If you ever want to see a mostly-female company flash into full focus mode, put them in the LinkedIn Studio at SXSW for a conversation with Mindy Kaling.
You know and love her from her role as “Kelly Kapoor” on The Office and as writer, star, and Executive Producer on The Mindy Kaling project, but the more you listen to her talk, the more you realize how much of her authentic voice bled into those roles. Literally, though, this scratches the surface of her accomplishments.
I’ve heard her speak and what she said is becoming more and more relevant in social media every day. Be yourself. Use YOUR voice. Don’t yield to a mold, expectation, and perception because it never works. If how you present yourself doesn’t connect with everyone, it doesn’t matter. They were never going to appreciate and connect with you anyway.
During the Fireside Chat, Mindy talked about writes in terms of characters, exposing flaws is easy because it’s a reflection on the character – not the writer. When she writes personal things like essays, it’s hard to be vulnerable. It’s hard to put it out there and absorb the feedback. A compliment slides off her back in two seconds and a slight sticks with her for 30 years. We understand. The takeaway – putting yourself out there and personal branding is hard for everyone. Even if you’re Mindy Kaling.
She also shared that people, in general, are open to impart wisdom within a community. Connection is incredibly important. Ask and Give. Be patient with those who are earlier in their careers than you and be gracious about accepting advice from those farther down the road. Building success and a personal brand takes community. Actively seek one out and engage with it.
Last, the power of social media has never been more apparent than over the last few years but always remember you can’t be measured by social media even though you often are. You’re a human on a journey whether it’s a reaction to a news story or something more deliberate It’s frustrating to get caught up in the spin of whether or not to weigh-in on something, whether something that can be misconstrued in the narrative of political correctness. Never Tweet while feeling angry or petty. The lessons learned in the trenches of debating with someone’s commentary is that you position them as an equal in the narrative of that story.
Mindy Kaling was an amazing speaker who is an inspiration to women of color, writers, actors, and women in business. Thank you to LinkedIn and the LinkedIn Studio for the opportunity to join in!