The dilemma of having to choose between a safe, stable career and our own personal passions is one of the most expressive struggles of modern life, and the answer is not always straightforward.
After all, sure, the safe route is going to give you a full belly a roof over your head, and a better chance at having a happy family, but it comes at the cost of personal fulfillment, a price that many people regret paying in the long run.
This is the choice that Genevive Piturro, our guest for today, took while still young, but when she got to the very top of the corporate hill, she found herself longing for something more challenging but also way more meaningful.
In this episode of the Personal Branding Exposed Podcast, she shared with us how she leaped from the corporate latter to bring pajamas to children that had nothing to at bedtime.
Here is how that went.
Is This Enough?
Growing up in New York, Gene had a very clear image in her mind of what a successful woman looked like, and she wasted no time in going after it.
Specializing in marketing, she soon found herself within the corporate ranks, being the first in and last out to make sure she climbed them as fast as possible, her life was work, and she loved it.
Or at least, she loved it up until a certain point in her life, after going from assistant to the director and finally all the way up to vice president, she found herself at the very cusp of that dream, and yet, as she details, there was something missing:
“What happened was one day, in my mid-thirties, in my apartment that I owned, you know I was able to do things that I always wanted to do, I heard a voice come from in here and it asked me ‘if this is the next thirty years of your life, is this enough”?
A Little Girl
Something Inside Gene told her the answer was no.
When she was almost near the top of the corporate ladder, she found that it was a solitary place, with a large dreamy apartment where she lived alone, a beautiful car that she never shared with other people.
And she tells us that this made her question the next thirty years of her life, which brought up a particular subject:
“I immediately went to children in my mind because I didn’t have time, didn’t have them and I read the paper, see the news and all these children in my area are hurt and somewhere, someone is taking them to safety.
So I started calling police stations, and they directed to some shelters, and I called asking if I could come and read to the children at night, and they thought that was a wonderful idea.”
Arriving at the shelter to read the bedtime story, Gene couldn’t help but notice the bareness of the environment and how the children seemed to have nothing to wear, even to bed.
She compared those children’s dire situation with her own memories of being lovingly tucked under blankets by her parents and the thought sparked a fire of action in her belly.
And on the next day, she bought a bunch of pajamas.
When the moment of distributing the sleeping attire to the children came, she took notice of a little girl that had been quietly avoiding her since the night before, this child came to Gene and asked: “what are pajamas?”
“ The obsession began”, Gene explains, an obsession called the pajama project.
Tell Your Story
Now, Gene is a marketing veteran and a large portion of the reason why the Pajama Project is so successful is do to her masterful use of personal branding to garner support for those children that have nothing to wear to bed.
I asked her to share with us what was her personal take on what makes a good personal branding strategy, and this is what she had to say:
“ I think it is the story, it’s my story, your story, we all have a story and I think we don’t tell it enough but that is the way we connect with people heart-to-heart, you know I don’t really care about where you went to school, I care what you’ve been through.”
What I love about Gene’s answer is that it gets to the very bottom of what makes personal branding so important, the idea that behind our logo and business name there is an entire person with a unique experience of life in this world.
It is by sharing your experiences, your story, that you start building the relationships that take us forward not only as professionals but as human beings as well.
Something really awesome that we can pick up from my talk with Genevive is just how she found her calling and had no hesitation in not only taking the plunge towards a more meaningful life, but also how she didn’t keep the experience to herself.
Human beings have always been sharing stories as a way to help one another go through simillar challenges and Gene saw exactly how her story could help others that leap of faith themselves.
And, what made it possible for her to do that was her masterful use of personal branding, combined of course with her talents as a writer.
So, if you would like to tell the world your story, the best place I can recommend for you to start is at the personal branding workshop that I’m doing, all you have to do is contact me either on this website or on my social media to participate.
Book a Discovery Call with me and let me help you build your brand while you sleep!