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Ep 31: 'Personal Brand' and 'Elevator Pitch'- Rebecca Muriuki, Assoc. Director, Coach, Podcast Host

Updated: Jun 29, 2023


Hello, This is Sirisha, welcome to my podcast!

When you meet your CEO in the elevator or a new person at a networking event, do you have your Elevator Pitch ready? In this conversation with Rebecca Muriuki, we talk about the lessons she learned in her early corporate life and the myths that had to be busted. We talk about defining our self-worth and overcoming Impostor syndrome, How do we move away from self-limiting beliefs that hold us back and stop us from moving forward and making big leaps? We don't need to be perfect and It's ok to make mistakes, to fail, as long as we take action. This interview is so chockfull of great information, it's going to take you time to process. For each one of you listening, figure out your elevator pitch, and share it with us.

Rebecca Muriuki is from Nairobi, Kenya. We're connected through Instagram and we've been following each other on LinkedIn. Rebecca works as an actuary for the big four. and she hosts the podcast Elevate Her. She is a leadership coach who helps Black Women Managers confidently get seen, promoted and paid as the leaders they deserve to be. She hosts weekly LinkedIn live events to connect with people so that they can enable their journey forward. Don't forget to check out, Rebecca's LinkedIn Profile. It's the best pitch of Personal Branding I have seen.

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Below is a transcript of the episode, slightly modified for reading.


[00:00] INTRODUCTION [Jump to section]

[00:49] Meet Rebecca Muriuki [Jump to section]

[02:56] Lessons Learned in the Early Corporate Career Years [Jump to section]

[06:27] Defining your self-worth...Overcoming Impostor Syndrome [Jump to section]

[08:43] Don't need to be perfect, It's okay to make mistakes, to fail ...but take action [Jump to section]

[11:22] Defining your Brand...Elevator Pitch [Jump to section]

[18:05] Elevator Pitches...Personal Brands for your different audiences [Jump to section]

[19:33] Does Summary from the beginning go here [Jump to section]

[19:49] Note to 21-year-old self [Jump to section]



Sirisha: Hello everyone. This is Sirisha and I host the women carrier and Life podcast, just like you. I've travelled way with parts, stumbled a little, picked myself up and learned a great deal on my journey. Many of us face similar questions, but we don't always get to have a conversation with our friends or peers.

In this podcast, you will hear real stories that you can connect with on the challenges of navigating a career in life. You must be wondering who I am in my everyday life. I'm a career woman, a mom, and an ever-reader. I'm also a road tripper, amateur gardener, and even a fashionist on some days. Join me as my guest.

As we have an open and honest discussion on career change, trade-offs and working across boundaries. You get the idea. It's a perspective you simply may not hear.

[00:49] Meet Rebecca Muriuki

Sirisha: welcome to today's episode. I have Rebecca Muriuki, who is interviewing

With us from Kenya IRO. And it's very exciting to have her on the podcast. We've connected through Instagram and we've been following each other on LinkedIn.

Rebecca works as an actuary for the big four. And she hosts a podcast called elevate her and is a great coach who enables black women to find their leadership position, find their worth and able to hold their space in that forum. And she also hosts LinkedIn live events.

Weekly to connect with people so that they can enable their journey forward.

In today's conversation got to talk to her about her early corporate life. The things that she learned, a lot of it resonated with my own... And fighting the imposter syndrome that we struggle with. One thing that helps distinguish and craft our journey, our own space is defining our elevator pitch and finding our brand. And set yourself apart. So stay tuned to the end. So you can hear this engaging conversation and hear a unique perspective. Rebecca, thank you for being here. It's great to see you face-to-face outside of the virtual world.

Rebecca: Thank you so much there for having me. I am excited. I know we've been talking about this conversation for a while, so I'm excited that yeah, it's finally happening and great to be in front of your audience.

Sirisha: Thank you for being here. So before we dive into the conversation, gimme some backstory. How did you get where you are? What kind of decided for you to do what you're doing today?

