Ellevate Women and Their Personal Brand

I first heard about Sallie Krawcheck and her Ellevate Network a few months back while reading a Forbes.com article. I quickly joined the women's network after learning about her beliefs and mission to empower women to succeed. I knew I had found "my people" in the form of a large network. They offer free webinars and training, and last night I was able to attend one of their NYC networking events on the topic of personal branding. Now, I know what you are probably thinking. I've never had luck with those types of events or found women or businesses I truly connect with. I know how you feel, and I urge you to keep looking and to check out Ellevate to see if they have a chapter in your location. It will be so worth it!

I walked in last night and rode the elevator up with some warm and friendly women, and then was greeted at the check-in table where I'd get my name tag. Yup, the dreaded name tag, but I assure you that it is needed at these events because after you've met at least three people you are struggling to remember everyone's name and it almost feels like you are right back at sorority rush. Plus, you are usually juggling a wine glass, a plate of apps and your bag, and I found that it can be hard to exchange business cards. (So I suggest leaving the laptop behind and grabbing a girlfriend if that helps you to break the ice.)

Now, I wasn't there to photograph this event (although I did bring my camera as you'll see below), instead I was there to listen and learn. I don't know about you but after having babies and feeling like those brain cells had died off for a bit (you know the fog), I am finding it so gratifying to be out there and learning again in these types of settings. As a "solopreneur" I don't have these big corporations or even small companies hosting my "lunch and learning" sessions anymore, so these networking events or industry conferences are what help to get my juices flowing and these inspirational women did not disappoint. Pictured from Left to Right: Lazetta BraxtonClaudia ChanKelly WatsonSallie Krawcheck and Lesley Jane Seymour

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The event began with Sallie giving the warm welcome to us attendees and the introduction to MORE Magazine's Editor in Chief, Lesley. I was pleasantly surprised by her authentic stories and humor in front of such a large crowd (of complete strangers). I laughed A LOT and learned equally as much about branding, which happens to be a topic that I know quite a bit about as a mentor and coach to creative entrepreneurs. It turns out that each of these women would share their career journeys, which would include failures, falling on their face, and my favorite part... the triumphs! (If you are at all curious why personal branding should matter to you, find a copy of the Dec/Jan issue of MORE on news stands until the 27th. See the section below, and yes - I totally flag my fave articles (a guilty pleasure)!)

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One of the highlights of the evening was hearing Claudia speak. I could really relate to her journey and reinvention of herself. I wasn't expecting this much honesty and wisdom, and I was blown away. I walked up to her afterwards and told her that we needed to connect because our missions were similar. I meant it, so I handed her my business card and well... you'll have to stay tuned to see what develops.

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The biggest personal brand take aways that I wanted to share with you were these...

  1. Define and declare your personal mission (WHO are you serving and WHY)
  2. Figure out your authentic brand strategy and don't be afraid to be vulnerable
  3. Your brand extends to who you are online so embrace technology and social media

And lastly, brands aren't just for celebrities, corporations or C level execs anymore. So get on board ladies and learn how to develop yours today and share it with the world! If you have any questions email me at sarah {at} sarahlehberger {dot} com.

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And to Sallie, the fearless leader of Ellevate Network, who is bringing together women in such a positive way... thank you! We need more women like you, who are willing to embody the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi and “be the change that you wish to see in the world”.

Sarah Lehberger

Easton, CT

Sarah Lehberger is a photographer based on the shoreline of Connecticut, just 90 mins from New York City, in the small town of Easton. She specializes in photography that celebrates working Moms and their families. She is also a Co-Founder of She Will Thrive, providing business coaching, retreats and workshops to women entrepreneurs, creatives and small business owners.

Sarah's career started in the news and entertainment industry. A storyteller at heart, she began photographing weddings in 2003 while also working full time at Getty Images, NY in their editorial department. Sarah enjoyed the fast-paced and glamorous events she would collaborate on, yet deep down she was craving more purpose driven work. In 2005 she decided to leave the corporate world to launch her full time wedding business, which received numerous awards and features throughout the industry.

In 2013 Sarah rebranded her business so she could continue her mission to celebrate women, with a new focus on mothers. She feels strongly about empowering women and creatives to succeed, and has been a speaker at conferences such as ShootDotEdit's Unlimited Happiness Tour, Inspire Photo Retreats, as well as a past coach and mentor for Team X Academy.