• Teaser
  • Teaser
  • Teaser
  • Teaser

Interview with Dorothy Lazovik

Personal Leadership Branding Expert

Tell us about Authentic Leaders Edge and how you became a Personal Brand Strategist?

Authentic Leaders Edge specifically works with emerging leaders to identity their authentic selves, confidently stand for what they believe in and seek the opportunities that are the right ones for them. The results that go beyond what clients expect are achieved through executive coaching, transformational training programs and intimate VIP sessions. Based on our work together, my clients:

  • Spend their time being who they are versus who they think they should be
  • Seek out the work they love versus doing what's just expected 
  • Become more articulate in their communication style and command the attention of others    
  • Showcase their value and get rewarded, versus letting their ‘hard work’ speak for itself

But it didn't start that way. 

When I launched Authentic Leaders Edge in 2002, I initially worked with executives and evolving leaders on their visual presence, a persons' "image." With a career as a retail executive, I know first hand how critical having a powerful visual presence is in establishing your professional credibility. 

And my clients loved the results!

After we worked together either for a half-day or a full day, aligning their visual presence with the image they wanted to project, clients would share their wins. They were so excited to finally be taken seriously as a leader - being asked for their opinions and speaking confidently in meetings. Naturally, they attributed their new success to the clothes.

That's when it hit me. Confident in their visual presence, my clients were able to tap into their own internal leadership abilities. However, they would be ten times more powerful once they aligned their internal image (their self belief and confidence) with the external image (how they looked on the outside).  

From that moment, I began to work with leaders to address the whole person, which included their internal operating system and self-image. I helped them become the director of their own story, rather than a passive viewer. 

Because they were seeing results, my clients were asking for more. As they were becoming more confident in presenting their ideas, attracting more attention and being offered better opportunities, they realized they needed more advanced tools to perform in this more demanding space. 

They needed to learn quickly how to repeat those moments of ‘getting it right’ consistently.

Here's what one client told me, “Dorothy, I got a rave review from my boss which is great. Now I need to learn how to wash, rinse and repeat!”

Helping clients get to the core of their challenges and create real, lasting change is my gift. I draw on my coaching skills and the real world strategy I used to build my own successful career in the US retail industry. 

Since then, I've dedicated my professional life to supporting leaders build authentic powerful personal brands. I believe we achieve our greatest success by being the best version of ourselves.

What is a Personal Brand?

Your personal brand is a combination of the intangible elements of who you are: your values, beliefs, talents, key strengths and passions. It's also the experience that others have of you, based on what you say and do. It is what people are saying about you when you are not present.

In other words, what you do represents who you are and how you become known. While you don’t get to dictate your brand, you do have the ability to influence it. 

For example: If I want to be seen as considerate and caring I demonstrate this by holding the door open for the person behind me, holding the elevator door when I notice someone coming and listening intently when someone is speaking.

I would not walk into a building and let the door close on the person behind me or close the elevator door so I can ride on my own or interrupt someone when he or she is speaking. We can control the story that is told about us through everything we do.  

A big part of our brand's success hinges on two things: being authentic and how we make others feel. Knowing this, we need to get good at consciously choosing the words and actions that align with who we want to be and how we want to be known.

Who specifically are your clients?

My clients are either organizations that want to equip their leaders with powerful tools or the individual leaders who are ready to invest in themselves to achieve more in their careers and experience greater satisfaction in their personal lives. They value objective, non-judgmental advice that will help them in reaching their goals. 

Most often, the leaders I work with are preparing for that next coveted role, or have just landed in a new role with more responsibility or want to be more effective and influential in their current role. 

They are CEO’s, Senior V.P’s, Director’s, CFO’s to Account Managers across a broad range of industries:

  • Real Estate Agents 
  • Engineers
  • Investment Advisors
  • Creative Directors
  • Human Resources Professionals 
  • Bank Executives
  • Coaches and Consultants
  • Funeral Directors
  • Dentists
  • Sales Professionals
  • Advertising Executives
  • Image Consultants
  • PR Professionals
  • Operation Executives
  • Lawyers
  • Academics

The common thread among my clients is their mindset and readiness to change, not their industry. Here's what my clients are like: they want to be their best, to learn what they don’t know and play a bigger game. They are self-motivated, respectful, coachable, open-minded and willing to stretch themselves. 

