Catalytic Leadership

Decoding Your Value in Business: Insights from Wendy Glavin

August 17, 2023 Dr. William Attaway Season 1 Episode 61
Catalytic Leadership
Decoding Your Value in Business: Insights from Wendy Glavin
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The spotlight is on Wendy Glavin, founder and CEO of her self-named agency. Wendy, a marketing and consulting guru with 30 years of experience, shares her incredible journey from acting school to a corporate career at General Electric, eventually leading to her own agency's creation. The episode explores her well-rounded expertise in marketing, executive writing, PR, and social media advisory. Recently, she has dipped her toes into career counseling, reinforcing the importance of in-depth research in building knowledge across various topics. 

Then, we take an intriguing twist as Wendy shares the importance of personal experience in sidestepping competition. She draws inspiration from her father's teachings on viewing things from a broad perspective, creating a unique personal brand that sets her apart. We dive into a thought-provoking conversation about decoding your value and capturing your personal brand's essence. As a personal branding strategist, Wendy emphasizes how seeing things from different perspectives can help navigate life's challenges. Our conversation rounds off with Wendy's experiences with PR, how it often feels unappreciated, and the role personal branding plays in making a difference. Tune in for a marketing masterclass with Wendy Glavin.

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Meet Dr. William Attaway, your guide to peak performance. As a seasoned Executive Mindset and Leadership Coach with nearly 30 years of experience, William empowers high-performance entrepreneurs and agency owners to conquer challenges and maximize their potential. Join him on the Catalytic Leadership podcast as he shares insights on achieving Clear-Minded Focus, Calm Control, & Confidence, helping you thrive in business and life.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to Catalytic Leadership, the podcast designed to help leaders intentionally grow and thrive. Here is your host author and leadership and executive coach, dr William Attaway.

Speaker 2:

Hey, it's William and welcome to today's episode of the Catalytic Leadership podcast. Each week, we tackle a topic related to the field of leadership. My goal is to ensure that you have actionable steps you can take from each episode to grow in your own leadership. Growth doesn't just happen. My goal is to help you become intentional about it. Each week, we spotlight leaders from a variety of fields, organizations and locations. My goal is for you to see that leaders can be catalytic, no matter where they are or what they lead. I draw inspiration from the stories and journeys of these leaders and I hear from many of you that you do too. Let's jump in to today's interview. I'm so excited today to have Wendy Glavin on the show. Wendy is the founder and CEO of Wendy Glavin Agency, which specializes in marketing, executive writing, pr and social media advisory. Based in New York City, she is a 30-year veteran of corporate and agency marketing and consulting. She's worked across a wide variety of industry sectors, with a strong focus on technology, fintech, blockchain and cryptocurrency. She is a monthly contributor for equitiescom with a column called Glavin's Tech Talk. Wendy's also a featured contributor at ComPro. Her LinkedIn group, tech Talk from Newbies to Savvy, is a forum to share knowledge and innovation with other business professionals. With curiosity, passion, originality and fearlessness, wendy guides her clients with intelligence that they may not want to hear but they need to know. Her roots are in global corporate agency and consulting. She has decades of experience and in-depth knowledge of traditional and modern strategies across a wide variety of industries and business sectors. Wendy, welcome to the show.

Speaker 3:

Thank you so much for having me, Boy. I'd love to meet this person. Sounds amazing.

Speaker 2:

That sounds fantastic. I know that's what we're going to dig in today. Thanks for that wonderful introduction.

Speaker 3:

I'm just going to make one qualifier. I no longer live in New York City, I live in Long Island. I moved there during the pandemic.

Speaker 2:

That's where I am Fantastic.

Speaker 3:

Close to New York City. Also, another thing is, everything you said is right, However, I've been moving into also doing career counseling, and it's prompted by as you know we've talked about it my decoder value process that I created with my team during the pandemic.

Speaker 2:

That's where I want to go today. That's exactly what I want to talk about. I would love for you to start by sharing a little bit of your story with our listeners, particularly around your journey and your development as the leader that you are today. How did you get started?

