Sarabeth berk | Hybrid Professional Personal Branding Photography
Dr. Sarabeth Berk is the leading expert on hybrid professional identity, and a hybrid professional herself. She was featured in Forbes, and is a TEDx speaker, author of More Than My Title, and recipient of a Colorado Inno on Fire award for her innovative work.
Her hybrid title is Creative Disruptor because she works at the intersection of being an artist, researcher, educator, and designer. She grew up in the mountains of Colorado, is an avid skier (and former ski instructor), and even taught art education in The Bahamas before finding her way to this work.
What does your company do? What do you do, specialize in or excel at? What makes your service or product special?
More Than My Title is a platform and a movement that fundamentally reshapes how we think about the workforce by expanding the concept of professional identity from “either-or” (experts and generalists) to “both/and” (hybrid). MTMT accomplishes this by empowering workers to clarify and communicate the intersectionality between their multiple work identities, which is where their unique hybrid expertise is formed. MTMT also serves business leaders, talent managers, and career development coaches by giving them tools to engage and retain hybrid workers.
MTMT’s innovative and disruptive approach is the result of combining theory and practice from the fields of career development, personal branding, and professional identity research and includes a proprietary process developed by Dr. Sarabeth Berk through her dissertation work.
What inspired you to create your business and how do you motivate yourself when things become difficult?
More Than My Title, grew out of my own professional identity crisis. For years, I felt stuck and pigeonholed in my career path, and I didn’t know who I was. I went back to school to get my doctorate, thinking a credential would be the answer, but I found myself more lost and confused about who I was than ever before.
This is when I started researching professional identity and interviewing people from diverse industries about how they were more than their job titles.
My “aha” moment was listening to worker after worker tell me, “I wear a lot of hats,” but what they really meant was, “I’m the sum of all the hats I wear!” That’s when I realized workers can be hybrids, the combination of all their work identities, instead of only experts, generalists, or jacks-of-all-trades.
Name a book that you read recently that had an impact on you.
Noise: A Flaw In Human Judgment. I love Daniel Kahneman’s work! It’s about how variability affects our decision making, and if we want to reduce bias, we actually have to reduce noise first.
What are your favorite business resources?
For me, video and audio quality for virtual presentations, interviews, and content creation makes or breaks what I do. Sometimes, I use a green screen, but I always use a ring light, a Logitech HD webcam, and a Yeti external microphone. Those changed everything to dial up my online presence. I use a range of software tools for my techstack, but I switched to Convertkit for email campaigns, forms, and audience tracking. So far, I like it a lot.
Comparing your business from when you started to now, what has been the main thing that allowed you to grow?
I was already building a good foundation of brand awareness, even before I officially launched as a business. I saw people were actively interested in what I was researching, which gave me confidence to take this more seriously. Doing a TEDx talk and writing a book were the two most critical pieces so far for building my visibility and social proof.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
I was told that getting started is easy. It’s the messy middle that tests you. You have to keep putting in the time to keep it going after it launches. This advice resonates with me so deeply because I thought writing the book would be the hardest part, but actually everything after the book has been harder. (I also didn’t expect the book would evolve into a business!). The book is a beacon, and now I have to show up, keep writing, keep sharing, and keep momentum going. That’s where the real test of my entrepreneurial stamina comes into play.
I met Jess at a Denver Startup Week event where she had a photo booth setup. She took a super cool photo of me I could post on my social media. Having that first interaction was meaningful and left an impression. A couple years later, I found myself in need of a photographer and didn’t know where to start looking. I happened to remember our encounter and visited her website. Once I saw her portfolio, I was sold! Not only had I already met her and felt her warm energy and professional presence, I loved that she specialized in photographing women, and her photos speak for themselves. They’re gorgeous. I knew she was who I wanted to work with. No brainer.
I’ve had SO many close friends tell me how great my photos look, and I know they’re not just being nice. The photos Jess took completely changed by brand, website, and online presence. I already feel more confident because it’s night and day from what I was using before (ahem, selfies).
You can connect with Sarbeth through her socials:
TEDx Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZg6jaMIvIE
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