Archive | April 2012

Great things to know before you turn 25

My friend tweeted an article a couple weeks ago and as soon as I saw the title, I immediately clicked over to read.

11 Things to Know at 25(ish) – published in Relevant magazine.

How could I not read this post? Shoot, I’ll be 23 in July….what if I only know a couple of these things? What if I don’t know ANY of them?!

I think this is the fastest I’ve ever read an article. While I don’t agree 100% with everything listed, this is a wonderful read for any college-grad.

(1) You have time to find to find a job you love &  (2) Get out of debt and stay out of debt. As a young college grad there is SO MUCH time to figure life out. I’ll be the first to admit, I have a hard time not stressing about, well, everything. Life, love, job, future, family, finances, friends, world….career, career, career. See? List goes on and on.

But when I take a step back and really look at the big picture, this is a time to be happy and LIVE. Things always fall into place. As for the second point – learn to budget and stay out of debt. I feel if I could give any college student financial advice it would stick strictly to budgeting. If you have time to go out on the weekends, eat out and shop, you have money to save. It can be a real slap in the face when you start paying rent and bills and debt can be the scariest monster of all.

(3) Don’t rush dating and marriage & (4) Give your best to friends and family. While there is nothing wrong with dating now (obvious of my relationship status) and getting married, this is the time to figure out your values and what you’re not willing to compromise. This is a great time to learn about yourself and what you really want in a relationship. Don’t think that marriage needs to happen right now, or tomorrow or even next week. Relationships take time to develop – and you need to be happy and settled personally before embarking on mature relationship.

This flows right into the next statement: give your best to friends and family…I’ll take it one step farther. Find out your true friends. Who is going to stand by you in a year? OK, scratch that, who will stand by you when you need them? Finding out who matters now, and showing them your thanks, is a great way to build relationships that will last.

The list by RELEVANT Magazine continues as such:

(5) Get some counseling
(6) Seek out a mentor
(7) Be part of a church
(8) Find a rhythm for spiritual disciplines
(9) Volunteer
(10) Feed yourself and the people you love
(11) Don’t get stuck

I believe the first four are extremely relevant (and important), but I do want to touch on the last seven.

(5,7,8) Find something to believe in. Prayer, faith, karma…SOMETHING. When the world travels 1,000 miles a minute and a young professional is finding his/her footing in the real world, sometimes religion/faith is the only thing that stay solid. It’s a great foundation to build life.
(6) FIND.A.MENTOR. That may need to jump to to number one. Find someone that you can turn to when you need help with a résumé, a job search or a situation at work. Make note: this is not a best friend, this is someone who will help you in your career. This is a person that cares for you – but will be honest when giving critiques and feedback.

(9, 10) We’re so blessed – share that. Go out and see the world and give back. I truly believe one person can make a difference and it is so easy to get involved with the community. As for cooking, well, it saves money and it’s healthier. I’m slowly falling in love with the kitchen and nothing makes me happier than inviting friends over for drinks and appetizers (that I made). Your wallet, and waistline, will thank you when you start cooking at home.

(11) Don’t get stuck 

“Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder either. Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or climb in bed with your journal.”

I love this excerpt from the article. Around the age of 25 you need  to know how to say no to a beer, but network at a happy hour. Know that you can change the world and can chase your dreams. Nothing is set in stone – and mistakes can be fixed.

Great way to end a wonderful article.

 

Rainy weather doesn’t stop me…

After waking up at a 5 a.m. thunderstorm, strategically avoiding puddles on the way to work and missing the sun, I thought this was needed.

Image

Sometimes it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and slightly stressed. Trust me, I am the person the makes a to-do list and receives great satisfaction from crossing things off my list.

The weather this morning had me grumbling underneath my breath and searching for a little bit of sun between the raindrops. But on the way to work I saw a mom and daughter waiting for the bus..and the little girl was happily jumping in puddles in here way-cute pink rain boots. 

So thank you to the adorable pair for bringing a smile to my face – and reminding me to dance in the rain.

 

 

*** check out my WONDERFUL new blog signature! Courtesy of Ms Ally Hellyer ***

Branded

(part 3 of 3)

When I thought of the idea for a blog series about my brand,I didn’t think it would teach me so much.

I simply said to myself one day:

“It’s probably time to take of the glass-slippers Cinderella and show Ohio that you’re back. Not only are you back, but you’re better, more mature, a little tanner (thank you Florida sun) and ready to take on the world! So go on out there Jess, make your mark on the world!”

OK, maybe I didn’t say exactly that inspiring and well-thought out – but close. I knew that I had a pretty decent understand of personal branding and that it was time for me to move from princess to professional (but let’s be honest – the pink and the glitter are staying). 

The first part of slightly shifting my brand to was figuring out my values, goals and what I wanted my brand to say to people. You can read that journey by click here for the 1st post of this mini series: You, your image & your brand. One I knew my foundation, I needed to know if my brand would whisper, speak or yell.

