PortfolioCast

PortfolioCast from The Portfolio Collective: Ep.3 with Executive Coach Tina Orlando

October 02, 2020 The Portfolio Collective Season 1 Episode 3
PortfolioCast
PortfolioCast from The Portfolio Collective: Ep.3 with Executive Coach Tina Orlando
Chapters
1:06
Where you start is just the beginning, not the end
7:17
Career pivot - the creation of my communications agency
12:31
Why I became an executive coach
21:31
Juggling a portfolio career with a family
30:00
Never underestimate the importance of your network
PortfolioCast
PortfolioCast from The Portfolio Collective: Ep.3 with Executive Coach Tina Orlando
Oct 02, 2020 Season 1 Episode 3
The Portfolio Collective

PortfolioCast Episode 3

We interview Tina Orlando, Coach and Counsellor to executive professionals on:

  • how where you start is just the beginning, not the end,
  • career pivot - the creation of her communication agency,
  • why she became an executive coach,
  • juggling a portfolio career with a family,
  • and never underestimating the importance of your network.

Having co-founded a strategic business communications firm in New York, and worked at some of the best-known global companies, Tina has built a portfolio career using this foundation to brand, coach and counsel executive professionals.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

PortfolioCast Episode 3

We interview Tina Orlando, Coach and Counsellor to executive professionals on:

  • how where you start is just the beginning, not the end,
  • career pivot - the creation of her communication agency,
  • why she became an executive coach,
  • juggling a portfolio career with a family,
  • and never underestimating the importance of your network.

Having co-founded a strategic business communications firm in New York, and worked at some of the best-known global companies, Tina has built a portfolio career using this foundation to brand, coach and counsel executive professionals.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Welcome to the third episode of PortfolioCast. Today we're speaking with Tina Orlando, having co-founded a strategic business communications firm in New York, and worked at some of the best known global companies. Tina has built a portfolio career using this foundation to brand coach and counsel, executive professionals. Welcome, Tina.

Tina Orlando :

Thank you. Thanks, Lexi. Thank you for having me. It's lovely to be with you today.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Thanks so much for talking to us today. So let's jump in with where you started. You began your career by actually studying European law at university, and then you went on in a completely different direction. So trying to get from A to B, what was the strategic elements that connected and led you towards a career that has been mostly based in corporate communications? Was it by choice? Or did it happen organically?

Tina Orlando :

Yeah, great question. And one, I've spent some time reflecting on to try and figure out myself if I'm honest, I think I've come to the conclusion that like anything in life, there was a bit of a thread there. And there was some connections that made sense along the way. And that other parts of it were luck, and happenstance, just you know, as life unfolds, and the opportunities that you kind of get given to you. I'd always wanted to be a lawyer, as a kid, even when I was really young, I think it was from watching Perry Mason, and a few good men and all those kind of really great courtroom dramas of the 80s. And I thought well yeah that's what it's gonna be like, so you know, and be a lawyer. And I got my first chance to try it out when I was at school, and everyone was doing work experience. And so I went ahead, and I applied to university to do a law degree, I really wanted to do it. And the other element, the European law was because my so my dad's Italian, and I've got a huge family in Italy. And that's always been a really big part of my DNA. And I always have been fascinated by Europe, by the culture, by the history, by the languages. I studied Spanish and French at school. So I spoke French and Spanish as well. And I really wanted to try and integrate all of that into a career. So the travel, the different culture, the languages, and I think intellectually, law was very appealing to me, because a lot of - you're learning a lot, you're reading a lot, which I love, you're learning about different parts of life, and how they're all regulated by the law and the role that law makes in commerce and business and society. And so intellectually was very interesting. And I love the idea of creating a narrative or a story, or an argument and piecing it together with all the different facts and evidence and case law. And that was all really fascinating to me. I think just before I graduated, I did I got a real test of what being a lawyer would be like, in real life, and I did a summer placement in a city law firm. And that hadn't been my original plan - my original plan, I was thinking, I would like to be a barrister. But I remember in one of my lectures, a professor saying to all of us, "look, you know, I know this sounds great on paper, and you've probably seen the firm and you've probably watched a few good men. And that's all well and good. But you need to understand one fundamental thing: you have to be comfortable with either a guilty person walking free, or an innocent person going to jail because that those are potential outcomes of what you might be doing. And it happens. It shouldn't happen. It's not supposed to happen, but it could. And you need to be able to deal with that."

