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Personal branding brunch

Drake Women’s Connection of Chicago hosts second successful event

Drake Women's Connection of Chicago

We all know the power of a first impression, but what about the impact of the “personal brand”? More than 65 attendees at the Drake Women’s Connection of Chicago brunch learned about the importance of marketing themselves, thanks to a presentation from Barbara Minner Ford, JO’74, principal at Griffin Strategic Advisors, and Mary Edrington, assistant professor of marketing at Drake University.

Edrington and Minner Ford’s key message at the May event was that creating a brand around your strengths is impactful professionally.

“It’s not only how you present yourself, but more than that, it’s about understanding your contribution — what you’re known for,” Edrington says. “We used examples from the Drake College of Business and Public Administration, and we talked about what we are doing with our first year students to help them discover their personal brand. We’re encouraging them to establish this concept as they develop their social network, resume and interview skills.”

Beyond branding

In addition to the discussion of personal branding and a delicious meal at the East Bank Club, Drake Women’s Connection of Chicago members mingled with the help of an exercise designed to introduce alumnae to one another.

“We were very pleased with the turnout and the level of interaction among the attendees,” says Debbie Bianucci, BN’78, GR’84, chair of the Drake Women’s Connection and CEO of the Bank Administration Institute in Chicago. “It is especially satisfying to see the interaction between women from multiple Drake eras.”

The Drake Women’s Connection brings area alumnae together for networking, mentoring, socializing and sharing information. The gathering was the group’s second meeting since its inaugural brunch in October. View photos of the event online.

“A number of women commented on how this type of activity is unique to Drake – saying friends of theirs from other universities say their alma maters don’t provide these networking opportunities,” Bianucci says.

The Drake Women’s Connection plans to continue meeting twice a year for brunch, but the connections won’t stop there. The group is also participating in the Windy City Golf outing in June and is forming a team to participate in the Bastille Day 5k/8k Run/Walk in Lincoln Park on July 9.

“I think The Women’s Connection is fantastic,” Edrington says. “It’s a wonderful way to expand their network, re-establish old friendships and reconnect with Drake.”