“Morning Keynote: How to Build Your Personal Brand”: Corliss Collier with Amazon (Video + Transcript)

March 14, 2024

Corliss Collier (Amazon Head of Product, Research & Science – Amazon Seller Satisfaction & Insights) is here to share how this introvert built her personal brand for career success. The goal is that when you are not in the room, people are whispering your name continuously, so you maintain your core and rise successfully and are continually sought over and come back.


In her ELEVATE keynote, Corliss Collier, Amazon Head of Product, Research & Science – Amazon Seller Satisfaction & Insights, discusses the process of crafting a personal brand. She drives home the importance of self-discovery, reflecting on values and goals, identifying a target audience, seeking feedback, and the need for continuous development and networking to foster and refine your brand. 

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Corliss Collier ELEVATE quote tie your passion to your unique value proposition drive strategy

Transcript of ELEVATE Keynote:

Sukrutha Bhadouria:

Let’s dive into an intro. Hi, I’m Sukrutha. I’m the co-founder and CTO of Girl Geek X. It used to be called Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners and we dropped the Bay Area because we wanted to go global with our virtual conferences and podcasts and so on. Over the years we’ve actually crossed over a decade of Girl Geek Dinners in the San Francisco Bay Area, and over five years of virtual ELEVATE conferences. With this, we are creating even more opportunities to give more women the mic on stage. Oftentimes we find that our amazing, amazing speakers are actually giving a talk for the first time and giving a talk at a Girl Geek Dinner or at an ELEVATE conference has really boosted their confidence level, their comfort level in sharing who they are, what they work on, and it really then multiplies and encourages women to not only get into but stay in tech and that’s what we are here for.

Thank you for joining us for our conference celebrating International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is Inspire Inclusion and we hope that we can provide a safe space to do that with each ELEVATE conference that we do. We have a virtual mentorship lounge as well. It’s kicking off tomorrow with experts on everything on a variety of subjects. From engineering to product to product management, to design to career transitions and so much more. We really hope you’ll find a way to connect with others, whether it’s mentors in attendees or they’re speakers.

There are a variety of ways to network over the next two days and we hope you add folks on LinkedIn and stay in touch. A wise person once told me to put my business card behind my driver’s license so I always have it with me, but in the world of LinkedIn and in the digital age, it makes it so much easier to connect and build that network because you’ll always need to build it before you actually need to use it, right?

Work on that network. There is a participation leaderboard as well and that encourages and rewards folks for visiting the virtual employee booths at noon to 1:00 Pacific time on Friday. The top three participants will get a Girl Geek X swag bag of cool stuff. It is really cool, carefully curated by Angie so it’s really awesome. If you are one of our top participants across the next two days, you can win that amazing hamper bag. Over to you, Angie.

Angie Chang:

Hi, my name is Angie Chang and I’m the co-founder of Girl Geek X and I wanted to say thank you so much for coming today and celebrating with us International Women’s Day this week and we want us to say thank you to our sponsors and it is because of their support and event sponsors that keep us hosting Girl Geek X events like Girl Geek Dinners and the Elevate virtual conferences and career fairs, providing opportunities for us to, like Sukrutha said, pass the mic to girl geeks, but also for women to connect around the world and lift as you climb, and so thank you to the United States Digital Service or USDS, US Digital Service. There’s so many ways we could say it. Opendoor, Boomi, AppFolio, and 18C for all of your support and enthusiasm for women in tech. So for your partnership in recruiting and retaining and working and building up reputations of women in tech.

We can’t wait for your recruiters and hiring managers to meet our attendees at the virtual career fair booth hour, which Sukrutha as said starts tomorrow at noon, Pacific Time. For one hour, you get after employer intros and you hear a bit about the companies, where they’re hiring, the cities that they’re in. I heard Santa Barbara, San Diego, New York, Dallas, Pennsylvania, Hyderabad, lots of roles in engineering, staff and senior roles, San Francisco. Yeah, please come hear them talk about their roles, learn about the companies, and then meet recruiters in their employer booths because I know in this macro economic climate, you probably know someone who’s looking for their next role in tech, so it’s a good place to go, make connections and get a foot in the door. So I encourage you to look at those company’s jobs at girlgeek.io/jobs and please talk to them tomorrow. They will be here in person.