Well, that’s a tough one – and, in my professional opinion – a trick question. I want all three.

Yup, you heard it here first, folk.

I want to whisper that I am both a child and adult

 speak of my experience, education and personality

yell that I am the optimistic and ready to change the world

So now, let’s do that – time to implement a brand.

  1. Clean up the image. To me, that really lands on social media. I designed a new website header and the fabulous @allyheller (check out her fantastic website: http://www.allyjeanhellyer.blogspot.com/ ) is helping me with a blog signature. I made sure that my website, overall, represented me – young professional, slightly on the girly side, and highlighted my blog and resume. I also updated LinkedIn and GOOGLE+, making sure all the information was correct and up to-date. My favorite social media outlet is Twitter, so I knew that had evolved with me. However, if you aren’t a huge tweeter, make sure that you have a photo, background and appropriate bio. Also, tweet fairly often about subjects that fall within your “brand umbrella”.
  2. Brand Umbrella. This idea came from a brainstorming exercise a professor told me about junior year. If I need help finding a topic to blog about, I simply starting writing down topics that fall into my brand umbrella. This is a great way to help get the creative juices flowing, and when creating a brand, seeing what falls into your comfort zone. Topics under my umbrella are college life, internships, young professionals, running, cooking, cupcakes, blogging, Walt Disney World, family, Ohio, OSU buckeyes… the list continues! Your brand is how people perceive you, and knowing subjects are in your niche will be extremely helpful when you show it to the world.
  3. Get a business card. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter if you’re a college student or a new professional – you need to have a business card. Not only does it allow you to keep all your information handy when you’re networking and meeting someone new, it just FELLS more professional! If someone asks for your email, you’re not rummaging for a pen or piece of paper. Simply grab your card and hand it over with a smile. BOOM! Great brand imaging right there. www.visitaprint.com is my favorite website for personal business cards. You can get 250 for free, you only need to pay shipping and handling (which runs about $6, so you can’t beat that deal).

***the most important thing about creating and implementing your band is CONSISTENCY***
If you have a color scheme, an icon, a quote or ANYTHING that is the foundation of your brand, put that on everything. 

When you go into an interview or a networking event, properly represent your brand. Now, I’m not saying dress all in pink or go around citing a fabulous motivational quote (come on, let’s not get crazy) but you need to walk-the-walk. BUT I HAVE GREAT NEWS! If your brand really represents you, it will be easy. I want my brand to show someone that is optimistic and loves meeting new people – and I try to have that come across when I meet new business connections.

Brands will mature and change as you do, but it’s important to know that you have complete power over your reputation and how people perceive you. Don’t be afraid to really take charge and decide what YOU want to represent.

thanks for reading!

Twitter friends, Southwest, personal branding – oh my!

(part 2 of 3)

My dream came true…well, sort of. My last post about personal branding led me to one of my favorite things about blogging – interacting and connecting with another young PR I’ve never met face-to-face. Abbey Lape – an Ohio girl studying PR & Journalism at Robert Morris University. She shared her own journey about personal branding, and I loved the similarities between our paths!

While we have a strong connection in why we want to brand ourselves and our strong personalities, we disagree on if our values will change over time. Who knows what we will believe in five, 10 or 15 years or how the choices we make now will grow and develop down the road? That’s the best part about blogging and making connections through Twitter – you learn so much.

~~~

Here is Abbey’s brand development story:

How did I start establishing myself as a brand? It’s a tricky question but I would say I first really started thinking about it at the beginning of this past fall semester. I was at the PRSSA National Conference in Orlando for the first time and boy was it overwhelming! It was where I first decided that I needed to step up my game to set myself apart from other recent grads vying for the same job as me.



 More and more I’ve been thinking about what sets me apart from others and I’ve tried to put it in two or three words. What makes me qualified to do what I do? What makes me better than everyone else I’m up against for a job or internship? Those words change all the time because I’m always changing and adapting to my surroundings.

 The one thing that forced me to sit down and develop a brand for myself was an internship and scholarship application with Fahlgren Mortine at Easton. Part of the application was to compare yourself to an already established brand. I compared myself to Southwest Airlines. I was limited to three paragraphs on explaining why I am like Southwest. After researching the company and some of their more notable stories, this is what I cam up with:

 “Southwest Airlines. We know them through their visual presence in the sky with the bold blue and yellow airplanes. We know them for their no frills, low cost flights. We know them for their friendly and welcoming employees and we know them for allowing free baggage. And of course, we know Southwest Airlines for arguably one of the top travel stories of 2011 when the pilot held the plane for a grandfather who had just lost his grandson and was en route to his funeral.
Abbey Lape. She is known for her bold personality. She is known for being hardworking and quick on her feet in stressful situations. She isn’t afraid to take a chance and is always hungry to learn more. She’s detail oriented and is known for being kind hearted and often putting others needs before hers.
 Like Southwest, Abbey Lape has old school tendencies but also isn’t afraid to be bold and try something new. She likes to make the experiences of others something they won’t get at a different place, something Southwest prides themselves in. Both Southwest and Abbey Lape are brands people can trust. The most common theme between the two brands though is thinking outside the box, something that is evident within their both their reputation and work.”

Overall, I think my brand will change and evolve over time, just like almost everything in this world does. My brand will stick to my core values, which I’m sure as my life takes different paths, my core values will change.

