22873766I was a keynote speaker at an event last weekend where I discussed networking. Soon after I started, I asked the room how many people knew what people said about them when they were not around. Surprisingly, only one person raised her hand. Of course, she happened to be a high level executive who already had a firm grasp of her career path. Nobody else, however, raised their hand. If got me wondering how many people really pay enough attention to their brand and reputation.

I’ve stressed countless times through articles, on my radio show and speaking engagements that people need to determine (and monitor) their brands before others define it for them. Let’s forget for a moment, that promoting yourself and networking are important elements to building your brand. But did you know that if you don’t implement the right strategy you could be damaging your reputation?

I have clients who are so excited to start building their network and implementing strategies we discussed, that they forget all the rules of engagement I gave them. For instance, I share with all my clients (and listeners and readers) how I made a conscious decision to keep up with my network. I send out a quarterly email letting people know what I’m up to and and asking them to share what they’re up to. Well, one young man took this advice to the next level. He was looking for a job and decided to use my idea…only he sent an email EVERY SINGLE WEEK. How do you think this was received? Exactly. The first two email I received, I thought, great he’s taking initiative. After that it was spam. I emailed him and gave him some constructive criticism and told him his frequent email was turning people off. He was appreciative of the email and changed his frequency. Unfortunately, it damaged his credibility.

Another incident was a young woman who was extremely anti-social at work. She felt the only thing she needed to do was show up for work, get her job done, go home and do it all over again until Friday came. She argued me down and said that her work was so impressive that it stood on its own. She didn’t need to “schmooze” with her co-workers. A year went by and she didn’t get any additional projects nor did she get the raise and promotion she hoped for. Upon some investigative digging, it was revealed that her standoffish nature eliminated her from the running.

Ladies, I don’t make these things up nor do I share them just to be nice. You MUST, absolutely MUST take control of your reputation. You should be getting feedback from everyone you know professionally. It is important that you understand how people perceive you and receive your brand. Ask for honest feedback on areas you may need to improve. But don’t stop there, accept the honesty without attitude and work on it. It takes a long time to build a solid reputation, but only minutes to destroy it. Be careful how you represent yourself and how others represent you. Focus on building up the positive aspects and improving the negative.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham


Coming in January 2010

It is with great pleasure that I announce the pre-launch of the newest project for Empower Me! Fearless Woman Magazine is the preeminent publication and blueprint for today’s upwardly mobile professional woman. The magazine is scheduled to launch in January 2010 and will be a quarterly publication. I have always admired publishers and the magazine industry. Sometimes they had hits, sometimes there were misses. I never stopped looking for “that” magazine that speaks exclusively to me and the type of women I admire and network with. So many have come and gone, and while there are a few remaining, I felt that there was lacking an intelligent, no-nonsense,unfettered down hard hitting magazine for the professional woman. Yes, each magazine on the stands now contains elements of what I was seeking. But no magazine has ever served as a catch all for the upwardly mobile professional woman. Do I propose that Fearless Woman Magazine will be that catch all? Maybe. But it will serve the purpose for the intended audience.

Have you signed up on the website yet? If not, you should. You can sign up at the website to receive updates and the Fearless Networking newsletter.

We are also announcing an open call for writers. We are currently looking for new and experienced writers with the ability to resonate with our core audience. If interested please contact us at: info @fearlesswomanmagazine.com or indicate that you’re interested in the message box when you sign up at the website. You may download the Writer’s Guidelines at this link. For a media kit, editorial calendar or advertising information, please contact us via email at info @ fearlesswomanmagazine.com.

I don’t know what the future holds for myself or this publication, but what I do know is that I am very excited. The more we plan and the more we pull it together, it is that much more real to me. I choose to believe that there is a place for this magazine and that with technology and good old fashioned ingenuity we will be able to bring you relevant content, resonant (and responsible) advertising, and aplethora of tools that will empower and motivate each of you to action. A fearless woman, an upwardly mobile professional woman always has her mind on her career and isn’t afraid to take risks to achieve their goals. That is an EMPOWERED woman.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

Keeping in spirit of Diversity tune in to Friday’s show. The topic is Power Brok(h)ers- Women of Color in Hollywood. When you think Women of Color, you automatically think Oprah (on an executive level) and a handful of women who ae in front of the cameras. But there are so many more talented women of color who behind the scenes who are relegated to the background. We’ll discuss the (lack of) women of color in power positions in entertainment and take a look at how women can pursue a productive career in Hollywood….and not just in front of the camera. There are executive producers, talent management agents, deal makers, and movers and shakers who happen to be Women of Color. The problem is, you hardly hear about them. Tune in at 9AM EST http://www.blogtalkradio.com/viewsfromthetop as we put the topic on the table and discuss ways to circumvent the ol’ boys network for Hollywood.

Ladies, networking is one of my passions. I’ve mentioned countless times the importance of a strong network and always being accessible to your network. Everyone is in a mad dash to build their connections, link to as any people as they can, get to know countless acquaintances. But have you ever thought about beyond your networking sphere? I’ll explain.

Thursday evening I hosted a conference call. I sent out a ton of invitations to the wonderful, successful, powerful Black Women in my network. Over the years, I have built an incredible network (not just of Black Women, but overall). In February, I attended the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit. There were phenomenal women as far as the eye could see. We chatted, networked, exchanged contact information, and vowed to keep in touch. That’s where it all came together for me. Fast forward to last week. I decided to pull together a power call. Connect all MY connections to make the network phenomenal.

Many could not attend, as schedules were already full. But the call was phenomenal. The ladies who did attend the call were excited and overjoyed at the possibilities of connecting and sharing with one another. We chatted about the power of a network, and each woman introduced herself, told us about herself and let us know her urgent networking need. I explained that often times we, as women, don’t ask for what we want. I gave these phenomenal ladies an opportunity to do just that.

Unlike at conferences and trade shows, we vowed to continue the dialog and communication so we can not only benefit ourselves, but also give back and pay it forward to one another. And it has already began. Several of the women emailed and called me the day after to express their joy over the call. They have began reaching out to one another and are eagerly awaiting the next call.

So do something FOR your network. Introduce them to one another. Make connections between your connections. Share, don’t be selfish. We are all 6 degrees from one another. Do your part to keep everyone connected. I for one am looking forward to seeing the power of MY network helping one another.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham