Ain’t no mountain high enough!

So on Sunday, February 10th, Diana Ross will celebrate her 75th birthday with a special performance at the Grammy Awards. 

You know she inspired me to have a career in music right?! I LOVE HER SO MUCH! 

I mean this woman has done it all before doing it all was a thing. She was in the first female supergroup The SurpremesShe went solo successfullyShe had an acting career with The Wiz and Lady sings the blues.Her performances where over the top which made her an icon (the gay community stills sings “I am coming out” and loves her!)

But what I never realized is how great of a mom she is. I read this bit from an interview in W magazine by her famous actress daughter Tracee Ellis Ross and I had to share it with you.


“I was raised by a woman who lived out her dreams. So she’s not living them out through me, or her children. She really gave us space and the courage to live the lives that we want to be living, and to have time to dream and conjure up the life that I wanted to be living. I could really curate or design the world I wanted to be living in. And one of the biggest things that I took from that, for myself, that my mom didn’t necessarily share with me, is the best way to design my life around me is actually to know who I am and not live according to what other people think I should be doing, but to have a curiosity that pushes up against the status quo. To say, “Does that work for me? Is that something I want?” So I got to have the example of my parent really being her full self. It’s given me a lot in my life.”


OMG I LOVED THIS. 

Because this is what I have been saying for the last 5 years, this is the essence of BrandedU. Empowering more women to design their own lives. To authentically live out your dreams.  

If you do that you not only inspire your kids like Diana Ross did but also other women to follow this path.

XOXO,
Nancy

P.S. Are you joining us for the International Women’s Day Summit next month?
Check out the speakers we got confirmed below!

Anika de GrootDirector Fundraising & Communications Dance4Life
Annelies ValkSenior Global Brand Strategy Manager Vodafone
Dr. Yvonne Thompson CBEEntrepreneur and author
Elske Doets MD and Owner Jan Doets America Tours
Enny van de VeldenChair of the board of Directors and CCO CCV Group B.V.
Eva HukshornStrategy Advisor Re-Born
Hajir HajjiCommercial Director Action
Heena JethwaDigital Workplace Services Leader IBM
Hendrikje CrebolderDirector Development & Media Rijksmuseum
Jackie ReardonAuthor, entrepreneur, speaker and life coach
Jane TurnerHead of the Rijksprentenkabinet Rijksmuseum
Khadija AribPresident House of Representatives
Laura ViscoExecutive Creative Director 72andSunny

“She works hard for the money
So hard for it, honey
She works hard for the money
So you better treat her right”

She works hard for her money (part 2)

This is a song I have drawn inspiration from before (back in May 2017). But guess what, it is just a multifaceted song and it inspired me again this week.

“She works hard for the money 
So hard for it, honey 
She works hard for the money 
So you better treat her right”

So many women work hard and are loyal to the company where they are at. They do their jobs and then some, yeah they give a lot. But why is it that only men still rise to the top? We have more women studying and getting the degrees so it is not that we are not capable. I know there is a missing link. 

Want to know what that is?

We focus too much on short term results. It’s not the harder you work, the faster you reach the top. It’s all about how you make the hard work that you do matter. Women need to stop only focussing on their jobs (I can’t join you for that network event Nancy because I have to finish my presentation or I can’t start this course because my boss needs me to …..) and let their careers matter. Without visibility, hard work will only carry you so far. And I started BrandedU because your hard work should count. I have seen so many women who are amazing at their jobs not get the credits they deserve. It works the same with music artists. Artists work hard and are just as good at what they do like women.The only difference is that they use a stage to perform and make their talents visible to the world.

Look at Donna Summer. She has a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. Her work will not be forgotten. I am still singing her song 36 years after it was released!

With BrandedU I want women to finally realize this : your hard work matters and so do you! So I want to help more women to perform their expertise on the right stage and to make their hard work count not only now but also in the future when that promotion you’ve always wanted opens up!  

Does this feel like something you want to do? Well, then you can start now by joining me and other like-minded women for the International Women’s Day Summit on the 6th of March. We will be sharing more stories so you will leave inspired but not just that you will leave with more sisters in your network who want to work smarter and not harder just like you! 

XOXO, Nancy

“One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come he to justify
One man to overthrow
In the name of love
What more in the name of love?
In the name of love
What more in the name of love?”

