Monday, January 24, 2011

My Personal Brand's Board of Directors - Who's on Yours?

I read this article, "Who's On Your Personal Board of Directors", by Cortney Rhoades Stapleton, and it presents a fantastic take on what it means to build your personal brand along with the help, advice and inspiration of a handful of some leaders within your career network. I don't think this article intends for anyone to actually create, document, organize and gather a "board of directors" to advise them. This is pretty much something that just happens naturally as you expand your network.

I certainly have found a collection of close friends and acquaintances here in the St. Louis interactive and social media community who have done wonders for helping to build me into who I am today professionally. They have inspired me and taught me many of the skills that have made me of value to an organization. I consider myself lucky, and I also thank social media for enabling it in a big way.

The post has a unique take on roles that a personal brand advisory board might take, and I had fun thinking about how my network of Brand "Directors" fit into those roles.

And here are those esteemed professionals. Compare their "Job Title" to the descriptions from the article, below:
"The Supporter" Lisa Keller (@LisaCKeller), marketing manager at The Loud Few interactive marketing agency in St. Louis. 

"The Sage" Chris Reimer (@RizzoTees), VP of Social Media at Falk Harrison and T-shirt entrepreneur

"The Questioner" and "The Risk Taker." Erin Steinbruegge (@Steinburglar) Owner and Leader of The Loud Few interactive marketing agency in St. Louis

"The Bridge" Brad Hogenmiller (@JavaSTL) of Infuz and President of the Social Media Club - St. Louis 
"The Maven"  David Siteman Garland (@TheRiseToTheTop) of The Rise to the Top and author of "Smarter, Faster Cheaper"

Who's on your board? Comment below or blog about it and shoot me the link on Twitter to @ErinE

Here is the description of roles from the article:
You are never too young or old to start building your personal board of directors. I’ve represented several executive search firms in my PR days. Years ago, I did a media pitch about people’s personal board of directors when looking for a job. At the same time I started my own.  With every career milestone I reassess my board and make sure nobody needs to be retired.  I thought it was a good time to share who is on mine – and see who is on everyone else’s! 
  • The supporter.  This person is a master listener. They know a ton about the marketing industry but also about me as a person. They are always there to lend an encouraging ear, a hug or a kick in the butt.    
  • The sage. Everyone needs a director they admire, somebody who has done it all in your field, made the mistakes, learned from them and triumphed. This is one of the most trusted positions on the board.
  • The risk taker.  This person is an inspiration. They have made mistakes and wrong decisions but they have learned from them and they will encourage you to do the same. Their mantra is “you won’t know if you never try.”
  • The questioner. This is an imperative board seat. Unlike the kings and queens in the book I just read for my book club (“Pillars of the Earth”); it pays to surround yourself with people who will question your motives, decisions and intentions. This person makes me a better marketing professional and helps me understand and process judgments and next steps. 
  • The bridge. Otherwise known as the connector – predictably, this is the matchmaker for your career. Connectors love to engender relationships among people who might not otherwise have met. Connectors are infectious; this person inspires others to be more like them.
  • The maven.  My maven is an expert in innovative marketing communication theories and techniques. They are often ahead of the curve but their expertise goes beyond B2B communications for professional and financial services companies. In Malcom Gladwell’s definition these are the folks who help us make informed buying decisions. I trust the way my maven thinks – they help me make smarter career judgments.
The hallmark of a good leader is your ability to listen.  So no matter whom you add to your personal board, make sure you listen to them – after all – that is what a board is for. 
Who is on your personal board of directors and why?


  1. I am glad to join this prestigious board!

  2. I DEFINITELY want to play this game because almost without thinking I knew who all of these people were for me!

    Each person is in a different capacity. Some of them may just continue to be an inspiration from afar, but even still, they hold some kind of beacon that I have great respect for, which will not change.

    The supporter: @u2acro - Allison Babka knows her sh*t AND is probably one of the nicest people that ever happened! She gets all the weird little sub-parts of me and understands just how deep the geekery for marketing and communication can really go because she is a megageek, too.

    The sage: @anniemueller/@sisterwisdom - Annie Mueller, mother, wife and writer extraordinaire, for real. This woman can do it all and does. EVERY DAY. I want to be her when I grow up, bar none!

    The risk taker: @michaeltomko - Michael Tomko has done some crazy, crazy things and pulled them off either by a 100% accurate instinct at long-range or...just the skin of his teeth. And he's not stopping any time soon.

    The questioner: @rockstarima - Meredith Elkin, who I'm pretty sure knows all and sees all and I'm pretty sure will be a continually towering, clarifying and supportive presence in my life.

    The bridge: @YelpSV - Abby Schwarz found me in the digital mire, saw something or another, and pulled me into whirlwind that was 2009-2010. Those were foundational years where I crossed boundaries and began building something of myself. I will be forever indebted to her for all I'm not even sure SHE knows that she's done for me!

    The maven: (I would call this role "the philosopher," though!) @eliotfrick - Eliot Frick is. I'm pretty sure that's all that can really be said...he just IS. For all I've learned about "how" in my short professional journeys, this guy is completely connected to the "why." In just the short time I've known him, I'm in. If he's exploring or teaching it, I am learning it.

  3. We LOVE Chris and the Rizzo! A wise choice.

  4. A conversation tonight reminded me of my closest and most important influence, which is my husband Chris - @iamcloud. How easy it is to take the contributions of those closest and dearest to us for granted, sometimes...and I would never have been empowered to do any of the growing that I have without him. Huzzah for strong, smart significant others!

  5. Honored to be on a board filled with such inspirational people, including you. Great selections all around. I would have to invite you to join me as a Risk Taker and Throw in a Maven. So when is our next board meeting?


Thank you for commenting on my blog post! I really appreciate the conversation. -Erin

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