Speaker 3:

Honestly, it's a funny story and I don't want to spend hours and hours on the podcast, which I actually could. I grew up in Philadelphia. My dream was to become an actress. I did go to acting school. I did take a lot of classes. I did major in acting for two years in college until my professor said I was too dramatic. I switched to communications because I didn't have financial backing and my parents at that time didn't think about oh, wendy, we'll have a career in acting. It was sort of like get married, marry something like a rich doctor, rich lawyer and move on. I've always worked since I was young. I was only allowed to live at home for a month. After college I took the first job. I was offered working in-house at General Electric. Something I liked about the job is that I onboarded new employees, which was like 25 employees per week, and also gave presentations. I was able to learn to sort of dumb down my dramatics and become a stronger, more effective public speaker. I'd say something that's really interesting that has struck me recently is that being surrounded I mean I never thought about technology, I never was interested in technology, but being surrounded by engineers and technology people. I asked a lot of questions because I had to be able to give presentations on the different projects that they would work on. I think from that experience I learned how to decipher complex technology terms. Interestingly, I then wanted to work at an agency to be surrounded by communications peers. My first account was a division of Dupont that moved to New York City. Five years later, with my now ex-husband, was hired by Burson Marsteller, which is a global firm now Burson Conan Wolfe to manage the division of IBM. Interestingly, I never thought about technology, but one of the things my dad, who was an attorney he died young used to tell me is to build on your strengths. That's a long time ago when I worked at GE, but somehow asking questions and being around engineers and technologists and data people just helped me to understand, actually, I think, prompted a whole interest in this new field. But going back to my love, which is public speaking and writing and all those kinds of things, I was still able to use those skills, just in different ways. So thank you. Yeah, so it's true what you said about the different technology industries. I worked with blockchain and AI and all that kind of stuff, and I was speaking to a student earlier today about what she wanted to do and she was talking about the fact that she wanted to go in marketing. But she doesn't have a background, she didn't work in marketing. You know giving me all these reasons why it couldn't happen. So I gave her an example of. You know, I didn't major in technology. I mean you call me a technology lay person, but I'd say really the skill set is research. I mean I do in depth research, so much research that I remember saying to a friend years ago what if somebody like I've done so much research I don't even remember if this happens to be like, let's say, what Harvard Business Review said. She said, wendy, there's no one that does this amount of research. Like If you picked up a term or something, it doesn't matter and it's really true. When I do research on the subject, I mean something like 50 pages of research. So I copy and paste and then read through all of it and then sort of form, not saying my own opinion but my own perspective. But my goal with writing or speaking is particularly to, you know, educate, provide something that's newsworthy, be inspiring or thought provoking. So I don't take a particular side, not again. I think that comes from being raised by an attorney to present different sides of an argument or position, and that let people judge for themselves. So I think it's really important to not box ourselves into defining ourselves by. This is a job I do, this is how much money I make, this is my position. I mean, if we think of ourselves in a broader way, we can come up with transferable skills and new opportunities. So, particularly, you know, since the pandemic, you know, with so many people having lost their jobs and income and that sort of thing, which is when I created the process that you know of to code your value. It's to help people view themselves through a wider lens. Yeah and I think that's.

Speaker 2:

I think that's where I want to dig in today, because the more I read and learn about the code, your value, the more intrigued I am and how what you're, what you're attempting and doing so well, is really helping people to understand what they bring to the table, where they're, where their zone of genius is, where their strengths are. Talk about this, the code, your value, focus that you've, that you've really kind of leaned into.

Speaker 3:

Okay. So, to put it simply, if you look back at your core values, this is, whatever age you are, your core values, your background, your experience, your relationships I'm going to add to this personality and interest we don't have any competition. We have no competition because nobody has the same combination of the of this background that each of us has and, sadly, people don't think think in this way. People are much more narrowly focused and I think it's unfortunate because it's cutting off a lot of different opportunities. So in pretty much every situation, that younger woman I spoke to today was well, there's so much competition and I don't think I get a job, and I said the same thing to her. But nobody is like you. Like, you have unique skills and abilities that people don't have. So one of the things she mentioned was music and we tie that into storytelling, which is an interesting type of perspective. But you know she wants to do marketing, she's interested in storytelling, but I, at least in the beginning, I didn't really think in terms of music is telling a story. So that's a perfect example of somebody taking skills they have and expertise or, you know, talents, and combining it with what they want to do. So, instead of like limiting ourselves to you know these specific categories. I think, like I said, it's just having a broader view During the pandemic. Her name is Dory. Well, her name is Dory, so she used the process with her social media team and what she found was really enlightening was that there were so many things they didn't know about their team, so many qualities I guess soft skills that they didn't know that their team, that even existed within the team, so that opened up new opportunities. So a lot of companies are talking about training and upskilling and all that kind of thing, but I think it comes first back to the individual person. So, to code your value, I've written several articles on it and there is a digital tree that I created of my digital tree at the bottom, because I've always thought about it, I've always considered myself like a tree and I think, ok, well, there's my foundation, which is my values and beliefs and that sort of thing, and then it goes off into different branches, so depending on where you are in your life. So let's say, a branch was marketing and that then led to writing and then, for example, we lived in the South of France for a couple of months in the summer, so then that led to, interestingly, an account that was in Canada and French speaking, and I felt that I didn't have any experience Like well, I'm not. But then, going back to that French experience, they do organic food. So the combination of the French, me having an ability to speak some French I mean, I'm not fluent and then organic foods and that kind of thing. So I was able to draw on my background to be able to work with this client who we had a wonderful experience for more than a year. So people should also think about their personal experience. So I'll give you an example. I was a global judge for a blockchain pitch fest. So these blockchain companies, I mean you win a lot of money. So I think this is a funny example for people. So a lot of them were gaming companies, gaming blockchain companies. So right before I was going on one of the judges, I asked one of my sons. My sons are 31, 29, and 24. So when you go on these games, do you like the weapons and the skins and all this kind of stuff? Do you buy those things? Do they help your player to be more competitive? He said no, it doesn't do anything. I said then why do people buy these things, he goes. Well, I think it just makes their players look cooler, but it really doesn't change the play. So then, when a particular blockchain company was talking about how they're targeting millennials, I said well, how are you going to do that? Remember, I had this information five minutes before I went on and I said how are you going to do this? Because the weapons and the skins and the other categories of which you can buy, they don't make your player more competitive. Tell me how you're going to do that so you can draw from information in your past that maybe doesn't even seem related, but it can then bring you, like I said, new opportunities, new accounts, new, all those sorts of things. So I think, just don't. I would say to people, don't pigeonhole yourself into. Well, you know, I work on Wall Street and like this is all I can do, or I'm too young, or I don't have, like a marketing degree, so therefore I can't work. It's all these sort of negative reasons why things can happen. So I think that the core thing here is for every single person to realize we don't have any competition. We really don't, because if you bring I don't want to use these cliches, but bring your full self forward, like all the different parts of you, then what is your competition? I've heard this forever. You can't find have an agency because there's too much competition. You know every single category. Yes, everything is competitive, but if you bring in like who you are, meaning your life skills, your whole body of like who you are and the work you've done, or the relationships you've had, or your interests, you know there's much more that you'll be able to access.

Speaker 2:

I love that, Wendy. I think that is one of the I've so rarely heard anybody put into words what you're saying, that there is no competition for you when we take into account all of your experiences, all the things that you have gone through, been through. So often we see those things as negatives. But I like the tree example, the tree metaphor. I think that's fantastic. There's so many branches. They don't all go the same direction, right, but they're all a part of the tree. There's no such thing as a wasted experience.