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Yeah.

Tina Orlando :

And I remember that was a really seminal moment for me, because I kind of walked out of that lecture thinking, "I don't think I can deal with that." So I thought, Okay, fine. There's lots of different areas of law I can go to, I'm going to do corporate law, because that's what everyone else was doing. The big realisation for me was just don't think this is the path for me. It just didn't feel like a fit. It wasn't. It wasn't something that made me leap out of bed in the morning with excitement. And it was a real dilemma at the time, I remember panicking about it and thinking "Oh this can't be happening." I can't be feeling like this, because I've just invested three, four years of my life and my family's money to go to university - even though I worked all the way through university just to help support myself. My family just sort of chipped in and helped as well and I felt like I owed them. And I remember breaking the news to you know, my family into into friends and the reactions were like, "Oh, my God, what have you done? You've just wasted all this time, and what are you going to do now?" And, and I thought about that, because I thought, okay, so if it's not law, what are the other aspects of what I've learned and what I know about that I could follow as a career. And that was Energy. And that seems really bizarre but two of my modules in my law degree were environmental law and energy law and internaional law as well which I love and that I found fascinating. And it opened my eyes to the whole "the world needs energy. It's a commodity, it's not fairly dispersed throughout the world. It's not equally distributed." So I started doing some research. And I ended up applying to a whole lot of graduate programmes for banks that had energy practices, investment banks, and energy firms, I ended up getting a job at a company that I, I really, I felt there was a good cultural connection, the people I met were great, the opportunities were exciting. I spent the first few years of my career in Energy rotating around different parts of the company. And then and this is the point about opportunity and chance and timing. I, when I started my career there, it was, at the time of the big consolidation activity in the in the energy industries. So oil prices were really low. Companies were buying other companies. The company that I was at doubled in size, and scope and scale in sort of eight months. And so that was an opportunity to rebrand not only the company, but change the nature of the dialogue that an energy company had with different stakeholders in society, governments, communities, customers, and I thought, "God, I really want to be part of this". Like, I felt like it was a calling almost. You know, this is what I want to do, I want to be part of this, I want to learn more about it. And it felt like there was real change in the air, that there was disruption. The company was doing things that no one had done before, like acknowledging climate change. And, and that was really quite shocking in the industry, but it felt like a really good thing to do. And it felt like being on the / in the right part of the conversation. And so that's when I went into brand, brand engagement, corporate communications. And so that sort of, that's how I got in and haven't really looked back since.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

That's really fascinating to find out more about that. So you went from working in some of the largest companies in the world. And then you took a leap, to co found your own strategic communications firm. Tell me more about how you came to create Indelable...

Tina Orlando :

Chance, opportunity, timing. I'm a real believer in life kind of opening up these angles for you at times when it's possibly right for you, in your life. So the company... I was in the US, I was in New York had been there for about four years. And I was working for an energy company there. Yep, really enjoying it in corporate communications, kind of doing what I loved. And then the company was going through a very kind of tumultuous period of change. We had an activist investor, which was campaigning to split the company up and sell parts of it off. I mean, it was, it was pretty brutal. But obviously, being in corporate comms, you kind of you know, right in the middle of trying to deal with all of that, and sort of how that's playing out, and how you responding and how you communicating about it. Prior to that, we've been talking with the CEO and the executive team about an opportunity to reposition the company, and sort of show what it stood for and how it operated. Because it hadn't really done any of that in the past. I've been talking to the Vice President of my function, corporate communications, we you know, we had a plan, we were leading the project, it was very exciting. And then with all of the activist investors, and that whole kind of context, that project ultimately wasn't able to go ahead.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Yeah.

Tina Orlando :

For good, absolutely good reason. The company restructured globally. And I was based in New York, and the whole communications team was moved to Houston, which is the centre of the energy industry. But at this point, my life was anchored very much in New York, and so was my husband's, and we decided to start a family. So I was about five months pregnant while all this was going on. So I was like, right, okay, this is, you know, this is, it's interesting,

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Nothing like it happening all together.

Tina Orlando :

I know, I know, it was like a whirlwind of - Okay, so if that's happening, and that's changing, and if I'm not going to go to Houston, and I'm going to stay in New York. So I decided to take voluntary redundancy, and just kind of see, you know, see what happens. And then after I'd had my son, I reconnected with the Vice President of Corporate Comms who I've been working on this project with and who I had a great working relationship with, who I really respected. And we went out to lunch and said, "you know, what, why don't we - why don't we do this?" You know, we really believe in we've got a point of view about how it could be done, and how we'd like to do it. And we kind of looked at each other and said, well, this is actually a really interesting combination of people and perspectives. You know, you're a man, I'm a woman. You're Republican. I'm a Democrat. You're 60 something I'm 40 something, you know, there's a generation between us.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Yeah,

Tina Orlando :

You're America and I'm British. You know, your kids have grown up and left home, I've got a young family. Like our our perspectives and our outlook on the world are totally different. Yet we are very much united and grounded in the values that we share, and the kind of ethics that we have. So, that's actually a really interesting offer. Because we don't see the world the same. So whatever proposal or strategy, or identity, or programme we come up with, is going to have, you know, the evolution is going to have been from these two different places and then we're going to end up with something that's blended and representative and balanced. So we thought, you know, we've we've got both the agency and the corporate comms experience, because when people in organisations are buying agencies in, they want the creative, know how, and they want the expertise and the point of view, but they also need people who know how to operate in a large corporate, and who know how to get things done, and who know what will fly and what won't fly. So that was our kind of USP, and we put it all together. And it worked, actually worked, and it didn't work immediately. You know, it was a slow process of kind of establishing ourselves and, you know, building the network and building strategic alliances, which ended up to be critical to the business. And then you know, two years in we were, we were kind of flying and it was, it was fun, it was crazy, but it was fun.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

I think quite often, when we see these stories of co-founders or founders, and we read about what their journey has been like, it seems like it's been an overnight success. Now, obviously, that is just a snapshot. And often in the media, there isn't room for the full story. So it's really nice to hear that it does take you time, it will come together eventually. But it's not going to happen overnight. I can certainly see how you've been building up that experience as you've been developing in each part or level of your career as, as it were. And so, with the next move that you made, it was quite a big one. Certainly, to me looking, as I say, looking from the outside in, it looks like a big move. But at what point did you move into specialising as an executive coach and counsellor?

Tina Orlando :

Yeah, no, it's a really good question. I mean, it was a big move. So, gosh, there were a couple of things. I'd always been interested in coaching. When I was in Energy, I worked with an amazing leadership and team coach, when I was part of an executive team. And it really blew my mind in terms of what he was able to bring to the table, how he was able to get us to work together, work through conflict, come together strategically. And as people, as humans. And his company ran a course, which I went on as part of my sort of executive development. And it honestly, it was life changing. It was one of those courses where you it was an experience, it was an off site. And I left the course, a bit of a different person, because I had had the opportunity to see and understand and have a window into a career. And this kind of art / science of coaching and what it delivered and how fulfilling it could be. And I kind of thought, okay, that's helped me be a better leader.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Yeah.

Tina Orlando :

But I'm going to park that, because I really like what these guys are doing. And it's so fascinating, but I don't really know how to connect with it right now. Because I'm on this path. And the path is working now. And it's good. So I'm just gonna keep going. But I think I'm like this. And then when I left energy, a great friend and a mentor of mine, he was the chairman of a creative agency, communications strategy agency. And I went to work for that agency after Energy. He is is now a coach and has been for many years. And I really respect him and he's he's a very unique person. And he you know, his motto is play without fear, and you have to be true to yourself. And a couple of times he's mentioned to me, you know, really I really thing you know, you might want to think about this at some point, you know, you could do this, I think you'd really enjoy it. And so as I was going through the metamorphosis of motherhood, because that changed everything.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Of course.

Tina Orlando :

And I didn't want it to, Lexi. You know, I think in my own naive way, I really wanted to believe that I could have children and carry on as I had been participating in a career in a large company. Or even as a co-founder of this agency. What I got to was, when we were really, really busy in the agency, I was on a plane to different parts of America every other week. All the time. I, you know, I missed my daughter's first birthday morning, because I was stuck in Atlanta because they'd been a thunderstorm and I couldn't get back to New York. And I was working all the time, I had the flexibility. So I was still seeing my kids, but I had no time and I was burning out. Because you know, when you're working at that level, and we're working with CEOs and executive teams, and there was the material going to boards, and you're on their timetable again. So you know, the things that you kind of wanted to get out of to give you a bit of flexibility. I found myself getting sucked back in, kind of,

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Yeah you can't escape it!

Tina Orlando :

Like pulling me back in and I was like, gosh, I sort of woke up one day, and I think it was May, and my husband and I were chatting, and we'd figured out that we haven't both been in the city for the whole week, for one week, that year. So we were he was travelling or I was travelling, he was travelling, and we were just tag teaming it. And I kind of thought, you know what, we've got two young kids now like, this is just too much. We're not seeing each other, we're exhausted. And that's when I realised I loved what I was doing. But it just wasn't a sustainable way of living for me at that point in my life. That may be sustainable again in the future. But at that point, and right now it wasn't, so I was like, "Okay, this is time. So what is it? So what how am I going to metamorphosize? Again? And what's the approach going to be?" And yeah, I had a meeting with the person I was telling you about earlier, the friend and mentor who happened to be in New York, and we went out for dinner. And he said, "so what are you going to do next then?" I said, "Well, I you know, I've been thinking about a couple of ideas." And we had a really great conversation about coaching, getting certified, accreditation, lifestyle, market opportunity, all of it. And I came back and I thought, yeah, yeah, I want to do it. And I was really fired up about it. And I was excited. So I started looking into courses at different universities across the US. And I found a course that was amazing for me, because it was leadership coaching for organisational performance. So it had been created to go in and work with executives in companies, which I've been doing in a different guise as a corporate communications expert, and then as an agency in certain areas, whereas this was same environment, but different role, because as a coach, you don't go in with the answers.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Yeah.

Tina Orlando :

You know, people don't bring you in to say, here's the problem. Can you solve it? Or can you give us your point of view? Or can you give us strategic options? Coaching is about working with someone else to get there themselves. So you're building sustainable muscle and capability in somebody else. And it's so fulfilling.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

And that's an incredible switch. I mean, as a person who likes to find solutions, create fixes, and then having to take that step back, allow the other person to come forward as a big move and quite a different skill set. And obviously, you have that openness, for communication to begin with. That's what you've been doing throughout your career. That just sounds, year it sounds really incredible. So I wonder, by doing this by creating this amazing journey, and our journeys are never really over. We keep evolving, evaluating moving in different directions. Do you find yourself thinking, right, next time I'm going to go in completely another different direction? Or has this opened up opportunities that you didn't see, as even possible before?

