Rise From The Ashes

Unlocking Potential: Carol Kaemmerer's Journey from Adversity to LinkedIn Success

January 29, 2024 Baz Porter® Season 3 Episode 5
Rise From The Ashes
Unlocking Potential: Carol Kaemmerer's Journey from Adversity to LinkedIn Success
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Ready to unlock the hidden potential of LinkedIn? Join us as we chat with Carol Kemmerer, an executive branding whiz and author, who turned adversity into an inspiring success story. After a setback in her career, Carol found LinkedIn as her beacon of hope. With resilience, she put the platform's features to good use, transforming her profile into a compelling personal brand and becoming a go-to resource for job seekers. 

This episode is not just a LinkedIn tutorial; it's an exploration into the art of networking and leadership. Discover how genuine connections can elevate your professional life and why selling should take a backseat to sharing valuable insights. Carol reveals how impactful role models have been in her journey and how these influences can shape our own paths. We also touch on the immeasurable power of authenticity, living with purpose, and the footprints we can leave in the lives of others. So, brace yourselves for an engaging conversation as we navigate the road to success with Carol Kemmerer. All aboard?

Support the show

Friends, our time together is coming to a close. Before we part ways, I sincerely thank you for joining me on this thought-provoking journey. I aim to provide perspectives and insights that spark self-reflection and positive change.

If any concepts we explored resonated with you, I kindly request that you share this episode with someone who may benefit from its message. And please, reach out anytime - I’m always eager to hear your biggest aspirations, pressing struggles, and lessons learned.

My door is open at my Denver office and digitally via my website. If you want to go deeper and transform confusion into clarity on your quest for purpose, visit http://www.ramsbybaz.com and schedule a coaching session.

This is Baz Porter signing off with immense gratitude. Stay bold, stay faithful, and know that you always have an empathetic ear and wise mind in your corner. Until next time!

Speaker 1:

Ladies and gentlemen, good day wherever you are, whoever you are and whatever you're doing, welcome back to a new episode of the podcast Rise from the Ashes. I'm your host, baz Porto. For those people who just tuned in and never heard me before, this is all about of service for you and for other people who are aspiring to come up in the world and leave legacies and an imprint in the world with their voice. My next guest is an amazing human being. Her name is Carol and I'm, as always, let her introduce herself because I suck at introducing people. Ladies and gentlemen, please, I'll hand you off to Carol. Please introduce yourself to the world.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I'm Carol Kemmerer and I live in Minneapolis. I am an executive branding expert, an author and a speaker. Thank you.

Speaker 1:

So a lot of our listeners are fascinated with stories that overcome adversity. Is there anywhere in your life that you are willing to share, that you've overcome a challenge that has turned out into an opportunity?

Speaker 2:

Oh yes, I believe that one can absolutely make that lemonade from the lemons that have arrived, and in 2011, I had lemons raining everywhere. So the prior 20 plus years, I had been a marketing communications consultant to a Fortune 500 company and I was such a good match for them that they kept my inbasket full always. I always had enough to do so that I decided early on that I would not work for any of their competitors, so they would never be a conflict of interest. It made me happy for all those years, but when they had an economic downturn and they did what so many companies do in terms of outsourcing a whole function, that happened. They outsourced the marketing communications department and all of a sudden, I was without anything to do and without anyone who knew me and without anyone who knew my capabilities. So, in trying to just persevere and not retire, what I did was go to LinkedIn, because I knew I had no network.

Speaker 2:

Linkedin is a place where we can create and build an authentic network, a network of people that we would like to know. People didn't know what I did. I thought I could take care of that. I could take care of that on LinkedIn. I knew, because I was a writer that I would do really well in writing my profile, but I wanted to know what was behind it. How did it work? How did the algorithm work? What was under the hood? How could I optimize my chance of being found on this amazing search engine? And so I studied it very, very hard. I went to every webinar. I read every article.

Speaker 2:

I was really a student of LinkedIn, and along my journey of learning, I reached out to all my friends who had hired me all those years. They were out without a job and I sat with them and I said let me show you what I'm learning about LinkedIn and how we can use our ability to communicate to really make a difference in our job search. Well, they liked what I did so well that they began to send me their friends for the same service. And I'm going. I'm looking for a corporate job. Then I realized the universe was sending me my next assignment and I was just loving it. So you know, that is my rising from the ashes story. It is realizing that there was a way out that I could take a hold of and really pull myself up, and so I have created An incredible reputation.

