Cheryl Pullins: Navigating Authenticity in Personal Branding's New Frontier
Cheryl Pullins: Navigating Authenticity in Personal Branding’s New Frontier

Join us for Season 3, Episode 25 of WyzeCast™ as we sit down with Cheryl Pullins, an award-winning entrepreneur, speaker, and personal brand strategist extraordinaire. Cheryl, known for her sassy approach to personal branding, takes us on a journey into the heart of authenticity in the era of personal branding. Uncover the secrets of unmasking your brilliance as we delve into the world of Cheryl’s RICH ICON Academy™ and her vision for empowering multi-passionate visionary women. Get ready for an episode that transcends facades and celebrates the power of being authentically you.

Watch on YouTube – Premieres January 11th, 10 AM ET

Listen on Spotify – Premieres December 29th, 8 AM ET

Melanie McSally
Welcome to another episode of WyzeCast™, the show that elevates the voices, shines the light, showcases the gifts of our heart-centered guests, and amplifies the positive differences they are making in the world.

Folks, I have an amazing guest for you today. She is an award-winning entrepreneur and speaker. She is an internationally recognized personal brand strategist for multi-passionate women entrepreneurs and leaders, but she also loves red lipstick and is obsessed with movies.

Not only does she have a TEDx stage credit, but she is also the author of What Every Diva Must Know About Starting Her Own Business and is the visionary behind the Unlock the ICON Within book project. In addition, she has served as a mentor for the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women in Business, an organization founded by the wife of the former British Prime Minister.

Known for her feminine, sassy, and unique approach to personal branding, today’s guest is the Founder of Iconic Persona™, a premium personal brand development consultancy that caters exclusively to multifaceted visionary women and creator of RICH ICON Academy™.

It’s her brilliance that has helped women around the globe to untangle the confusion of how multifaceted women can blend their passions and monetize their personal brands to create financial success.

My name is Melanie McSally, your host for today’s episode, and without further adieu, I would like to give a warm welcome to the gorgeous, sassy, and brilliant Cheryl Pullins. Cheryl joins us from Florida in the United States. Welcome, Cheryl!

How do you define authenticity in the context of personal branding, and why do you believe it’s crucial?

Cheryl Pullins
Um, Melanie. So Simon Mainwaring wrote a book called We First. Simon says that the keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity, and accountability. So, that’s the premise I start with as it relates to personal branding, and within that, we discover that authenticity is about being true to your core identity, your values, and your beliefs and consistently reflecting these in every aspect of your public persona. If you will, because it’s not just about being honest or genuine; it’s about ensuring there is no disconnect between who you are and how you present yourself to the world. But we know in today’s digital age, personal and professional lives often intersect, and authenticity becomes even more crucial. It helps build a brand that is not only relatable but also trustworthy. So, people tend to connect more with brands that are transparent and genuine because authenticity fosters a deeper sense of connection and loyalty. When your personal brand is a true reflection of who you are, it resonates more strongly with your audience, enabling you to build to really build those lasting, lasting relationships.

Melanie McSally
Yeah, this is great advice because we are moving into an era where more and more people are being guided by their intuition, and our intuition is great at telling us when someone is not being genuine or authentic. When we get that sense, our conscious mind then goes into overdrive. I don’t know about you, but my imagination is way more creative than my reality. So when my conscious brain starts to go into overdrive and questions what somebody is hiding, then my imagination takes over, joins in the overdrive, and really goes into all the ways that this person is hiding something; all the ways that they might not be trustworthy. Before you know it, I’ve built up this whole story around this person and how they can’t be trusted. Now, it might be undeserving, but remember, it all started with my intuition noticing that they weren’t being authentic, that they were hiding something. If I don’t take the initiative to get clarity and figure out why I have this feeling, then this person will likely miss out on the opportunity to gain me as a client. I’m just going to walk away with the impression that this person or their business is not trustworthy, and I might spread that. So, we’ve all heard the stat: a happy person tells three people, but an unhappy person tells at least seven. If I walk away thinking I can’t trust somebody, and somebody else asks for a recommendation or asks me my opinion, then I might say I don’t know, but I didn’t feel like I could trust them, so I didn’t hire it. Then that spreads. So yeah, I think this is so important. Thank you for bringing it up, Cheryl. Can you share one of your own examples from experience where authenticity in personal branding made a significant impact for you?

Cheryl Pullins
Melanie, some years ago, I faced a pretty significant personal setback. Initially, I was really hesitant to share the experience publicly. I was feeling. I was afraid, really, that it might undermine my professional image, what I was building, and what I was doing with my business and my brand. But when I chose to share, and people saw how that, in spite of what was happening, how I was handling the experience, and what I was going through, it really became an inspiration to others. I remember women literally coming into my inbox, sharing with me, and asking me questions because they were dealing with the same thing, and a lot of these women were pretty high profile women that we’re dealing with the same type of thing. This experience really taught me the power of vulnerability and personal branding. It taught me that by sharing my challenges, and sharing the lessons, I learned that I was able to connect with my audience on a really much deeper, probably unexpected level. It made my brand more approachable and more relatable. It made me more approachable. It made me more relatable. What I learned from that is that people really appreciate authenticity. They’re often inspired by our stories of resilience and perseverance. This situation that took place really reinforced my belief that personal branding is not just about projecting an image of perfection, but it really is about embracing and sharing your true self complete with all of, like Brené Brown says, all of its Gifts of Imperfection.

