The Fall of Sam Bookman Fried

Posted December 14, 2022 by Catherine Kaputa in Branding, Famous People / 0 Comments

I can’t stop reading the unfolding story of Sam Bankman Fried (or SBF as he goes by). The former CEO of FTX’s meteoric rise and crash takes the breath away.

SBF casts himself as the boy genius in his cargo shorts, stretched out t-shirts and wild hair, a getup that, according to the New York Times “telegraphs to the world somebody who doesn’t have the time to worry about what they are wearing because they are thinking big, world-changing thoughts.”  

Rarely has there been as educational example of the power of visual identity, a concept that I discuss in my new book, “The New Brand You: How to Wow in the New World of Work.”

His personal branding screams crypto nerd. How many of us could figure out that underlying value in crypto anyway? It was a new arena that few understood. But he did (we thought).
Sandman Fried aligned himself with “effective altruism,” a new concept in philanthropy in which you aim to make a lot of money with the intent of giving it all to charity.

What a storyline! What a visual identity! 

Kyrsten Sinema Has Gone Rogue Not Surprising: She’s a Maverick

Posted December 9, 2022 by Catherine Kaputa in Leadership, Personal Branding / 0 Comments

I’ll tell you why I like mavericks, they are hard to predict, and a continuous source of surprise and breaking news. Today, Kyrsten Sinema didn’t disappoint. She got everyone’s attention when she announced that she is leaving the Democratic party and becoming an independent.

Here’s what she said in her written announcement:

“We [Arizonans] make our own decisions, using our own judgment, and lived experiences to form our beliefs. We don’t line up to do what we’re told, automatically subscribe to whatever opinions the national political parties dictate or view every issue through labels that divide us.”

As much as business titans, political leaders, and celebrities are part of the mythology of this country, so are mavericks. (Think Tom Cruise as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick.)

We have a soft spot for the rebel—the lone defiers of convention, the irreverent ones who don’t follow the rules but accomplish remarkable things, the outliers who cut their own path and succeed.

If you’ve got the chutzpay to go against the crowd, positioning yourself as a maverick can be a powerful positioning strategy for you too.

Maverick positioning is one of the top ten personal brand positioning strategies I discuss in my new book, The New Brand You: How to Wow in the New World of Work.

Executing this personal brand positioning is simplicity itself: Everything the traditional leader stands for in your industry, you are the opposite (within reason).

It’s easy to follow what everyone else is doing. Like Sinema, you don’t believe that
success comes from doing the expected.

Look at the culture on Capitol Hill where Sinema “works.” It is a place known for its traditions, rules and protocols. The women usually dress for subtlety. It was not a place for mavericks in eyebrow-raising clothes, until Sinema, came along.

She likes to stand out. At her Senate searing in, she was reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe with her platinum curls and stilettos.

She’s a free thinker and not a fan of convention, either in clothes, hairstyles or following along party lines on Democratic initiatives. Now she won’t have to do that.

It will be interesting to see how her maverick antics play out when she’s up for re-election in 2024. But as a maverick, she is hardwired for challenge, the more ambitious the better.

How Can More Women Brand Themselves for the Corner Office?

Posted December 8, 2022 by Catherine Kaputa in Branding, Leadership, Women / 0 Comments


Women, who hold about 25 percent of leadership roles in Fortune 100 companies, still rarely break into the top three jobs: CEO, president or chief operating officer. Only about six percent of women hold these top three titles, a number that has been flat for two decades.

Women in top jobs tend to congregate in support roles like legal, finance, marketing and human resources.

How can more women break into the top echelon? Here are five moves ambitious women should make to break into the top three jobs from my new book, “The New Brand You: How to Wow in the New World of Work.”

1. Make personal branding a priority: Realize that personal branding is not optional in the new world of work with hybrid, remote and in-office working. It wasn’t easy to be recognized when everyone came to the office in person every day. It’s even more challenging now.

2. Actively seek a role with P&L responsibilities: General managers and positions in operations have profit-and-loss responsibility. It’s the yellow brick road to the corner office and you must take that path if you want one of the top three jobs in the company.

3. Seek out projects in the sight line of the CEO: You must get your work and talents recognized by the right people beginning with the top honcho. Don’t wait to be tapped. Volunteer.

4. Speak up in meetings: It’s not easy when you are in meetings with Alpha. males, but figuring out ways to break through the noise with your point of view is critical.

5. Dress like a CEO in waiting: It may seem superficial, but looking the part is important. Clothes are silent ambassadors who convey power messages about you. Women are scrutinized more than men in terms of visual identity, clothes and hair styles, so let it work in your favor.

