SheBrand Founder and CEO Liz Dennery Sanders is a brand consultant, creative director and personal development coach renowned for her ability to select the words, images, and packaging that bring brands to life. After two decades representing high-profile clients ranging from fashion brands like Escada and Hale Bob to non-profits like The Tiger Woods Foundation and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Liz founded SheBrand in 2009 to focus specifically on the empowerment and rising influence of women. SheBrand works with both individuals and fashion and lifestyle businesses to connect smart, social brands to their target audience. Liz is a longtime volunteer and mentor to women and girls through organizations like Women in Need and Step Up Women’s Network, where she is also a past Chair of the Board of Directors. As a founding member of the organization’s Luminary Circle, she also teaches classes in goal setting, self-esteem and networking success to underserved teen girls. Supporting women and the companies that speak to them is baked into the SheBrand business model, and the company gives back annually to Step Up, as well as to other non-profits such as Girl Up, WriteGirl, and Kiva. Her accomplishments and style have earned her the distinction of being hand-selected as a member of the Vogue 120, a group of influencers noted by Vogue Magazine for their distinctive taste in fashion and culture.
When did you know you wanted to pursue your business or venture? SheBrand evolved at the intersection of my marketing career and philanthropic work with underserved women and girls. After 20+ years in the PR and marketing industry, I realized I could put my experience to good use specifically working with women and companies that market to women.
Did your former career/job prepare you for running your own business? I don’t think anyone is fully prepared to run her own business at the beginning. I’ve never been afraid to ask for help. You have to be willing to raise your hand, and find friends and mentors you can rely on when the going gets tough. And there are some great books, like Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited, that are like getting a business school education!
Did your original business plan change along the way or are you doing exactly what you set out to do? If it changed, how so? I didn’t originally set out to build an agency specifically for women, but I realized over time that a big part of my purpose was to empower other women – to help them connect to their voice and build a strong platform and a successful business.
What makes you different from your competition? I function as both a consultant and a coach. I not only have 20+ years of branding and marketing experience, but I’m also a licensed coach. I have a sixth sense for brand alignment AND limiting beliefs.
What three factors have most contributed to your success in business and in life? 1. A strong internal drive for personal growth and development, 2. Tenacity and a willingness to ask for help, 3. Kindness, creativity, and follow-up. (Ok, maybe that’s more than three!)
If you could have a one-on-one meeting with any woman, who would it be and why? What’s the first thing you would you ask her? Joan Didion. I would ask her, “How did you get your inner critic to take a hike so that you could write such beautiful, heart-wrenching prose?”
The key to balancing it all is… To realize that balance is a bit of a myth. While I do feel it’s important to have a strong self-care routine and look at all areas of your life to make sure nothing is getting neglected, I also think that sometimes the pendulum swings heavily in one direction or the other and that’s just life. One week you might have a lot going on at work, while the next you may have a few more personal issues to contend with. Ultimately, awareness and perspective are key. As is time each day to just breathe.
My biggest challenge is… Not being so hard on myself.
The most important thing I have learned so far is…
“The sun rises tomorrow. No matter how bad things (or feelings) may seem, they can change on a dime.”
LET’S GET PERSONAL:
The three words that best describe me are… Intelligent, gracious, creative.
My favorite place to go on vacation is… Paris! Or the beach.
While on vacation I always… Read.
My favorite foods are… Truffle fries, sushi, and cappuccino gelato from Al Gelato – but not necessarily all together.
On my playlist right now… Taylor Swift, Clean Bandit, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Jay-Z, OneRepublic, Mozart.
My favorite author or non-business book is… The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.
My favorite type of workout is… Pilates and hiking.
I rejuvenate by… Pilates, massage, long walks with my dogs, meditation.
Being a mom and an entrepreneur means… Always having a never-ending to-do list.
A woman who inspires me is… It’s impossible to name just one. Maria Shriver, Marianne Williamson, Gloria Steinem, Malala Yousafzai.
One thing I hope to pass along to my children is… Four things: Love, compassion, kindness, and a confident sense of self.
My favorite quote is… “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” – Dolly Parton
WHAT’S IN YOUR OFFICE?
I always have a large Moleskine notebook on my desk (for to-do’s and quick thoughts) and a small one in my handbag.
A Fornasetti room spray holder – it’s a piece of art.
Christian Lacroix butterfly fabric. I had two large pillows made for my office – the butterfly is the SheBrand symbol of transformation and awakening.
My inspiration board – an enormous board (that we painted to match the office) where I pin everything that inspires me at the moment.
Chocolate! We always have a silver bowl filled with purple (the SheBrand color!) dark chocolate kisses.
AND FINALLY, WHAT DOES LIVING THE DREAM MEAN TO YOU?
For me, living the dream is all about FREEDOM. The freedom to do what you want to do and how you want to do it.
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