ONE CHALLENGE WOMEN HAVE had in the
workplace is that while they are working
hard, they may not have clearly de;ined
their value proposition, or personal
brand. Genuine brands have a distinctive
position in the mind’s eye, as well as
perceived functional and emotional
bene;its. The bene;its are the key—how
people feel when they interact with the
brand is why they choose that brand
Everyone can name strong brands
such as Apple, Disney and Nike. These
brands not only represent the products
themselves, but they represent innovation, happiness and performance. The
consumer’s feelings when connecting to
these larger brand promises drive brand
loyalty, moving someone from customer
to raving fan. It’s critical for individuals
to know both what skills they are bringing to the table and what their brand is
communicating. What are the unique
products and skills someone has? Beyond the quality of their work, how do
BY ANNET TE GREGG, CMP, CMM, MBA
Annette, who serves on the MPI International Board of Directors, has taught at several universities
since 1995 and is program advisor for San Diego State University’s meetings and event certificate
program. She has also delivered hundreds of keynotes and workshops, and works with companies
to create internal programs that increase diversity and develop their female employees.
Many in the meeting industry—particularly women—
struggle with their personal value proposition. Here’s
how to establish a consistent and authentic presence.
others feel when they associate with
them? What are the perceived functional and emotional bene;its of working
with this person? These are the true differentiators, and this discovery involves
some introspection that is often missed.
Why is Self-Branding so Tough?
There are many reasons women strug-
gle with self-branding more than men.
At the core, women in business suffer
more from feelings of self-doubt and a
lack of con;idence than their male coun-
terparts. A study released in 2011 by
Europe’s Institute of Leadership and
Management revealed that women
report having lower con;idence in re-
gard to their careers.
Here are some ;ind-
ings from the study.
• Seventy percent of
males have high or
very high levels of
compared to 50
percent of women.
• Half of women managers admitted to
feelings of self-doubt about their
performance and career, compared to
only 31 percent of men.
• Men are more willing to take public
credit for their successes. Women
believe their accomplishments should
speak for themselves.
“Some women go to great lengths to
avoid attention. They don’t want to
stand out—in meetings, in the board-
room or even in the elevator.”
According to Jill Flynn, author of
Break Your Own Rules: How to Change
the Patterns of Thinking that Block
Women’s Paths to Power, one issue
keeping women from self-branding is
their desire to blend in. “Some women
go to great lengths to avoid attention.
They don’t want to stand out—in meetings, in the boardroom or even in the
elevator. But blending in means you are
missing opportunities—every single
day—to stand out and sell your ideas.”
( HBR.org, 2011)
Meeting Industry Roadblocks
The meeting industry has additional
challenges to self-branding. The meeting planner position is a behind-the-scenes role, highlighting others on
stage while handling all the logistics
and planning to keep the show running
smoothly. The industry is continuing to
evolve, with planners still having to
de;ine the value that they or their
meetings or events bring while avoiding the “party planner” label. Traditional roles like lawyer, doctor or accountant don’t struggle with this lack of
Other reasons personal branding is
challenging could be unintentional. An
employee may have over-committed in
the spirit of being a team player or
liked. They may be doing a lot of proj-