Speaker 2:

Last year, the American reporter named me one of the top six personal branding experts. My book LinkedIn for the Savvy Executive has won multiple awards, including book authorities best LinkedIn books of all time, the C-suite Network's best 100 business books and international books, gold award for career books Congratulations. Yeah, it's a fun story because it was a start where I just felt bereft, absolutely without resources. As a matter of fact, I thought of putting up a website to show all my great writing over time. What a mad idea that would have been, because all the work that I had been doing was, of course, company proprietary. That was not going to work at all, but I did find my way and it's exciting because it speaks to so many of my clients who are senior level people and who want to do something different with the last little chunk of their career.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, I love that. You mentioned a couple of things in that short story there, which I love, carol. One was you had no network or resources, but you found a way. Yes, that exudes resilience for you. Yes, most people will just say I've got nothing, I'm done Well yeah, I could have been done, but I just didn't feel complete.

Speaker 2:

I didn't have any hobbies that I was anxious to get to, and it was a little early. I just thought, no, I'm not done. How can I remake myself?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love that. Another thing the language you use with LinkedIn it's a search engine. Yes, I love that, because very few people realize that and they view it as another social media platform. Although it is a social, can be a social platform, but the primary resource and function of it is to find and link up B2C to B companies. Absolutely, People are not aware that language you use. Search engine was very powerful. I love it.

Speaker 2:

Yes, because it is a search engine. There are certain strategies that we should use. Among them, we should know what our most important key words are, or the words that people would use to search for someone just like us. We should use them often, which means that we need to write to the margins on LinkedIn, because if you write an about section of two sentences, you can't possibly expect to be found by the search engine that's looking for. How many times are you using that key word on your profile? You want to use the word in context? Two sentences is not going to do it, because five paragraphs is how much text they allow in the about section.

Speaker 1:

I love that. These are distinctions that, unless you know about them or aware of them, right Also opportunities that people are missing out on Right Expertise, come in and say this is where you're falling short. How about X, y and Z to improve the algorithm that you are appearing into, which I love? Yes, successful entrepreneurs individual CEOs over the course of their careers, have usually picked up habits or routines that help them to set their day up, whether it be personal routines or even business routines, right Sticky notes, lists, etc. Is there anything that you can share with the audience that you've learned throughout your vast experience that have helped you stay on track with day tasks?

Speaker 2:

Oh, yes, so I use the plain old fashioned written by hand list and, yes, indeed, writing it down helps me so much because when I try to keep everything in my head I get lost and it's like what was that thing that I was supposed to do? But in addition to kind of a long list of the things that need to get done in the next so many days, I always try to figure out what are the one to three things that, if I accomplish them in this day, my day would be successful. There can be a thousand little things and you can get a lot of them done in a short period of time, but if you didn't move that folder that is in your place one, it really wasn't a successful day. You know, if you didn't get it to the top of the hill, at least did you get it to a copse of trees where you could anchor it for a while.

Speaker 1:

I love that. What's the most valuable lesson you've learned in networking with people on LinkedIn? Because that's your space, it's my space as well. Absolutely. What's the most valuable lesson you've learned in your experience?

Speaker 2:

I think that it is after connecting, reaching out and making it something more than just that transaction, so that we get to know who that other person is. I used to send people a link to my article of the month, but I don't do that now because I figured that's almost too much like selling. So instead, some question that is not obviously answered by looking at their profile might be something to engage and sharing, something about who I am.

Speaker 1:

I love that. One of the things that I found in my journey and I like to run this past you is the friendship is always found in the follow-up.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I love that.

Speaker 1:

And adding on to that, it's not about, as you said, it's not about selling. It's about providing education and information. Where you become valuable, you become the asset. Would you agree with that statement?

Speaker 2:

Oh, I love it. I especially love that friendship is the start. That is just beautiful. I have that kind of friends on LinkedIn, people that I will never meet, in all kinds of countries all over the world, and it's so exciting when somebody from Nicaragua or Spain or wherever reaches out and talks to me. It's a real thrill and, as a result, I have been able to present to people virtually in Africa, in the United Kingdom, in Australia, in Egypt Just fun, you know, it's nice to have my world expanded by that technology that's available.

Speaker 1:

I love it. Talking of countries, it's a quick fire round. Not a quick fire, but a quick fire. Question for you If you've ever traveled globally, what's your favorite place you've been?

Speaker 2:

Oh, I think it is Switzerland.

Speaker 1:

Can you share why, please?

Speaker 2:

Oh, it is so physically beautiful, so incredibly grand, and the people are so hospitable. Maybe that's because they like you to be a tourist. I've heard that they're not necessarily so hospitable if you want to move and be an expat, but when you are a guest in Switzerland, you are so welcomed and they just seem to be so accommodating. So that's a place I really enjoy going because it is very different and yet I don't feel nervous, and they have so many different languages that you can make out usually anything. I love that.

