Building and maintaining a professional brand is essential for young professionals (YoPros) who work in or want to enter business aviation. But how do you accomplish that, given endless social media notifications, educational commitments, family obligations and more? It’s simpler than you think, and the following tips can help take your brand to the next level.
“First, you have to find your voice and what you’re passionate about,” said Stephanie Cifuentes, a first-generation Bolivian-American mom of two, MBA candidate and senior specialist of ambient marketing base business at Nestlé. “It can start with your job, your home life and go from there. For me, it’s advocating for working parents and career progression for diverse talent.”
Cifuentes added, “Taking on speaking engagements is another way to build your brand; I’ve spoken with students about choosing majors and internships. Always take the opportunity to speak about what you know.”
“Your brand is not just on social media, but also who you are when you’re not posting.”
Tressa Mattingly Social Media Manager, NBAA
NBAA Social Media Manager Tressa Mattingly, mom to two young children, has worked to amplify her brand as a social media expert in the aviation industry.
“I’ve worked in communications and social media for the last 12 years and have developed a specialty as an expert in transportation,” she said. “I will often write blog posts and share them on LinkedIn or volunteer to speak at social media conferences and offer training sessions for people who want to learn more about using social media for professional purposes.”
As you develop your brand and build your community and networks, Mattingly said it’s important to maintain your integrity, both on and off line. “Your brand is not just on social media, but also who you are when you’re not posting.”
Julia Harrington, lead captain and PWK base manager for Axis Jet and an NBAA Top 40 Under 40, emphasized the importance of an online presence.
“In the age of social media, everyone has a personal brand. It’s up to you to take charge of it and curate a positive brand that represents your values. Companies will search you on social media, so make sure what they find accurately depicts what you want to present. Especially in business aviation, being intentional with your brand can be very beneficial to opening doors to new jobs, internships and networking opportunities.”
Sharing your essential values does pose some risk, however.
“Never be afraid to speak a truth that’s unpopular,” said Cifuentes, but be prepared for responses from people who may disagree with you. “Always have a backup plan, and think strategically for success.”
Review NBAA’s resources for young professionals at nbaa.org/yopro.