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In the News

Valerie Sokolosky is a popular writer and speaker on leadership development and personal branding. Her articles have appeared in a wide variety of local, regional and national publications. Here are just a few.

Reach Certified Brand Strategist Valerie Sokolosky was a featured guest on the Dallas NBC5 series, "Ready for Recession Recovery." In an interview with series host Brian Curtis, Valerie provides expertise in building a personal brand for potential job seekers. She also offers valuable tips on how you can enhance your personal development through the branding process.

NBC Interview

Aging Men Turn To Botox For Job Hunting Edge – CBS Report

I invite you to watch this CBS television segment with Valerie’s comments on “Aging Men Turn To Botox For Job Hunting Edge” Click here to read the article and view the video.

Public Relations by Michelle Lamont of Lamont Media http://lamontpr.com

This local CBS television segment went National!

I would love to hear your comments.



BRAND YOURSELF through your professional presence.

First impressions count! What message are your clothes sending? Are you trendy, conservative, fashionable or outdated? What about your grooming? Your hairstyle, facial hair, scuffed shoes and too much cologne or perfume can speak volumes before you open your mouth.



It's that time of year - where college commencements, end-of-year programs, dance recitals and awards banquets take center stage.

Many of us, in fact, tend to view May as an ending of sorts... and August as the beginning of the last half of the year.

But what about June and July?

Many people pull back during the summer months. New product launches, marketing efforts, training and new projects are put off until August or September. However, I consider the summer months to be filled with spectacular opportunity.



It’s a jungle out there... and there are no signs of change any time soon.

On the employment front, there were 1.5 job seekers for every available position before the "Great Recession" of 2007. Today, there are six candidates for every job

To survive in our current economy, you have to differentiate yourself. In your last business meeting, networking opportunity or job interview, what impression did you make? Did others see you as a go-getter, a good fit for the job, a compassionate soul? Or, did they decide that you were someone they’d rather not do business with?



What is branding? In the common sense branding is recognition ... the Nike swoosh; the Brawny Man; the little blue box from Tiffany’s. The minute you mention a strong brand people would use the same words to describe it.

What if you could do that as a person? What if you were so recognizable that when people heard your name, they would describe you in the same positive light? You can learn to manage how you are perceived both inside and outside the company, take more control of your professional success, and know and live your personal brand. So what if you could hone your reputation as an intelligent, fair, hardworking business person with a good product or service and not only exude your brand but use your reputation as a marketing tool?

For instance, Oprah has a strong personal brand.The name “Oprah” conjures up similar thoughts of successful, smart, entrepreneurial, socially conscious and a mogul. Oprah delivers her messages in ways that are consistent with her brand. Most wouldn’t bat an eye if she started a retail line for plussized women or developed a restaurant with healthy food or was on a panel for women in the media. But it would be completely left field (“off-brand”) if she opened a chain of tire shops and was a judge at a monster car rally.

That’s branding.


NAFE - Magazine

The evidence piles up. Although we want to believe that looks don’t matter, the fact is they do. One new book, Harvey Coleman’s Empowering Yourself, reckons that image accounts for up to 30 percent of success or failure in your career. What’s more, Coleman says, when you separate the nonverbal from the verbal in the image you project, the nonverbal components accounts for 70 percent. In March, Catalyst, the New York-based research, information and advisory organization, released a study of women in senior corporate leadership, confirming statistically what intuition has been telling us all along: “Effective personal style [ranks] second only to job performance as a factor in advancement.” Or as Dallas executive coach Valerie Sokolosky says, “Image and style matter because people relate to what they see.” Who could disagree?


ToDay monthly publication

There are good reasons to think through your initial contacts with a client and make sure you cover the important steps at the very beginning of this relationship. When you show your professionalism up front, the respect will begin immediately. Here are some basic tips:

#1 -- The best time to call and make appointments is between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Before 9 a.m., executives are most likely getting organized for the day and needing time to get everything in order. After 4 p.m., executives are worn out from the activities of the day and need to wind down. I know that by the time 4 p.m. rolls around at my office, I am burned out and don't want to make any more decisions. That wind down time for me helps me get sane again before I go home to my family.



