26 January, 2020

Why your personal brand is so important

Why your personal brand is so important

Women in drinks welcomed Valeria Ignatieva, Co-Founder & CEO of WORK180, to a NSW networking event this morning that focussed on the importance of personal branding. 

Ignatieva (above right) is passionate about helping women build rewarding careers with supportive employers. WORK180 is the only jobs platform globally that pre-screens employers to ensure they offer paid parental leave, pay equity, career progression opportunities flexible working and much more.

Ignatieva explained the role personal branding played in her success at the breakfast event, which was held at Pernod Ricard's Barangaroo offices.

Ignatieva noted: "A common misconception is that personal branding is reserved for celebrities only, and it takes teams of professionals to create a personal brand.

"The truth is, we all have a personal brand. What does Google say about you? If it’s not much, then that’s your brand. The good news is, anyone can build up their brand, and I will be sharing some easy take always for you to try for yourself."

Regarding her own personal brand journey, Ignatieva noted a pivotal moment came when she started volunteering for Females in IT & Telecommunications - or FITT - five years ago, as Events Lead.

"I still recall how intimidated I felt when I walked into our first board meeting," she admitted. "Straight away I was thrown into the deep end, and had to learn how to speak with conviction, influence and manage many strong personalities to help me achieve my goals.

"Volunteering with FITT bought so much career development opportunities for me, in a safe environment where I could always ask experts for help if I didn’t understand something."

It also taught her how to work in a team and manage volunteers. But one of the most valuable opportunities was the chance to network with senior leaders in the industry.

"Running the biggest event for women in tech in Australia meant that I had direct lines to CEOs of global tech companies and the relationships I built back then still exist today," she revealed. 

In 2015, Ignatieva and her business partner Gemma Lloyd launched WORK180.

"Three years later, we are incredible proud of influencing lots of policy changes in Australia, and have just launched into the UK," she said.

Tips on personal branding 

Among Ignatieva's top tips for building your personal brand are internal and external networking, boosting your online presence via blog posts on platforms such as Linked In, making sure your professional profile is up to date, and seeking out mentors. 

"Mentors can be someone you speak to every now an then, you can have more than one," she noted. "One piece of advice I recently heard from a CIO was to be very specific about the way she approached different, one off mentors in her career. Instead of just asking them for a coffee to ‘pick their brain’, she would send a specific email specifying what area she would really appreciate advice in or to hear about their experience and limit it to a 30-minute coffee to be respectful of their time.

"I also like the idea of cross mentoring, where for example I might have a catch up with someone who can share legal or accounting expertise and I can provide them with some advice on marketing or startups."

Useful links

Ignatieva also suggests checking out these WORK180 links:

>> Tips on networking 

>> How to build your personal brand, as a team

>> Join the WORK180 virtual community on Facebook

Click here to learn more about Women in Drinks

Pictured main: Women in Drinks NSW Chair Judy Massoud with Ignatieva.

Here are some pictures from the event: