Office Hours: I am a talent brand lead at Capital One, TEDx speaker, and founder of Do Well Dress Well. I'm Chanele McFarlane.Featured

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Thanks so much for joining us @chanelemcfarlane!Elphas – please ask @chanelemcfarlane your questions before Friday, August 14th. @chanelemcfarlane may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
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Hi Chanele, Your Do Well Dress Well site is stunning! I'm a career counselor at the University of Virginia School of Engineering and I was wondering what advice you have for 19-22 year old women who are are trying to put together outfits for their first professional (virtual) events - conferences, career fairs, interviews etc often without a lot of money to spend and a strong desire to maintain their own sense of style. Thanks!
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Thank you, Dana! I just redesigned it earlier this year so I appreciate that feedback :)Ah, that's a really good question! I actually did an Instagram Live in June with a college here in Canada to address that! Here are a few of the tips I shared:1. Choose an outfit that complements your background - for example, if you’re in front of a white wall, wear a colour other than white so that you stand out instead of looking like you’re blending into the wall 2. Wear pants! I know, it’s tempting to skip the pants when you’re in the comfort of your own home but if for any reason, you need to get up, you don’t want to embarrass yourself! :)3. Be careful of patterns: patterns are great but they don’t always show up well on screen. Stick to solid patterns to be on the safe side.4. Wear a statement piece - I’m a big advocate for the statement piece which could be an item such as a pair of earrings, a necklace, a tie, a scarf or even a pair of glasses. Not only is it a simple way to showcase your personality but it becomes a conversation piece and a way for people to remember you.5. Invest in staple items - these are items that are key to have in your wardrobe and can be purchased pretty much anywhere without having to spend a ton of money. If there’s one item that any person needs - it’s a great, well-fitting blazer. It’s easy to throw on and it instantly takes your outfit up a notch even if you’re just wearing a t-shirt underneath. Another key item? A white shirt -- I say you should have both a white t-shirt and a white dress shirt in your closet at all times. They can easily be mixed and matched with pretty much any outfit as they go with everything!I've been curating articles I've written that I believe are specifically useful for students on this page: http://www.dowelldresswell.com/students/I'll continue to make updates to it. Hope that's helpful!
danaquist's profile thumbnail
Thank you so much, Chanele. I'm going to pass these tips along to our students and share your articles!
rachelreiss's profile thumbnail
Hi Chanele! I'm early career (3 years in) and echo the question about personal branding - is there any value in me using Medium? I enjoy writing, especially around all things career-strategy and workplace wellbeing, and would like to develop my presence there. I'm also interested to hear how you got started with your side hustle; balancing that alongside your day job. I feel like my day job consumes so much time (or maybe I let it :) ) that it's difficult for me to even make time to unwind in the evening.
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Hi!Yes, I love Medium! It’s a really great distribution platform and like I mentioned in my response to another question, you don’t want to just have all your content live on there. Build your own platform first and then use platforms like Medium, Linkedin, etc to redistribute.In terms of how I got started with my side hustle, it was an idea I had for a number of years before I even got the courage to start. Once I did, I decided that I would just start small and spend little to no money. I built the site myself and taught myself everything that I needed to know about blogging. It was really supposed to just be a simple side project - something for me to flex my writing skills and just have something fun to work on outside of the office. I am grateful that it evolved into what it is today but the balance thing is tough, I won’t lie! I completely relate with what you said about not feeling like you can unwind after your day job. I find that getting creative with my time is key. In a pre-pandemic world, I had a 2 hour commute to work each day so I would use the time on the train to get any side hustle work done. I’d also often use my lunch break. This is helpful because once you get home, you can actually take a break and not feel guilty about it! It’s also important to only say yes to things if there’s a clear return on investment. With a day job and a side hustle, you can’t afford to fill your plate with anything and everything. I like to live by the motto, “if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no” when I’m making decisions. In other words, if I’m not immediately excited by the opportunity, project, etc., I turn it down. That way, it only leaves time for the things I really want to work on.
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Thank you so much for your response - I absolutely LOVE that motto and may borrow it ;) I feel like I'm in the same boat as you must have been starting out; full of inspiring ideas, but still mustering the courage to get started. I'm also very (financially) risk-averse, and would likely build my own platform and content from the ground up.
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@chanelemcfarlane ( how do you do all that you do with a 3-month-old??)Hello! I am a visibility expert and relationship facilitator. My network of podcast hosts, virtual event organizers, and mastermind hosts say that a low number of black women pitch themselves to be featured on their platforms. This may be a personal branding or diverse talent challenge: Besides starting a directory, how can I best address the issue of a low number of black women pitching themselves?
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Ha! Well, thankfully, I am on a 1 year maternity leave right now so that gives me a little bit of a break for now as of course she’s still so young and requires all my attention! :)Thank you SO much for asking this important question, Amelia. I absolutely agree that you should start a directory so that Black women can receive inbound requests for their expertise. The more requests they recieve, overtime, this can certainly help to boost their confidence and hopefully encourage them to start pitching themselves.That said, perhaps they’re not pitching themselves because they simply don’t know how to! Maybe you can create some resources that walks through the pitching process?I would also put some onus on the hosts and organizers. Can black women see themselves reflected on their platforms? I’ll be honest and say that I would not feel compelled to pitch myself to a podcast, event, etc. if there are no Black women on their website, marketing collateral, etc. I need to see myself reflected in order for me to feel like it’s a platform I’d like to be a part of.
AmeliaR's profile thumbnail
@chanelemcfarlane thank you for such a detailed response! I have heard others say something similar regarding wanting to pitch themselves to a safe space. I will take your suggestions to heart as I help others leverage this unique time of “diversity consciousness “ ( h/t Elayne Fluker).
rachelbell's profile thumbnail
hi Chanele - awesome career! Re: personal brands - what tips do you have on developing a side project around a personal brand for a niche interest of yours (outside of your full time gig)?
chanelemcfarlane's profile thumbnail
Hi Rachel, Thank you! I love this question so much. Here are a few things I always recommend:Know why you’re doing itDeveloping a side project or ‘side hustle’ is so trendy these days that people often feel like their career is inadequate if they don’t have one. Taking on a project outside of a full-time gig can be a lot of work and requires commitment. Some days, you’ll be so exhausted after a full day of work at your full-time gig that you may not have the energy to do anything else. If you’re truly passionate about your side project, that will keep you going on your tired days, especially when things get tough. That said, make sure you’re doing it for you and not for external validation. Share your journey publiclyOne of the best ways to enhance your personal brand is to share what you’re working on. However, we often want to wait until things are perfect before we start sharing — trust me, I’m guilty of this too! However, the book "Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon really changed my perspective and I’m a lot more open to sharing my ideas and thoughts that aren’t fully baked. The vulnerability and honesty helps you to build a much deeper connection with your audience and consequently can unlock some new opportunities for you too. Leverage your new skillsA great side project could also help you land a full-time gig! One of the many reasons I started my blog is because I wanted to get more practical experience in writing, website management and social media. At one point, I even started hosting in-person networking events to gain experience in that too. All of those experiences gave me a ton of new skills that I could put on my resume/Linkedin profile and made me a much more interesting candidate when interviewing for new roles. So, ask yourself this: What skills and experience would you like to gain and/or strengthen and what kind of side project could help you do that?Find your communityIf there’s anything I’ve learned in my journey, it’s that community is everything. Build genuine relationships with people that are working on similar projects because there’s nothing like having that support. You’ll find that as you start sharing your side project journey on line that it will start to naturally attract people. They’ll share your content and pass on opportunities to you.
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Thank you for joining. I loved your article "How Ultralearning Can Help Your Career." I moved back from Italy in June where I completed my MBA from the University of Iowa. It was an incredible experience which I was exposed to business in an international setting while also focused on building soft skills needed for the workforce needs of tomorrow. I don't want to get stuck in the same roles pre-MBA as I would like roles with opportunities for strategic planning, product marketing or digital transformation. Is there a book or blog you recommend that I follow which provides advice for creating a career plan? Thank you in advance!
