“Everything you do and say is your personal brand, it’s just who you are. So, personal brand alignment is about becoming aware of that. And then being intentional and deliberate with how you show up in the world. So, you know when to ‘go, go, go’ to put yourself out there, and when to focus on self-preservation and rest. Your personal brand is the alchemy of how you balance all the things there are to balance.” said Janna Meyrowitz Turner, Entrepreneur, Investor and Activist.
Many of us want to reset professionally, especially after Motherhood. But it gets harder to find paths that are nimble enough for parenting yet challenging enough for growth. And when you’ve already invested a lot of money and time to get established, switching lanes in your career, can feel risky. But this is where a strong personal brand can make the difference and transform your options.
Janna distills gems, from her many years in public relations and brand strategy, on how to take the reins of your professional reputation and trajectory.
To Make Your Ideas More Visible
Janna explained, “Many women get feedback they need more visibility at work. Yet say, ‘I’m so busy doing the work, I don’t have time to talk about the work.’ Others say to me, ‘I’m best known for A but I really want to be known for B.’ Or ‘I am bifurcating all these different parts of myself, and I just want to bring them together.’ Which is really about integrity. And integrating all of the things that make you, ‘you’ into what you’re doing.”
They Don’t Have to ‘Go Viral’
Janna said, “There are a lot of people who are so great yet, their work doesn’t see the light of day.” Sigh. Although social media is one of the few free ways to reach people you don’t know, it’s time consuming. And doesn’t always create traction.
She explained, “There is no mass media anymore. We receive a constant stream of information but when you consistently show up, as who you are authentically, that’s when you’ll find other people like you. So, we need to be intentional. Because it’s much more important to share a thoughtful message with 50 people, than to try to appeal to 5,000.”
Learn to Use Your Relationship Capital
Janna wisely reminds us that personal growth is rarely comfortable. But she has a framework to help demystify the process. “In your personal economy, you have your time, money, and relationships. And when it comes to relationship capital, we tend to make a lot of deposits and don’t make a lot of withdrawals.”
And Teach People in Your Life How to Help
Janna said, “Remember, the reason why we want to make deposits, is because it feels good. We derive joy from helping others and contributing to something greater. So, who are we to rob other people of that joy of helping us?” Amen! Women are still underrepresented in leadership and receive less funding for our ideas or businesses. So, if we want to rise, helping each other is essential.
She added, “If people don’t know how to help you, then they can’t. I’m an entrepreneur but my friends think of me a certain way. And if no one knows how to hire me, what I do, or how to send clients my way, isn’t it my responsibility to actualize my relationship capital? Because people in my life want to help and I’m leaving that power on the table.”
Make Space to Reflect
You’re not imagining the barriers. Whether you’re an introvert or afraid of the fuzzy self-promotion etiquette, it’s tricky to share how awesome you are. Janna said, “A lot of that ‘stuckness’ we feel is also because we don’t have the words for it. So, when I do this work with people, I have a questionnaire. And pull out language that feels authentic to them. Then it’s a lot of rearranging and reflecting back what I see. As well as looking for the connective tissue between things they’ve said and done.”
And Seek Outside Perspectives
Many years ago, one of my managers said to “never write your own bio.” Because the temptation for women to be humble or self-deprecating is too great. So, consider seeking outside perspectives.
Janna said, “You’re too close to see it for yourself. But we have relationships with people who know, like, and trust us, who can help with these things. Or we can invest time and money into figuring these things out. Most of the high-achieving, smart, competent women that I work with, don’t take a lot of time to just stop and think. It’s just not in our nature to spend the time when it’s not on our To-Do Lists.”
Then Tell Your Unique and Authentic Story
Janna suggests, start with descriptive language that feels right. “Whether it’s writing notes to yourself, using mantras or other forms of positive self-talk, find new ways to speak to yourself about your work first. Then you can practice it on other people.”
Our priorities can be seasonal, and she explains this process is iterative. “And sometimes the most paralyzing question at a dinner party is, ‘what do you do?’ So, I’m honored to arm people with distinct ways to say what they do. Because it allows others to get interested, double click and ask for more.”
You Aren’t for Everybody. Be Selective
We all feel that deep human need to belong but it helps to set realistic expectations. Janna explains, “You’re always going to be too much or not enough for somebody. You can give the same presentation, and someone’s going to think that you lack self-esteem. And someone else, is going to think you’re a narcissist.”
Feeling grounded needs to happen internally. She added, “We’re looking for control and something to hold onto when our lives are moving fast. Because expressing who we are is so personal, personal brand alignment is an anchor. If you think about the metaphor of yourself as a tree, it’s your roots. You’ll sway in the breeze, but it’s a strong structure that is flexible.”
