Sometimes, a little encouragement can go a long way.

Several years ago, I helped someone in their job search, advising on what he could do and how to go about having conversations about his accomplishments and how he could contribute. He didn’t have much money to pay for on-going coaching at the time, so we had just a few conversations. I helped as I could and wished him well.

Fast forward a few years…I have moved from Connecticut to St. Louis and done many other professional duties since then. I didn’t give our previous conversations additional thought, but one day, I got a thank you note and a check in my mailbox. The note talked about how I had helped him; he summed it up by saying, “You are really good at what you do.”

Well, Ralph has paid his debt in full…not just from the money (although that is always helpful), but more for the encouragement he provided. You see, since moving to St. Louis, I have focused on other types of branding projects. I haven’t done much of the kind of consultation that I did with him (work that brought great joy and satisfaction), and I find that I miss it. I’ve been thinking about diving back into that, but I have been wondering whether I should.

So that one sentence had such a huge impact on me. I have carried that note with me in my briefcase every day since I got it. That note nudged me to begin again, so that’s what I’m doing. I’ve committed to publishing my book, Turbocharge Your Career, within the next three months, booking speaking engagements and setting things up online to do some coaching.

So thank you, Ralph, for sending that note. The money is certainly appreciated, but the thought has been priceless!

Is there someone that you can encourage? If so, tell them what they mean to you. Help them move toward their dream. You never know what a lasting impact that may have!


This is a guest blog post done while travelling to Israel with a group from Jewish Federation of St. Louis

Bunny CrystalIt was a hurried morning, getting everyone up and off to school while trying to finish preparations for my first trip to Israel. My 13-year-old daughter Brittany came in and asked, “So, where are you going first?” She knew this was a business trip for me to attend the General Assembly and to see the various agencies Federation supports, but she also understood that I would do a little sightseeing on my own whenever I could. Distractedly, I explained, “I’m going to visit a home for children who can’t stay with their parents; it’s like a foster home for some Israeli kids.” She left the room, and I continued contemplating how I would keep my suitcase under the airline’s mandatory 50-pound weight limit. She returned carrying her most cherished stuffed animal, a Bunny named Crystal. “Why don’t you give them this?” The gesture stopped me in my tracks. This super-soft bunny had been a present for her tenth birthday. “Are you sure?” I asked. She nodded, smoothing the bunny’s fur and repositioning the bows on floppy ears. “They need it more than I do,” she said simply.

As I sit on the plane contemplating the week ahead, I realize that Brittany’s gift is really indicative of what philanthropy really is: giving of yourself to those whose need is greater than your own.

That’s the work we are really engaged in; that’s our real job. As an official representative of Jewish Federation of St. Louis, I’ll have the privilege of visiting Orr Shalom, an agency that cares for displaced children in Jerusalem. I have other gifts to bring these children as well: bracelets made by the Women’s Philanthropy group in St. Louis. But what I’m really bringing is so much more: a spirit of giving that travels across the globe from St. Louis to Israel, meeting needs in so many different ways.

That’s the work of Federation.


Written by Rahna Barthelmess for Southworth Blog

How strong is your branding?

This is a critical question for every business owner to ask—early and often throughout the business planning cycle. For it is branding that your customers will remember when you are not around and if you want to have that customer use your products or services again, you must have a lasting impact.

The most streamlined way to brand your business boldly is to identify your brand identity or promise and then set a specific plan for ways to express that promise clearly. By understanding what your brand stands for, you will naturally find ways to broadcast your brand to your target audience.

First, let’s talk about the brand identity and/ or promise.


Here’s the press release sent out from Quinnipiac University about a talk I am giving starting at 5 pm on Monday, October 25th. It’s free to the public; I hope you will join me to learn how to turbo-charge your career!

Hamden, Conn. – Oct. 13, 2010 – Rahna Barthelmess, a personal branding expert, will present the lecture “Turbo-Charge Your Career With Strong Personal Branding,” at 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 25, in the Mancheski Executive Seminar Room in the Lender School of Business Center at Quinnipiac University. This event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by Southworth® Paper Company, the leading maker of fine cotton-fiber business and resume papers.

Barthelmess, who has more than 20 years of experience with such brands as LEGO®, Miracle-Gro® and Texaco®, will share proven tips, tricks and tactics for the best ways to get a job, get promoted and maximize career potential.

“I have real world marketing experience to share to inspire, motivate and educate,” Barthelmess said. “Personal branding, both on-line and off, is critical to ensuring career success. My mission is to empower students to maximize their career potential by actively managing their personal brands.”

For more information, call 203-582-3645.

Quinnipiac is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours from Boston. The university enrolls 5,900 full-time undergraduate and more than 2,000 graduate students in 52 undergraduate and more than 20 graduate programs of study in its School of Business, School of Communications, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, School of Law, and College of Arts and Sciences. Quinnipiac ranks among the top 10 universities with master’s programs in the Northern region in U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges. The 2009 issue of U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Best Colleges named Quinnipiac as the top up-and-coming school with master’s programs in the Northern Region. Quinnipiac also is recognized in Princeton Review’s The Best 371 Colleges. For more information, please visit www.quinnipiac.edu. Connect with Quinnipiac on Facebook at www.facebook.com/quinnipiacuniversity and follow Quinnipiac on Twitter @QuinnipiacU.


Wednesday, October 6th 9 am to 3:30 pm

Share the day with inspiring women, hear professional speakers who provide practical tools you can use, browse our vendors, enjoy a delicious lunch … all this to grow your business and yourself. Give yourself and your business the gift of this incredible event.

Join speakers Pamela Carignan, Kathy McAfee, Rahna Barthelmess and Powerful You! co-founder Sue Urda for a unique day of business, personal and spiritual growth.

You will be transformed by:

  1. Gaining practical tools to build your business and create momentum;
  2. Re-igniting your passion and gaining clarity about your purpose;
  3. Learning to align your actions more closely with your personal values and goals.

I will be presenting a workshop entitled: “Your Signature for Success: 7 Success Principles of Personal Branding”

Read more about the speakers, programs and schedule of events.

The event details:

Powerful You! Women’s Network believes: in the Power of Connections, in the Power of Being Present, in the Power of Relationships, in the Power of Women.


Come find out more about your Signature for Success on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at Sorrento on the Green, Rocky Hill, CT for the Transformation 2010 National TourThis event is geared to women who are in a constant state of transformation and want to understand how their personal brand can turbo-charge their careers! This event is designed to touch you in many areas of your life and on many levels. You will be provided with practical tools to build your business and create momentum. You will re-ignite your passion and gain clarity about your purpose. You will learn to align your actions more closely with your personal values and goals. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a conscious employee or a woman in transition, this event will touch you where you live.

  • Tune In to Your Passions.
  • Tap In to Your Strengths.
  • Turn Your Actions into Abundance.

Join Us for a full-day event filled with 4 amazing speakers, vendors, networking, lunch and door prizes. You will meet many incredible women who can assist you in your business and personal life, and you will be fulfilled as you give yourself and your business the gift of this inspiring and information-packed day.

This event is hosted by Powerful You! Women’s network as part of the Transformation 2010 National Tour. Powerful You! provides connections and networking events for business, personal and spiritual growth across the USA.

Join Us for this Inspiring and Transformational Event.
You’ll be Grateful You Did.

Keynote Presentation by Sue Urda

Author, Speaker, Inspirer & Co-Founder of Powerful You! Inc.

Sue will present the topic “The Art and Truth of Transformation – How a Few Tiny Shifts Can Make Your Changing World a Great Place to Be.”

Featured Speakers include:

Pamela Carignan, Holistic Health Counselor, Founder & Director of Balanced Nourishment on the topic “Here’s to Your Health: 5 Simple Steps to Enjoy a more Fulfilled Life and Personal Success”

Kathy McAfee, “America’s Marketing Motivator.”, Speaker & Executive Presentation Coach will present “Motivated Networker Follow Up: 7 Keys for Building a Network that Works for You”

Rahna Barthelmess, Author of Turbo-Charge Your Career and Chief Branding Strategist of Beacon Marketing presenting “Your Signature for Success: Seven Success Principles of Personal Branding”

Event Admission:

$39 Members

$49 Non-Members (Use promotional code “rahna” and save $10)


books-1757734__340Recently, someone asked me to recommend some books on social media. They wanted to understand the concepts behind social media and what is happening in those spaces. Here’s the list I provided to them:

  • The Cluetrain Manifesto is a classic, written in 1999 about the “coming” advent of engagement marketing, that predicts much of what has happened in the social media world.
  • Groundswell, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff (Forrester research people)
  • Tribes, by Seth Godin
  • Trust Agents is a new book out by Chris Brogan (leading social media dude)

I hope you find them interesting. If you have a book that you found particularly compelling, by all means, let me know. I’m a book junkie who loves to learn!



Interesting to see the figures about how on-line video is growing. How much video are you watching? Some recent Nielsen numbers show that on average, people are watching just over 200 minutes of video, with males representing slightly more inclination to do so than women. However, the 35-49 year old segment is the fastest growing (over the past six months).

Time per viewer Index vs average % change in past six mos
Total 206 16%
Male  249 1.21 19%
Female 170 0.83 12%
2-11 116 0.56 3%
12-17 190 0.92 7%
18-24 349 1.69 15%
25-34 296 1.44 17%
35-49 243 1.18 29%
50-64 139 0.67 14%
65+ 81 0.39 21%
Source: Neilsen VideoCensus April 2009


While YouTube, with its short-form, typically less-than-four-minute format, is certainly the 100-lb gorilla in this space, there are other providers growing rapidly. According to Nielsen, the top online brands (as of May 2009) are:




Fox Interactive Media


MSN/Windows Live


MTV Networks Music

Turner Sports and Entertainment Digital Network

CNN Digital Network


Other reports corroborate that full-length video is growing in popularity. Forrester Research wrote an interesting report about “What it Really Means to Watch TV Online,” that discusses the bright future for on-line video.

% who watch in typical month
User-Gen content 43%
Nat’l News 39%
Movie clips/trailers 32%
Local News 32%
TV Show clips 30%
Full-lengthTV shows 24%
Sports News/highlights 23%
Full-length movies 17%
Adult entertainment 13%
Comercials/promos 13%
Sports Events 12%
Source: Forrester Research & N American Technographics 
Consumer Tech. Online Study Q4 2007

What are you watching, and how are you leveraging this phenomenon in your business?



“Who” versus “What” with Good to Great Jim Collins


In the excellent Inc. article of an interview with Good to Great author Jim Collins, there are two concepts that really stood out to me. One is an idea that Collins puts forth that companies move through four stages of development: 


  1. starting with a great idea
  2. building an excellent business
  3. developing a company,
  4. being a catalyst for a movement. 


The second concept that struck me is an interesting discussion about focusing on the “who” more so than the “what” of a company. In the course of the discussion, Collins talks about how important it is to make wise human resources choices: “Do you have a culture of people who A. share a set of values, B. have very clear responsibilities, and C. perform? Those who build a culture around those ideas are building upon something that is largely unchangeable.”


I kept reading, expecting to hear that the “who” focus should include the consumer—focusing on delighting the consumer with amazing products and services and inspiring them to engage in the larger “movements” that he talks about later in the article….He never got to it.


I contend that any entrepreneur—scratch that, any business professional—must include (at a foundational level) the consumer as a critical “who” element in the mix.


Check out the article here…a very interesting read.