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I'm so glad you found that article helpful! I absolutely loved the Ultralearning book.Congrats on completing your MBA too! That's an awesome achievement.A book that I’ve personally found super helpful is What Color Is Your Parachute. In terms of a blog, I’d recommend checking out Career Contessa as they have some awesome resources and courses.I don’t have any specific career plan resources on my site yet - but currently working on creating a course to address exactly that :)
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Hi Chanele, thank you for hosting an Office Hour! I'm mid-career (11+yrs experience) and at Director level in my company. For the past year, I've been thinking /strategizing about my career growth and advancement. Two questions for you:1. At what point should someone start exploring / searching for opportunities to join advisory Board or Groups? What are some of the key skills and experience required, and how does a board membership help women with career advancement?2. On building personal brands: is it best to start on existing platform such as Medium, LinkedIn, Quora etc? Or to start by building my own website with a newsletter to "grow" an audience + email list? What resources do you use to identify public speaking opportunities (e.g. Speakers bureau? Conference lists?)Thank you! Lisa LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisaychuang/
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1. I’m so glad you asked this question, Lisa! I think you should start exploring advisory group/board opportunities at any stage of your career! Whether you’re a student (youth councils are a thing!) or mid-career, they are extremely beneficial to be a part of. Here are some some skills and experience required:- Conflict resolution: You’re not always going to agree with your fellow board members so knowing how to navigate those situations while maintaining your professionalism is absolutely key. For board opportunities I’ve applied for, I’ve been asked in interviews how I directly deal with conflict- Team work/collaboration: An obvious one. You need to be able to work collaboratively to help achieve the board’s goalsCommunication: Knowing how to communicate your thoughts and expertise in a compelling wayPassion/Dedication: Organizations want people on their board that are truly passionate about the industry/causeStrong network/community ties: You bring value to a board when you have a strong network/community that they can leverage if necessaryIn terms of how it helps with career enhancement, I would say building your network is the number one benefit! It’s such a great opportunity to be on a board alongside other leaders so you definitely want to use the opportunity to build strong relationships. Secondly, once you’re on a board, it serves as great social proof! If the organization is well-known, you also get to leverage their name! Put it in your bio, social media bios, resume, Linkedin profile, etc. Being on a board is a great career accomplishment and instantly positions you as a leader. 2. Build on your own platform first and then use existing platforms for distribution and community building! I always say that you never know when those platforms could close down and then you would lose all of your content! For example, I publish new blogposts on my site first and then I redistribute them on Linkedin and Medium. Now, when it comes to public speaking opportunities, there are a number of different ways you can find them. I wouldn’t recommend a speaking bureau unless you charge a high 4 figure amount for your talks because the commission they take (typically 30%) isn’t worth it. Leverage conference lists, event sites like Eventbrite and even a simple Google search of “call for speakers 2020 [insert industry here]” could bring up events that are looking for speakers to apply. However, the best way to get inbound speaking opportunities is to publish thought leadership content on the topics you speak on.I have a free slide deck on finding public speaking opportunities available here: https://www.dowelldresswell.com/2020/01/21/how-to-land-speaking-engagements/Hope that helps! :)
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Hi Chanele! I enjoyed your article and look forward to continuing to explore Do Well Dress Well! Any advice for a student with a side hustle/startup? Thanks!
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Hi Chanele, thanks for joining & sharing your learnings and expertise! I'm mid-career and focus on the DEI/People Operations & Employee Engagement spaces. Can you share more about your recruiting diverse talent work? It would be great to hear tips, pitfalls, and any tactical advice you have on building more diverse teams. Coming from early stage start-ups has made it feel like I'm constantly needing to reinvent the wheel and build entire frameworks, trainings, etc. from scratch and it can feel overwhelming at times.Appreciate your time and energy! Best, Jenn