Why is it important for a leader to have a personal brand?

It's vital for two reasons.

First, a leader's personal brand is how they are known. When you invest the time to deliberately develop a clear message of who you are and what you do best, you suddenly notice that you are being given the opportunities that align with what you are most passionate about.

The power of a personal brand is almost magical. It showcases your "It" Factor, that special quality that makes people want to know you, work with you and support your dreams. 

Creating a personal brand puts leaders in charge of their destination. No more drifting along, playing a supporting role in someone else's drama. You become the director of your life and career. 

The second reason is that defining a personal brand provides structure. Making decisions becomes easier because you know what is important to you and what you are working toward. It helps in setting healthy boundaries and saying no when it is necessary without apologizing or feeling guilty. Having a structure in place makes it easier to quiet the doubts, eliminate the distractions and accelerate your path to success.  

What challenges do your clients typically struggle with?

Wow that is a really great question. Clients reach out to work with me because:

  • They are feeling uncertain about their abilities to succeed
  • They underestimate their value
  • They are tired of flying under the radar and going unnoticed
  • They want to stop struggling with being seen as a leader 
  • They feel disconnected from who they are and their purpose
  • They are frustrated by working hard and not getting the results they desire 
  • They feel shy about promoting themselves 
  • They have a desire to play bigger and are uncertain about what is holding them back
  • They struggle to communicate their message confidently
  • They are measuring themselves against the wrong things

My clients start out in survival mode and move into thriving. Struggles are transformed into opportunities when clients have the right tools. These tools help clients see themselves more clearly, eliminates the self-imposed barriers that have held them back and gives them the steps to build the structure that supports an authentic remarkable brand. 

What are the different ways you work with clients?

There are four different ways that I work with leaders:

  1. In a group setting, when I am hired by an organization, to deliver leadership training sessions that focus on the aspects of a leader's Personal Brand and Executive Presence.
  2. Organizations also hire me to deliver my Personal Brand Coaching for their leaders. In these situations, I work with individuals one-on-one for a minimum of three months. 
  3. Leaders also invest in themselves by hiring me directly for one-on-one coaching. It is a minimum three month commitment, where a leader builds a strong brand foundation to establish their credibility and boost their confidence. Clients learn the formula to boldly market their assets, receive consistent objective feedback to accelerate their results and own what they achieve.  
  4. Finally, there are VIP Days created for a small group of like-minded leaders. A VIP Day provides leaders with an intimate, safe environment where they are coached by me and have the added benefit of getting feedback from the other participants that are going through the process with them. This has proven to be a great alternative for leaders to build their brand with intention, develop a blueprint for success and go run with it. Attending a VIP Day helps clients get crystal clear and step powerfully into being their best. 

What is the process that you take clients through?

A high level view, whether I am delivering a training session, facilitating a VIP Day or engaged in one-on-one coaching there are three core components that are essential in building and living an authentic brand that is a custom fit for the individual. 

#1 Discover 

In this stage, I guide you in evaluating where you are now to get clear on what you need to build a brand that is designed for you and your life. No more excuses or settling. Here, you start to think and see yourself differently. Through a series of exercises and discussions, you begin to identify and define your own personal brand model. Having a plan provides clarity and a direction that makes it easy for you - taking the right steps in the right direction. 

#2 Develop 

This stage guides you, the leader, to uncover your unique brand by defining the details of who they are: your characteristics, preferred communication style, values, natural talents, key strengths and what is most important to you. Knowing yourself at this level, without judgment, gives you the strength when you face adversity. Many leaders struggle with this step because they believe that they need to work hard. Sadly, they underestimate the value of what comes naturally. I know this so well because I have been here myself. You'll be amazed at how energized and confident you feel when you structure your life to use your strengths as much as possible.

