Recap WITI Orange County - January 15, 2015

Sandy Kwiatkowski

February 08, 2015

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Recap - Professional Presence for Success
January 15, 2015 at Trace3, Irvine, CA

WITI OC kicked off the New Year by joining forces with PWU (Professional Women United) to help attendees learn how to tailor their image, including clothing, hair, makeup and accessories. Over 90 women gathered at Trace3 in Irvine, CA Thursday evening to hear tips from the pros and have professional headshots taken.

Deborah Kelly, the president of Professional Women United talked about her non-profit organization's three main goals: Philanthropy, Networking and Professional Development. Check out PWU's upcoming power lunch in February!

Kay Hunter, our first speaker, focused on how to develop your personal brand. "What is your image saying about you right now", asked Kay, a transformation artist who teaches people how to enhance their professional and personal success. Kay likes the analogy "Creating an A+ personal brand is like baking a cake - you need all of the ingredients (clothing, hair, makeup) and the frosting!" No one wants a generic brand. Don't go for easy/safe, it will make you invisible! Go for a strong presence (not too strong, don't try to be like Lady Gaga!). Be what works for you!

Most of us will focus on putting together the perfect PowerPoint presentation before an important meeting, but how many of us will think about how we put ourselves together? Our image can be just as important to a successful outcome as our presentation materials. Everyone needs presence, an "it" factor. She realizes that for many of us, it all comes down to time. We are last on our own list, so she had several tips to maximize our time.

Everyone's brand is different. If you are sporty, you won't be perceived as intimidating, but you also won't be taken very seriously. If your style is more traditional, you'll be perceived as someone who gets the job done. Take Kate Middleton; everyone feels good about her, so dressing like her gives the impression that you are elegant and in-charge. If you naturally appear intimidating, add a bit more femininity to your style to soften your impression.

Each person needs to determine which message fits her best. Whether you choose a designer watch, or a sporty watch, you are sending a message.

The same goes for your manicure (safe, bold, professional or sexy?), your accessories, your makeup and your clothing. A women without makeup (a 'natural face') is equivalent to a man going to work without shaving. Don't be that woman! Your hairstyle is also important. Especially if you have short hair. Kay joked, "You always want to look like something happened between the pillow and the office". Your accessories tell people that you pay attention to details. You are the type of person who "dots your I's and crosses your T's".

Kay then went on to discuss the dilemma of business casual. A good rule of thumb is "the more skin you cover, the more important you will appear!" Even your sleeve length is important. For more casual days, it's acceptable to wear a 3/4 sleeve, but you don't want to go shorter than that. Regarding jacket color, Kay urged us to consider something other than plain black; it can be invisible. Choose a color, or blends. As to the color of your clothes, this is one area that has a psychological as well as physical impact. The color or shade you choose can increase your effectiveness and will influence the impression you make. Pastels evoke tranquility; khaki is seen as reliable, dark blue equals strength.

The way to create your "intended" personal brand is to "Evaluate, Invest in 'you' and Take the time" to develop your personal brand. Keep in mind the importance of consistency.

Our next speaker was Jennifer Mann, a beauty consultant from Mary-Kay cosmetics. Jennifer has been with Mary Kay for over 17 years, and has extensive training in skin care and color cosmetic techniques. Jennifer shared some quick tips with the attendees, such as great time savers like CC cream, a tinted sunscreen that can give you an easy out-the-door option without that "made-up" look, and Mary Kay's eye primer, a waterproof formula that extends the wear of eye color and prevents it from creasing and smudging. Jennifer stressed the value of investing in a good set of makeup brushes. She said that blending your makeup is important ("blending is your friend"). She went on to talk about the shelf life of our makeup. One interesting fact is that you should replace your mascara every three months, even if you only wear it occasionally!

David Chandler, celebrity stylist, closed the speaking portion of our event. David stressed that your hairstyle is important for your image. He also spoke to the importance of having healthy hair. David stressed the fact that if the texture of your hair is right, it's easy to style. It's very simple: shiny, healthy hair is pretty! In responding to questions regarding the right products to help texture, he stressed that you should speak to your stylist for recommendations. If your hair is frizzy, use a smoother. If it's thin, use products that will add body. Texture can make your style last!

David had some advice for those of us who are a little older; once you reach the age of 40, our hair gets thinner. One thing to consider is using either clip-on hair extensions, or having extensions professionally applied. David also stressed the importance of a good hair cut for all women. Classic haircuts will always stay in style.

For all ages, David advised that your hair color should match your skin tone. Never go more than three levels different from your natural hair color. Remember that dark hair color will make you look pale. To keep some nice gray while blending it in with your other hair, ask your stylist to weave the hair with color. Tell your stylist to get closer to the roots for maximum effect. Never go more than 6 weeks without retouching your color.

Hair products also have a shelf life. Most products should be replaced after two years. Invest in the right products; don't use just any product you can buy in the store. His suggestion for the best hair straightening method is YUKO Hair Straightening. This is only for professionals, but is one of the best.

All of our panelists spoke to attendees one-on-one and in small groups for the rest of the evening. Overall, there was something for everyone! We all took away some great advice, and a lot of information on how to maximize our "PROFESSIONAL PRESENCE FOR SUCCESS!"

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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