Speaker 3:

No, and you can keep growing. The branches keep growing in all different directions. I think another thing why I thought of myself that way is my dad. He was a prosecutor and somebody told me only 5% of lawyers are prosecutors Now I don't know, you'd correct me if I'm wrong, but a small percentage and he used to say to me when we would have a discussion what about this, what about this? He used to say to me you'll never win your case until you can see the other side. So I think it was also him not debating, but trying to teach me about thinking of things more broadly. So I always felt like, oh my God, well, I didn't think about this or I didn't think about this. So it kind of is reminiscent to me of a tree and interestingly, I probably will redo my tree because I feel like one of the things that's missing in this decoder value is your personality. I think your personality is another core issue to this. I spoke at Northeastern University to grad students and somebody asked me. She raised her hand. She said I'm thinking about going to PR. Could you please guide me? I said do you want to know the real truth? So she said yes. I said well, there's a famous quote that goes advertising is what you pay for, for PR is what you pray for. I said to her I do believe that it's, and I'm going to be honest here that it is a thankless job. So, for example, I got a client in Forbes and it's like Wendy Glavin's amazing and she's so fantastic. And then it's like a week later it's like well, why aren't we in the Wall Street Journal?

Speaker 2:

Oh, my goodness.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. And also if you get paid to do PR, right. So let's say, you do research and you look at the competition, you look at the media and then you don't get coverage. So how's the client going to feel about? Hey, I just paid you X amount of dollars and you didn't get any coverage. It's your fault. So when you mention PR, yes, I do PR, but I'm not going to list that as like a top not going to list that as something I love to do.

Speaker 2:

Not one of your main branches?

Speaker 3:

I mean, it is a branch, it's something I've done my whole career, but, as I said, it's the best thing. It's a thankless job and I don't want people to pay me and then be like, well, why aren't you getting me in TEP crunch? Why aren't you? You know, because you don't have the news, you don't have the information that's required.

Speaker 2:

That's a really good point without the content.

Speaker 3:

How much money to raise? What clients do you have? Like I remember when to meet the media, where you go up to Bloomberg and Fortune and you get to pitch your client. So this particular client, I was like you know AI and FinTech and you know they're ending up you know when you use their. The AI it simplifies for wealth managers and you know banks and that sort of thing. So they said who are their clients? Well, I'm not allowed to say Well, are they in partnerships? Have they raised any money? So the answer was all like, I'm not able to say so. Once all those things happen was when we got the article in Forbes. So I mean, that's just sort of separate about public relations. So why don't we use public relations to say do it for ourselves?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's good. You know, when I think about decoding your value and the uniqueness that you're describing, that there is no competition for you, I come back around to the idea of differentiation Like this is how you're going to be distinct and different in a market where so often, everybody just seems to be clones presenting their highlight reel.

Speaker 3:

Exactly, I totally agree.

Speaker 2:

When you're decoding your value, you're presenting yourself in a more authentic way. It seems that you're presenting your differentiation Like. This is what makes me distinct and different.

Speaker 3:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And there's nobody like you.

Speaker 3:

And nobody like you and nobody like anybody else. But people really don't think that way.

Speaker 2:

Well, not yet. Yes, but they will.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I'm actually writing an article about decoding your value. But because of all the trending now of personal branding, management Guru Tom Peters said in 1997, fast Company article entitled the Brand Called you. Regardless of Age, regardless of Position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies. Me Incorporated To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called you. It's that simple and that hard and that inescapable. Wow. So I mean he's very well known, but I think that's a really significant point that he makes.

Speaker 2:

It really is, and I think this is something that everybody needs to be thinking through and thinking about when they're putting out there the brand that they want to present Exactly, and I think that's what you are. You just try to be another flavor of vanilla.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, or even let's just use social media. I mean, there are so many people that care about the number of followers and increasing their followers, and it goes back to my same point. I really don't care. I'll give this example, unfortunately but Twitter, to me, I think Twitter is like reading the Sunday newspaper, like 50 years ago I'm teasing, but a long time ago but it's like up to the minute news on whatever topics you're interested in. But I mean so followers, why, why, why is that important? So I think it's also when you go back to, when you start with what are your values. I mean, one of mine is to always be learning, and I really do feel that way. So because I think if you're always learning, it keeps you young.

Speaker 2:

It's true.

Speaker 3:

It's true. So I think, less of a focus on the amount of followers and like the amount of sales, and I think first get sort of clear with who you are and what you have to offer. But it's you, it's not making up things.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

That's true. You know many, many of the people who are listening are entrepreneurs. They're agency owners, they're leaders. They've started something. You have been very successful in your entrepreneurial journey and sometimes people who are looking in from the outside can say oh, she had it easy, it was just up into the right, there were no real challenges. They're looking at the highlight reel. Is that true?

