Over the past handful of years, somehow I’ve become known as “the shoe girl” in my office. My last job, my new job… people have taken notice that I’m definitely into shoes. And I have the closet to back it up. As well as VIP status on Zappos. What can I say? I love me some shoes. And as weird as this may sound, it’s become a part of my personal brand… which definitely has seeped over into the professional world. Despite the fact I’ve worked for some fairly conservative environments, and in Washington, DC no less. And despite the fact I’m an… HR gal. (Ha! But really – how do the HR folks in your company dress?!)

Shoes have become my thing – and that’s part of what a personal brand is all about, right? We all have “things” that we’re known for. And it’s pretty cool when you can find ways to have your personal brand become part of
your work. Take it beyond just your reputation. Be able to actually see it sprinkled into programs or initiatives you might be developing, which I’m really excited to see happen this week with a little project I’ve been working on.

This week, I’m pushing out and into public a pretty cool way I’ve infused that bit of my personal brand into a social media campaign I’m doing with job seekers. Now I’ve spent the past 10 years in the HR space and a lot of that time recruiting. These days, I’m working at the intersection of talent and the digital space. And that’s where shoes oddly come into play – enter… Put Your Best Foot Forward. The gist is simple.

Putting your best foot forward

Like a lot of employers, we have a Facebook page we use to engage with job seekers. But it’s not just somewhere for us to talk about job openings we have. Or at least I don’t want it to be. All of our engagement efforts in social media ultimately are aimed at supporting our talent communities in putting their best foot forward as job seekers. We want them to have that sense of confidence to deliver a firm handshake and their best answers in the big interview.

So from May 1 to 10, every day for 10 days straight, we are giving away a $100USD gift certificate to Zappos.com to help community members literally put their best foot forward in a new pair of shoes. Neat, right? Just click here.

Whenever I share with friends or colleagues about the promo, they know my fingerprints are all over it. Who else would try to figure out how to weave their obsession into their work? It works though, only because the idea isn’t necessarily that far flung from our strategic aims in being involved in social media. It is the only way the weaving of your personal brand into your professional ventures will work. Articulate your personal brand, align it to your organization’s goals, then figure out how to leverage one against the other. For me, it’s the perfect culmination of my personal brand and the professional brand I support. It’s me putting my unique stamp onto the work I do.

So how are you going about taking your personal brand to the next level? What’s your obsession? And how can you make that come to life in your work?


Jessica Lee is a former Personal Brand Award Winner and currently serves as director of digital talent strategy at Marriott International where she leads their talent related digital and social media efforts… which means she blogs, tweets, and plays on Facebook all day. Kind of. In what she’ll quickly tell you is her dream job, she’s working to differentiate and position Marriott to most effectively optimize innovative technologies to address the brand’s business needs in the talent space. Pretty cool what they’ve done already… and she’ll work to take it even further to the next level. Don’t be fooled by that fancy pants digital stuff though, she’s still an everyday HR gal in the trenches at the core. SPHR certified, a decade or so into trench HR life… she’s interviewed tens of thousands of job seekers over the years.