Rebecca: So I started my career. It's been 10 years now, which is amazing how time flies, I was from the typical family where it's ingrained in you to study hard, get as many as possible, and you'll get a pat on your back. And, that's, that was how success was defined when I was growing up and I took that with me throughout my schooling years, and even when going into college, but then I didn't know that things would be different when I went into the workplace.

[02:56] Lesson's Learned in the early Corporate Career Years

Rebecca: So I went into the workplace with the same mentality, just work hard, keep your, just keep your head in the ground, work hard, and you'll be recognized for your hard work. One year, two years down the line that wasn't the case. And, I would be very frustrated because this worked right in the past when I was growing up. But for some reason, it wasn't working in corporate and there were so many unwritten rules when I got into my corporate career that I had to learn. Either through mentorships, some of it was solicited. Some were not. For, I was fortunate enough to have people in my circle of, friends and family who had experienced what I was going through in their corporate careers and was able to learn from them. but a lot of the women that I help do not have, role models to look up to. We know that, in the us alone, one in five women hold executive positions in, in, in the corporate world and that's the case globally as well. So, that's the challenge that inspired me to start this journey too. Give back to other women who need that help, because it helps when you do have someone that you can look up to someone that you can learn from and draw experiences from and know that what you're going through is not unique to you and that there is a way to overcome and to have a thriving career. Whether you come from a minority background, Through. I was able to get a bit of support in navigating the choppy waters of the corporate world and how it works because hard work isn't what is required to move up the corporate ladder. And I realized that fairly late in my career but it took more than just that for me to get to where I am right now as associate director. At the biggest audit firm globally, I had to do a lot of work on who I was showing up as, and that required a lot of working on my mindset and a lot of the limiting beliefs that I had, growing up with a lot of the limiting beliefs and misconceptions that I thought were true when I was going into the corporate world. For example, hard work pays off or hard work is what is required to move up and to get the promotions. And I just wanted to give back to other women who have found themselves in similar experiences that I have been in, especially women of color. Because it's, we know the statistics are not in our favor's. We know that we are still talking about the first black women pioneering in many different industries. We're still talking about women of color who are here to break the ceiling in many industries. And so for me, my biggest inspiration or motivation was helping these women elevate their careers and secure those senior positions. Without, having to work themselves to the ground without having to engage in, authentic net networking tactics and find a way to show up authentically as themselves without having to feel like they have to man up in inverted comments too.

[06:27] Defining your self-worth...Overcoming Impostor Syndrome

Sirisha: So I think where you talk about, the limiting beliefs that we have, I think that's such a very true statement because I had the same challenge moving countries, trying to assimilate, bring parts of myself, and try.

Figure out how to respond and how to connect with people here because the lingo is different. The culture is quite different too. And based on what I had learned, from my upbringing, it was a little different because we were taught to be quieter, just your work, as you said, and then it should work, but you have to learn to express yourself.

And I liked where you talk about conforming to your space versus, basically creating a space for yourself. It's. It's two different aspects of it. So how do you coach people? How did you do that part? Because you had a lot of mentorship and guidance, as you said, you had family able to help you, and I'm glad you're, taking that path forward for other women to do the same.

So how do you coach them into helping them create that space for themselves without really having to change who they are?

Rebecca: I think it comes with learning about your self-worth, having, just having that awareness first of all, and then practising it. It's one thing to know about the concept of self-worth, but it's another thing to put it into practice. So a lot of times, because of our upbringing, and our environment, we tend to look at past events or results that have happened in our life or even in our career and then use that as a benchmark of how good we are or how good we are. And the first thing that I always tell my clients when we are talking about self-worth is to distance yourself, right? To take yourself out of that equation because you are worth, it has nothing to do with whether you failed in the past, whether you didn't get that promotion you were hoping for or not. You are good as you are. You are great. And you are worth it. You deserve everything that you do. so that's the first step, really having that self-awareness and then taking yourself out of the equation of, or not looking at yourself in terms of past successes or failures defining your worth.