Tina Orlando :

Yeah, definitely, definitely. You start off coaching one to one. I'm still in the process of going through the different stages of accreditation, because it's 100 hours, 500 hours, 1,000 hours, and you reach different levels. And so I'm still building mastery and on that programme, and that's really important to me, because there's something I don't know if it's if it's the sort of nearly lawyer in me that that needs to be able to say, "here's my training, here's my piece of paper". That's I just, I want to do it and I want to learn and I like to improve. So I'm on that trajectory now. But then the entrepreneur in me is already thinking, Okay, how do you scale this? How do you brand it? How do you create an approach that might be a bit different to what's already out there? What might that look like? What else could that involve? In moving from the one to one coaching, which is what I do a lot of now into more of the team coaching, which is hard right now because of COVID and the whole physical proximity thing is, it is very challenging. Doing one on one via zoom like this is great because there is a lot that you can tell from a person. And if you have good rapport, you can really, you can still do a lot. The team piece is a lot harder being in the room presence, sensing the the energy is, is really important. But that's fine, because I'm banking on the fact that at some point, the world will hopefully go back to normal. And this gives me time to prepare, research, pull together and offer start trialling it, start testing it. So yes, it's funny how all the other elements of my life and career, are now kind of coming into the coaching piece. And now the path is coaching. It's then bringing in the branding and the corporate comms and the corporate experience to sort of build that out into something which I think could be really exciting and really interesting.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Absolutely. It allows you like most portfolio professionals, you have the opportunity to pick and choose as you're going. And as you are building up those skills. And then you can create new offerings or work with different groups of people that you haven't worked with before. And you get that freedom and flexibility. You've talked a lot about needing to have a balance between family life and life in general and a marriage and your portfolio career. How do you think that balance is created now that you're in a portfolio career on the whole?

Tina Orlando :

I would say it's still a work in progress. And in my experience, in terms of how I found it, it, it's a bit like a roller coaster, there's peaks and troughs. It feels like you either have a big client or a big project. And it's all encompassing. And then you can kind of try and step back a bit and try and get it a bit more on an even keel. But I think it's always hard to say no to work. I'm trying to be better about doing things on my own terms. Someone will come to me said, here's what I need what I want. And I'll say, look, here's what I can do.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Yeah.

Tina Orlando :

And I would love to do it. And I would love to work with you. And here's how I can make it work does that work or not? So I think having a bit more, I suppose courage really to to sort of set out my parameters of what I can make work and what I can't, because you mentioned the two F's before about the freedom and the flexibility. Now they're, for me, right up there on the pyramid of why you would do this, what it gives you, because you do walk away from a lot when you leave the conventional career path. I think you do leave a lot of things behind. And you can find them in other ways in through the portfolio career. But you've got to work hard at it, got to build your own network, you've got to build your own infrastructure, and you can do it and it takes time and effort. So the freedom and the flexibility is so important. And the the opportunity to say yes and no to things as you as you want to, I think is you know, is key. I think the other big thing is you mentioned before about marriage, that's a really big part of it. Because everything you do in a marriage is you do it as a partnership. And I can't do what I do without my husband's support. And equally, he can't do what he does without my support. So, you know, I did sit down with him when we had the kids and I was thinking about setting up the agency and, and we agreed kind of how we were going to support each other to do that. And then that became a little bit too much. So then recalibrated had another conversation about Okay, so - then we had the big move back from the US to the UK. And then we have this big renovation. So I said, Look, I can take the lead on those things. I'm going to continue to coach throughout, and to continue to self educate. So I do a lot of courses and I'm sort of very active, and I really enjoy that. But then when all of that's done, then I'm going to really ramp up what I'm doing again. So he'll take the lead I support, I take the lead, or at least I'm at parity with with him. But just it depends on what else is happening in life. And that's the wonderful thing that you can, you can build it and dial it up and dial it down as you need to. And that's very liberating.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

So part of being a portfolio professional is exactly that. It's about wearing many hats. That's on top of all the other ones you wear as a successful working mother. I can make assumptions on what successes you've had and you've created. But I wonder what does success look like to you right now?

