I had heard Jenny Dearborn speak at the SAP Silicon Valley “All Hands” meeting in January. 

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She sat on stage with Jonathan Becher, Quentin Clark, Roger Quinlan, and Tanja Rueckert as each of these leaders introduced themselves and talked about the new SAPsv (Silicon Valley) title for our SAP bay area sites.  She impressed me as a person with a lot of spunk, a message to deliver and a great educator.

I was excited to see that she would be talking on the Dublin campus as part of the Month of Inclusion lectures.  Her topic was “Professional Branding for Women”.  I quickly booked this event on my calendar and invited several of my SAP colleagues.


Jenny told us that every day we receive 4000 different messages.  This bombardment of information comes from our constant emails, texts, blogs, twitters, facebook, meetings, radio, TV’s, water cooler gossip, and all the other noise around us – it is up to each of us to find a way to shine through this barrage-of-information and make ourselves known.  My children did this as they grew up by talking loudly, repeatly “mommy, mommy, look, I want, I am hungry, listen to me”, running around and leaving their mark (messes) everywhere they went.  They learned how to get the attention that they needed.  But as an adult working in a corporation I do not have the freedom to express myself this way. 

At the Month of Inclusion lecture Jenny told us that the Key to Success is to work on our Personal Branding. She explained that branding helps us to be visible.  And why is this important.  Because a person with good brand recognition is noticed.  They get the better jobs, they have more opportunities, they get the higher salaries, they are publicly praised for the work they do.  Think of those jeans that cost $300. What makes it possible for a company to price a pair of pants so high.  It is all about brand.  People are moved by things that they believe have value.  Don’t leave good things up to Karma she told us.  If you do, you will get left behind.  First figure out your goals and then brand yourself.  Make your message consistent, clear and commit to it.  Present the same brand at work, home, and in all social situations.

Jenny explained the steps to Creating our Brand:

    1) Access the Market

What this means is that you need to get out there and study the market.  Understand what drives the market and identify your key competitors.

Learn about people who do a job similar to yours at the same or even a different company.  What are they doing?  And what can you do to learn from them.

    2) Defining the Brand

This means understanding your personal core values.  What are your passions and strengths?  She recommended that we each get mentors and discuss with them who we are and use them as our sounding board to try out our ideas.

Plan once/month lunch meetings with your mentors.

Use Online tools such as StrengthFinder or 360 Reach.

    3) Design the Brand

This is about identifying the details, logo, color – it’s your style.  Think about how if you were in an elevator with Bill McDermott and you had to define what you wanted, could you say it all in the time it takes for the elevator ride.

Individually or as a team activity write down key words to you that describe clothes, shoes, cars, electronics, groceries, accessories.  See what the pattern is and that will help you to understand your values.

Watch the YouTube video “what color is your brand”.

    4) Create a Plan and Implement it

Set some clear goals and objectives for yourself.  What do you want to accomplish in a month, year, and are you on track. If you get stuck, push yourself forward

Just do it.

    5) Managing the Board

Once you have setup your brand, make sure that you are sticking to your core values and branding image.  Discuss this with your mentors.  Be willing to change and rethink your brand.

Do a yearly mini audit

Calculate your Klout score. (A Klout Score is a number between 1-100 that represents your influence. The more influential you are, the higher your Klout Score.)

Honestly, while I could really never be the vivacious, energetic Jenny.  I do want to be heard and to contribute.  While I may not do all the Branding steps we covered in our hour session.  I am going to take the time to think about what I learned, work through the hand-out exercises that everyone that attended received and implement some of her suggestions given during her class on about Professional Branding. I challenge you to do something too. It could be as simple as

  • Sit with your family and coming up with 5 family values.
  • Or your next team meeting do the exercise where people write a list of brands (or maybe even write your team projects) and the value to you.
  • Come up with your small elevator pitch and create your business card with this message
  • Or just ask your spouse, kids, manager, work buddy or someone you trust and respect how they see “your brand”.

Jenny Dearborn is more than the Chief Learning Officer and Senior Vice President at SAP.  She is a speaker who got me thinking.  She has a message and is spreading the word.  Jenny, true to her brand, is a person who is making a difference and I feel honored to have been able to hear her speak this week in Dublin.

Live the message, create your brand.

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P.S.  During the talk, several times Jenny mentioned her book.  For more information see http://www.amazon.com/Jenny-Dearborn/e/B00R13VFDA.  Even Bill McDermott wrote a cool editorial review on it.

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  1. Judith Forrest

    Thanks Marcy for providing this summary to all of us!  Do you happen to know if they were going to make her presentation available as well?  It contained a lot of info not in the handout.  Thanks again for inviting me, to this and to the women in work documentary!

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