[08:43] Don't need to be perfect, It's okay to make mistakes, to fail …but take action

Rebecca: And then the third step now is to put it into practice. So a lot of times, because of imposter syndrome and like I said, past. That we use to justify why we feel we are not qualified enough or we are not good enough or we don't belong in the room. We need to change that, right? So we need to take action, right? Irrespective of whether you may start or stumble on your words in the last meeting, you just need to continue taking that action and showing up as the leader that you want to be. So for example, if you want a promotion. It and you are at manager level and you wanna move to director level. It doesn't help if you are not being heard or seen. You must start putting things into action, whether it's perfect or not. And the more action you take, the more confidence it'll build. So it's like this continuous loop and the more self-worth you have. This will inspire you to take even more action and more effective action until you get the result that you want in your career. But the first step is having that self-awareness of what defines your self-worth and what doesn't.

Sirisha: I like the fact that you're framing it at all, not being perfect. I think that's is an own ING belief in a way. It stops us from going forward. So being able to practice and not practice it, of course, you can practice in front of the mirror, a bit of it to get the confidence, but enabling that conversation in meetings in other places so that you can be seen, you can be heard and I think we all have to think back, right? All leaders have had their journeys, whether it's male now, women, or from different places, they've had their struggles. They've made their own mistakes and they've learned and figured out how to go forward. It's not to let that be a stumbling block and stop you.

Going ahead and getting what you're worth because we all have so much, we bring to the workplace or other spaces that we should be having the opportunity to grow and get promoted as well as be paid for what we bring to the forum.

Rebecca: Exactly. Exactly. A lot of the time, the reasons we don't get paid, and what we believe we are bringing to the table is just because we're not taking that action. Because imposter syndrome or limiting beliefs are holding us back, or we don't have a clear understanding of what our self-worth is. So once you can get over that hurdle by taking action, it's going to be so much easier for you, especially when it's getting it. It's time to get out of your comfort zone.

[11:22] Defining your Brand...Elevator Pitch

Sirisha: Very true. And actually, I wanna sort of segue this leads me to the thought of personal branding. It's very. In the front and centre of a lot of discussions, there's a slide difference between reputation and personal branding. And one of the things I have to tell you, when I look at your LinkedIn profile as I sent you in the note, it's one of the best I've seen.

You've got, your clear header, which tells you what you stand for, your descriptions, and your video message, it all co-lists together to tell you what your values are, what you stand for and what your brand is. What do you define as, how do you enable people to define their brand?

How should we be looking at it? How do we establish it? I, it may not be set in stone because there's some evolution around it. What will you define as a personal brand?

Rebecca: Yes, that's such a great question. So the first thing you need to know is what sets you apart literally, and while that might sound like an. Question. It's fascinating. How, when I ask my clients that question, it, doesn't come out, very clearly or succinctly, or it takes time for them to think about it. So personal branding is not just something you can think of at the back of your mind. And, you have a personal brand, you have to be intentional and you can even do an exercise. To figure out what it is that sets you apart. So what is unique about you asking yourself those questions, write them down because you do need to come up with, even if it's just a high-level, script, and start to practice that script until it, you and that script become one right until everyone. Exactly what it is you bring to the table until everyone is very clear exactly why you are unique and why you deserve whatever is that you're going after in your career. So that's a great exercise that you can do. Take 10, to 15 minutes out of your day. The next time you have time just ask yourself those questions. What sets you apart? What is unique about you? What are you good at doing? What do, what are you? Passionate about, what are the things that people have complimented you about? Those are great questions to start putting your brand together. And once you start to answer those questions and be very clear on those, the responses or the answers to them, then you'll be able to put your brand together and one of the best ways to do that, like you mentioned, Sirisha is having. An elevator pitch. And that can just be as simple as a one-liner. So that, and the reason why it's called an elevator pitch is to imagine yourself going into, a lift or an elevator. And let's say you find the CEO of your organization there, and you've never met them and you're introducing yourself and then they ask you, okay, so Sirisha, what do you do?

