top of page

Ask a SHE: How media helped shape 6 leaders' personal brands

By Elaine Simon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marina MacDonald

Chief Marketing Officer

Red Roof

 

Q: What piece of media has shaped how you view personal branding or how you view yourself?

 

A: During my personal branding journey, I have relied on the book “Heart-Centered Leadership: Lead Well, Live Well,” by Susan Steinbrecher and Joel Bennett. The book was first written in 2001, and at the time, I was part of a very small group that Susan put together to go through the leadership exercises in the book. Heart-Centered Leadership is science-based leadership philosophy and I still use the seven principles laid out in the book regularly, in many situations.

 

Q: How has this piece of media shaped how you view personal branding or how you view yourself?

 

A: Personal branding is an evolution. My philosophy is that to be successful you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. That might seem odd to say, but I have always found that when I achieve growth or find myself evolving, it's because of uncomfortable moments that I've embraced. The seven principles of heart-centered leadership, which include Knowing Thyself and Letting Go, provide invaluable guidance through those uncomfortable moments.

 

 

Lisa Hinson

President and Founder

Hinson Ltd Public Relations

 

Q: What piece of media has shaped how you view personal branding or how you view yourself?

 

A: In my role as a PR professional, I have to be up to speed on a lot of topics. This sometimes means reading summaries and overviews instead of long-form content, which I prefer for its deeper analysis and context. Over the years I have become a faithful listener of The Daily, a 20-minute podcast issued five days a week by the journalists of The New York Times. The reporting is in-depth, the topics timely and I always find I have gained meaningful insight after listening. It just makes me feel smarter.
 

Q: How has this piece of media shaped how you view personal branding or how you view yourself?

 

A: Given how fast our lives are and the pressure we’re all under to pay attention to sound bites versus substantive information, I feel it is important to prioritize in-depth learning. I personally feel more productive and better able to navigate the world when I’m seeking to understand contemporary issues on a deeper level. Lifelong learning is a habit that makes me more effective in my professional role and more fulfilled in my personal life.

 

 

Stephanie Fischer

President and Chief Executive Officer

Global Retail Marketing Association

 

Q: What piece of media has shaped how you view personal branding or how you view yourself?

 

A: It’s difficult to pinpoint one particular book, podcast or talk. I tend to draw inspiration from a number of different places, people and experiences. As a curator of thought leadership, I have had the great fortune of being exposed to diverse and unique points of views and insights. Some of the more remarkable individuals who have impacted me personally and professionally include Benjamin Zander, “The Art of Possibility,” Ray Kurzweil, “The Singularity Is Near,” Peter Diamandis's “Abundance - The Future is Better Than You Think.”

 

Q: How has this piece of media shaped how you view personal branding or how you view yourself?

 

A: I would describe myself as "intellectually curious," always learning, seeking constant input both from a professional and personal standpoint. I am fascinated by technology and its impact on our businesses and our lives. I tend to see the possibilities ahead and I believe in hard work and personal accountability.

 

 

 

 

Marti Winer

Executive Leader and General Manager

Casa Bonita

 

Q: What piece of media has shaped how you view personal branding or how you view yourself?

 

A: “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Wolf

 

Q: How has this piece of media shaped how you view personal branding or how you view yourself?

 

A: When I discovered the wonders of Virginia Woolf, I was not approaching the work as a personal growth opportunity, but a literary pursuit. I was surprised by how much it resonated and how clairvoyant I believed Woolf’s 1929 work to be. The point of this essay is essentially that women need independence—both financially and socially—to truly be creative and cultivate their talents. As a midcareer professional still trying to make my way up, but also trying to help those coming behind me, it was a rallying cry to defend what had been described as “selfishness” for being a fierce protector of my own time, my own money and my own needs. It felt vindicating and freeing to say it’s OK to need space to be creative, problem solve and do your best work. Even now I think about Woolf and often retreat to “a room of my own”—a hotel room, my office, a table at a coffee shop, to reset, refocus and regain the space that makes me the most successful version of myself. Only then can I be the leader I aspire to be.

 

 

Nancy Patel

President and CEO Nishita Investments LLC

Corporate Relations Triton Electric Vehicles

Head of Franchise Development, EV Hotel,

Vice President, Kosmada LLCPresident and

CEO Your Future Financial Solutions LLC

Q: What piece of media has shaped how you view personal branding or how you view yourself?

 

A: “The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters" by Emily Esfahani Smith. This book encourages women to define their personal brand and purpose through a sense of meaning and contribution.

 

Q: How has this piece of media shaped how you view personal branding or how you view yourself?

 

A: “The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters” has revolutionized my perspective on personal branding. By exploring the four pillars of meaning—belonging, purpose, storytelling and transcendence—this book reveals a path to personal branding that is authentic, meaningful and impactful. Rather than focusing on superficial self-promotion,I've learned to cultivate a deep sense of purpose and values that drive my personal brand. Through this book, I've come to understand that personal branding is not just about projecting an image, but about uncovering and sharing my true identity. By applying the principles from this book, I aim to create a personal brand that inspires others and leaves a lasting impact.

 

 

 

 

Heather Carnes

Executive Vice President,

Communications, and Chief Strategy Officer

AAHOA

 

Q: What piece of media has shaped how you view personal branding or how you view yourself?

 

A: Hands down, one of the most significant books I’ve read that has helped me in my personal branding journey is “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead,” by Brené Brown.

 

Q: How has this piece of media shaped how you view personal branding or how you view yourself?

 

A: In my opinion, one of the things that holds us back the most is simply the courage to get started, and to put yourself out there without caring what others think about you. Brené is one of the leading researchers on courage and vulnerability, and the insights in “Daring Greatly”—among many other titles of hers— were life-changing for me. In fact, during AAHOA's 2023 HerOwnership Conference and Retreat, I conducted a masterclass where I recommended "Daring Greatly" as essential reading in the masterclass workbook. At the outset of the masterclass, we delved into topics such as self-awareness, authenticity and confronting fears, which are the foundation to a strong personal brand and taking the necessary steps to authentically be yourself. There is nobody better than Brené to teach these topics.Two of my favorite quotes from Brené are, “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen,” and “When you shut down vulnerability, you shut down opportunity.”

 

Visit www.she-leads.com for more information about Red Roof’s SHE Leads Forum and for tools to help you manage your business, rise in the ranks and find the confidence to become a successful business leader.

Far from being simply a byproduct of a person’s career journey as it might have been in generations past, a personal brand has evolved into something that is thoughtfully crafted and nurtured during one’s working—and even personal—life.

 

In this first installment of Ask a SHE, we’ve asked female leaders, inside and outside the hospitality industry, to share what book, podcast, TED Talk or other media has influenced their personal branding progression and how it has affected them personally. Their answers are below.

bottom of page