Tina Orlando :

Yes, I mean, gosh, this it I feel like this is the meaning of life question a bit. Because it's I think it always changes and do we ever actually get there 100%? I don't know. But at the moment, I think when I think about success, I think about it from two different perspectives. So first of all, I think about it from my kind of personal perspective in terms of happiness. From a personal perspective, I feel like I've got a reasonable balance. And that it's, there's an equilibrium, there's a harmony between the roles that I need to play for the family and want to play and be around for the kids. And the satisfaction of the intellectual curiosity, the continuous learning, and this sort of need to contribute, that I have. So if I can do those two things, then that's success to me. From a professional perspective, in terms of what I do in the coaching piece, particularly, it's about making a difference, it's about doing something better. It's about changing something that to get to a better outcome, helping someone to see something differently, facilitating a better understanding of something or a new insight, all of those things I find hugely rewarding. And when you get to those breakthrough moments in the work that you do with someone, I mean, the adrenaline rush is just unbelievable. And the happiness that I feel is like, "okay, yes, that was I did a good thing today, I contributed and made a difference." And to me that that's success.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Yeah.

Tina Orlando :

And then there's all the other things about revenue and number of clients. And, yeah, as I've seen in my previous life, and Indelable, you just need one big client, actually. You don't need thousands of clients. And actually, the more clients you have, the more fragmented your, your mind becomes. So I like to work with a few sizable clients, so that I can really get into the work, the mindset, the context, the culture. And I feel like I can contribute in a way that's not just kind of touching the surface or dipping in and out. So that's sort of my you know, if I could design my ideal order book, and client roster, I like it most when it's like that.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

We've talked about success. And we've talked about the things that you have had benefits from by having a portfolio career, I wonder, what is one of the hardest skills as a portfolio professional that you've had to learn?

Tina Orlando :

So yeah, there's, there's a couple of things actually, because, well, as we talked about before, when you walk away from the, or you temporarily leave, or you permanently leave, or whatever, however you depart from the career path that is more typical, and you know, you're working for a company, as opposed to creating something yourself. You leave a culture, you leave, you leave cameraderie, behind you, you leave a network of people that you know, and have worked with who were all over the world and bring a lot to you and help your learning. And I think the whole portfolio career piece can be quite lonely and quite isolating, which is why I think the the peer group, the strategic alliances, the partnerships are really important. As a person, I'm quite deadline driven. And I respond to pressure, I wouldn't necessarily say that's when the best work gets done. It's just kind of how I am. And so I find that when we're in a portfolio scenario, you've got to be self starter. You know, there is no deadline. So it's all going to come from you. And you've got to kind of keep that pace up, even when someone else isn't asking for the work. So that was a big shift at the beginning. And the accountability piece, ie not not doing something, because something more senior than you is asked you to do it, right? The infrastructure piece that we talked about before, so having to become an accountant, a tax expert, and it person, I mean, all of these things that you have to learn. And it's great to learn it, it takes a lot of time. Yes. Kind of trying to balance and manage that infrastructure, I think has been a learning process. And then the selling piece... Of all the jobs that I have done, I haven't had many sales roles. And that's because I don't really like it. And I think the sort of Britishness in me, you know, makes me feel a bit like I don't want to I don't want to sell too hard to do the pressure selling piece. And I think that's where the US was really good for me, because it, it's a different culture in a different environment. And I learned to kind of be in that and to lean into it and go with it. And I've actually taken a lot of that back with me. So I feel a lot more comfortable doing that now. And I think one of the biggest shift is also not having a brand behind you. See, you've got to build your brand, your brand is you and you've really got to get it out there and create these touch points so that you can kind of show that you're building something and part of something.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Yeah.

Tina Orlando :

Because, you know, I think people tend to buy that more than it's me doing x.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

You've touched on the importance of having that network or having a network. And especially as portfolio professionals, we have to build those networks ourselves. They're not necessarily part of your built in environment, as it would be in a full time job perhaps. What's the most important bit of advice that you've received with regards to building and relying upon your network?

