SPSU’s Women’s Leadership Initiative held our second spring 2012 session on Friday, and we had some great discussion on the topic of personal branding. We started by discussing women who have a strong personal brand, what that brand is, and how they communicate(d) it. Here are the women whom we ended up discussing at some length — and the top three characteristics of their brands, as identified by a subset of the WLI participants:
Princess Diana: Perseverance, philanthropy, and fashion
Shirley Franklin (former mayor of Atlanta): Courage, being out with the people, and innovation (plus the flowers she always wears on her lapel!)
Margaret Thatcher: Strength, persistence, and outspokenness
Eleanor Roosevelt: Effective outspokenness, courage, and strength with warmth
Oprah: Generosity, challenge to others to be their “best selves” (continuity of message), and influence/midas touch.
Other women who were mentioned in this discussion included Jackie Kennedy, Betty Grable, Queen Elizabeth (II, but Elizabeth I could have been on the list, too), Michelle Obama, the Kardashians, and Lady GaGa. Overall themes included following through on promises, being true to basic principles, perseverance, and elements of personal style. Several of the other members of the steering committee warned Kit and me to have a back-up plan for when we ran out of time (as they predicted we would), and, indeed, we only managed to cover about 60-70% of the material we had planned to present. We had no lack of discussion! I anticipate that the conversation will continue as the participants continue to develop the list of traits describing their personal brands.