Today we’ll be hearing from an inclusive set of women working in tech from managers to individual contributors because we love hearing from women about their unique expertise and inspiring stories. We like to see their cool job titles and hear about their passions, geeky side projects, and that real-talk career advice. So hopefully today, our speakers will inspire you to do something that hard thing that you wanted to do this year or help you think differently about something that’s been challenging you. So we’ll be learning so much today and we encourage you to help us share all these takeaways from incredible women. We have a hashtag ElevateWomen if you want to share on social media, we can reshare or you tag us or usually Girl Geek X at any of the social platforms that exist today, and yes, all of our talks are recorded.

You can hit replay right after the session ends and watch it to your heart’s content today, tomorrow, this weekend, and then they’ll go into our Girl Geek X YouTube channel where all of the sessions from our previous events also live and you can watch all of that content when you would like to, and most of our speakers today actually did apply to speak via our website. So I encourage you to go to girlgeek.io and go to the speak link at the top and apply to speak at an upcoming Girl Geek X event because we host them quarterly and we host Girl Geek Dinners as well. We’re always looking for sponsors who are looking to hire women in tech to partner with us to showcase their top leaders and talent, recruit from girl geeks and put more technical women on stage creating more role models in the world.

And as introverts, we’re always looking to elevate introverts, crushing it in the workplace, so I would like to bring up our keynote speaker this year, Corliss Collier, who is the Amazon Head of Product Research and Science, Amazon Seller, Satisfaction and Insights. She’s won numerous awards and has been recognized throughout her career for outstanding achievements in insights and marketing measurement and scientific modeling, and was recognized by her undergraduate alma mater Spelman College as a distinguished alumni in business and tech. We are excited to welcome her. Thank you so much for being here.

Corliss Collier:

Thank you, Angie. Thank you, Sukrutha, for having me and especially a big thank you to the Girl Geek X community. Without all of us girl geeks out there, we wouldn’t have anything to talk about today so I’m so happy to be here. Today I’m going to talk to you guys about crafting your personal brand and this is a timely discussion because like I heard, Angie just told us about the networking tomorrow and there are going to be so many roles open, but you need to know what you’re bringing to those organizations and be able to say it very confidently and stand up, and if you don’t know, think about it tonight. You have a whole day and the rest of the night to think about it and build it and hopefully you can get some tips for me here on how to build your brand.

I’m going to try to go through my slides, not too fast. I want to make sure you guys kind of find out how I built my brand and about me, but I will leave some time at the end if you want to ask questions. So as you’re thinking about this, if you want to go ahead and start putting your questions in the chat or whatever, we will capture them there and we’ll be able to answer those at the end. So what is it about crafting your personal brand and why do you need a personal brand and a blueprint to success? And this is the blueprint that I’ve worked and kind of worked for me.

If you think about your personal brand and what the importance is, it is good for your professional and your personal growth. So when you step back and think about that, I want you to kind of take a moment to yourself or if you’re in a group watching with your other girl geeks or allies out there, think about what are you known for and do you even know it? Do you know why when people send people your way or you’re called or asked certain things, do you know why you’re asked for those or why you’re called? And I am not talking about those adjectives or those descriptive words that you would describe a piece of furniture or your best bag or your favorite pair of shoes. You’re not reliable, you’re not sturdy, you’re not healthy, but what are you known for? What do you bring to the table every time that you get there?

And so kind of think about that as we go through this process and we work through this together and then while you think about what you’re known for, what about that makes you unique? So what is your UVP, your unique value proposition? And I don’t mean you have to be that necessarily that unicorn, you don’t have to sweat glitter, although all of us girl geeks do because we’re just that amazing, but what is it that sets you apart from the person standing next to you, the next person who’ll come behind you? And it can be something so simple as you’re able to deliver the things in scale faster or you’re able to connect, and then how do you craft that message and make sure that message is what’s whispered about you when you’re not in the room. That’s how you really know that your brand has been solidified.

When people come to you and say, “Hey, Angie told me to reach out to you about X, or Sukrutha told me to reach out to you about Y,” what is being said about you? And that is how you know what your unique value proposition is. So I’ll tell you a little bit about me. I’m going to take you through a story or story time as the young kids are saying. I have a teenager so I have to learn these things because she calls me oftentimes and says, “Let’s have a story time.” And that’s just code word for I’m going to tell you about my day or tell you some really long story. You’re going to catch some pieces, you’re not going to understand half the words, but I don’t use as much young slang. So hopefully you guys understand me. So who is Corliss, what is her brand?