Tina Orlando :

I remember hearing a piece of advice, when I was quite young, actually, from a very senior leader in the company I was in who said, "Never underestimate the importance of your network." And the story was that he did. And it really hurt him. And it took him about two years to get it back.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Yeah.

Tina Orlando :

I didn't really know what that meant at the time. But I just remember thinking, because I guess I didn't really had an a network. I mean, it was in my first year, and I was just sort of learning how it all works. But I think my advice to me, now that I have learned what it means, is don't treat it like a commodity.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Yeah,

Tina Orlando :

You know, and network, we use this collective noun, a network. A network is actually a lot of people, individual people, it's a network of relationships, it's all about relationships, and each of them is singular, and important and unique. And so it's about people, these people, their stakeholders, your their stakeholders, they're your stakeholders. So, you know, I like to keep it personal. And I like to try and offer and give, if I can help or if I'm if I read an article that I think would be interesting to someone, or it's not a take scenario, it's a mutually beneficial scenario. And I think you must be able to and be prepared to give as much as you would be prepared to ask or to "Can you do me a favour? Or how about this?" Because I think that reciprocity is really important. And the respect is, is kind of built into that, it's very important.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Yeah, absolutely. That's incredibly important to remember, and really good advice. It's amazing how you hear these bits of advice, during our career, or especially in the early years and you think didn't know what that meant at that point, but it's quite useful now!

Tina Orlando :

So you're like I know there's a real gem in there, I'm just not able to see it. And maybe it will become evident, and often it does, right? Because sometimes you just don't have the experience to be able to connect with it at that time.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Yeah, I think that's also true of what we were talking about with regards how, how chance and opportunity plays into the roles that we get, or the journeys that we take, and the decisions we make. Quite often it feels like just chance or luck. But there's ...once you've got a little bit of hindsight, we've got a little bit of space between you and it. Sometimes there is a way of saying okay, that's that's happened because of x, y, z. But that takes a long time to learn, right?

Tina Orlando :

Yeah, it does. And actually, it reminds me of a related point about I think, as a portfolio careerist. I don't even know if you can say that. And if you know what I mean,

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Yeah.

Tina Orlando :

You of all people will know what I mean! Is, there's a book called I think it's 1000 Cups of Tea, it's a great, great book, great story about how things are done in a different culture. And we adopted that approach it Indelable and I tried to and when I got bit more time on my hands, and this renovation is done. And we've moved into our house, I'll do a bit more. You have conversations with people, you make these connections, even if at the very beginning, I remember some people saying to me "why are you having coffee with that person? What what's the thinking there? How's that going to generate business? And I'd always be like, "Well, look, really interesting person would love the opportunity to talk to them and get to know them. And you just never know." There's so much we don't know about where the next opportunity is coming from and how a simple conversation can sometimes trigger something huge. It's like that chaos and causation effect when one flaps its wings, and the butterflies is for me is the coffee or the conversation or the outreach. And then who knows where things can go from there. So I think you've got to be really philosophical and very open to all kinds of encounters and conversations and people because the universe is a wonderful thing. And life is such an adventure, and you just never know what that coffee is gonna lead to.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Absolutely. And then having that openness, I can definitely tell from talking to you today, and learning about how your career has developed. I know that obviously brand communications is at the core of what you do and how you brand yourself is going to probably come fairly naturally to you. But I wonder if you have any advice for your fellow portfolio professionals who are just starting out, or maybe have been doing it for some time, but want to refresh the kind of perception, they give out when they're networking, and how they can better communicate themselves?

Tina Orlando :

Yeah, totally. And there is a huge opportunity to brand yourself as an individual and that's not meant to sound contrived. It's about being aware of who you are and how you show up and what you want people to take away from you. Because there could be elements of you and your offer and your business and your portfolio business, whatever that is. That you have assumed people know about it, because it's what you've done.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Yeah.

