With the economic climate in a state of flux and companies restructuring themselves, you may find that your reinvention is timely. Nicole is a master of that — her career has encompassed P&L responsibilities in consumer marketing to strategic leadership as she pioneers new ventures. Heed her expert advice for rebranding yourself and communicating the new you.
Know Your Brand and Take a Risk
When I think about a personal brand, what it means to me is, “What am I known for? If someone were to be asked about me, what would they say?” It’s risky to step out of your comfort zone if you’ve been in the same position for a long time. But now is a good time to do it because companies are doing more with less and whether it feels like it or not, you can chart a new course.
How to Reposition Yourself
The first thing to do is get in touch with your passion. Then do a personal inventory. Sometimes we think we’re only good at one job, but when you take this inventory, you’ll recognize other skills that are transferable into something entirely different. I like to sit down with glue sticks, scissors and a bunch of magazines and create what I call a vision board, on which I paste pictures, descriptions and words. It communicates to me my vision of a new job and what I want my work life to be like. It gives me a clear sense of where I am going.
Communicate Your New Brand
One way to let others know how you are repositioning yourself is to volunteer. There are so many opportunities to get involved above and beyond our jobs, such as a task force or a philanthropic drive that your company supports. Being visible is critical to having people see you in a different light.
Dealing with Negativity
Coming up against a boss who doesn’t hold your vision can be challenging. If that’s what’s happening, be proactive. Write a development plan and discuss it with him or her. Review the skills you’ve been using on the job as well as other strengths you have that he or she may not know. Talk about repositioning yourself and what you would like to be known for in the future. Make him or her aware that you’d be willing to take on assignments to demonstrate these abilities and see if he or she is willing for you to do that. If he or she isn’t, you may have to assess whether the company is still a right fit for you.
Reach Out for Support
I have a mentoring circle of peers — people of different generations than I am — from which I am always getting ideas from, and vice versa. Outside or inside the industry, they are a mix of people who I feel give me a very good perspective. I’ve also had sponsors who put in a good word for me when I was up for a position and there may have been debate as to whether or not I was ready for it. They are very helpful resources to have.
*At the time of this interview, Nicole was the Director of Customer Experience with Janssen Biotech.
More from Nicole
Favorite book: The Shack, by Wm. Paul Young
Favorite Movie: The Color Purple
Inspiration: My mother, Josephine Williams, has been extremely inspirational, she’s a very strong woman. Her motto: “Get it done and don’t wallow in your soup.”
Juggling work/life: My husband is an entrepreneur and we own a jewelry store together. He helps a lot with our two young children, Christian and Jaden. I also work from home a few days a week. We make it work.
On stress: A lot of times when we get stressed we take on more, rest less, exercise less, and eat worse. To decrease stress I use tangible techniques — like exercising more and eating small meals every day. I’m not perfect at it by any means.
Wise Words: Your career begins and ends with you. It’s about your attitude and how you take care of yourself. Once you understand that you become more empowered and not a victim of your circumstances.