How did she get there and what is her unique value proposition? So if you think about Corliss and you just kind of throw some words or word cloud out there, she’s a friend, she’s a mother and she’s a wife. She’s a tech leader for over 24 years. She’s a mentor, she’s a coach, she’s a speaker and she’s from I guess some people call it that forgotten generation. She’s a Gen X-er, but we weren’t forgotten. We’re actually out here doing very big things in this world, but what is she known for and what is her career path? So I’m going to take you through story time with my career journey and kind of like I said, you can kind of build up to kind of what I’m known for, and in order to know what I’m known for is I’ve crafted my brand, but I’ve also, I seek feedback from people.

And for that I’ll tell you, I’ve been told that I am a connector. That is what known for, is a connector, that is my personal brand and not only a connector as in bringing people together or a gossiper, but I’m able to connect data and turn the analytics and stories into strategy that really help businesses and brands and things grow. I’m able to connect stakeholders and customers and consumers with the right assets and those type of things. I’m able to connect people ultimately. I put the right people in the room at the right time to make sparks happen and so being known as a connector, whether it’s through my mentoring, my coaching or my speaking, that is my brand. So whenever people feel like they need something done where they need someone who can connect the dots quickly, move forward quickly with a strategy, that’s often the things that I’m called for, especially when they’re data-driven, analytic-driven.

Let’s go through my career journey. You guys will stare at my picture for a while, plus look at me talking, but I’m going to take you through the story time. I started my career in an industry that was heavily male-dominated, however, it was an analytics role so it was always been in a tech role. I was in the tobacco industry, but when you’re working in analytics, that is considered tech roles in a tech, especially when it’s predictive analytics and I became quickly known for the person who was able to take that data and write that story and not only write that story, but write that strategy that delivered dollars back to organization. So moving on, that was the thing that I was identified for and helped me be able to grow and move and grow as I built in that community. Once I got comfortable in identifying that, I became a mentor. How do I help bring the other women along with me, the other girl geeks?

I love that term where they say lift as you climb. That is one of the best things that has always driven me and connected me with Girl Geek is lift as we climb is how do I bring the other women along? How do I go from when Corliss started in building her brand, being the only woman in the room to now when I look around I see more women in the room who are leading and delivering and really just kicking butt at these things, and then along the way, I had some key learnings about myself that always what you do with your brand is not what you think or what you say it is, it’s also what people say it is. How you show up, how those things start, how you deliver and the consistency in which you’re there.

Let’s talk about this a little bit. How did I build that brand? In working to build that brand, there are two key areas that I look for and building a brand, if you guys think about what I’m saying, it’s not just you doing your job. Your job is not your brand and oftentimes when I start working with people, whether it be in my mentoring or just working or developing my employees, they’ll say, “Oh, well my brand is X.” Your brand is not X, so-and-so the software engineer, so-and-so the product manager, so-and-so the analyst or the applied scientist. Your brand is something much bigger than that. That’s your job code, your job title. So you have to be intentional about your brand because if you are not intentional on the brand that you set out in the marketplace, people will give you a brand.

And I can guarantee you, you won’t always agree with that brand, but the brand that’s given to you are the opportunities that will follow. So when you think about, there are two main areas that I always dive deep into when building my brand. I call that identify and reflect, and so how do you identify? So you have to know what your strengths are and your strengths are not everything. You cannot be everything to everyone but exhausted, and so this is one of the things I learned in my story as I say, “Who is Corliss?” So let’s step back to that story. When I was working through my career, I’d say probably about five to seven years, I received my first role. I had done very well in my role. I had been promoted very quickly in advancing and I had now hit my, I think it was an associate director at that time role.

And I tried to be everything to everyone because I was not clear on what my brand was. I allowed my brand to be given to me and it was just always like she’s going to work hard, she’s going to get it done. Those adjectives are not a brand. Work hard and get it done are not badges of honor. They’re not your brands. So you need to identify your strengths, your skills, and most importantly, your passions. Your passions will fuel you as you move along and your passions may and often do lie in the things that you do daily, but it may not be all of it. So identify that one key thing in there and remember and tie that to your UVP, your unique value proposition. So I quickly identified that my passion was the ability to take data and not just report on data, report the news, be the weather girl.