Speaker 1:

Most of our clients, or most of our people listeners have faced adversity. But the one thing most people have in common is they've modelled another person. People model Tony Robbins. People model somebody they are aspiring to be, not copied. There's a huge difference. And then they become the people they surround themselves with and it's usually about five people who they surround themselves with. That they set themselves up for that next level of success. Is there anybody in your life who's been a role model for you? Not, you've aspired to be like, but you've gone. I'm going to learn from you. I'm going to absorb all that I can and I want to learn your knowledge so I can apply it in my way.

Speaker 2:

John Maxwell is somebody that comes to mind. His leadership tenants and quotes and all of those things are so inspiring to me. Another person who's writing I follow because they are in the personal branding space is William Arruda. Love him and, quite frankly, I also really enjoy Jeffrey Hazelett, who is a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame and he is the chairperson of the C-suite network, which is a network that I'm part of. I can sometimes just hear Jeffrey in my ear. You know whether he's here or not. You know it's like just do it Done is better than perfect. Get it done, then perfect.

Speaker 1:

I love that. Who has been your closer to home now? Who has been your guiding inspiration in your network?

Speaker 2:

Oh, let's see, I have a business coach, kathleen Caldwell, and she fills me with positive affirmations, she celebrates with me, she hurts with me. It's beautiful and my biggest supporter is my dear husband, who will prove for me, who will help me with you know, graphics and handling some of that, cutting the ends off my ragged start and end to my videos. You know he just is a continual support of me and all that I do. I so appreciate him.

Speaker 1:

And thank you for sharing that. How long have you been together?

Speaker 2:

If you don't mind sharing.

Speaker 1:

What's that If you don't?

Speaker 2:

mind sharing. So we have been married for 50 years. Congratulations, of course, I got married when I was eight, you understand.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we often find that people close to us husbands, spouses, our partners become our biggest fans. I have in my life my wife, four years, has been my biggest supporter, my biggest fan, absolutely. She is, in a lot of ways, the role model in my life, so I can relate to that greatly. Thank you to your husband for supporting you on your journey.

Speaker 2:

It is a wonderful thing yeah.

Speaker 1:

Many of our listeners are curious about leadership and what it actually means to other individuals. Can you share a leadership lesson in your own words that you've learned, or you try and implement or teach other people from lessons in your own life?

Speaker 2:

I really like to affirm people that often perform invisibly, you know, like the cashier at the grocery store who is used to just serving without any acknowledgement other than you know is that the right price for the peaches? So I look at their name, I use their name, I ask them about their day. When we're done, I thank them with their name and I wish them a fabulous day, and it is one way that I can breathe a spark of kindness into other people and start that ripple of goodness and kindness and good feeling that persists for a while.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I love that and I'm going to use the hashtag here. Nobody's invisible, because many people wander through their day with no recognition for others or what others do. There's a trend in the world at the moment where there's no appreciation for the little things, but without the little people the little people in the world, the people that we take for granted the cashiers, the people who stock the shelves, the people who keep the maintenance in the row, the lorry drivers they're not recognized. So I love that you set aside time and you're humble enough to recognize them, and that means a lot to the person.

Speaker 2:

I just think it is one way that I can go through life and bring joy to others, and it doesn't cost me anything at all. It doesn't really even add time to my day. Instead, it makes me present with them and it makes them feel appreciated, and I do appreciate that. So it's a good thing.

Speaker 1:

Thank you. Books Now. You mentioned some authors earlier. Is there anything you can recommend to the audience that you either podcast, or books that you listen to or you read avidly to educate yourself. I'm supposing there's a lot of books that you could probably go through.

Speaker 2:

Well, I could, but I have a book right here that I'd like to share. This book is by my friend, chuck Goldstone, and it's called Strategy Stories, and specifically he writes about how startup companies can be more articulate regarding their story so that they will be more successful in getting venture capitalist funds, getting loans from their bank. Any of that? How do we tell our stories? I must say I have not. I just got it and I haven't delved into it deeply, but oh my goodness, chuck is a masterful communicator and it's so much fun that he has put his knowledge all in this one book.

Speaker 1:

I might actually get that book now. Yeah, that's a good one, he's great. Thank you. Failure is often viewed as a negative thing in a lot of people's eyes. I don't see it as a negative. I find it as much as things failure, but there is and there isn't. Failure is a failure, but what happens with failure is there is always a success story. Yes, somewhere along the line. Is there anything you can share with the audience? That failure that you've perceived has turned into something to actually propel you into that next, that next stage and I shared a story earlier. Is there another thing, something else you can share with the audience to inspire them?