Tina Orlando :

But people don't know anything about you. Right? So you show up in your blank piece of paper. So what do you want that person to write on your blank piece of paper? After they've met you, and you walk away from the conversation. What is it about you that they now know about? And how should they think about you in terms of potential work or collaborations or opportunities? And that's what I mean by personal branding.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Mmm.

Tina Orlando :

And it's not about necessarily the way you wear your hair or the clothes that you wear, but it but it is, I mean, it's all part of it. Because they those things tell people a lot about you is that whole kind of nonverbal piece, and a lot of people use that to make statements about themselves and quite right. I think it's about being aware of all of it, and how to communicate and transmit and then what big touch points are. In the COVID world, for example, where people can't meet you in the same way, because I always think that interpersonal is the has the biggest impact, how else can they get to know about Lexi? What are the touch points are there? What's your digital footprint? What content do you have out there? is really important. And then I think as a as a sort of separate point of departure, before you even think about that blank piece of paper and what you want people to write on it, I would say, get really, really clear about what your story is. So what's your personal narrative? Why are you doing what you're doing? Why are you good at it? What have you done that makes you a contributer in this field? And how is that going to help you bring value to other people? And I think articulating that story is really important. And it all comes from you. You're not fabricating something that's not there, you're just bringing forth, you and your persona and kind of what you're all about, and then putting that down into what are my values? What's my mission? In terms of the work I do? What am I hoping to bring and achieve and contribute? And what vision do I have about what I want to do with writing or freelancing or branding, or coaching or whatever it happens to be? Because I think that North Star is really important. And when you're crystal clear about that, then you can start looking at Well, how do I manifest that? How do I communicate that? How do I make that clear, to people? And I think now in this COVID situation, I mean, in the last 10 years, it's been like this anyway, but even more now, because you can't do the thousand cups of coffee, the digital footprint, the online presence is important. Establishing yourself as an expert in what you do, is really important. So that could be a blog, it could be a newsletter, it could be a really well curated website. It could be contributing articles to publications that are relevant in your industry, to your profession, to your target market, you know, the demographics that you're aiming to reach. It's training, it's certifications, it's expertise, it's qualifications, all of that stuff, bringing that all into your digital footprint and your online persona, so that people can check you out and go, "Oh, so what have you done? And what do you do? And how do you do what you do? And why is what you do different to maybe how someone else who's doing the same thing to you? How's it different from what they're offering?" So I think that North Star and that story is the strategy behind is essentially what it is, is really important, then you think about how to communicate it and manifest it. And then I think it's about establishing expertise.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

That's so interesting. And one of the sections actually, as part of our Catapult course, that we're running. And I think this is a topic that's going to come up for a lot of our members. And I'm sure we will revisit their conversation with you to get more thoughts on this, because it's been so interesting. I'm going to wrap up there. I think we've covered some fantastic things today. And thank you so much for all your insights. It was really, really interesting. I just wish you all the best, especially with the renovation, but going forwards all the different ways that you're going to be exploring the next opportunities.

Tina Orlando :

Thank you, Lexi. Yeah, it's a very exciting time. And I have to say, I think the resources that you're putting out, and the service that you're offering, is fantastic. Even I've been going for a few years now I'm looking at some of this thinking, I really need to revisit that and it's jogging me, my mind, my memory on things that I need to do. It's bringing ideas that I hadn't thought of. So I think this is invaluable what you're doing, and it's really useful and I'm already benefiting from it. So thank you to you and the team and good luck with everything that you're bringing out.

Lexi Radcliffe-Hart :

Thank you very much. You're welcome. Well, I'll speak to you soon.

Where you start is just the beginning, not the end
Career pivot - the creation of my communications agency
Why I became an executive coach
Juggling a portfolio career with a family
Never underestimate the importance of your network