I wanted to take data and predict actions and drive strategy from that aspect. So that’s what I started to really fuel what my brand was going to be, and then as you’re building your brand and doing that self-discovery phase, you also need to reflect on your values and goals. Your brand needs to align with the values and the goals that you hold personally and professionally and how you bring those to market and how you show up at work and you use those.

A story there, I will talk to you about that. So in working through my brand, there were things that I was doing in roles that I was taking in organizations and when I would look back, I would say I won’t return to that type of industry or I won’t work in that industry even if it is in a technology-driven role because it no longer aligns with my values. So your values are part of your brand. Your values could be something like, “Hey, I only like organizations that respect the environment.” And if that’s part of your brand, that’s how you connect those things into turning those into your brand. So when people is looking for someone who is say, their brand is they are really good at connecting data points or really good at engineering and learning how to engineer at scale, but they engineer at scale in a way that is more ecological, economical, you connect those points.

And then next part in building your brand is identifying your target audience, understand your audience and their needs. So when I say that, I mean understand who you want to buy that brand at that time. Are you trying to convince your manager or your leadership team that you’re ready for a promotion? So continue through the journey of who is Corliss. I remember after taking that first role of associate director, it was time to where I was ready to move on up and move into a director role. So I needed to understand, did my brand align with the goals and the brands and delivery of the organization? And I had to get a sponsor to understand my brand and to whisper my name in those rooms that I was not in yet because they were having senior executive meetings and I was just an associate director and make sure that when those projects came along, for example, when I was working with another analytic organization that they were looking for someone who could do the things that aligned with my skillset.

They were tailored to my brand and they knew that I could deliver on, that I was getting those opportunities to work on those and it’s not just a skill set, but it was like the people knew that this was part of the brand. So the fact that I had that strong brand with that room and instead of just saying, “Well, we need to find someone to this role.” They were able to say, “It’s Corliss.” Another example was understanding an audiences moving into the role that I’m currently in. I could say fast-forward almost 15 years later, I’m not going to count too many more years, then I’m going to start aging myself quickly, but fast forwarding 15 more years later from that role I was associate director maybe five, seven years into my career, then move into a director role for years. So fast-forward is the role that I’m currently in.

This opportunity was brought to me because people understood my brand as a connector and when I asked the executive team why I was called and asked to interview for this role, that is exactly what I was told. I’ve heard that you were the connector. So understand how you build that brand and how you make sure you keep people in a room. So how do you have that sponsor, that mentor and the whisperer, and that whisperer is most important because the sponsor and the whisperer in building a brand may not be the exact same person, and when you’re trying to get your name mentioned into those rooms, and the way I build my brand, that is your target audience is that whisperer. You want that person to understand you enough to respect the things that they’ve heard enough about you that they will raise your name in the room and you tailor your brand to resonate them.

And note I said tailor your brand, not change your brand. If you change your brand so often, then is it really your brand or is it just the gimmick that you’re using at the time to get where you want? That is not necessarily a bad thing. However, that’s not what we’re doing now. We want to build longevity and building longevity is in building that brand aspect. So I’ll move forward a little bit and continue the story, and so consistency. As you build your brand and people now they understand you as going back to Corliss, being the connector, the person, everything. You have to maintain a consistent presence whether it’s at work, in your social settings. So think your community or your social settings or online, and don’t forget that social media posts live forever and the reason why I say that is because having a dual presence is what I call it for social media is just okay, especially nowadays where people use a lot of social media.

Like Sukrutha mentioned, we no longer carry business cards. We ask you guys to connect with us on LinkedIn. So the things that I follow and I connect with and I comment on and the people who are in my network, they are part of my brand. So be intentional about that as you guys are connecting with other geeks today and girl geeks, excuse me, that you are intentional in who you’re connecting with and that you’re adding value to them and they’re bringing value to you and that the companies and organizations that you’re following very much like Girl Geek X, you’re very intentional that they align with your brand, and remember that the things that you post, whether you delete it, remove it or those, they live forever. So they need to align with your brand until you have an intentional pivot or change in your brand.