Speaker 2:

I think that kind of building on that story. It did take me a while because I perceived that I had lost my job and that if I could just have done something better, I wouldn't have lost my job. What I've learned about corporations and the way that they work when they are looking for a big economic shift by a downsizing of the company is that has very little to do with the people and more to do with the numbers, and so they're taking a class of people and cutting them off. Why I would have the hubris to think that if they clean out the whole department, that they would still use me. Yeah. So one of the things that propels me is that over time, looking at that perceived failure of losing my job, I've developed some of my most powerful speaking opportunities where I talk to people about that it's not their fault that they are without a job, that it's so common now that almost everyone has one of those in their lives, and actually the higher up you are, the more likely you are, because they're trying to make big economic changes and they can do that most easily by taking the most expensive people out of the equation, and also in merger and acquisition, when you have two of everything and you need one of everything. Half those people are going to go so that. And then also the notion that we should take care of our own brand.

Speaker 2:

As a marketing communications person, I was responsible for my part of the brand of that company and everything had to be on brand. The writing had to be precise and I was ignoring my own. As a matter of fact, I undercut my own, thinking that I would have nothing to write if somebody didn't tell me what they wanted me to write. Oh my goodness, the creativity that has happened since then is just amazing. But some of my best presentations have been about recovering, and so that is just a huge win out of what I perceive to be a failure that I couldn't talk about in a adult way for years. My throat would constrict and the tears would creep into my eyes as I was saying. Well, I know what to work for, so I'm really glad to have healed from that and to provide some of my learnings in my writing and in my speaking. So the other people kind of get it.

Speaker 1:

I love that, thank you. You mentioned earlier you would like to give something away to the audience. Oh yes, could you please share that and what it is and what it's about?

Speaker 2:

Sure, I think it's called let's See Elevate your Visibility on LinkedIn. It's a little e-book, it's just a darling little book. It's got maybe six or seven tips on ways that you could elevate your presence, your engagement on LinkedIn so that, when opportunities arise, people remember your name. So this little book is available.

Speaker 2:

I think you're just going to put the link in the chat because it's kind of hard to pronounce, but I think you'll enjoy it, and you might also enjoy visiting my website, because many of the articles that I've published over time are on my website and if you're interested in learning, I have a great book. So this is my great book LinkedIn for the Savvy Executive Promote your Brand with Authenticity, Tact and Power. This is the second edition of this book and it has won Book Authority's Best LinkedIn Books of All Time. It has won the C-suite Network's Best 100 Business Books and it received an award a gold award from the International Book Program in careers. So it's had fun.

Speaker 1:

All the links will be in the blog post and also the bio. So please click on below and have a look at the bio and click on the links. Thank you, Moving forward. Where do you see yourself in a couple of years' time? What do you want to achieve? Who do you want to meet? What are your aspirations for yourself and for your husband, obviously?

Speaker 2:

Oh, let's see. You know, I would guess in 10 years I would surely be looking for a way to give my value occasionally in a public way, but surely I will have figured out what to do in retirement instead of working forever. But I certainly am glad that I didn't retire when I lost my job, and one of the things that I want to do as a part of my legacy is to make it possible for others who find themselves at 50 plus without job to figure out a way to keep on working, and part of that way is to put your brand out there on.

Speaker 2:

LinkedIn. So that's a legacy I want to leave. I want to leave it in a way that people can find my knowledge, and that's why I've written my book in two editions. That's why I'm writing every month about the interface between personal brand and LinkedIn.

Speaker 1:

I love that. Thank you very much for sharing that. Is there anything else you would like to share with the audience before we leave and depart today?

Speaker 2:

No, but if you have not ever customized your LinkedIn profile, it's there, but it's not doing you any good. Think about what is it that you'd like people to know about you and about how you bring value to the world? Concentrate on that for a good long time before you write the first sentence. You know, linkedin is not like a fill-in-the-blank test. It's an essay test, and every good student knows that you need to figure out what you want to say before you say it. So that's the whole thing. You know. Focus on three points that you want people to remember and bring them through each section of your profile so that, by the time people are done, they'll know yes, these three things are what I remember about that person.

Speaker 1:

Thank you very much for that, Carol.

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

For myself. Thank you very much for joining us today. This will be on live on all episodes and all platforms, etc. If you have a question, please email me. Please look up Carol and ask her questions. Please reach out, Find her on LinkedIn.

Speaker 2:

I respond on LinkedIn.

Speaker 1:

And be authentic and be yourself Until the next time. My friends live with purpose and inspire with a legacy. Take care and have a blessed day.

Overcoming Adversity and Success on LinkedIn
Lessons in Networking and Leadership
Gratitude and Engagement With Carol

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