Building your personal brand is an essential part of success, not only professionally but also personally.
Without a strong personal brand and a strong sense of identity, it can be challenging to sell yourself in potential career opportunities. It can also be difficult to form meaningful personal relationships.
This is why it’s so important to learn the essential skills necessary to focus on your brand and to be proud of who you are and what makes you unique.
Just ask the expert PR, marketing, and branding pro Toni Torres who knows a thing or two about how to successfully build a personal brand.
If you want to be perceived as the authority in your field or as the most qualified person for a specific role or task, you need to establish who you are, what you stand for, and what you have to offer. And that does not only have to do with your experience but equally with your passion. Toni Torres is a Mexico-based industry expert who has been doing it for decades with a long list of impressive clients around the world – think David Copperfield, Luis Miguel, Chayanne, and Alejandro Fernández, just to name a few.
Torres didn’t have an easy path to her successful position as an authority on all things branding and PR. She worked her butt off to get to where she is today, and she did it knowing deep down in her soul that this is who she was meant to be. Dedicated to serving her clients and building relationships, Torres is equally focused on empowering other Latinas to reach their potential.
With 35 years of experience in the public relations, event production, communications and marketing field, it is no wonder why Toni Torres is considered one of the most influential women in the public relations industry in Mexico.
To call her an inspirational and empowering Latina would be a vast understatement. But she didn’t get to where she is by just going through the motions and hoping for access to meaningful opportunity.
She went after every single experience and job with full effort and fearless initiative. Because she knew who she was, what she was capable of, what she had to offer, and why the world needed her unique talent. As she said early on in her career, she’s the type of person who “gets things done.” And when anyone asked, “who are you? what do you have to offer us?” she answered bluntly. “I’m Toni, and I make things happen.”
Which is essentially the crux of personal branding — without a strong personal brand people will never know who you are, what you authentically represent and what you can deliver in your role, regardless of what that role may be.
Confidence is key, but so is self-awareness and the ability to communicate those sentiments. It’s crucial to take control of your narrative, Torres explains. After all, it could be the difference between an unfulfilling job and a rewarding career that aligns with your goals.
If you’re ready to rethink your career goals, life goals, or more generally want to refocus and re-address your priorities, then Toni Torres is the ultimate boss lady to work with.
We sat down to talk with Toni to learn about her path to success, her inspiration, her goals, her priorities and her tips for living life to the fullest, even during these times of uncertainty.
If you weren’t convinced about the importance of authenticity and personal drive before, then her words of wisdom and her unique path to a thriving business will certainly make you think twice about your personal brand and your purpose.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you created your personal brand.
I was born and raised in Mexico City, then my dad brought our family here to Tijuana when I was two years old. I started to work at 15 years old, and I worked in a travel agency. I noticed that I liked to work with people and to make things happen.
Then, when I went to a concert, they gave me access to the backstage area. I saw them doing the rehearsal and I realized I wanted to do this. I had a very clear idea, so I went up to my dad and I told him. And he said, “daughter, I know you will do something, but I’m an architect and I don’t know anybody, I don’t know the jet setters.” I always kept this in my mind. Time passed, and then, because Tijuana was a small place for me to develop myself, I looked for other opportunities. I talked to my dad and my mom and I said “I don’t feel I can develop myself here and do something. I want to do something more.” And they gave me the opportunity to go to Mexico City and look for another career. I decided to study to become a lawyer, but I didn’t like it. So, I went to Mexico City, and I had shared my dreams with some people in Tijuana — I told them I wanted to work with famous people, and they kept that in mind. When I went to Mexico City in 1986 to study, I received a call from David Copperfield. But really I thought it was someone playing a fool with me because they knew it was my dream to work with famous people. So, I didn’t take that call. They kept calling me and eventually I called them back. That day instead of going to the university I went directly to the venue where David was performing.
And that’s how I entered into the entertainment business. I didn’t know anything about PR, I didn’t know anything about show business, but I knew that I had my attitude, determination, and passion. And I knew that that opportunity would open doors in the future, so I did my best there. I arranged with David to pay me with tickets, giving me access to the most famous illusionist in the world. That’s where my story started and I just kept moving, because that’s how I am, I always like to be moving and doing something. When I got my first opportunity, they asked what I do, and I said, “I make things happen.”