Addressing your mindset is also a big part of this stage because it has a profound impact on your brand. There is a big shift here in taking ownership of what belongs to you and letting go of what doesn’t. This creates big breakthroughs in reducing the mental chatter that hijacks the mind and eliminates resistance to change. Awareness, mindset and choice all play a big part in living an authentic brand everyday.

#3 Deliver

This stage is where you act on what you want and bring your brand to life. We work together to strip away the excuses, finger pointing and blame so you take full ownership of managing your brand. This shifts you from victim-mode to ‘solution focus’ in dealing with the resistance that attempts to keep you playing small and dealing with the setbacks that have the potential to paralyze your progress. 

At this point in the process, you'll develop a relationship plan to surround yourself with the right people and expand your reach. You'll also articulate and develop your personal formula for success.

When changing behaviors and shifting your mindset, it's important to continually remind yourself of what you want and hold yourself accountable to live by your truth. You are continually evolving and so is your brand. Going through the process will make remarkable changes in your life, but you'll need to check in periodically to make sure your brand continues to reflect the message you want to communicate about yourself. 

I believe you, and every person, is significant; having a unique message to share and a definite purpose. Living the truth of who you are increases your brand value and attracts the opportunities that create a life of meaning.  

How are you different from other leadership coaches?

I work with leaders like you on your brand. I don't provide you with a cookie cutter leadership model to follow. We work together to build the brand model that is a custom fit for you. I go deep, not broad.

I address the visual elements that people see but also go beneath the surface to work with you on the intangible elements that create the real change. It can be a bit uncomfortable at times, but man, it shifts your mindset and opens your heart, helping you to lead from a more powerful place.

The work we do together is not about changing the people around you. It's about focusing on the change you need to make. Here's the best part - when you change, magically those around you change, too.

The leaders I work with, like you, want to be their best. I provide you with what you want, but I also give you what you really need. You emerge with the personal brand that fuels your life's dreams, the success you define for yourself, and the tools to "stay sharp". 

Is there a person who isn’t a good fit for your programs?

The person who isn’t a good fit is someone who is not coachable, does not value the advice from an expert, doesn't see the value in investing in themselves and really is not interested in doing the work.

It is never the industry or position, it is the attitude of the individual leader. I can provide the direction and tools but I just can't do the work for you. This reminds me of a quote by Jim Rohn, "You can't hire other people to do your pushups."

What are the results leaders can expect?

The results my clients achieve is directly related to their desire to make change and determination to get what they want. Some results show up very quickly, within days or weeks, and others take a bit longer. Here are some of my clients' results: 

  • Establishing their credibility as a leader
  • Landing the promotion and being able to define their own role
  • Multiple promotions in 18 months
  • Raising their visibility in their market and being sought after by other companies
  • Closing the biggest deal in their career
  • Communicating their message with purpose and capturing the attention of their audience
  • Attracting big opportunities that once seemed impossible
  • Being acknowledged for their contributions with an outstanding review and pay increase
  • Generating increased profits every quarter in their business for two years straight
  • Earning their previous years annual income in the first six months

All these things happened because they established a brand model that aligned with the best of who they are. They start working smarter and not harder. The changes stick because it is their choice to change. The change is being reinforced with positive feedback from those that matter and the results they desired. A leader is always more powerful when they are in alignment with the truth of who they are. 

How quickly can I expect to see results?

You'll notice some results immediately. I have gotten calls from CEO’s who've been blown away at how quickly their leaders have embraced the change and are living it. 

Some results take a little longer because they have deeper roots. When you are changing other people's perception of you it requires a consistent demonstration over many encounters to build trust. 

The leaders I work with are high achievers. They have a strong desire to be their best, but they just don't have the ‘right’ tools to get there. Once they get the right tools they work consistently at making the right changes to achieve the results they desire. 

Dorothy, based on what I've read, I know you can help me to distinguish myself and develop a powerful personal brand. How can I get started?

Click connect and tell me about yourself. We'll set up a time to talk about the best option in working together. 

Have questions? I'm happy to answer them! Click connect to tell me about yourself. We'll schedule a thirty-minute get acquainted call to answer your questions and identify if there is a fit. 

Now is your time! If not now, when?