And as you’re building your brand, you have to develop. You never stop. Your brand is never there, whether you’re in your career or where you’re just done. I’ve made my brand, this is it. I’m going to mint it in plastic and wear it on my shirt. That doesn’t work that way. You need to seek development in areas that are aligned with your brand and from people or organizations that align with your brand and they also nurture your brand and they’re able to also mention you for things of that nature. So think about continuous learning and skill enhancements, when you’re taking those things on, learn from organizations or people or ideas that can enhance your brand at you are at that point in time, but also understand that as you’re through this developmental journey, my brand that it was when I was 25 is not my brand that it was when I was at 30, 35 and so forth and so on.

I’m not going to go any further. Again, we’re not going to keep counting, but just remember it’s okay in your development realm of you’re building your brand if they change. Secondly, you’re going to showcase your growth and your brand narrative. Your brand narrative is not necessarily the way you talk about yourself. Your brand narrative when you know you’ve got it right is the way other people talk about you and how you show up when you’re at work, whether you’re in professional settings, networking settings, events such as this, is what people are saying about you. That is a true reflection of what your brand is in the narrative. Seek feedback. I know this is an area that is hard for a lot of us and sometimes we don’t want to seek feedback, especially with something that’s very personal to us when we think, “Well, this is my brand, why should I need feedback on my brand?”

But you think about it this way, going through my journey of my career and building my brand and really coming comfortable with being called a connector, which I didn’t like at first and I still don’t call myself that as a brand. My actions show that is the feedback that I get from my stakeholders, my mentors, my coach, people I interact with, people I meet here is the feedback on how I show up to them, and when I ask them, oftentimes I’ll say, “Hey, give me a word. How would you describe me if you had to? How would you describe me if you had to introduce me or you had something about me?” This is the type of feedback that I asked to understand. Am I showing up the way that I intend to and am I intentional in building my brand? And then finally, you have to adapt and refine your brand over time.

Treat yourself just like you would treat a brand that you would go in the store and you would pick up or the brands that we buy or brands that are in the marketplace. You have to adapt and refine your brand over time and it’s okay. That’s called growth in a journey. So I go back to the final, going back on one more step in my career in the story, of course, the story time. So then fast-forward to getting promoted, getting a project given to me, getting promoted, making some career moves, getting promoted and reach. I finally reached a pinnacle about I’d say maybe about 20 years into my career where I thought I had refined my brand and I realized and I was told that I wasn’t showing up in the way that I thought. I was still considered a connector, but I was connecting too small.

And so I needed to go back and really figure out what that person meant because they just kind of said, “You’re connecting too small.” So really understanding my brand and what was meant and how did I grow more, it was they wanted me to kind of be intentional and how I mentored and coached and brought on and brought other people along and so that is another area where I refined my brand. So I am very, very, very intentional now in my coaching and mentoring where before anyone who would call, reach out, send a message, LinkedIn, “I need some time with you. I want to understand coaching or mentoring. I heard you know how to do this.” I would take them in because I thought that was my brand is connecting. I have to gather and connect, but now I’m very intentional in my connecting on that portion of my brand.

That part of my brand is the mentor and the coaching is I focus on women and specifically I focus on girl geeks and because that is the area that is still very much untapped. Although we’re all together today, we’re only a small drop in the huge bucket of opportunity that is out there, and then again going back and refining this process, we’re back to that. This is a continuous process. I wish I could say once you get it, you’re done, but you’re not. You constantly have to come back, but it looks different at this time. So the self discovery that is now I’m back to reflecting again. I’m reflecting again like, “Okay, well this is what I said. This is what I’ve learned in this period of time.” And I say that I probably do intentional self-reflection. So my self-reflection looks at my personal goals, my career goals and my brand and am I showing up how I want to even as a mother, I do that probably about for professional career and my brand, I do that probably about every six months.

Every half year, I treat myself as an organization and I do that reflection. I look at that, I evaluate, I do intake, and intake comes from maybe organizations I work with or people, or my business in my role I work in my company, or if I’ve done some mentoring or speaking opportunity organization, I ask for feedback there as well, and I really think about that and I reflect on it. Is the feedback that I’m receiving and the input that I’m receiving, does it still reflect on my values that I want to project and the goals where I’m aligned at this point in my life? And again, I refine my strengths, skills and my passions because as they may change, I want to make sure that I’m still staying true to self and keeping my brand because if you’re doing this process that I’ve used, and I’ve been using this process now for about 15 to 16 years, it has helped me continue to grow.

