I aim for, oh, 1,300 or so words when I put together these #GirlsRocks posts.
Sometimes, that word count doesn’t do it justice. Frances Reimers tested the standard. That’s what happens when you’ve done a few dozen great things – it’s tough to narrow down the line of questioning (you hear me, Joanna Gammon?)
Her latest endeavor, Firestarter LLC, is a brand consulting firm.
She builds brands for athletes, celebrities and executives. She’s built her own stellar brand, too.
Frances serves as a leader among women whose expertise and passion reach far beyond that. She’s a 40 under 40 honoree, and shares her wisdom in brilliant, insightful posts on LinkedIn. Please give her a warm CD welcome today.
Eli: When you were little, what did you think you’d grow up to be?
Frances: My career choice evolved several times over as I was growing up. First, I thought I was going to be a music teacher. I adored my elementary school music teacher, Kathy Borgaard, and wanted to be just like her. Problem was, my family did not have a piano nor the means to provide me with lessons. That dream evolved into being a stage performer. I love to sing and dance (and am somewhat talented), but as I aged I learned that I was a big fish in a very small pond.
Heading into high school I decided that law would be my career destination. I am very strong willed, opinionated, and articulate, so adults were always commenting that I would make a good lawyer or politician. I discovered that I had a genuine love of the law and procedure, so becoming an attorney was my focus until the end of my college career. Following graduation, I was newly married and the idea of taking on more student loan debt was not in the financial plan, so I bypassed law school and turned my attention to another career field that had always seemed like common sense to me – marketing and public relations.
For more than 15 years my career in marketing, PR, and events has taken me around the world and allowed for an international platform that I couldn’t have ever imagined.
Eli: How does your background in law – or even your love of music and entertainment – influence your work today?
Frances: My job requires the use of both sides of my brain. Every day I have to process data and create new content. My previous jobs and/or interest in law, music, performing, sports, travel, politics, etc., have provided me with a tremendous wealth of knowledge which allows me to better relate to my diverse set of clients. It also allows me to be able adopt their message to elevate their brand.
Eli: When did you see this right-brain/left-brain convergence as an opportunity for you?
Frances: I honestly have no idea. I’ve been using both sides of my brain since I came out of the womb, so there’s no real Oprah “Aha” moment associated with this.
Eli: What’s it like to help people find those a-ha moments, though?
Frances: Helping people find those “aha” moments is why I do what I do. Once I am able to get someone to see the value to or benefit of taking a strategic approach to their personal brand the sky becomes the limit of what can we can accomplish.
Eli: What are the most common mistakes many of us make when it comes to our personal brand? Are many of us even unaware we have one?
Frances: More and more people are becoming aware of the concept of personal brand, but many struggle to find the relevance of it in their everyday life.
What is often unrealized is that our brand is being crafted for us every single day though our social media and in person presence. For this very reason, individuals should educate themselves regarding personal brand and take the wheel in terms of crafting and maintaining their narrative.
Our personal brand is the one professional asset that is ours and ours alone. How it looks and how it performs is completely within our control.
The most common mistakes are that people do not have a narrative, they post inconsistently, and often post “junk” content. Every post should tell a story about who you are and where you are going in you career, life, or both. Posting frequently and consistently with quality content that speaks to your narrative is the most effective way I have found to grow your brand.
Eli: With this approach, we all win, right? Users who see and interact with this content?
Frances: That’s the idea! Our lives and time spent on the internet is only going to continue to grow, so I feel it’s important to educate people about how to make worthwhile content so people’s time online is well spent.
Eli: Speaking of time well spent – you’ve given so much as a volunteer. What role does volunteerism play in your life?
Frances: Volunteerism plays a huge role in my personal and professional life. I have been blessed to have received a good education, a successful career, and the ability to travel the world. There are so many people in this country who have not been so fortunate, so I feel it is my responsibility to give back as much as I can. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for The Child & Family Network Centers. I am also on the Advisory Boards for the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind and the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger.
