Power of Personal Branding for Business Leaders With Wandia Chiuri

Wandia Chiuri is the CEO and Head of Global Digital Marketing Strategy at Reactionpower, a firm that boosts business performance by enhancing executive personal brands. With over two decades of experience, she has combined her passion for global markets, science, and people into innovative strategies at Fortune 500 corporations like Google, Samsung, and Johnson&Johnson. Wandia has served on the boards of two nonprofit organizations and spearheaded digital marketing initiatives using high-touch, low-cost technology to uncover customer needs and expand engagement channels. She is passionately focused on advancing executives and entrepreneurs in the digital age, specializing in digital transformation, diversity in tech, and strategic social media utilization.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • [2:08] Wandia Chiuri shares the inspiration behind her entrepreneurial spirit 
  • [3:56] The global importance of microfinance and entrepreneurship 
  • [4:55] Wandia explores the unexpected tech connections in Kenya’s past 
  • [6:19] Transitioning to life and education in the USA as an international student 
  • [8:14] The journey from Ohio Wesleyan to building a social media enterprise 
  • [10:28] Wandia’s secrets to top sales performance in pharmaceuticals 
  • [12:05] Leveraging social media data for business strategy and growth 
  • [18:52] How social media engagement reflects on leadership and business trust

In this episode…

In today’s fast-paced business environment, executives face the challenge of distinguishing themselves and their companies in a crowded marketplace. Building a personal brand is essential for business leaders aiming to enhance their influence and authority. It is crucial for driving business performance, attracting top talent, and securing customer loyalty, yet many leaders struggle to use their brand to foster business growth.

Wandia Chiuri, CEO of Reaction Power, addresses this challenge by providing executives with strategic insights on using personal branding to their advantage. With her extensive experience, including roles at Google and Samsung, Wandia emphasizes the importance of data-driven strategies in shaping a leader’s online presence. She advocates combining personal values and professional objectives to create compelling, authentic personal brands that resonate with audiences and drive engagement.

Tune in to this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast as John Corcoran interviews Wandia Chiuri, the CEO of Reaction Power, about leveraging personal branding for business success. They delve into how leaders can utilize social media effectively, the impact of personal branding on business growth, and strategies for maintaining authenticity online.

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Quotable Moments:

  • “The power of human connection is truly transformative in business.”
  • “As a leader, your energy influences the temperature of the room.”
  • “Building momentum in personal branding takes time, so it’s important to start early.”

Sponsor: Rise25

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We’re a professional podcast production agency that makes creating a podcast effortless. Since 2009, our proven system has helped thousands of B2B businesses build strong relationships with referral partners, clients, and audiences without doing the hard work.

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The Rise25 podcasting solution is designed to help you build a profitable podcast. This requires a specific strategy, and we’ve got that down pat. We focus on making sure you have a direct path to ROI, which is the most important component. Plus, our podcast production company takes any heavy lifting of production and distribution off your plate.

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We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels, including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create copy for each episode and promote your show across social media.

Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk,  and many more.  

The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.

Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.

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Contact us now at [email protected] or book a call at rise25.com/bookcall.

Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Episode Transcript

John Corcoran 0:00

Okay, today we are talking about how executives and business leaders can harness the power of your own personal brand as a leader to drive business performance. My guest today is Wandia Chiuri. And I’ll tell you more about her in a second. So stay tuned.

Chad Franzen 0:15

Welcome to the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where we featured top entrepreneurs, business leaders and thought leaders and asked them how they built key relationships to get where they are today. Now, let’s get started with the show.

John Corcoran 0:32

Alright, welcome everyone. John Corcoran. Here. I’m the host of this show. You know, every week I get to talk to interesting CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs from all kinds of different companies. Today we have a guest from the San Francisco Bay Area Silicon Valley to be precise, someone that I know through the EO entrepreneurship concert community, and we’ve hung out in person and of course, you know, go check out our archives, you can see some of our episodes with Netflix and Kinkos YPO EO activation, Blizzard lending tree, and many more. And of course, this episode brought to you by Rise25, and podcast copilot where we help b2b businesses to get clients referrals and strategic partnerships with Dunphy podcasts and content marketing. You go to rise25.com To learn more about both of those. 

All right, Wandia, it is a pleasure to have you here today with such an interesting background. So you are today CEO of Reactionpower and head of global digital marketing strategy. And you have been working in this space for 20 plus years, started some tech companies and sold tech companies. The interesting thing about her, which I’ve latched on to, is that you started your career, not in tech, but as an insulin pump specialist. So this has to be the first time I’ve had a guest on the show that went from insulin pump specialist, then pharmaceutical sales, tech company and now helping executives with their personal brand and driving business performance. But you grew up in Kenya, and you grew up in an entrepreneurial family, your mother was a university professor, turned social worker and also ran a nonprofit for many years still does. Tell us a bit about what it was like growing up in an entrepreneurial family. 

Wandia Chiuri 2:08

Ah, Thank you so much. I’m so thrilled to be here. First of all, John, because one of your super smart, super cool, really fun, absolutely loves listening to your interview. So it’s such an honor and a pleasure to be here with you today. I’m just really excited to answer them all.

John Corcoran 2:22

The money checks in the mail. Thank you.

Wandia Chiuri 2:24

Thank you all for counting on it. But um, I’m so grown up. Yeah, I did grow up as an intern, you know, in a pretty entrepreneurial family, it was just kind of something my brother was, you know, selling T-shirts really young. My mother, I remember from a very early age following her as she went into helping women’s groups develop entrepreneurial ventures that would sustain them. So everything from you know, selling chicken to turning garbage into fertilizer, and all kinds of really interesting entrepreneurial ventures. And so that’s that she, as a young kid, you know, her being a university professor, and she would send us out on projects, but we would go and interview people in the marketplace, pricing and their products in their supply chain and, and those kinds of things. So that was maybe what sparked the entrepreneurial interest because it kind of always felt latent. 

John Corcoran 3:18

There’s a great organization, by the way, which we have given money to called Kiva that makes little micro loans to businesses like that. It could be like, A, it could be like a widow, or it could be like a mom who just sells goods in a marketplace, in different countries all over the globe. And the interesting thing about it is that these are loans, not donations for them to buy supplies for their business and the repayment rate, a lot of people would think it’s low, but it’s actually extremely high. So then that money gets put back into circulation goes to someone else who just needs 25 bucks or 50 bucks to buy some supplies, and to sell them in the marketplace. So it sounds like you’re doing something like that. 

Wandia Chiuri 3:56

It’s absolutely it. That’s 100% it, Kiva took it and scaled it with technology, which was pretty exciting. So I was really familiar with Kiva just because of how they did that. But yeah, that was my life. This was mom, yeah, in the trenches working with these women helping with microfinance loans and supporting and strategy and doing trading and that kind of thing.

John Corcoran 4:17

Yeah. And did you see yourself going into entrepreneurship at some point later in life as you observe these women that your mom was helping? 

Wandia Chiuri 4:27

Truthfully, no, you know, it’s always funny, because I always said I was going to be a communicator. And I always had this permanent cold growing up, so I will be a communicator. I couldn’t quit. I was. I didn’t know what that meant. But in many ways, I think I’m excited because I can help executives communicate better in a digital world. 

John Corcoran 4:48

That’s such a great way of putting it and you actually had an uncle who ran a tech business who met and worked with Steve Jobs. This was back in Kenya.

Wandia Chiuri 4:55

Yeah, I was really surprised to learn that in 1979 In the 70s, he’d actually met and worked with Steve Jobs. My uncle is super smart and a really incredible entrepreneur. And it’s funny because we were just having a conversation about this. And he’s like, Oh, AI Yeah, we’d been working on machine learning type stuff back in the 70s. So he’s really just been a really good resource to kind of bounce back thoughts about intrapreneurship with.

John Corcoran 5:23

Doesn’t that crazy mean that someone like Steve Jobs is just this outsized personality in the industry? Now I’ve got a family member, my sister in law, her father who has now passed away, who worked in the music industry. And he worked with Elvis at one point, and we don’t even know the details around it, we just know that you worked with Elvis at one point. And that’s just like, you could have said he’d like to work with Bugs Bunny or something like it’s just like, insane to even think of it you got to capture that family history from your uncle and find out what the full story is.

Wandia Chiuri 5:48

I definitely will, he kind of throws out the snippets here and there. But he’s just really savvy with tech. So it seems he’s in his 70s, probably closer to 80. And still gets everything like what I’m talking about what I’m doing, he just quickly understands it. 

John Corcoran 6:07

So if he only had a good executive branding consultant, put that into place, that would be great. So you, you grew up in Kenya, and you end up going to Ohio after you graduate from high school? How did that come about?

Wandia Chiuri 6:19

Yeah, I was really fortunate I went to, so I went to Ohio Wesleyan. But the story is, you know, I met a couple in Kenya, they were visiting my mom’s project. And they took to me and just absolutely loved me. I mean, this was they took me in as their family, I feel like you know, their daughter. And that was just such an incredible way to come to the United States. And get acclimatized to the culture, but also just feel the power of human connection and the power of love, and compassion and care. You know, as college was kind of getting tough, I was a chemistry major. So there is even more to throw into the confusing mix you mentioned. And I just remember my first class failing, and my family was there, I had love, I had support, to make it through I ended up graduating with honors, and I’m just really grateful for them in many, many ways.

John Corcoran 7:12

When you came over to live with them, were you thinking this is going to be permanent? I’ve been moving here for a long time now, 20 years on? Or was it you know, oh, we’ll just try it out and see how it goes.

Wandia Chiuri 7:22

You know, I’d spent time in the UK prior to that. And I remember kind of having one foot in one world, you know, having a foot and Kenya foot in the UK, that I went back to Kenya and realized, you know, there were a lot of amazing things about Kenya for sure. And I still think they are, but at that moment, I decided, you know, wherever I will be I’ll be fully present. So if I’m, if I come to the states, I’ll be fully present in the states and not living with two feet in one world. But having said that, I still feel like a global citizen. My team is, you know, all over the world, but largely in Kenya. And so I still have, you know, my roots deeply, deeply there. Even when I’m super excited and grateful to be here.

John Corcoran 8:07

What was the experience like going to Ohio Wesleyan, I imagine there weren’t a lot of canyons at Ohio wasn’t or maybe there were, surprisingly.

Wandia Chiuri 8:14

I got there. And I find one of my good friends from high school is in the college that I’m at, you know, you didn’t know they were coming. I had no idea she would be here. 

John Corcoran 8:23

So she became like pre Internet era or something. Pre Facebook.

Wandia Chiuri 8:28

Actually, when you mentioned it was like you died AOL times, barely dialing up. But she’s just you know, she’s truly incredible. She, she was like, just super smart and good support to have at Ohio Wesleyan. But I loved my experience at Ohio Wesleyan. It was an incredible school. I, you know, became class president, through the support of the students. I felt like it was a global melting pot and got exposure to so many people from around the world. So it was a really incredible liberal arts education.

John Corcoran 8:58

And here, I actually ran a classmate’s campaign to run for student body president, which I liked until like running a political campaign for a small town because my town I went to UC Santa Barbara and the 18,000 student population. So that’s pretty big. Yeah, that’s about a small town. That’s a bigger town. Right? Yeah. But that’s not easy, because my guy lost.

Wandia Chiuri 9:24

It’s so funny, because, you know, some I had a premonition as a freshman year, barely knowing if I’ll be able to make it to my second year because you know, tuition and all that jazz. But I remember sitting at the back of the hall thinking as the class president went up, and I was like, you know, I will be class president. And so I think when I was running, I had just, like, total conviction that it was going to happen. And that’s one of the moments in life. I often look back, you know, when intrapreneurship gets hard or when things go difficult. You’re like, hey, there’s a dream in your heart, and that is incredibly powerful. And as humans I think we have immense power. And I think that was One moment when, you know, I felt that and I reflected on that.

John Corcoran 10:04

So I mentioned you go into an insulin pump specialist for a while. And then after that you go to Eli Lilly, and you’re doing pharmaceutical sales, which I’ve never done before, but I know it’s hard, like you’re going in and trying to get very busy doctors to pay attention to you. You did that for four years in your top 5%. What were your secrets? Like? How did you manage to succeed in that field?