And like I say, it’s constant re-evaluation and don’t think when I say you have to look at it every six months that you have to sit down, block out a day, get your calendar, but it’s just kind of something you think about as hey, as you’re thinking about it as you’re cleaning out your closet, because if you’re like me, I absolutely love to shop. So I have lots of shoes and clothes to go through probably every six months to clean out, donate so I can make room for more. I sit and I also think about my brand. How do I show up at work? How do I show up professionally? How do I show up personally and people know that, and then finally, as you’re doing the cycle, you have to network and you have to build genuine relationships in order to foster your brand.

People are only going to put their brand on the line for you when they feel like the relationship is genuine and that you can truly live up to the brand that you are putting into the marketplace. Attend events such as these. Network, network, network. Join different types of communities, reach out to people when you’re on LinkedIn, but don’t just reach out with, “I’d like to connect.” Develop your brand, add a personal note, tell them why you want to connect. Tell them what you bring to the table, tell them what you can do for them and allow them to know, “Hey, I can raise this name, I can raise this person. I know this person now. I built this relationship, I’ve built this genuine relationship, I have this community and I’m able to do that.” So in conclusion, because I would definitely want to leave time for questions if you guys have them out there.

Get ready if you haven’t already written them, I can’t see yet, start writing your questions. In conclusion, when you’re building your brand, it’s kind of like I say a virtuous cycle. There’s always going to be self-discovery in there. You’re going to have to know who your target audience is. My target audience, my brand here is I’m looking to kind of bring other girl geeks along, other allies along with us. My target audience when I’m building my brand as mom is to my 19-year old who corrects me every day and tells me that my brand is not quite as cool as I think it is. My target audience, my executive leadership team is to see me as a leader able to bring large tech projects through the pipeline for organization. Always know what your unique value proposition is. Know what you bring to the table that’s done so differently that people say, “If I don’t have this person do that, If I don’t have Corliss do this, I’m not sure if it will be done the way I need it or be done to the best of its ability.”

Be consistent in your delivery of your brand. Whenever you find that you can’t be consistent anymore in that brand, that is the time to go back to that self-discovery phase. So this flywheel is constantly working. Your online presence, that is something that is unique to represent as well, especially in this technology age and this world where we’re now reaching further and further out. We’re not only knowing the people who are in our community or the people who work in our office building. We know people all over the world, people who are in networks. So make sure that your presence in your group there represents your brand. How you’re creating that content that you share online, whether you’re reposting, you’re sharing those things, you’re interacting with those things, that’s part of your brand.

Networking, networking, networking. And I’m not saying just networking like shaking hands, meeting people, how are you doing? My name is Corliss, I work here, but is networking and bringing stuff to the table be very genuine, and again, I like the way Angie said that earlier, “As being an introvert. I know it’s hard.” So be intentional when you network. If you meet three very good connections through this process, be very intentional. Follow up and bring through notes. Make sure they know your brand without a doubt and then consistently develop.

Consistently develop your brand. Consistently develop yourself. Consistently develop your knowledge in your area. Reevaluate and make sure that you’re meeting the expectations of your brand. So I want to stop here because we have a few minutes. I know we have a hard stop and I want to answer any questions if anyone has any. I don’t know if we have any in a chat. I can stop sharing and look and see. Oh, there. Okay, we’re going to start this person, how do you select a whisperer? You can’t select a whisperer. What you can do is you can influence who that whisperer is and that’s how you interact across the business.

I would say your selection of a whisperer is very passive in that aspect. It’s how you show up to your executive leadership, your senior leadership or even your peers around you. It’s those people who have a seat at the table who have the ability to say your name when you’re not there and they know of the things that may be happening. It’s really in the influence that you have in how you show up to your work. I don’t know if that was helpful or if you have anyone else or if it didn’t answer that question, well let me know. Identify whisperer.