Taking these five steps can help women break through the strongest glass ceiling of all?—?the one protecting the top three executive jobs in corporations.

How to Conquer Your FOMO as a Remote Worker

Posted November 14, 2022 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

You may relish the freedom, sense of control, and efficiency you get working remotely, but there are risks.
If you decide to WFH and you almost never drop into the office, you’ve got to fret about FOMO (fear of missing out), the constant worry about being out of the loop and out of mind. For many remote workers, it will simply be MO.

You can miss out on the camaraderie and connection that take place naturally between coworkers. You can miss out on the impromptu meetings in the hall with senior leaders and colleagues that bloom into something bigger.

People who work together in a traditional office have a much “richer” personal experience not to mention exposure to senior executives and coworkers. It’s easier to collaborate and build relationships when you can look someone in the eye, read their body language, and hear their voice. Interacting in person is critical for company culture, innovation, and collaboration many managers believe.

So you do have reasons to worry about missing out unless you have a strategy. Read my article in Fast Company for seven ways to cure your FOMO. 

Personal Branding is Not Optional for Women: Find Out How at the Virtual Women’s Summit

Posted September 25, 2022 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

One of my passions, as many of you know, is women’s success in the workplace.

The good news is women are getting promoted into executive roles at the largest US companies faster than men. It’s a trend that began in 2001 and was still true in 2021 according to a recent study by the Wharton School of Business.

Yet: Women, who hold about a quarter of leadership roles, still rarely break into the highest levels: CEO, president, or chief operating officer. Only about 6% of women hold these titles, a number that has been flat for two decades. Women tend to hold the top job in support roles like legal, finance, marketing, and human resources.

How can more women break into the top echelon?

I believe that personal branding can help. Promoting yourself by communicating your strengths and actively seeking out leadership roles, especially ones with P&L responsibility, are areas where women can have some catching up to do according to studies.

Whether your ambitions are great or more down-to-earth, you need to avoid becoming invisible in the new world of work. Even if you don’t want the corner office, you do want to be recognized and fairly compensated for your accomplishments. And you want balance in your life.

In the new world of work, women are more likely to seek remote, hybrid or flexible roles according to studies, and that can leave women visibility challenged and hurt career advancement. That is unless you have a personal branding action plan so that you’re not overlooked for important assignments and promotions. After all, if no one knows your accomplishments, they don’t really count. It’s your job to make them known.

Come to the Virtual Women’s Conference Kicking Off on September 26

The sixteen women’s leadership experts speaking at the Unleash Your Inner Power, Break Through Barriers, and Step Into Your Greatness Summit will show you how. I’ll be sharing my tips and story with the summit hostess, Maria Victoria, on September 26, and I’ll talk a little bit about my new book, The New Brand You: How to Wow in the New World of Work.

I have a complementary ticket for you to attend. You can register using this link:

Watching the Queen’s Funeral Today Reminded Me of Why…

Posted September 19, 2022 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

I couldn’t stop watching the Queen’s procession and lying in state culminating in her funeral in Westminster Abbey today. I am an American. I’ve never met the queen. Yet I couldn’t take my eyes away from the spectacle, the miles of mourners, and the pageantry. I realized the importance of taking part in history, showing respect for a woman who achieved so much, a woman who represented duty, goodness and leadership.

That’s why I was so thrilled when my friend Maria Victoria told me that she was hosting an online show on women and success. The idea was born out of her own experience as a wife and mom who found herself trapped and not having the life she really wanted. I’ve been there too and will share my story and talk a little bit about my new book, The New Brand You: How to Wow in the New World of Work.

The Summit is: Unleash Your Inner Power, Break Through Barriers, and Step Into Your Greatness summit.

I have a complementary ticket for you to attend. You can register using this link:


Posted September 13, 2022 by Catherine Kaputa in Branding, Leadership, Personal Branding / 0 Comments

Marketers often think in terms of “owning a word” like Google and “search,” Amazon and “e-commerce” and Volvo and “safety.”

Owning a word helps a brand dominate a category, so when you think of the word, you think of the brand, and when you think of the brand, you think of the word.

Who do you think of with the word, “duty.”

Queen Elizabeth II, of course.

Queen Elizabeth II achieved something rare for a person. She came to be recognized as an icon in her lifetime – a personal brand dedicated to duty her entire life

She stood out as a symbol of duty for over seventy years in a changing world. But that’s not to say that she was all duty and no fun. She parachuted into the Olympic Stadium in London in 2012 with James Bond (Daniel Craig) and launched her Platinum Jubilee Celebration with a video with Paddington Bear.

Queen Elizabeth II understood the importance of humanizing her role as a queen with humor.

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.

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.”