Dr. Tobias Guzmán discusses the importance of developing your own brand identity through thoughtful professionalism attitudes and behaviors.
I have a, I think a start to personal branding from when I was very young. Probably it starts when I was at age five, is when I can remember. And personal branding was really embedded in my family. We always talked about how we needed to represent ourselves as the Guzman family and how potentially because of language and ethnicity and race, we had to maybe overcompensate a little bit more by showing who we are as people, our character and, and how we treat people. So I think those are some beginnings of personal branding, but it even went into how I dressed and how my, my father dressed, me wanting to make sure that I always showed my best and always dressed with pride. Um, so I think that kind of gives a little bit of a background of where I think the personal branding journey started for me.
Where do you see personal branding impacting students or professionals?
Having worked with students for you know, over 25 years, I think it's part of the student learning process as well as just beyond students. And I say that because I don't think we always take time to reflect and have an introspective process about ourselves. Very seldom do we ask the questions, what do people say about me when I leave the room? Or what are the finest things about me? And if we were to sit down and reflect about those kinds of things, would we one continue to work on them or develop them and two, would we be more self aware about those things in how we treat others and how we present ourselves. So students mainly are, are trying to get to their next level of going to graduate school or the working world. Um, adults are trying to either get promotions, new jobs, whatever it may be. So there's the connection is always making sure that there's self work and a cognizant awareness of how we are projecting ourselves.
So it seems like a constant reflective practice.
Absolutely. The personal branding journey is always about continuous improvement.
I always like to say every day is an interview. I believe that I am in my position because I worked very hard every single day. I showed up dressed up and, and, and really put my, my work at the forefront. And so when I talk about every day is an interview, everybody's watching our behaviors, everyone is watching how we react and people will remember that. And so I, I think about how people are hired or put into positions or shoulder tapped to be the lead on something. And the reason why people are shoulder tapped or asked to apply for a position or whatever it may be is because people have seen behaviors and whether we like it or not, our lives are in fishbowls and everybody's looking in and it even complicates it or exacerbates it more so, when we become a leader, when we become in positions of trust.
And so when you, when you think about all the different scandals and issues with leaders and, and you know, the, the various, uh, things that have maybe brought their leadership, um, to a close is because they're always being watched. And so we want to be cognizant of how we're perceived by other people. Um, and we make mistakes and that's okay. But the important part is how we acknowledge those mistakes and how we make sure that we apologize for the impact because our mistakes may not, we may not always be the intent that we were desiring, but it was the impact. You say every day is an interview.
Do you ever feel like it's okay to turn that off? Say when you're making breakfast, um, or after the day has been over after an actual interview, is there a decent time to turn that mode off?
Yes. And it's appropriate to do so. And it's necessary because, you know, if you don't turn it off, you can become very overwhelmed. You may not allow yourself to be introspective and you could possibly do harm to what your ultimately trying to do. So yes, every day is an interview, but there's always an end time to your interview. So you know, there's, there's working out their sleep, there's, you know, going to a place of worship. You know, there's, there's those kinds of things that you know, are going to happen. And, and you know, the interview word is not to always show off or to be... - What I really like to say is, is what do we, what do we do to show our a game in working with people and responding to situations that's, that's more so of I think a way to look at it.
We always want a step wise process of, well, how do I get, how do I get the answer, you know, to this personal branding journey.
What are my top 10?
What are my top 10? Absolutely. So I'm going to give to some top three items, um, that I think really help. And, and one of them is developing a brand identity. So if you take a look at, um, for me, uh, as an as an example, I want to make sure that when I leave the room, people say Tobias is compassionate, he's caring, he's thoughtful. And you know, those are things that I work on every single day and almost every single minute of my personal and professional life. So the task or the to do item is really what, uh, what is your personal brand identity and what are those descriptors that you have that you can talk about and say, this is who I am.
How did you choose those, those descriptors for yourself?
It's a very good question. Um, I think that, uh, many of them came to me from other people. They came as forms of feedback. They came as, as forms of, um, just even the introspective process of saying, you know, who am I? Just that, that initial question of who am I and how do I want to be? Number two is how you communicate your brand. So a lot of times, um, you know, in, in again, in the, in the world, um, brands are communicated by commercials, uh, billboards, podcasts, social media and all those, you know, it's very illuminated through those, those, uh, vehicles, what we do and in terms of our brand identity and communicating that is through our behavior and our communication with others and our overall way of being. So here's a, here's a good example and, and it's something that I think resonates with a lot of people.
My brand is to be respectful and that respect comes in making sure that I open doors for people. It makes, um, make sure that I communicate my brand by putting on my blinker. When I turn. Um, it means that I don't, I don't have gum in my mouth and I, you know, I'm tired of, of chewing it. So I rolled down my window and spit it out the window. Some people would say, well, those are just common respectful things. Right. They are, but how many people don't do those things? And so communicating the brand of risk of, of me being a respectful person is always been aware of those types of things. Number three is evaluating that, what your brand identity is. You know, we never know how others perceive us until we're asked the question. And so it's a tough one because one, we have to be ready for hearing anything.
And two, we need to make sure that the person feels comfortable and safe and that, um, we, we have communicated that we trust them to actually hear some feedback. You know, Tobias, I feel like you're, you know, I'm really busy and, um, you're, you're just overly rushed and you don't give that respect anymore. Oh my gosh. You know, that would be so detrimental to me again if I cared. Okay. And, and that's part of my brand is that I do care. And so that would be something that would help me assess where I'm at today. So taking that, that high road and in, in, in understanding what an assessment might be in asking a direct question, whether it is to your supervisor, you are partner, your, um, you know, a friend. Um, you know, typically our partners, um, will give us some pretty honest feedback because there's a little bit more trust built, but you know, that that's a real important aspect to it.
My name is Tobias Guzman and I'm the assistant vice president for equity and inclusion here at UNC. I've been working here for 19 years. I was also a student back in the day and came back after eight years being away and working at other places, um, and decided to come back and I've been here for, since then, my main work is working with students and, um, being able to navigate all the different aspects of university life for students. So I am always open to coffee, tea, soda, whatever, even a meal and invite anybody to give me a call, email, snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, whatever is your choice or vehicle to connect with me. I am happy to do it.