You can't be fumbling around that question. When you are clear on your brand. You will be very clear on exactly how to respond to that. So you need to know exactly how you help people or how you help the organization. Exactly what you are doing to contribute to the organization's biggest mission or objectives for the year and why you are different, what sets you apart and what's unique about you. So once you take time to be intentional, to answer those questions, putting your brand together is going to be so much more easier. And then being able to communicate that is now the cherry on. But a lot of people like to work from the end in terms of communicating it when they haven't figured out exactly what is their unique, messaging and what's unique about them.

Sirisha: Knowing What's unique about you is not just in the present state, right? It's for any future opportunities or aspirations. You have it might be on the same path you already are on, or it might be on a path that you want to go, and it gives you a platform to have that conversation, be it with your CEO or someone else, you meet at another networking event that you could pivot to.

it's very critical for everyone to have that elevator pitch and it's easier said than done. No one is saying it's easy because boiling down everything that you stand for in your essence in 30 seconds is hard. But thinking about it, and actually, I'm gonna take these questions that you have and posted at the end of the podcast, in the notes.

So anyone can go look it up so that they can prepare what they think is that makes them unique so that then they can prepare their elevator pitch. And it would be great for the listeners. For those of you listening, if you can respond by sending an email to women carrier and to send what your elevator pitch is, it would be great to share some of them. And we can also try and talk about it later on and have the discussion. It's something that is encouraged but is rarely done by most people. A great way to be an icebreaker and have a convert.

Rebecca: Exactly. And it's very clear. I've had the privilege of interviewing several people and it's always very clear to me. I interview people. I can tell someone very clearly what their brand is from someone who isn't. So the first way, the first test I would give your listeners is to be able to succinctly answer the question. What do you do? But it can't be, oh, I am an accountant or, oh, I work in X, Y, Z company. That is not unique. Personal branding needs to make you stand out and be one of one.

Sirisha: What would you say your personal brand is? What would you describe yourself?

Rebecca: yeah, you put me on the spot there. So in terms of how I support women, it's very clear to me that I help black women, typically who are in management level, who want to elevate their career and secure positions that help them stand out, get paid and promoted. What is their worth. For me, that's very clear to me what I aim to and you'll see on my LinkedIn profile that it's clearly stated out what my mission is, what I am here to do when it comes to the workplace. I'm also very clear about what my personal branding is. So I'm in the finance industry and I really help my clients optimize their risks. But from a team perspective, I also like bringing that out because for me, I am all about team wellbeing.

And so I always like to bring out that I lead a team of 13 bright individuals and who are aspiring to become qualified actuaries. And my aim is to give them as many opportunities as possible to grow their careers into credible, young, actual professionals.

[18:05] Elevator Pitches...Personal Brands for your different audiences

Sirisha: So well said. I like that you have three clearly defined personal brands, three different elevator pitches, depending on who the audience is and which forum you're addressing. And I know I put you on the spot and thank you for , picking up the gauntlet to share that with the audience and the listeners, because many people who are listening may have more than one space they're occupying, not just a career space, but other forums, and it will be help you to craft that elevator pitch and your personal brand, as you think about it, and you saw how Rebecca shared it. And she was kind enough to do that because I think it will help you set apart. And also helps you get laser focused on what is really important to you. It's very hard. Sometimes when you ask what you do, we are all very stuck on our titles, but if the title were to change tomorrow, you still have your personal brand.

That's still very much intrinsic to who you are. It doesn't define on an external definition to define you.

Rebecca: Exactly. Exactly. It really needs to make you stand out and it needs to be permanent. The same way we know big brands like Coca-Cola, are etched in our understanding or knowledge of the beverage industry. That's the same way your personal brand needs to stand out and needs to be permanent.

