Category: Leadership

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.


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.

March 2020: #AndrewCuomo – A New Leadership Brand is Born

Posted March 31, 2020 by Catherine Kaputa in Leadership, Personal Branding / 0 Comments

What a difference a crisis makes!

Governor Cuomo’s daily disaster briefings on Covid19 are now must-see TV not only in New York but around the country. His live presentations have catapulted his personal brand in a matter of weeks from a governor who was respected but had a likeability problem according to polls into the leader of the moment. Now he has a passionate fan base rooting for him to become the Democratic nominee for president #PresidentCuomo

His detailed slide-show briefings are like chicken soup for the soul in a world caught up in this horrible new reality of the moment.

Here’s the Governor’s winning recipe:

Big on facts – Light on bluster

Straight talk – Not wishes and hunches

Empathy for the sick – And their caregivers

Focus on strategy – Not helter-skelter changes in direction

Intense – Yet calming

I feel better knowing he’s in charge and plan my day to make sure I can tune into his updates live. He mixes the cruel reality of what’s going in in New York portrayed in his slides with words of wisdom like “Find ways to create some JOY,” and gives us an example of how he’s creating joy with his daughters.

His presentations seem to speak to every listener personally as I imagine Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s fireside chats did over the radio during the bleakest days of World War II.

Thank you for your leadership. It gives us hope.