Time to get an online presence

For the past 15 years, I’ve been the head of the communications department for a PK-12 public school district. The role has given me an opportunity to shape the organization’s brand and put my own stamp on it.

I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished: five successful referendums, national recognition in marketing and communications, a reputation as the state’s fastest growing school district, and a 2016 Reader’s Choice Award.

But until this week, I’d never reflected on the relationship between my employer’s brand and my own professional identity.

I’d say my professional brand, the thing that makes me a success in the workplace and those organizations where I volunteer, is my ability to act as an influencer, innovator, and imagineer. I use strong design and communication skills to create strategies that capitalize on marketing opportunities in cost-effective ways. I translate external challenges into actionable solutions for diverse products and individuals. I develop and lead training to sharpen teamwork, and build a common vision for individual, team and organizational success. I turn things upside down by looking at interactions from the stakeholder’s perspective, and use that understanding to create strategies that capture loyalty, trust and add value.

These abilities complement my employer’s brand. The Appoquinimink School District is a learning laboratory, a place where collaboration, innovation and technology manifest themselves in critical lessons in the classroom. (To see what the Appoquinimink School District is up to, follow us on Facebook.)

We’re both risk takers, and not afraid to say what we think.

But my professional brand is not reflected in my online presence. That’s one of the reasons I returned to the classroom this fall.

Hopefully, I’ll be building the knowledge needed to develop a comprehensive social media strategy for my organization and, at the same time, harness it’s power to gain recognition for my personal and professional strengths.

One of the most comforting thoughts about this whole process is the freedom I have to develop my own online voice and style. And the fact that I have 19 other bright, thoughtful classmates who will the sharing the journey with me.

My Pinterest inspiration for the week:

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life.”  —John Lennon