Karel Anne Tieszen and Kay Kienast have been banging away at the glass ceiling for years. So far, it's been relatively shatterproof.

So they decided to get help from Doug Sokolosky, one of the many executive coaches who have popped up in recent years.

Mr. Sokolosky, a former IBM executive who specializes in coaching professional men and women, uses information given by his clients to analyze their work styles and those of key executives around them. He sets up role-playing sessions, acts as a sounding board for clients' ideas and prepares them for performance reviews.

Call him rent-a-mentor.


FMG Journal

I work with a company that doesn't seem to recognize my earnest desire to move ahead. I put in more hours than required and always give each assignment my best effort. Instead of my boss recognizing these endeavors, he simply gives me added responsibility with very little comment. What should I do? My emotional reactions range from anger to resentment to hurt. We all like to be patted on the back from time to time, or is that wrong?

First, I personally would like to commend you on your obvious degree of conscientious effort. You are an ambitious person who will move ahead-- even if you don't feel your boss appreciates your efforts. The very fact that he continues to give you additional responsibility leads me to think he doesn't realize your potential. Some bosses aren't as verbal as others. Giving you more and more to accomplish may be his way of judging your competency level. If you come to the point where you feel it is time to receive a promotion, it is perfectly legitimate to ask him for that opportunity. Be ready to accept the answer... be it yes or no. Then, you can decide whether to stay on or move on. Good luck. You're a winner and don't you forget it!



Business - - - A prospective employer has read your resume, interviewed you twice, and now invites you to dinner at The Mansion. So eat, drink…be wary. Valerie Sokolosky, a Dallas corporate protocol expert, says this meal may determine whether you get the job.

“If they [applicant] can’t handle fine dining, they probably can’t handle a business lunch,” says Sokolosky. And as dining and other social skills become the early keys to a rapid climb up the ladder of success, more corporations are turning to Valerie and Company to train their own rising execs.



Before you start clinking your glasses, here's how to make a good toast

"Consider your words as a gift to the one you're toasting," suggests Valerie Sokolosky, owner of Valerie and Company, a Dallas-based corporate-protocol consulting firm. Be sincere, upbeat, flattering and, if possible, make reference to your relationship.



When Karel Anne Tieszen's supervisor asked to see her in his office in 30minutes, she picked up her telephone and made an 811 call.

The number is a signal she's worked out with her career coach, Doug Sokolosky. Left on his voice mail, it means, “I need to talk to you soonest.“



The other day I picked up a management that featured a quiz on business "protocol power.”

A glance told me that the test was mostly about etiquette. Since I had learned which fork to use back in the sixth grade, I wasn’t too worried. I gave the magazine to a friend.



Valerie Sokolosky, a Dallas consultant who advises corporate executives on business etiquette, was getting ready to do a session for a top management retreat.

At the last minute, the CEO called. Could she, he wondered, "throw in a little bit about 'business casual'?"



The old saw goes: "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have." What does that mean now that the boss is dressing like you?

As more and more firms – from Wall Street to Akard Street – adopt "business casual" as their daily uniform, other lines of corporate protocol may be blurring as well. "I'm not making that much money compared to some of the guys around here who are wearing $1,000 suits. I can't do that," says Mark Roe, a clerk at the Dallas law firm Jenkens & Gilchrist, which recently relaxed its dress code. "Now that we're dressing more alike, he spent $60 on his clothes, I spent $60 on my clothes. It does kind of build a link between us."



When you first meet Valerie Sokolosky, you realize that here is someone who practices what she preaches. Enthusiastic, organized, attractively dressed, she seems a walking advertisement for her seminar, Image of Excellence.

"It's not natural, let me assure you," she laughs. "I had to learn every bit of it, which makes it that must easier for me to help other people learn."



Most of us probably remember our mothers reminding us to say please and thank you, to send thank you notes and to remember all various other niceties that constitute good manners. Or perhaps we weren’t taught simple etiquette at all.

Either way, a lot of us didn’t get the message, for some local firms are finding companies increasingly receptive to training programs teaching old fashioned etiquette to their employees.

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Reach-Certified Personal Branding Strategist Valerie's Voice Newsletter

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