How to Brand Yourself Professionally – Q&A with Beth Pinder

How to Brand Yourself Professionally – Q&A with Beth Pinder

Beth PinderAs Chief Operating Officer of Campus Advantage, Beth Pinder leads the Management Services division and oversees the operations of the company’s portfolios. Known for her ability as a builder of teams, processes, procedures, and more, she has successfully grown teams, launched offices, and overseen operations to portfolios in the U.S., South America, and Europe. Beth has a passion and expertise in sales, marketing, training, revenue management, new development, on-site operations, and more. Today, she shares how her experience in the industry as a leader helped shape her personal brand — and gives advice to those just starting their journey.

Can you give a brief summary of your professional background and career experience?

I have worn many hats throughout the years, and I’ve learned many things along the way. I started at the site level, and I love having that unique perspective when making decisions. It really helps me maintain my perspective on what is truly important. I would say my career progression was not necessarily planned but rather due in part to raising my hand and saying, “I’ll do it,” sometimes when no one else wanted to. I recognized opportunities to meet people who really changed the course of my career and was willing to try things that weren’t necessarily in my wheelhouse or comfortable. I don’t know if I ever set out with the intention to be the chief operating officer of a property management company, but I know that I am doing exactly what I think I was meant to do.

How would you define your own personal brand? What are you known for?

What I’ve learned about myself throughout my career is that I am a builder of things, whether that’s a process, a procedure, or people. I have a strength for assessing a situation and determining how best to improve. Whether it is positioning an asset, improving processes, or building a team. Applying what comes naturally to me has created so many different opportunities along the way. So maybe my brand is Beth the Builder!

I also think if you were to ask people that I’ve had interactions with over time, that a lot of people might use a word that most don’t use a lot in business: love. I genuinely love my job, and I love my teams and sincerely want to see them do well. I am a there-for-you, call-me-anytime-of-the-day type of person. I do not find difficult conversations uncomfortable for this very reason. I really want to see people achieve their highest potential and that cannot happen without creating trust and transparency.

What would you tell someone starting their career how to begin shaping their brand?

I believe confidence is crucial. It’s important to remember, especially starting out, that you don’t have to know everything. I jumped at every opportunity to be at the table with other verticals in our space, and I’ve literally been at tables before where someone was speaking about their area of expertise and I had to Google it. That is how you learn! It’s all about knowing who you are, having confidence in your specific skillset, and knowing that you belong. I welcome every chance to be in a room where I can learn something, and good leaders will put you in that room even when you are not quite ready.

I would also say to be authentic to who you are as a person. You never want your brand to be built around something fake or ingenuine. That will get exhausting. Whatever it is you do, whatever messaging you’re getting out there, be authentic to who you are. Even the insecurities, even the failures — people love to connect with real people and stories. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be polished. It just has to be real.

How do you think mentorship and networking play into growing a personal brand?

Getting a good mentor, especially one who you trust and can guide you, is super, super important. There’s also so many organizations to get involved with, especially in this industry. It’s all about putting yourself out there — meeting people, accepting invitations to speak on panels, accepting invitations to be quoted in publications — and putting yourself in a position to be the expert in what you do. A good leader will also make sure you have opportunities to grow and the training you need to get there. I push my team to take advantage of these kinds of opportunities because it helps shine a light on the leaders they truly are.

In your opinion, is it more difficult to build a brand while working with a remote team?

Yes, especially because when it comes to my style of leadership (and just my personality), I am all about collaboration. So, when adjusting to working remotely, the most important thing was creating connections and building relationships — over phone calls, Teams, wherever we could. It was all about building trust, being there for my team, and going to battle with them day in and day out to let them know I am here for them.

How can social media be leveraged to build a personal brand?

Using LinkedIn is a huge way to push your professional brand and get your name out there. It can be used to form relationships by supporting others in their journey, keep up to date with what’s going on, share your thoughts, and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Success in social media is all about consistency — doing one post every month or so probably isn’t going to do it. You can brand yourself on any platform by pushing out the messaging that you identify with and doing it consistently. Define what you want to be known for. Become an expert at it. And then get yourself out there.

What are some ways a person can destroy their personal brand?

From a marketing perspective, a brand always has a brand promise. And when you don’t live up to that promise — when you don’t put your money where your mouth is — that’s when your brand suffers. It’s important to not just live up to your expectations but to exceed them and be a person of your word. Be consistent. Be clear about your expectations and overachieve.

Are there any examples of professionals who have branded themselves successfully that you can share?

Honestly, what Catalyst has done in the past two or three years has been pretty phenomenal. Both in their branding and their social media presence. Every time I see something of theirs, I see the personality in it. And I feel connected because, whether they’re talking about their dogs or their work, it feels real, authentic, and human.