If you've ever met me in person, you might not believe it when I tell you that once upon a time, I was frightened of everything and everyone.
I refused to look at people in the eye when I spoke to them and I often ignored people even if they were right in front of me, earning me the well-deserved title of "Gold-Mouth" (my dad said my mouth was probably made of gold because I didn't want to open it to show people).
I was lonely, had a very low self-esteem and didn't know where I was going in life. I was so underwhelmingly uninspired, that my mother had to choose what I was going to study in poly. She chose for me the one course I would have never had chosen - Mass Communication.
I would be lying to say that wasn't a trial by fire.
I graduated by the skin of my teeth, still very reserved and inward-looking, and I ended up taking a job most suited for me, where I would spend hours each day, in front of a computer, all alone by myself.
The only downside? I had to talk for hours to people I could not see, and make some sort of real connection.
I wasn't prepared for this, but knowing that the entire English programming department at the offshore radio station I was at, was pretty much counting on me to make it work - I had to dig in my heels and start connecting with people through the airwaves.
That began my love affair with the science and art of interpersonal communication.
In 2011, I started teaching young adults how to make a great first impression at job interviews. It made such a great impact on me because these young adults were heading into the job-seeking process, without a single clue as to how they could present themselves as the best person qualified for the job. Helping them prepare for the entire employment process was super satisfying for me.
As they say, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
My students were called up for their desired interviews, they handled job interviews with panache, they were getting offered jobs that met their expectations and they were going into those jobs confident and ready.
In 2013, my son was born and I took 18 months off to care for him full-time. Everyone said it was career suicide.
To me, it was a career rebirth. I not only enjoyed the 18 months away, but I grew and matured extensively. When I returned back to work, I was contributing even more than ever. Within 2 years of returning to work, I received a promotion and earned my second Teaching Award.
I've realised the power of career branding and now, it's my goal to share strategies and formulas of making it work for any woman who is:
returning to work after some time away
DIY a career that balances work and family
I don't possess a magic spell that can help turn your situation around overnight. But I possess real life experience of working in a variety of industries (radio, hospitality, human resources, image consulting, tertiary education), I have earned my stripes as a stay-at-home-mom (no helper!), and I teach career branding to hundreds of students every year.