When building your brand, is it how others view you and when a situation comes up or how likely they will remember you? It’s a little bit of both. So building your brand is how people view you, it’s how intentional you are and what you put out in the marketplace, and it’s what they will remember most about you. So it’s like a three-part triangle of that, but so if you’re putting out your brand in a way that is intentional and consistent, they will remember what you are you telling them. So that is the best way. So that’s how you’re building a brand because you don’t want to let someone give you a brand, because if you remember my story time, I allowed my brand to be given to me like my first five years of my career and it wasn’t necessarily something that I aligned with.

In this challenging market, how do you advise about being willing to step outside your brand and keep building your skills in other areas and stay in the industry? I’m probably a bad person to ask about that and the reason why I say that is because I’ve always been a risk-taker and I say take risks because to give you an analogy and it might be right to tell you that I use analogies a lot. No one’s going to bet on you more than you. If the market is challenging, if you’re not willing to bet on yourself and step outside and develop your brand and to make sure that you’re really dealing it, you can’t expect anyone else around you or any other organization to bet on you. So only you can be your best advocates.

Angie Chang:

We have a question from Mina who says, I’ve been thinking about my brand, although her peers see her as young female director. How do you tailor that because she has so much more to offer?

Corliss Collier:

Okay, being a young…your brand and your peers see you as young female director. The easiest way for me to answer that for you is you’re a director. You’ve earned that seat, you’ve earned that title. You can’t change how people see you from something that is, I’m going to use the B word, biased as age or your gender, but you can change how they see you as you show up. That’s some inner work that they have to do on themselves. You are a director, you earned that title, you’ve earned that seat, but that title of director is not your brand. So I would say ensure that you’re delivering and that you’re doing what you say that you can do and doing in that aspect. I hope that helps you there. Is there any more, Angie?

Angie Chang:

Any advice when it comes to making your brand known to potential employers? Especially when you’re breaking into a new field and don’t have any long-established record in that field?

Corliss Collier:

Not at all. Who’s your biggest cheerleader? Who can speak the best about you? That your brand should be splashed everywhere where you are known. Your LinkedIn profile, your resume, your Instagram, all those things. Your brand should be there. It should be no doubt what your brand is and so letting it be known is not a problem at all.

Angie Chang:

Okay, there’s a question about you mentioned working hard and doing the job aren’t brands, but what would be a brand if we want to be known for consistent, very good work?

Corliss Collier:

Delivery, just doing the work. Working hard and those things… those are adjectives that describe things and I laugh and chuckle a little bit about that, but working hard, that describes your favorite briefcase if you’re like me and you’re on a plane every other week, it’s been drug through airports all over the world. That briefcase works hard. Working hard, you don’t want to be described like that. You want to be described as something that’s memorable. You deliver on anytime that there are hard problems. You are able to deliver. Those are the type of things you want. Working hard, reliable. Those are things you say about your favorite pair of flat shoes that you put on after a hard day and your other favorite pair of heels. Those work hard. Those are reliable. That’s not what you want to be for.

Angie Chang:

You want to be impactful and you want to have be results driven and talk about things, not necessarily character traits, but the results of your character traits of hard working.

Corliss Collier:


Angie Chang:

Good question.

Corliss Collier:

Do you recommend posting your brand on your LinkedIn profile? Yes. All day, every day. You may not call it brand, but when they read your headline, your story or things, they should be able to say, “Oh, this is the person I should call if I need expertise in Y or X or Z.” That should be their brand.

Angie Chang:

Absolutely. I think we have two more minutes, so if you want to take another question.

Corliss Collier:

Someone says when you revisit your values, goals, strengths, skills, passions every six months or so, what tools do you use in your journaling? I use journaling and I also use something I call my board of directors. I didn’t talk to you guys about that, but it’s a group of people who I’ve worked with through my career, all managers, people who’ve worked for me with me or people I’ve met throughout my journey and they change out. As your life evolves, your career evolves. I use them because no one’s going to tell you more and then oftentimes for that last piece of check, that cool check, I use my 19-year-old, because they’re going to tell you quickly if you’re not cool, you’re not showing up right, but I use those things. It’s really an introspective look for yourself. It’s done for you, but it’s how you show up.

Angie Chang:

Awesome. All right, well we are out of time, but thank you everyone for asking questions. We look forward to answering many more of your questions with our speakers for the next two days. Thank you, Corliss, for joining us from London and making this work. So thank you so much and we’ll see you in the next session.

Corliss Collier:

Thank you guys, please find me on LinkedIn.

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