Grace Meng, Carolyn Maloney, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nydia Velázquez, and Yvette Clarke
Credit: Cheriss May/NurPhoto

Roxanne Flores, a native of Brooklyn, NY, is Vice President, Human Resources & Chief Diversity Officer at Meredith Corporation, a role she assumed in April 2018 when the company acquired TIME, Inc. Roxanne oversees all aspects of the company's human resources worldwide, including talent development, employee engagement, labor relations and compensation and benefits.

Happy New Year, Chica!

I'm hoping you had a wonderful holiday season. If you're like me, somewhere in the middle of the holiday mayhem you made time to recharge and reflect on the year ahead. Who are you? Who do your family, friends and coworkers think you are? Is there a consistent thread there?

Self-branding is an important first step to success. A disconnect between perception and reality can deter you from reaching both your personal and professional goals. So, this first post of 2019 will be dedicated to helping you define yourself in four steps.

1. Describe the qualities that make you uniquely you.

How do people describe you? What do they call on you for? Are you collaborative? Do you prefer to work alone? Are you a problem solver? Are you good under pressure? Know there is no right or wrong answer to these questions. Once you have your answers, you are better positioned to find who you are and who you are not. Take some time to put some key words together. And in the process, remember the 3 Cs of branding: Clarity, Consistency and Constancy.

2. Get reactions from people you trust: peers, friends and family.

Brand perception is owned by the people around you, not you. Regardless of the message you think you are putting out, whatever people are thinking and/or saying about you IS your brand. So, ask them what they think your attributes, strengths and areas of growth are. If they can easily tell you — and there is consistency between what they say and how you described yourself — then you've succeeded in branding you.

3. What does Google say about you? Don't know? Check!

I assure you that you're being researched. Make sure that you're proud of your footprint. You've heard it said that first impressions are important. We like to believe that we don't judge a book by its cover or a person by what they say, what they're wearing or how they appear, but the reality is that we do.

If you don't like what you find, you can use sites that can assist you in cleaning up your online footprint. And please, make sure that your personal social media accounts are private!

4. Get out there….

Who are your peers? Who do you admire in the space you're in? What professional organizations are they a part of? Get to know them and stay in touch with people you respect in your industry. Networking and forming relationships both internally and externally are a great way to get to your next opportunity. I landed my last four jobs through recommendations from people I had worked with or for in the past.

The work involved in uncovering and establishing your brand may seem daunting, but your efforts can benefit you immeasurably. Your unique brand message differentiates the best you have to offer, gives a good indication of what you're like to work with and shows how you make things happen.

So go for it, ¡manos a la obra! You only have everything to gain. Until next week.