Pride (in the name of love)

Monday was Martin Luther King day in the States. And for me he represents purpose. One man who dedicated his life to fight injustice. And that is all that is needed. Just one person. We tend to forget the powers we posses. We allow others to take our power away. Us women need to stand up more for what we truly believe in and not let others define us by giving away our power. 

For me a person with a strong personal brand represents somebody that is undeniably powerful. Somebody that radiates and has the ability to make a real connection to other human beings. 

Yes personal branding is about finding that human connection and letting people know what you stand for. MLK will always be remembered for what he stood for. Fighting for human rights for black people in America. ​​​​​​​

Do you know what you stand for? What should we remember you by? 

Start by looking at what moves you. What is important to you. Forget other peoples expectations, what do you believe in? Then look at what you bring to the table. Know your value.  

Remember that MLK could give a speech like no other. That made him stand out. We all remember this part of his iconic speech which he held at the Lincoln Memorial for the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. 

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”  

MLK was 39 when he was killed. And still his legacy lives on. He made such an impact that his birthday became a national holiday. It was Stevie Wonder‘s song ‘Happy Birthday,’ and his tireless campaigning, that led directly to this national recognition and holiday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, for the first time in January 1986 and ever since. Another person did that.  

His speech resonated with people all over the world. U2 even wrote a song about him and it gave them one of their biggest hits “Pride (In the name of love)”. 

One person got people going. He did it because he believed it was necessary. I love how music artists can fight for what they believe in. Even when people tell them they should stick to songwriting and singing. Remember how Bob Geldof created Live Aid? Or how musicians campaigned for the freedom of Nelson Mandela? See this song here by The Specials (when Nelson Mandela had been in prison for 21 years) or this song Sun City that included stars like Bruce Springsteen, Run DMC, Lou Reed and Bob Dylan campaigning for Apartheid to be abolished in South Africa. 

Now. Don’t ever stop believing that you can make change happen. You just have to believe in something. Because at least then you can stand for something. And that is essential if you want to have a strong personal brand. 

XOXO, Nancy

P.S. I believe in more female leaders that is why I will be organizing the International Women’s Day Summit together with Harper’s Bazaar magazine on the 6th of March. Join us why don’t you?!



“Happy New Year
Happy New Year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbor is a friend
Happy New Year
Happy New Year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don’t we might as well lay down and die
You and I”

Abba

Happy New Year

I know this is an easy one but I had to use it because I heard ABBA is planning for a reunion tour this year. And this made me think of how important a good brand is.

I mean look at ABBA, their songs are more than 40 years old but have stood the test of time. They have had so many hits and people all over the world love them. So what lessons can we learn from them?

1. You need to put yourself out there to be discovered!
Even though the odds were against them (with regards to superstardom), coming from Sweden I don’t think people would have said in the early seventies that the next big thing in music would come from Sweden. But then came Waterloo. And the Eurovision songfestival. The band knew that to really make an impact they needed a hit in the UK and needed to be visible so after their first attempt for the Eurovision songfestival failed in ’73 they tried again in ’74 with Waterloo. They knew a good platform would help them advance in their career. Ladies, for this year think like an artist, nobody will “discover” you unless you put yourself out there.

2. Have a recognizable brand.
The 4 of them, 4 letters in the bands name and with the 2 women singing the songs and the 2 men playing the instruments was a great combination. Their outfits where hysterical and a huge part of their brand.The pictures looked amazing because it was easy and always recognizable. But they didn’t stop there. In 1975 the band hired an advertising specialist to design their album covers and the ABBA logo. The logo was simple and instantly iconic, with the first “B” turned backward to make the logo symmetrical. So ladies, think of that one thing about you that is so you, that will make it easy to let you stand out from a crowd.

3. Focus on developing your craft.
When the band was still together they wrote hit after hit. And they were able to always deliver simple yet catchy songs. Benny Andersson once described the proces of writing a song by saying “EVERY SONGWRITER NEEDS TO SIT THERE, KEEP GOING, AND WAIT FOR ‘IT’ TO HAPPEN”. Meaning you have to focus and work on it (whatever you want to achieve), because then it will happen. So just don’t give up after your first try. Be consistent ladies.

I am amazed that the quality of their songs have not diminished over time. I listen to them now and consider them masterpieces because you can still hear the passion they had writing and singing them.

So I guess my biggest lesson learned from them is, whatever you do this year … do it with passion.

XOXO,

Nancy