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Tonight I took my first step towards networking with real life people (but I took my boyfriend/roommate with me!) Those of you that know me, know that I am such an introvert that even just the term “networking” sounds terrifying to me. But with my New Year’s resolutions to learn more about entrepreneurship, I knew I had to join the Atlanta WordPress Users Meetup. I convinced Andrew to come with me because of the title of tonight’s topic: “Social Media Strategies to Grow Personal Branding” with Dorthea Bozicolona-Volpe. (quite the name!)

After about an hour of aggravating Atlanta traffic, we walked into General Assembly at Ponce City Market about thirty minutes after the meeting was about to start. Luckily, everyone was still mingling which made it easy for me to avoid eye contact and sit down in the only seats left–on the front row. Cue fast heart beat.

To make matters worse, everyone kept doing this for another ten minutes. I smiled at people but then pretended like I received a text message, because I really had no idea what to say.

Finally, Dorothea Bozicolona-Volpe took the stage and I had some relief. She was going to talk for 45 minutes and I would not have to network with anyone.

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Dorothea at General Assembly, Atlanta

She talked about the importance of personal branding. Every non-profit that you are involved with is a reflection of your values, every political piece you post is a reflection or you. And you are responsible for maintaining that brand.

Dorothea is a phenomenal speaker. She breaks all the rules of a female public speaker–she drops the f* bomb, makes dirty jokes, uses visuals of built men, and tonight used a porn star in her case study. She is brilliant–these things are what make her stand out and come completely natural.

Here are some of my notes from her lecture:

  • From birth to death, all you have is your name (with a name like hers, it will last at least three lifetimes!)
  • Communication is how you are perceived. People need to know, like and trust you
  • Focus on your natural abilities. What makes you distinctive?
  • Stand for something.
  • Reverse elevator pitch: what impression did you leave?
  • Make your content RELEVANT. No one cares if it is not relevant.

Why I love Dorothea:

  • She is a woman who knows her shit
  • She speaks her mind. Her friend that introduced her came about 30 minutes late, and she said “Well, thank you for that even though you’re about a month f*cking late,” with a big smile on her face. And didn’t take it back by apologizing.
  • Her shoes were only shoes that I have dreamed about
  • Girl could TEACH! I learned so much about social media in 45 minutes tonight

Moral of the story: Get Blogging. Get on Social Media (all of it). Have fun.