And Strategic About How You Show Up
“We don’t have to pretend to have all the answers,” Janna explains. “But we can be understood by others, and I want people to think about personal brand strategy as ‘being you’ on purpose.” Another cue to override the temptation to say what you think other people expect.
“So, if you’re getting dinged for being you but you feel okay about what you’ve done, that just means you have to recalibrate and realign some things in your life. We can’t control the systems around us. But what we can do, is incrementally work toward being more in alignment, with who we are and how we’re showing up.”
And Consider Your Environment
Maternal and gender bias are still rampant in the workplace. And if you’re also a person of color, disabled or LGBTQ+, the representation just isn’t there. So, we don’t always get the results or support we deserve when we self-advocate. So, figuring out where you’re most effective can take time.
Janna said, “To some degree, if you’re in an environment where it feels like there’s constant friction, whether it’s a workplace, social circle or neighborhood, then you do need to decide, is it me? Or am I in the wrong environment?”
Remember, priorities can be seasonal. So, give yourself time for reflection and grace as you move closer to your goals. “Until you have a clear sense of what being you on purpose looks like, and where you want to have impact, it can be choppy finding the right space to do that work. We are ever-evolving people in an ever-evolving world.”
Many thanks to the talented Janna Meyrowitz Turner!
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Janna Meyrowitz Turner is the President of Synastry Capital. She is a strategist focused on systems change, leadership development, and communication in all its forms, in every direction. She has been building values-aligned coalitions for over 20 years across CPG, fashion, tech, finance, entertainment, politics, advocacy, healthcare, wellness, food and more. Janna is a digital native with a deep network and a strong focus on the female consumer who make upwards of 90% of household purchasing decisions and are the largest voting bloc in the US.
At a young age Janna’s sociologist mother and media theorist father instilled in her a keen awareness of how we come to know what we know, and how media and other forces inform public perception and how we live our lives. At the age of 23 in 2006, after noticing a gap in the existing public relations landscape, she founded Style House, a forward-thinking boutique public relations and brand marketing firm serving fashion, beauty and wellness companies. Over 17 years, Style House became an award-winning strategic communications and business development consultancy known for taking a holistic, progressive, and multicultural lens to brand building, strategic partnerships, platform development, marketing, and communications.
Janna became a trusted strategic advisor to senior leadership teams on a broad range of issues – from internal and external affairs, preparation for board meetings, company retreats, and other pivotal public moments. Style House client work spanned from scaling a small family-owned beauty brand from $1.5M to $300M and a private equity acquisition, to supporting public companies (Estee Lauder, Deckers Corp., Global Brands Group), venture-backed startups (Function of Beauty, TULA, Werk) and legacy turnarounds (Prescriptives, WNBA).
In 2016 Janna started leveraging her operating and branding experience to both invest in and work alongside early-stage companies. She is now a dedicated advisor and angel investor in over 20 portfolio companies led by founders who are ambitious and expansive thinkers, display operational excellence, and are guided by triple bottom line business frameworks (people, planet, profit). She focuses primarily on communities often overlooked or misunderstood by traditional sources of capital — female, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and the innovative businesses that serve them. Janna has also led and participated in a number of early stage strategic investment syndicates designed to diversify access and ownership for underrepresented investors, as well as to arm founders with powerful catalysts for growth.
Today, through her cross-sector impact vehicle Synastry Capital, she harnesses her entrepreneurial spirit and vast network to help executives and entrepreneurs make their impact in the ever-changing world, and grow businesses with intention. Her signature Personal Brand Alignment work, conducted 1:1 and through keynotes, workshops, and group facilitation, is a blend of leadership coaching, spiritual centering, and talent management, designed to build personal and professional narratives that maximize happiness, impact and earning potential. Janna has spoken for global organizations, ERGs and communities including WarnerMedia, iHeartMedia, Anthemis Group, Pinterest, Chief, Kindred, Athletes Unlimited, Women of Color in Cannabis, Luminary, Palette Community and more.
Janna is the co-founder of VCs For Repro, a coalition of venture capital firms united in support of abortion access, which was honored as a Fast Company “World Changing Idea” for 2023.
Janna sits on the Advisory Board of Sparks & Honey, a cultural intelligence consultancy helping organizations take advantage of accelerated market change. She also serves on the Board of Directors for A Call To Men, a national violence prevention organization providing training and education on healthy manhood for communities of men and boys, and has also served as a mentor with the New York City Mayor’s Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity. Janna earned her BA in American Studies and Journalism at Brandeis University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their son.Tags: Achieving Goals, Career change for Moms, Career development, Career Development for Moms, Moms Career Growth, Moms Personal Growth, professional development, professional development for moms