘let me read what’s the latest research once a week.’”
“The other system that you should create is one where you organize all your content. You can go to a scheduling system or download a content calendar. It depends on what comfort level you’re in.”
#4 Creating and planning your content.
“Think about the content or think about what you want to share in different ways.”
“It’s kind of how you want to build yourself. When you’re thinking about your professional brand, think of it as a bridge that will help people go and look for you, leading them to ultimately hire you.”
“You may want to share local content. Think about what’s happening in your area. Or think about in-person networking events or an event that you’re really excited about, and you want other people that you care about or other people that have similar interests to join you.”
“It’s creating and planning your content, tailored to you, but also knowing that there are different things and ways to share.
“This will tell people what you’re all about.”
#5 Engage and be yourself in what you’re creating.
“When you are going to events or connecting with your networks, make sure that you’re engaging with them; make sure that you’re responding.”
“You can do a poll. Add the yes or no option. You can also ask them [your audience] to comment. That’s a great way to have people engaged, and they might share their experience or their thoughts.”
“Then, you can say, ‘oh, tell me more, or I had a similar experience, or I found a great article that talks about this,’ and share it with them.”
“It’s the intentional ways of engaging and seek opportunities when gauging; to connect with people, and even finding ways to collaborate, which allow you to be yourself.”
Since the systems in place are known to be usually against the historically excluded, like the Latinx community, we must take matters into our own hands. And what better way to do that than elevating ourselves in spaces that are not used to the power we hold? Take these tips by Paulette Piñero and start building that personal brand. You never know how far you can go until you start working on yourself.
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