Marz discusses ABCDs of personal branding

Lauren Abbott, Opinion Editor

On Feb. 22, local entrepreneur and business leader Mary Marz presented to students on how to successfully transition from college life to the corporate world.
Marz owns a style and image consulting business in Erie, called Perfectly Poised.

She also works at Erie Insurance as the director of Change Management. Her talk centered around the ABCDs of personal imagery and how focusing on these four aspects can make the transition from college life to the corporate world easier.

Zachary Abodalo is a senior Fashion Merchandising major and president of the Mercyhurst University Fashion Council, which sponsored the event.

He explained the importance of bringing such a speaker to campus.

“A lot of people don’t know the truth about stuff like this. They always hear it from their professors, and I think it’s good to get it from an outside perspective,” Abodalo said.

Marz has worked for Erie Insurance for more than 15 years, and has been promoted four times since starting there.

She also emphasized the importance of building your personal brand.

“What made me so successful was building my personal brand,” Marz said.

When she was 30 years old, Marz was the youngest person to become a director at Erie Insurance.

The ABCDs of Personal Imagery are key areas that Marz identified that are critical to developing and culminating a personal brand for the corporate world.

These areas are appearance, behavior, communication and digital footprint.

The first key area was appearance. She stressed how important first impressions are and the impact that they can have. Marz addressed the concept “dress for success” and dressing for the job you want to have.

She also pointed out that paying attention to detail, being well groomed, standing tall and making eye contact are all aspects that can make someone seem more confident and leave a better impression in an interview.

The second area was behavior. Marz defined behavior as “the sum total of all your actions” and emphasized that the most important part of our behavior is our attitude.

She said that developing an “attitude of gratitude” is the most important thing you can do to make yourself a better choice for a job or a promotion. She explained that skills can be taught, but that a person’s attitude is one of the most important aspects of an individual.

“I hire for attitude every single time. I can teach you everything else,” Marz said.

The C in the ABCDs encompasses communication — written, verbal and nonverbal. She explained that being able to express yourself in a clear, concise way, especially in emails, is an invaluable tool in the corporate world.

The final area was digital footprint. With today’s technologically plugged-in world, Marz suggested doing a social media audit to ensure that everything on your social media pages would be acceptable for an employer to look at.

When asked why these steps can be helpful to students, Marz said, “If you are thinking about your personal brand and being authentic to you,