What was the best and most influential piece of advice you received when you were first beginning your career?
It was around 1989, and I went to my dad and I said that I didn’t want to stay at the university. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted. And he gave me this piece of wisdom: “Anything you want to do in this world, in this life, whatever it is, do it with passion. Be sure you want to do it. Enjoy the path, and just be the best. Try your best all the time.
What guidance would you give other Latinas as they try to grow their personal brands and embark on their professional paths?
I worked with singers and with a lot of different companies. And then, when my mom passed away, I was achieving one of my most desired dreams – to work at the World Cup. She was very sick and when she passed away, I decided to come back to Tijuana after building up my career in Mexico City. I moved back and I said, “I will start out all over again.” I started up again from zero; I came over here with nothing. And then people started calling me from the university to ask if I could moderate a conference, or if I could share my experience on the radio. So, I restarted my life here, doing different things, and then I realized how important it is to build a brand. I understood that the goal of a personal brand is to have a very clear idea of your purpose in life and to change lives. The main thing you have to focus on is what you are doing and how you’re doing it. You want to be a role model and a life changer.
So, I started up from that. I had a TV show for two years where I interviewed people and they shared their experiences of how they overcame circumstances in life. I wanted to show that in any circumstance in life if you have the right attitude, you can get through it. I combined my career with being a consultant and advisor for PR, and I work with foundations — I love that charity part. I work with students because they look at me as a role model for them. I produce events because I love to create. And I enjoy life. And in everything I do, I remember that advice from my dad when he said, “you know, everything you do, do it well, do better, do it the best to achieve for yourself.” Your success is really a matter of patience and it’s a matter of attitude. It’s a matter of believing in yourself so you can do anything, but you have to think big picture.
And especially for Latinas, thinking the big picture is so important. Times are changing for women. There is less machismo here now. The women are starting to raise their hands, and now we have a lot of women leading companies like Ford, Nissan, Visa, doing whatever they like. The key is to believe in yourself. For me, that is the truth. Believe in yourself and do it with passion.
How did you have to pivot your brand throughout your career, and especially now during the global pandemic when so many people have had to rethink their professional plan?
Throughout my career, I fell down. I fell down a lot of times, and I still do make a lot of mistakes, because I’m not a perfect girl. I’m very imperfect, and whatever I do, I do it all in. And even if you make mistakes, I learned that you need to get back up. What is the worst thing that can happen to you? Nothing, you’ll be fine. You need to write and rewrite your own story. People have to remember how important it is to write and rewrite their story every day through their actions and with their words. Every day is an opportunity.
During the pandemic, I had to restart my career many times. I put everything on hold when my sister and my father got sick with Covid. I put my book and my other projects on hold during that time. When I went back to my projects, I started again by interviewing people online for PR Talks, a virtual forum focused on the Relationships sector Public, Marketing, and Communication. Every week I interviewed someone with the intention to share with people the tools that they need to make things happen.
It may take a lot of years, but you know what, if you’re passionate about that, you can do it. I also created “Plan C,” a series of capsules, because I always have a plan A, plan B, and a Plan C in life. In “Plan C” we talk about emotions and how to have a good relationship, especially during these times while you’re working from home with your husband with your kids – teaching you how to handle the frustration and the fear. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the world, but if you know what is in your mind, and you can control your attitude, your thoughts, and your mindset, then you’ll make a positive change every day. You have to celebrate life, every day, you have to be the best version of yourself every day. You have to keep in mind that you can’t control what’s outside, but you can control everything that’s inside – your thoughts, your attitude.
What do you hope Latinas take away from your experiences and your unique perspective on personal branding?
I hope that Latinas feel very proud of every little step they do in their lives. After 35 years I feel proud. The thing I feel most proud of is that I built a long-term relationship with my clients. Celebrate what you have achieved and be really proud.
And it’s important to remind the Latinas that we are all unique. We are unrepeatable. There is no one like you in the world. You have to remember that you have the power to turn out that magic that’s inside. And when you turn that magic from yourself and you light it up, things will change. But you have to look deep within yourself and say, “Who am I?” You have to discover who you are, you have to question who you are in this world and think about your purpose in life. That’s the main thing for personal branding, knowing who you are and the unique purpose of your life.