Speaker 3:

Absolutely 100%, no challenges at all. Oh, my God, I've had so many challenges like a lot of trauma, and sometimes I think to myself how did we get here? Like I don't understand how I even have this. I'm not even going to start with that. It'll be a whole nother. It should be like you know the trauma of like when to go out. No, so the thing is I feel like you know what are our choices? Like. We have two choices either to give up or just keep going. I mean, to me, the biggest strength I'm not saying me or of anybody is to be constantly learning. So like, for example, when the acting thing didn't work out for me and also I wanted to be a lawyer. Like my dad, I did take the LSATs. I got into a low ranking school, which he didn't think meant that I was would be any good, and he said to me this is a lot. I mean, he died at 65. He said to me you know, you're never going to win your case until you see the other side. You're more of an advocate and I actually think that's that's been true, I'd say. Now, by having children, by having young children at the time, it's important to me to have a really good relationship with them. So that means seeing things from their perspective, not saying like what I think that they should be doing. So that would be an example of like a life lesson. I had a tough upbringing and instead, like I learned and read to do the opposite. But yes, I mean a lot of challenges, and I think another thing that helps is, you know, reading books, getting a mentor, getting a coach. Like I told you, the student I spoke to earlier today, I mean there was just so many like I can't do this, I don't have this, I don't you know. And I was trying to explain to her, like, or also when she was listing her, what she had done in terms of her career. I mean it was just. I mean I told her because I'm honest, I said you know, it's a lot of minutia, it's like a lot of tedious things. Let's figure out like a broader way to describe these kinds of things so other. So you know the doing research and learning when I would get a new client and I didn't know anything about the subject. So spend the like days and days and days doing research and reading and then you become knowledgeable. So I'd say that that's really the key to constantly being able to work is you have to keep learning and be an active listener and go to people who are I'll say it quote unquote ahead of you for advice.

Speaker 2:

I love that. One of the things that I consistently talk about is the importance of having a teachable spirit. Where you're constantly learning, you never stop learning. If you stop learning, you stop leading. That's not gonna help anybody, you get older. There you go. They were a lentless march that we all face right.

Speaker 3:

That's a good way to put it.

Speaker 2:

yes, you talk about reading and learning from books. Are there books that have made a difference in your journey that you would recommend to other leaders?

Speaker 3:

Yes, so number one, and you would think that I was like prepared this, like we have prepared questions, but no, it's just that I read so much. Number one one of the best videos I've ever seen is Carla Harris Carla Ann Harris, who was the managing director of Morgan Stanley. So that particular video on YouTube or wherever else it is it's called Carlos Pearls. It is unbelievable. I mean, anytime, I recommend this. It's like I would watch it like hundreds of times. This would be anything. I mean anybody that's listening should find this video it's like 20 minutes and listen to her. I mean it's incredible. So that would be number one. Number two that I think is important as you said, there's like startups and entrepreneurs is Adam Grant's book. Adam Grant Okay, so his book Originals how Nonconformists Move the World.

Speaker 2:

