Cover While at DKNY, Aliza Licht managed one of the early social influencer accounts in the fashion world (Photo courtesy of The WealthiHer Network)

Aliza Licht, the communications executive behind the influential account @DKNYPRGirl and bestseller “Leave Your Mark”, shares tips for building your personal brand in this exclusive masterclass video

Imposter syndrome is a familiar sensation for many women. You know, that nagging voice in the back of your mind that may whisper, “you’re not meant to be here”—despite your skills, achievements, and leadership abilities.

In fact, 68 per cent of women in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Singapore report feelings of imposter syndrome, even at the highest levels of leadership, according to research from The WealthiHer Network, which is on a mission to drive the economic advancement of women globally. This second-guessing slows you down and can get you in the way of achieving your own potential.

Aliza Licht knows what that’s like and how to push beyond imposter syndrome. As a young woman in the stereotypically cutthroat world of fashion, she rose through the ranks to become a branding expert and pioneer in influencership. Proving that inspiration can come from anywhere, the TV teen drama Gossip Girl gave Licht the idea to establish @DKNYPRGirl, an anonymous Twitter account that captured the daily life of a fashion insider. 

As SVP of Global Communications for DKNY, Licht operated covertly under the @DKNYPRGirl handle for two years, building a following of over a million in the late 2000s. After coming clean about her identity, she continued tweeting as the character for another six years. When she announced her departure from DKNY in 2015, Teen Vogue described it as an “end of an era”, crediting Licht for officially putting “social media on the map for fashion”. 

Licht shares her insights in this exclusive masterclass video, created by WealthiHer in partnership with Front & Female. Check out the video—using the chapter timestamps to skip from the introduction to Licht’s story and her takeaways—and read a summary of her tips below.

 

The minute you have that feeling of ‘Oh God, I’m not sure if I can do this’, that’s exactly when you need to do it
Aliza Licht

1. Craft your message

What kind of impression do you make in real life and online? How do you converse on email, on text, on slack, on DM? What are the short and longform versions of your bio? Licht stresses the importance of getting these small, but essential, pieces of communications right and feeling consistent. Each of these should serve you professionally.

2. Spring clean your social media

Audit your social media channels and remove any posts or photos that don’t serve you professionally, especially if you’re planning on reaching out to people for opportunities. It’s a short-term effort which could reduce some reputational risks. “The timing of this spring cleaning is really important,” says Licht. “You have to do this before you start reaching out for interviews for jobs, before you start pitching VCs for investments.”

3. Act as your own publicist

There are so many opportunities throughout the day to be your own biggest advocate, you just have to look out for them. Your email signature, for instance, is a great place to let people know what you’re up to. It could point to a book you’ve written, a TV appearance, or an upcoming panel discussion. “You’re emailing all day and it’s such a non-aggressive way to share what you’re doing without overtly pitching,” says Licht. It’s a simple way to quickly contextualise who you are and what you’re doing.

See also: Tips For How To Reenter The Workforce With Confidence

4. Be loud and proud

Most people feel deeply uncomfortable when talking about themselves, but it’s really important to work to overcome this. Licht recommends amplifying the good work of others, as well as your own, to make it feel like a more even balance. She also recommends enlisting the help of a wingwoman before presenting your ideas in a meeting. “This way you automatically know that there’s someone cheering for you the minute you deliver that message.”

See also: SCWO CEO Angel Chan on Overcoming Imposter Syndrome and Balancing Work, School, and Her Family

5. Maintain your network on an ongoing basis

Have you ever been guilty of only getting in contact with someone when you need something from them? It’s not a great look, and it can damage your personal brand. Licht recommends reaching out to three people every day. Ask them how they are, and what they’re up to, then take notes so that you remember this information later down the track. “Building your network is not about collecting business cards, it’s about creating meaningful relationships with people over time,” says Licht.

6. Show up prepared with your pitch

As we return to in-person networking, it’s important to refresh your elevator pitch and your delivery of it in different social contexts. “I recommend having a one sentence intro for a cocktail party, a conference, or something that maybe is different like an impromptu meeting in an elevator with your CEO,” says Licht. The more strategically short your elevator pitch is, the more likely people are to remember you. Practise it with a friend or in front of a mirror to make sure you are conveying it in exactly the way you want. 

See also: How To Find A Mentor: 19 Tips On How To Make Mentors Work For You

7. Ask for warm introductions

There are a couple of rules to follow here. First, never ask someone in your network for a warm introduction and then, after you receive it, neglect to follow up with the person you’re being introduced to. This sends a message to the introducer that you don’t value their time. Second, always close the loop by thanking the introducer after a successful introduction. Not only does it solidify your relationship, but you also make the person who gave you the introduction feel amazing that it was fruitful.

8. Dedicate 20 per cent of your time to passion projects

In a concept that was popularised by Google, taking back 20 per cent of your time can have a positive impact on your personal brand and confidence. Licht applied this practise with the launch of her podcast in 2019. “When you start these things, you really don’t know where they’re going to go,” she says. After being knocked back from multiple production companies, she decided to self-produce the project, which now has more than 106 episodes.

Embracing projects such as these is a way to prove your worth to yourself, and they can be a great reminder that you can thrive outside your comfort zone. “At the end of the day, the power is in you to figure it out,” says Licht. “If you really take the initiative and you say to yourself ‘I can do this,’ you absolutely can.”

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