A thought leader is a person who generates new ideas and drives innovation in a given industry. Thought leaders are objectively valuable human resource commodities for any organization, well-respected, charismatic, and revered by customers and peers within the industry. Becoming a thought leader is a legitimately desirable goal for any professional. But you cannot simply wish it to make it so. To position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, you must navigate a branding process to authentically bring yourself to that level. In short, you need to engage in an ongoing series of personal branding strategies, re-define your skill sets, and dramatically and continually expand your professional network. In addition to all of that, you must constantly generate new ideas and improve your name recognition both in and out of your target industry.
Crafting Brands & Building A Presence
It’s not hard to imagine the future possibilities for one who starts their first business venture when she was just a high school student. Dr. Talaya Waller, CEO/Founder of Waller & Company, first started her entrepreneurial journey as a violinist in a musical group she pioneered called Young Inspirations. She and a group of fellow students performed at weddings and various gigs within the community for extra money. While others were still depending on hand outs and allowances from their parents, Dr.Waller was creating a stream of income for herself as a teen.
“I didn’t always know that I wanted to be an entrepreneur but I always knew I wanted to be a business woman.” recalls Dr.Waller. After completing college, she started her journey of becoming a business woman by securing her first job. “I got my first job, held it for less than a year and hated it so much that I ended up quitting” which lead to her next business venture. A company called Pepper & Pearls, which was a traveling workout company that hosted parties for small groups of varying ages. Dr. Waller soon realized, it wasn’t a chase for money or even working out for that matter but a desire to impact the lives of others that fueled her.
The birth of Waller & Company, a personal branding company that Dr.Waller started a few years ago has allowed her to combine all of her passions. Coming from a military family, she was accustomed to change, travel and meeting new people which parlay directly into Waller & Company . “We are managing and changing the perception of people. Personal branding is planting a seed in the mind of your target audience by sharing and crafting your story. We often have to transcend stereotypes through story telling.” As both a minority and a woman, Dr.Waller understands all too well the need for personal branding and how it impacts opportunities.
Waller & Company has successfully been able to brand their clients as “Thought-leaders” in their fields by providing a range of services such as online presence strategy, public relations and crisis management through consulting, branding and speaking engagements. The importance of something as simple as a head shot and an online presence via a website or blog are essential and a small piece of the branding puzzle that Waller & Company help navigate for their clients. And when it comes to crisis management, the antidote is simple, “Create so much positive that any negative is a drop in a sea verses a drop in a glass.”
Currently, Dr. Waller is working on continuing to grow Waller & Company. Beyond that, she is looking to share some of the keys to personal branding while adding yet another title to her impressive resume as an author. There are no limits for Dr.Waller so stay tuned!
I seem to be working with clients over in the US more and more of late. This project, however, was from an actual 'old school' face to face encounter.Both Talaya and I were talking on Personal Branding in London a couple of months ago, and we connected on social media.
Talaya is a true expert in her field, and she works with high-level executives in Washington to help build and develop powerful personal brands... So when she approached me to help with the visual aspect of her personal brand, I was truly honored to be able to help.
Whether you’re looking to climb the corporate ladder, become an entrepreneur or excel among your social circle, your personal brand tells others what they can expect from you.
Dr. Talaya Waller, founder of Waller & Company, a brand strategy company, says developing your personal brand online can help you create, maintain and protect your reputation, enhance its prestige, and present a favorable image.
Rich Bellis, Associate Editor for Fast Company writes:
"You already know social media is a handy job-search tool. You dutifully update your LinkedIn account and scrub your Facebook profile of incriminating photos. But what you might not realize is that your approach to social media should change as your career moves forward. What works for landing that first-ever job won’t be the same thing that gets you promoted to VP.
The same way you should shift focus on developing different skill-sets at each stage of your career, you’ll also want to periodically retool your social media approach. Fast Company spoke with Washington, D.C.–based personal branding consultant Dr. Talaya Waller to find out how." Read more