Love that book.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So why that had a big impact on me is that years ago I kept thinking to myself, not only years ago, but I'm just different. I don't know, there's just some, I'm just different. Like I think differently, I am different. And I think in reading that book it kind of confirmed to me yes, you know what I mean, I am an original, I am. Yes, I mean the way. I think it's okay. So I think it confirmed you know who I feel that I really am. Another really great book is called the Happiness Advantage by Sean Aker. Do you know, interestingly, it's the number one TED talk of all times and Sean Aker is well S-H-A-W-N, aker is A-C-H-O-R. So between the TED talk if you don't have time to read the book, the TED talk and it's a very interesting perspective where and it's true, like you as a parent, you think, oh, like my child gets into school, he gets into, like a really good college and then graduates, which is, you know, strong degree, and then he gets a great job. And then you know, it's anything. Or it's like, if I get a great job, if I make this amount of money, then I'll be happy. If I lose weight, not me, but like, oh no, I'd be happy too. But if I lose weight or you know all these things, if, if, if, if I get promoted, but then it ends up then you have another it doesn't happen. So it's actually the reverse and this is too simplistic for me to use his words, but it's sort of the reverse In order to be successful, you need to be happy first. But it's not that cliche. I mean that sounds a little like oh, that's a self-help book. No, it isn't. I mean, remember the number one TED talk of all times. That's amazing. And then I mean I don't want to even recommend this, but if you want to know more about what's happening in technology and whether you're being tracked, there are two great documentaries one called the Great Hack, which I actually met. The star of it. It's about her, but it's Brittany Kaiser. I met her at South by Southwest, but the Great Hack is an unbelievable movie. And there's another one called I'm just trying to think it's with the head of Pinterest, the head of all these social media companies. It's just slipping my mind right now, but I mean I found those so compelling that I wrote something like every click you make, every swipe you take, you were being watched or you were being tagged, or whatever the word is.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm curious, Wendy, if there's one thing people walk away from this episode with, what would you want that one thing to be?

Speaker 3:

That you are your own competitive advantage and that take the time, it's not that involved. I mean, I have a download to code your value of a tree. It'll just help you visualize yourself and your life and just don't limit yourself to your job, your title, your salary, those kinds of things. Think of yourself in a broader way, to identify your life skills and you'll see you'll have so much to draw upon you'll be able to work forever and ask for help. Don't be afraid to ask for help. We all have different specialties. So if you look at people like that, everybody has an expertise or specialties. So if you don't know something, don't be afraid to ask.

Speaker 2:

That's the sign of wisdom. I know people are going to want to stay in touch with you, Wendy, and continue to learn from you. What is the best way for them to do that?

Speaker 3:

So they can email me at wendee w-e-n-d-y. Wendee at wendee glaven. I'm going to spell it my ex-husband's fault, because everybody always spells it wrong. G is in George, l is in love, a is in Apple, b is in Victor, I is in ice cream and is in Nancy. I'm on wendee at wendee glavencom. I'm on Twitter, I'm on LinkedIn, instagram, facebook, where else?

Speaker 1:

I'm on threads.

Speaker 2:

Yeah threads.

Speaker 3:

You know TikTok now I'm kidding, so I'd say the best way is directly wendee wendee glavencom, also on LinkedIn. My phone number is 917-680-8517. I'm not going to tell you my address, but I'm always happy Not happy to help, I'm just it's something that I really love and it sounds cliche, but I really do love helping people, and so I'm happy to answer any questions or help people, and I'd also recommend go on my website under the news section, choose an article about decode your value, meaning an article other than about blockchain or technology, and click on any article and you'll see a digital tree download and that will help you visualize and maybe start putting being able to help you to think about how to view yourself more broadly or holistically.

Speaker 2:

Such an inspiring and informative discussion today, Wendy.

Speaker 3:

Thank you so much for having me and for the wonderful introduction and wonderful conversation. I really appreciate it.

Speaker 2:

Thanks for joining me for this episode today. As we wrap up, I'd love for you to do two things. First, subscribe to this podcast so you don't miss an episode, and if you find value here, I'd love it if you would rate it and review it. That really does make a difference in helping other people to discover this podcast. Second, if you don't have a copy of my newest book, catalytic Leadership, I'd love to put a copy in your hands. If you go to catalyticleadershipbookcom, you can get a copy for free. Just pay the shipping so I can get it to you and we'll get one right out. My goal is to put this into the hands of as many leaders as possible. This book captures principles that I've learned in 20 plus years of coaching leaders in the entrepreneurial space, in business, government, nonprofits, education and the local church. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn to keep up with what I'm currently learning and thinking about. And if you're ready to take a next step with a coach to help you intentionally grow and thrive as a leader, I'd be honored to help you. Just go to catalyticleadershipnet to book a call with me. Stay tuned for our next episode next week. Until then, as always, leaders choose to be catalytic.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to Catalytic Leadership with Dr William Attaway. Be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts so you don't miss the next episode. Want more? Go to catalyticleadershipnet.

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