I donate my time to mentor high school and college-aged students interested in marketing and public relations. I also donate my time and money to organizations ranging from breast cancer to youth baseball.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. I choose to fill mine with giving back as much as possible.
Eli: What advice can you give those trying to figure out how to get involved like this?
Frances: First, be honest with yourself if you have the time and/or resources to dedicate yourself in this way. If you commit to assist a person or organization you need to be certain you can see that obligation through. Otherwise, you could leave them in the lurch and could harm your own reputations. Second, find a person and/or cause that you are truly passionate about. Rather than aiming for the big name charities, consider seeking out an organization that is smaller, but making a huge impact in your community.
Finally, if you can’t dedicate yourself regularly to a person or organization, there are sites like Volunteer Match that allow you sign up and volunteer at will.
Eli: How did you arrive at your particular calling? In all the involvement you’re in now?
Frances: My involvement with CLB and NFESH was completely through networking, meeting people within the organization, and being attracted to the organization’s mission. For CFNC, I became acquainted with them when I selected them as PCI’s (my former agency) annual pro bono client. I led outreach projects provided to CFNC through the pro bono program. Following their year with us at PCI, I stayed connected with Executive Director Lisa Carter and lent my services to them whenever help was needed.
Eli: Your technical game is certainly on point. But what makes you tick, personally? What gets you excited to get out bed in the morning, every day?
Frances: What gets me out of bed in the morning is my unsatiated desire for adventure. I live a life that most people don’t. Every day I meet interesting people, travel to fun places, and have once-in-a-lifetime experiences – some of that is out of luck, but mostly by design. I love learning and life is the best teacher. That education can’t be had in a vacuum, so every morning I wake up ready to plan my next adventure.
Eli: How did that adventurous spirit lead to your creation of Firestarter?
Frances: Firestarter was conceptualized and launched in one weekend. When I decide I am ready to move on something, I move! I had spent almost seven years at my previous agency and I felt in my gut that it was time for me to move on to something bigger. What could be bigger than forming your own company? So I created a plan, built a brand, and the rest, so far, is history. The more time I give myself to mull things over the more likely I am to talk myself out of it, so starting my business truly had to be like spontaneously jumping off a cliff.
This method of doing things would likely drive some to drink, but I thrive in a sink or swim environment.
Eli: Or maybe it’s doing things well, and then having a drink to celebrate. How important is your down time, and how do you spend it?
Frances: The line between my personal and professional life is pretty much nonexistent, so on any given day I can have a mix of work and pleasure. But you must frequently step away to allow your brain and soul to recharge. I find when I do step away for a few days it allows my brain to re-calibrate and I always return to work with a wealth of new creative ideas. When I can get away I love to head down to Key West and just bum around, go deep sea fishing, and enjoy good food and wine.
I love to travel. Living out of a suitcase does not bother me at all. I am a huge sports fan. It takes little to no effort to get me to a sporting event. I also love to play golf, travel home to Wyoming to spend time with family and friends, go to concerts, go to the theater, and visit museums. I love to sing and dance. I am a huge movie buff and can waste an entire afternoon watching my favorites.
Eli: I could ask you questions for ages, Frances. Your life is pretty fascinating, and your own brand is so captivating. In closing, what advice would you give girls or young women who dream of living such a fulfilling life?
Frances: I get that a lot. 😂
I have three pieces of advice I like to give young women who are on a journey to living their fullest life. First, is to immediately stop caring what other people think. We only have one life to live so you don’t want to live trapped by the judgement of others. Second, you must love yourself and truly accept yourself for everything that you are and aren’t. You’re never going to be awesome at everything, but you’re awesome at a lot of somethings, so embrace that and always be the best version of yourself.
Third, understand personal finance. Manage your money smartly. Whether you have $10 or $10 million, if you are in control of your finances you are truly in control of your life.
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