Queen Elizabeth II: The Epitomy of Royalty and Leadership

Posted September 10, 2022 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

At a time when hereditary monarchies are not popular, the popularity of Elizabeth II was amazing. She was the embodiment of Britain: the foundation of the country’s national identity.

And she was amazing to behold in her brightly colored coats and matching hats as she spoke of duty and courage in the face of difficulty in her public addresses.

Elizabeth II was the epitome of royalty. She was polite, reserved, and obedient to the constitutional mandate of her reign.

She has all the trappings of royalty—the regalia – the palaces, the throne, the jewels, and the crown. And ceremonial pageantry – the processions, the carriages, the palaces.

Her regal monogram: E.R. for Elizabeth Regina appeared everywhere. Her image was on pound notes and stamps.

Yet she seemed down-to-earth and interacted well with ordinary people. I watched her getting a case of the giggles speaking via Zoom to the Jamaican bobsled team who were training in the UK before they set off to compete in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

There is also the feeling that she is not just a steady hand at the wheel, but a savvy leader. She insisted on personally driving Crown Prince Abdullah, of Saudi Arabia, the leader of a country that didn’t allow women to drive at the time, when he visited her at Balmoral, Scotland.

No wonder she is admired throughout the world. She stood for tradition, virtue, national unity, duty. Truly a timeless personal brand.



Should you go gray? It may depend on your gender

Posted August 29, 2022 by Catherine Kaputa in Careers, Personal Branding, Women / 0 Comments

While gray hair for men in the office often brands you as the wise sage who brings gravitas and experience to a meeting, gray hair (and age) is rarely an asset for women.

In her Washington Post opinion piece, “Thank You, Miss Clairol, columnist Ruth Marcus tells the story of Lisa LaFlamme, 58, the anchor of Canada’s most-watched nightly news show. LaFlamme was sacked after 35 years with the CTV network and replaced by a 39-year-old man. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/08/23/lisa-laflamme-gray-hair-workplace-sexism/

According to reports, La Flamme, like many women, decided to go gray during the pandemic. Her new boss reportedly asked, “who approved the decision to let Lisa’s hair go gray?”

Really? Does an adult woman need permission to go natural?

Fair or not, the reality in study after study is that women are under more scrutiny in terms of how they look. Appearance counts more for women and age hurts women more than men in how they are viewed. That’s why Ruth Marcos colors her hair (as do I).

It reminds me of a remark by Dee Dee Myers, the first female presidential press secretary: “People can’t hear a word that a woman says until they decide if they like her hairstyle or not.”



Who’s Looking Out for You?

Posted August 15, 2022 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

The new world of work isn’t all about power to the people, flexibility to work at home, and Kumbaya. You have to keep on your toes in the new world of work.

Big Brother may be watching. There’s more monitoring of how you spend

your day such as virtual clock in and out, tracking work computer usage and

monitoring emails and other internal communications through surveillance


It’s “The Rise of the Worker Productivity Score,” according to Jodi Kanto and Arya Sundaram in the New York Times, August 15, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/08/14/business/worker-productivity-tracking.html

“Across industries and incomes, more employees are being tracked, recorded and ranked,” according to NYT reporting.

Worker productivity surveillance fosters productivity and accountability says companies using surveillance softer. It’s inhumane and inaccurate say many employees. The problem is that most of the surveillance software doesn’t track offline activity like mentoring, thinking, writing on paper, or talking with colleagues. Unless you constantly jiggle your mouse in meetings or other off-line activities, you’re just labeled as “derelict” in many systems. (Check out TikTok for videos on fooling the trackers.)

As timeless wisdom says, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that is counted counts (attributed to Albert Einstein).

Watch out if you are using devices provided by your company. Best to

have personal conversations and activities on your own devices.

The metamorphosis of the workplace can make anyone feel uneasy. We

have to accept that change is no longer unusual, it’s the rule.

Transformation is the new status quo. You can’t rely on the company to

take care of you. That went away with the gold watch upon retirement. Most

companies are fighting for their own survival anyway.

You have to take care of yourself. #surveillance #employeesurveillance  #workerproductivity

Will the new world of work be like an Edward Hopper painting?

Posted August 2, 2022 by Catherine Kaputa in Branding, Careers, Personal Branding / 0 Comments

During the pandemic and the rise of remote and virtual working, I started talking to clients, colleagues, and friends about how all of these changes would affect us in the long term. In many ways, the pandemic accelerated trends already happening – the shift to a more remote, digital and virtual workplace, a less hierarchical organizational structure, and a realignment of industries fueled by new technologies.

As I talked to more people, I started working on a book, The New Brand You: How to Wow in the New World of Work that will come out in the fall. You can preorder here.

 So far the office wars are continuing over remote vs hybrid vs in-office. Many workers are digging in their heels about remote working and they have the upper hand due to the job shortage. Many corporate bosses are hoping the old way of working together in an office comes back in full force in the fall.

Wall Street Journal columnist, Peggy Noonan, makes a compelling argument about the importance of working together for both organizational and national culture. “I don’t want America to look like an Edward Hopper painting,” in an article titled, “The Lonely Office is Bad for America”

No one knows for sure how the office wars will end. But one thing, I believe is certain, you will have to be an adept marketer of Brand You in the new world of work.


Want to Increase Your Sales Success? Grow a Beard!