~~~

Thanks for reading. My next blog post will finish my small three part series on personal branding – stay tuned!

You, your image & your brand

(part 1 of 3)

Disney Princess to … Jessi. Still a princess full of sparkles and positivity, but walking away from the Disney umbrella and establishing my brand. I’m waving goodbye to the mouse, goodbye to the castle and goodbye to the princesses. It’s a big step – but it’s time to figure out who I am – just me.

Many people have asked why I started my blog as www.disneyprincess.me (which it was stay until June when I can change my domain!) and a few months ago it seemed like common sense. I simply was a Disney Princess. Don’t believe me? Name a Disney movie and I’ve seen it. I am a huge supporter of what Disney stands for and their basic foundation. The Walt Disney Company continues to stand on the foundation that Walt Disney himself built – remember and put the 4 Keys and The Basics into action every day.

But that’s not me…that’s the magical world in Florida.

Now it’s time as I start my journey as young professional to figure out my brand. What values do I stand behind and what do I want people to think of when they hear Jessica Reynolds?

It is critical to remember that a brand is not a picture – that’s a logo. It’s not a witty or funny saying – that would be a slogan or a motto. A brand goes deeper and holds more substance. A brand is EVERYTHING about a person or product…the personality and the perception. (look at companies like Starbucks, Target & Starbucks)

But enough of a PR 101 review … let’s move back to the fun part … let’s create my new brand.

HA!

Not an easy task. After my years at Ohio State University learning about PR, I really don’t believe you create a brand – you already are one. It’s simply the matter of focusing and sharpening the details.

I want Jessica Reynolds to be vibrant and a little sassy (a favorite word of mine and one that I think fits me perfectly). You should think of a college-grad that  loves her buckeyes, shoes, sparkles and the color pink. I’m always up for an adventure and can’t wait to travel across Europe. I’ll stand up for anyone and am not afraid to speak my mind. I’m a firecracker who loves to laugh. BUT I also want to work for a company which aligns to my personal views, I want to make a difference in the world and I want to have a career I love.

Things that are important to me is my faith, my family, my friends and my happiness. I couldn’t live without the strength around me and all the encouragement and love I experience every day.

sisters ❤

My beautiful little sister and parents play a huge role in my life, and I want their support to be acknowledged in my brand.

Not sure about that last one? I believe when a person is happy – just simply happy with the world – they put off the most beautiful energy. How can you not want to be around someone that is smiling and positive? I don’t think you need to cross the line and be fake or cheesy … but I do believe that happiness is a mindset.

When you are happy and kind towards others, it always comes back around.

So the brand morphing begins! Stay tuned for my next post and I discuss some changes I’ve made, both in social media and beyond, that reflects my brand changing and becoming just JESSI 🙂

a little personal growth every month

Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends – Walt Disney

I stumbled across this quote while I was working in Orlando. One of my managers had some famous Disney quotes taped to the wall next to her desk and I loved seeing the focus Walt Disney put on quality service. Even during my  College Program the Disney Basics and the 4 Keys were taught, practiced and reinforced.

One great thing about my new job is the incredible room for personal growth. While I am learning my way around a “big-girl job” and slowly figuring out life as a college-grad, I am realizing what values are important to me – both personally and professionally. To help with my professional development, I am beginning to read one self-help book a month.

Not a huge commitment – but putting forth a small effort to (in a very inexpensive way) better myself.

April’s book is: Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Service by Ari Weinzweig.

Even though I’m just a few chapters in, the book is phenomenal! It is a written in a way that is easy to understand, and even more imporatant, easy to understand. What is the point of a self-help book outlining the way to interact with customers, handle complaints and reward employees for outstanding service if it’s full of theories and written in a way that takes forever to read? This book is highly accessible and written in a way that transports you from your house to a deli in Ann Arbor.

I am reading about the five elements on the Zingerman’s approach to service and three steps of great service. What has really struck a chord with me is the fact that company proudly empowers and rewards their employees for practicing great service. BUT Zingerman’s guide avoids the rut that some companies seem to fall victim – they define good service and reward it both formally and informally.

This book reinforces my belief that many small actions lead to great service. It isn’t hard to give customers or guest with outstanding service, but companies need to teach their employees, lead by example and they reward outstanding service.

Being positive, approaching guests with a smile and making sure that all guests’ needs are met (before they even can ask) are my three easy tips for great, Disney Princess service. And I think Mr. Zingerman himself would be proud.

More self-help/professional developement book reviews coming later!