Foliotek Blog

Imani Steele: Building My Personal Brand

alt When we see a student get this excited about building her brand, we knew we had to get an interview to learn more. Imani Steele is a sophomore marketing major with a minor in business analytics and is a Fellow at the Center for Business Leadership (CBL) in Miami University's Farmer School of Business. One of the CBL's top priorities is creating improvement initiatives that are organized and run entirely by the Fellows (students) in the program.

In last week's post, we spoke with the Fellows responsible for implementing the Foliotek Initiative. Below is our interview with Imani which provides a student's perspective.

Foliotek: You are working on a separate initiative with your team. What did you learn from that experience?

Imani Steele: When you're on a team with phenomenal leaders that create a very diverse environment, you learn a lot. I've learned how to be an effective, inclusive leader and make sure that everyone's input is utilized. You can't get away from teamwork, collaboration, and diversity (some of my core values) in society.

F: At some point, you were told that you would be using Foliotek to showcase your own initiative. What was your first impression?

IS: The advisors informed us during our individual leadership lab in September that we would be using Foliotek to record our experience and how it relates to CBL's main values. I thought it [Foliotek] was really cool, and obviously there are many ways to promote your personal brand, but Foliotek can really showcase your individual and team projects, which I love.

F: What was the impact of using Foliotek to showcase your projects?

IS: Foliotek lets you go more in-depth when it comes to explaining and showcasing your projects. I was able to take time to reflect on what I actually did. The way the project templates were structured helped me not only talk about what I did on the surface level, but I was able to dig in deeper and talk about how it shaped me in my leadership and teamwork skills.

F: What value did you get from reflecting on your work?

IS: There is always room for growth. Being able to reflect on what you've done and document your growth, see your growth, and show your growth is really effective in crafting your professional and personal brand. Every application I fill out for internships, I always put a link to my Foliotek ID page. Foliotek has helped me with this because I can tell anyone to 'go to this website to see what I've done,' and [my projects] are right there with a click of a button. I don't think I could have thought of a better way of showcasing everything I've done while building my own authentic brand.

alt F: Do you think you'll continue to build your brand in Foliotek?

IS: Absolutely! I've even had to pull stuff from freshman year! I'm currently working on a project in one of my business classes and I will put it in there; any other project I complete from here on out will be going into Foliotek. When it [my ID Page] was done, I had to send it to my dad. Every time I talk to him, he wants to know what I'm doing in school. He thought it was really cool and was impressed! I now have a way to keep my parents up to date and show them that everything they are putting into my education really is an investment!

F: So, what are your next steps in the CBL?

IS: One thing I love about being a part of the CBL is that it's student-run. I'm excited to continue to be part of the CBL and come up with ideas for how the center can really be effective and continue to do things for the Farmer School of Business and Miami University as a whole. I have a few plans [for future initiatives] that would be really cool for inclusion and diversity within the CBL, and hopefully that could trickle down to the Business School as a whole.

F: We've really enjoyed being a part of this improvement initiative at your school. Fellows are creating strong, professional brands that reflect highly on the values of the CBL and Miami University. Thanks so much for taking the time to meet with us today.

IS: Thank you for letting me have this opportunity!


Find a Job by Telling Your Story

Stories

Tin Toy, a video short by Pixar, won Pixar's first Academy Award for the Best Animated Short Film. I'd imagine that some people would argue that their win was driven by their impressive 1988 introduction of 3D graphics. However, even if that was true, you can't argue with how they delivered a memorable story. A story that laid the foundation for three major movies that collectively earned just under 1.9 billion dollars. That's a "B" for "Billion"!

Stories are everywhere and every person has their own unique story to tell. The ability for you to share your own unique story is what will intrigue potential employers, help you gain employment, and influence the amount you get paid. So how do you do this?

Stories for Employment

Your story should be broken into three Acts (like a good play)

  • Act I - Introduction
  • Act II - Introduction of Evidence
  • Act III - Evidence Detail

Act I - Introduction

This is a super short pitch that details the most important things about you as quickly as possible. If this is written, it should be fewer than 200 words. If this is being shared verbally, it should take fewer than two minutes.

Here is an example of a visually pleasing, short and simple digital introduction. Foliotek Identity Page

Act II - Introduction of Evidence

Once your introduction grabs someone's attention, you need something authentic to show them or talk to them about. This comes in the form of evidence. When sharing evidence visually, you MUST use good imagery. Research shows that the brain translates visuals 60,000 times faster than text. The image a potential employer sees will speak to them faster than anything else. So take advantage of this visual bias and use intriguing imagery. Good use of images is essential to telling a great story. Watch Tin Toy again, not only is this video short void of text, there isn't a single spoken word.

Additionally, people's interests vary. It is important to have a smorgasbord of interesting evidence. You don't know what might peak someone's interest. Just be certain when you are choosing evidence, that it is consistent in showcasing the skill set and mindset that best places you in a position for employment.

Foliotek Project List

Act III - Evidence Details

People looking at your story won't make it to Act III unless they are impressed with the first two Acts. If those are done well, the reader or listener will be interested in learning the details that make you who you are. The details within your evidence should drive home the skill set and mindset needed for employment. As the reader passes from one piece of evidence to the next, they should receive a clear picture of the characteristics you offer them.

For a great example, check out Hannah's evidence demonstrating her Skill Set and Mindset from an internship experience.