How to Create or Build a Brand That Lasts


Wendy Glavin, Founder & CEO, Wendy Glavin Agency

I always dreamed of becoming an attorney or actress, but things didn’t quite work out that way. After majoring in acting, my professors said I was too dramatic. As for law school, my prosecutor dad felt I was more of an advocate. My parents said I could only live at home for a month after graduating college. I accepted the first offer I received, working in-house at General Electric. 

At the time, I wasn’t interested in technology. But, looking back, I realized that being surrounded by engineers and scientists helped me decipher complex technology terms. Decades later, I work with clients in a wide variety of B2B sectors, including, FinTech, AI, ML, financial services, blockchain and crypto.

Since the pandemic, business executives like book authors, small businesses and startups founders have reached out to learn how to amplify their brands.

How to Decode Your Value 

Throughout the pandemic, I was struck by all the people who lost their loved ones, jobs, income, and were in-limbo. After thinking about people’s fears, loss of confidence, and mental wellness, I wanted to find a way to help. 

Instead of thinking about the future, look back at your background, life experiences, relationships, and interests to see yourself through a wider lens. You’re not defined by the work you do (or did), your salary, role, age, gender of other self-limiting beliefs. Life is not one long trajectory, but a series of steps you take along the way. 

For example, when you were young, what did you love to do? Despite not being an actress, my schooling taught me about non-verbal communication, how to present and deliver an experience to an audience. I continue to use these skills during guest appearances on podcasts, live shows and at events. 

Even though I never got a law degree, I learned there are two sides to an argument. Beyond knowing your position, understanding other people’s perspectives improves your relationships and helps you learn. While only two examples, they serve to help you think about how your background, experiences, skills, and interests intersect.

Perhaps you only know a little about a topic. If you have a learning mindset, it’s easy to do research, read articles online, watch YouTube videos, and be an active participant. Beyond learning about yourself, you’ll learn about the people with whom you work. 

For example, during a podcast I was on with host, Russ Swanger, he said, “It’s not uncommon for  us to be so involved in our daily lives that we’re unaware of the direction in which we’re going. If we take stock of where we are now, along with our abilities and interests, we can  create a plan and incorporate them into our goals. The Decode Your Value Process and Life Skills Tree is a great tool designed to help you organize, visualize, and understand your values, skills, competencies and experiences to create the type of life you deserve!”

You’re Multifaceted 

During our formative years (early childhood through eight-years of age) we develop our physical, intellectual, social, and emotional foundations. We’re conditioned to think, behave, and perceive the world in different ways. If you tend to look at situations and outcomes in a negative way, you can learn to shift your thinking.

My friend Deirdre Breakenridge and I often share book ideas. One, is “You Are the Placebo,” by Joe Dispenza. In the forward, Joe writes, “You, and every other human being, are shaping your brain and body by the thoughts you think, the emotions you feel, the intentions you hold, and the transcendental states you experience.”

Another way to think about it is what I was told during physical therapy after an MCL replacement on my right knee replacement. My therapist said, “Change a thought, move a muscle.” When you exercise or use focused attention, you can train yourself to concentrate on a specific activity instead of being in your own head. 

Lise Wagnac focused on the skills she learned as a pre-teen and uses them in her work today. She told me, “My major in college was anthropology. But my parents were disappointed since I had planned to become a doctor. Using the Decode Your Value process I realized  anthropologists are like scientists in that they must remove their biases before doing any analysis. Now, I work in blockchain and summarize complex mathematical concepts using the scientific method to analyze data for blockchain investors.”

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

In Dori Ciccarelli’s case, “Despite hiring and working with my team, we didn’t realize all the underlying skills and resources we had. Knowing what our employees care about helps us hone those interests. The Decode Your Value process and Life Skills tree helped us highlight people’s talents beyond their resume value. Often young professionals switch jobs because they feel undervalued. My goal is to ensure my team is inspired, feel like they’re a significant part of our corporate culture and continue to grow.”

Being successful used to be about how much experience and knowledge you had; tied to your skillset. Now, companies are looking to hire people with soft skills like, being emotionally intelligent, honest, adaptable, ethical, empathetic, creative, and more.

I know many CEO’s who are young (late 20s), others who are mid-career and executives nationally and globally who’ve created their own businesses. Instead of single-mindedly focusing on your career, attending events and conferences, identify side gigs that tap into your personal interests. Consider learning something new or pursuing your passion. 

Take Tara Wimbush, “When I was a child, I loved fashion and food, but my family wanted me to get a stable job so I worked for the government doing IT. Throughout the years, I kept thinking about my college years where I double majored in nutrition science and fashion. Years later, I founded an event planning business.

When I was starting my new company, I remember thinking, who can I trust to be honest with me about what I want to do? I contacted Wendy and we spoke about Decoding Your Value, my love of entrepreneurship and baking. Now, I have my own confectionary business.” 

Change Your Mindset

Have your priorities changed because of the pandemic? While some people are gainfully employed, others are stuck. I continue writing about Decode Your Value because I want you to know that you can learn to shift your thinking and find new opportunities. A critical lesson we’ve learned during the past year is life is short:

  1. If you’re unhappy, change your circumstances 
  2. If you need money, find a side hustle
  3. If you can’t afford where you’re living, move
  4. If you want to learn something new, read and do research online
  5. If you feel isolated, participate in online communities and volunteer 
  6. If you feel lost, find a coach or a mentor
  7. If you feel mentally unwell, get professional help
  8. If you’re sad, stressed, or worried, call friends
  9. If you don’t like your home, move
  10. If you miss socializing, see people again

I’m not saying that any of this is easy, particularly if money is tight. But if you focus on what you want rather than what you don’t, your life will change. Perhaps you’ve heard or been told to trust the universe. Maybe you don’t believe in a higher power. Regardless, if you trust in yourself, you’ll find solutions to problems as you’ve done in the past. Think of this  time as an opportunity. 

Despite having used F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quote in previous articles, it best represents how I feel and believe you can too. For what it’s worth… it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.”

About the Author: Wendy Glavin is a 30-year marketing communications veteran, a full-service agency owner, a published writer, a technology columnist and a global speaker. Her website is: Contact her at: