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Certified WBENC Women's Business Enterprise

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Michele Tafoya: Smart, inspirational, real.

by Renita Van Dusen

I attended a Women of Influence luncheon today, with Michele Tafoya as the guest speaker. From afar, Michele has always been one of my heroes. I have been a sports fan and an NFL fan (more specifically, Vikings fan) my whole life. I am continually in awe watching Monday Night Football games with Michele interviewing the big boys. From a distance (behind the TV) she clearly knows her stuff and doesn’t seem intimidated by any of the machismo that happens in the game or off the field. Love that. But hearing her speak and meeting her in person was even more inspirational than I could have imagined. Here’s a little about what I learned from Michele today:

Gender doesn’t matter. Well, it does and it doesn’t. I asked her how gender had influenced her career. She responded that she was very nervous as a young female reporter in a field of almost all men. SHE HAD TO KNOW HER STUFF. So she worked hard. She never wanted to get caught not knowing. It motivated her to be the best in the field. She put gender aside and make sure that being female wasn’t an issue. On the flip side, she had a lot of opportunity. When she started her career, she didn’t have much female competition (and she was good) so she was able to open doors for herself and pave her own way. Amazing. As women, we want to be recognized not for our gender, but for what we’re good at, what we do best. Thank you, Michele.

It’s all about the story. And it starts with her personal story: She had always wanted to be a sports reporter. So she worked her tail off to get the best stories. Her story doesn’t end there … She had gone through some difficult times to get pregnant and have a family. She talk about how “being happy” isn’t selfish. It’s responsible. Figure out who you are, who you want to be, what you want to be and make it happen. Her story was personal, smart and inspirational.

How does this relate to marketing to women? First, gender SHOULDN’T really matter, but we as female consumers have been ignored for a very long time. It is time we figure out how to design and market to women in smart ways. How do we do that? Like Michele said, “It’s all about the story.” Your brand story is that personal connection for women (and men) to remember and embrace your brand. Smart. Inspirational. Beautiful. Determined. Skilled. Dedicated. Real. Discover what YOUR brand is and live it.