Posted July 29, 2022 by Catherine Kaputa in Branding, Personal Branding / 0 Comments

Good-bye to the superiority of the clean-shaven face. Beards have the advantage according to a study by behavioral psychologist Sarah Mittal published in the WSJ on July 29, 2022: https://www.wsj.com/articles/beards-sales-marketing-research-11658425250?mod=hp_jr_pos2 The study was originally published in The Journal of Business Research, August 2021

Men with beards scored 10.6% higher in “expertise” and 11.6% higher for “trustworthiness” compared to a clean-shaven salesperson.

It’s the power of visual identity, which I discuss in my new book, The New Brand You, coming out in the fall of 2022. (You can preorder at: https://www.amazon.com/New-Brand-You-World-Work/dp/1399804065/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3MPQ50IVIOI4K&keywords=9781399804066&qid=1653313554&sprefix=9781399804066%2Caps%2C52&sr=8-1 

Visual identity is particularly potent in first impressions. Surprisingly it only takes a person only a few seconds to assess you based on how you look. As Dr. Mittal who conducted the beard study pointed out, “we immediately use visual cues to assess whether we think they know what they are doing…and if we should trust them.”


Women are more likely to be asked to do dead-end work

Posted July 26, 2022 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

And women are more likely to say yes!

It’s a mistake for any one – man or woman –  to take on too many “extra” assignments that are outside your job profile. These are things that are more busywork than important to your job’s focus. This includes things like attending luncheons for new hires or 60-minute meetings where you’re only involved in a ten-minute segment.

Taking on too much busywork is not smart for the obvious reason. Busywork eats up your time so you’re stressed or have to neglect some of the important things your career success depends on. You have to pick and choose, and bow out when the extra load is too much.

Granted, saying no isn’t easy. Women have a harder time saying no according to a study by Lise Vesterlund, an economist at the University of Pittsburgh reported by Rachel Feintzeig, “Just Say No to Busywork, The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2022.

Extra tasks like mentoring young employees can be extremely satisfying, as a colleague I’ll call Penny relayed to me. She didn’t feel that she could turn down requests to interview potential hires and mentor new employees. Penny felt mentoring was especially important during the pandemic when everyone was working from home to retain employees during the Great Recession. But the requests continued and Penny continued to say, “Yes.”

Unfortunately, when her annual review came around, Penny was criticized for not being more involved in big strategic initiatives as many colleagues were.

As Penny discovered, it’s important to set guidelines for how many “good to do” extra assignments you take on. You need to have time to do what counts most so you “brand” yourself as an essential employee who plays an important role in the company’s mission. #womensleadership #careersuccess


Will you be penalized if you choose to work from home?

Posted July 16, 2021 by Catherine Kaputa in Branding, Careers, Women / 0 Comments

During Covid, you were forced to work from home.

Now, if you choose to work from home, you’re choosing to not be in the office.  And that doesn’t sit well with many bosses.

Bosses often assume you’re doing less when you opt for hybrid or remote work.

The reality is the opposite.

A January Gartner survey of 4,258 employees found that 43% of remote workers and 49% of hybrid workers were highly engaged, compared with 35% of on-site workers.

Bosses favoring office workers could stall career growth for working-from-home employees, particularly parents and especially mothers, who choose to work from home as the better choice to juggle their workload.  https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-uneven-odds-for-promotions-with-hybrid-work-11626062462?page=1

Free Britney: A Powerful and Memorable Battle Cry

Posted July 15, 2021 by Catherine Kaputa in Branding, Famous People / 0 Comments

For years, Britney Spears quietly lobbied for her freedom to manage her own life and be free from the restrictive conservatorship that shackled her.

Britney is one of the most famous people in the world, a personal brand who we all know. Yet speaking privately and softly for her rights year after year got her nowhere according to reporting by the New York Times.  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/22/arts/music/britney-spears-conservatorship.html 

Now, she’s speaking out publicly. She’s speaking loudly, emotionally and specifically about all the freedoms denied to her. Alas, she’s taken back her power.

Britney’s plight and shocking revelations she made in court have captured the attention of the world. It spawned a movement and united people around the battle cry,  #Free Britney.

The unfairness of her predicament has galvanized her followers and the public at large. https://www.newyorker.com/news/american-chronicles/britney-spears-conservatorship-nightmare

But Britney’s cause could have impact far beyond her personal story. It could change how conservatorships and guardianships are handled legally in the United States according to media sources.

Based on what we’ve learned from Britney’s situation, it’s time.


Does Zoom Give Women a Louder Voice in Meetings?

Posted July 13, 2021 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Zoom levels the playing field in corporate meetings giving women equal footing according to Jennifer Nasan, Global Chair of Investment Banking at J.P. Morgan in a July 3, 2021 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

“Zoom is the great equalizer. Everyone’s box is the same size. It doesn’t matter if you are the CEO or the summer intern, your real estate is the same. A box with a name but no title became a tool of empowerment. Your name and face are consistently visible, making you more memorable, familiar and known. When you speak it is very hard for anyone to interrupt and it is also very hard to be ignored with your face staring back. You get invited to a lot of meetings that you wouldn’t have attended if travel were involved. I have witnessed many women in investment banking, young women in particular, find their voices and project newfound confidence in this virtual square. Remember, this is an industry still dominated by men and the physical manifestations of assertiveness and power.”


Ms. Nason’s opinion piece has received lots of pushback from female and male WSJ readers:

“False narrative that women need guidance on how to participate in meetings”

“Female of male, if you act like a shrining violet in the workplace, it’s on you”

“Aren’t we past women’s empowerment by now?”