It shouldn't be tied to a specific organization. you might leave that organization one day and then what happens or you might pivot into a different career or industry. What happens then?

[19:33] Does Summary from beginning go here

Sirisha: This interview it's so chockful of great information. It's going to take your time to process and for each one of you listening to figure out what the elevator pitch is, and I encourage you to do that and share it with us. So Rebecca, as we wrap up, this is a question I ask every guest.

[19:49] Note to 21-year-old self

Sirisha: What advice would you give your 21-year-old self, a career in life?

Rebecca: Oh you have so many good questions. So I would take more opportunities to learn, even if it means failing, because really taking action is the only way to move ahead is the only way is the best way to learn. If I was to go back, I would definitely take up more opportunities to learn and know that so many other people have been in the same position as I am in.

I don't have to know everything and it's okay to ask. It's okay to get help. It does not mean that there is something wrong with you. It really doesn't, but it's going to help you also hone your skills when it comes to time to being a great leader.

Sirisha: I love it. It's great. Because moving forward is important.

Not be the perfectionist and not to question yourself or limit yourself, because that can put us in the back step and taking risks as they think get uncomfortable. Everyone has to do that, to push the boundaries to move forward.

Rebecca: Absolutely.

Sirisha: And what is the one word you would use to describe yourself? Oh, my goodness. I would probably say they determined.

Rebecca: I think that captures it well from everything I've seen and heard on the conversation. That's awesome. Thank you for sharing. And I want you to be able to share what your social media handles are. So listeners can get in touch with you, and I know you do a LinkedIn live event, so maybe you can share when you post that so that they can join in the conversation as well.

Yes, I would love to have you all on my next LinkedIn weekly live. So you can connect with me on LinkedIn at Rebecca Maki, just my name and surname. And I use the same name on Instagram. It's just Rebecca Maki with a K between my name and surname. And I would love to chat with you there. My LinkedIn weekly live is on Wednesdays at 5:00 PM. GMT. Which I believe is 12:00 PM Eastern. So if you're interested in joining the conversation live, I talk about how to secure promotions, how to show up as your next level self, how to overcome limiting beliefs this month, we are going all in on building self-confidence and overcoming imposter syndrome and I really talk about issues that I know have held me back. From elevating my career and from, accelerating and getting the results that I've finally been able to have and enjoy. So if any of these topics resonate with you and you feel that you are ready to elevate and get over some of those limitations that have been holding you back, definitely join me in live or just drop a message on LinkedIn or Instagram saying, hi.

Sirisha: Thank you for sharing. I think those are really great topics. And I like the fact that you're sharing it on LinkedIn and through your other platforms as well. And for all of you listening, we would love to hear what you elevate our pictures. Like I said, please email it and you can reach us on Instagram, your women carrier in

We'll post some of the links as well for you to find that information. Look at the questions through the blog and the RSS feed. Rebecca talks about elevator pitch and personal brand. I wanna hear what your elevator pitch is, what helped you define it was any part of this conversation enabling you to turn this around and do you have different elevator pitches for different audiences? Send me your elevator pitch and I would love to hear it and I would love to share on the podcast. Thank you.

Sirisha: Rebecca, thank you so much for being here. It was a. Great way to share what you've learned. Ashanti. Wow. Thank you so much. That is well, such a surprise. Karibu is how we would respond in Swahili.

So thank you so much. Sirisha it's been an honor being on your show and speaking to your listeners and I am looking forward to the next time we do this. I hope you enjoy today's episode tune and every other Wednesday to catch the next episode. If you think a friend may benefit from this, please share this podcast with them.

Please like subscribe and leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform. I would love to hear from you about your stories and your journey. You can reach me on Instagram or Gmail at women carrier in life until next time, this is CIA signing off. Remember there are infinite possibilities to drive change in carrier in life, which will you choose to make a reality today

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