Melanie McSally
Yeah, thank you for sharing that because, as a culture, we have been taught over the years that we must show up as our best selves in order to succeed. Men are taught that anything less is a sign of weakness, and women have been battling for equal rights for centuries, which means that we have this belief, conscious or otherwise, that we have to show why we are deserving. We have to show we have the talent, that we have the skills, that we have the expertise, that we have the strength, that we have the capability. Again, showing anything less could give somebody cause to dismiss us and say: you’re not strong enough, you’re not capable enough, you’re not deserving enough. Now, we’re moving into a time when people value and respect real and genuine. Cheryl, what you said really showcases this so, thank you for sharing.

What are some common challenges you see individuals face in maintaining authenticity in their personal brand? And how can they overcome these challenges?

Cheryl Pullins
This is a great question, Melanie because it gives me an opportunity to share some insights that I think are valuable. Maintaining authenticity in personal branding is not without its challenges. It’s not easy, but one of the biggest challenges is the pressure to conform, to conform to industry standards, societal expectations, and perceived notions of what success looks like. This can lead a person to misalignment between themselves, their true self, and this public persona that they have out there. Now, self-awareness around this is really vital, but it’s the courage; it’s about the courage that you need to stand by your values even when they go against popular trends. Another challenge is the evolving nature of our own identity; we don’t stay the same; we grow, we evolve, we change, and so do our values and our perspectives. Keeping your personal brand aligned with this changing and evolving that happens while staying true to your core self is a continuous process. So, it involves regular self-reflection and a willingness to adapt, a willingness to grow, and an understanding that you have to ensure that your personal brand remains a true reflection of who you are at any given point or time.

Melanie McSally
This is such a great topic for me personally, so thank you for bringing it up. My personal mission is to model a better way, to show people that whatever their struggle is, I guarantee you there is a better way; there’s an easier way. Now, because I’m always going against the grain, it can be exhausting, so I would add the advice that you also need to have stamina and perseverance to stay true to your brand, your values, and your personal convictions. Sometimes, I have to admit that I do think: oh, wouldn’t life be easier if I just went along with X, or if I did Y the same way as Z, but then I remind myself why I do what I do. I remind myself what life was like before when I was conforming to what society said was the life that I should want for myself. I know you know which one I’m talking about: the one with the house, the white picket fence, the husband, the two children (I think it’s actually 2.2 children, which nobody can figure out what that actually means), the pets, and the corporate job with a good salary and two weeks vacation a year. No, I’m not having this. I mean, I had all of these things at one point in my life. I had them all. Simultaneously, I had it all. I had what society thinks of as the perfect life, and I was happy, but I would say I was happy-ish because I thought I was happy, but I certainly was not fulfilled, and now that my life is filled with joy, I look back and think, I don’t think I was happy. So we’ll go with happy-ish. If you’ve been following this podcast, you’ve probably heard me say this before. We, as a society, have so much infrastructure, so many systems and processes, and what have you’s that we’ve put in place, and were put in place with a set of norms that are outdated: how we behave, how we treat others, what we consider professionalism, is all changing. In fact, in today’s digital landscape, it’s often hard to tell where the line between personal and professional is. So, Cheryl, I ask you what you see on the horizon? How do you feel individuals can express their uniqueness going forward without feeling the pressure to conform to these outdated societal norms?

Cheryl Pullins
Oh, Melanie, I absolutely love this question. I’m going to go against the grain here, so everybody, follow along with me. Okay.

So, in today’s interconnected digital era, if you will, the lines between our personal and professional lives are increasingly blurred. I think I might have alluded to this before or said it. This scenario offers an opportunity, which is unprecedented, I believe, to redefine what professionalism means and how it’s expressed. How is it experienced? Because I think that for a long time, professionalism has been really narrowly defined by a set of norms that are very rigid and don’t necessarily accommodate the diverse personalities and unique attributes of individuals. I have this perspective, this belief that it’s time to change this paradigm. It feels a bit outdated, considering everything else that has evolved. So, being authentic in a professional context does not mean disregarding professionalism altogether, but really, it’s about re-interpreting what professionalism is in a way that allows our true selves to shine through.

~Cheryl Pullins

Cheryl Pullins
So this means embracing the aspects or components of our personality that make us unique and using them to enhance our professional presence and how people experience us in the professional setting. So, for example, if creativity and humor are part of the essence of the core of who you are, then find ways to incorporate those traits into your professional interactions and into your digital presence. It can be done in different ways through your content, through the content that you share. It can be done in the way that you communicate in meetings. It can be done in how you solve problems. It can be done in how you innovate. Also, embracing authenticity requires courage. It involves the risk of not always fitting into traditional molds or meeting everyone’s approval. But being authentic has a big payoff. It’s significant. It allows for deeper connections and more meaningful engagements. Ultimately, your professional life is more fulfilling and aligned with the truth of who you are.

Melanie McSally
I love that. So, what tips or strategies would you recommend for somebody starting to develop their personal brand with authenticity at its core?

Cheryl Pullins
Oh, this question is a great way to bring this home, Melanie. My first rule of branding is: ‘Know thy self.’ ‘Know thy self’ in developing an authentic, personal brand starts with a real deep understanding of who you are. So because of that, you really want to take time to reflect on your passions, your strengths, your values, and your unique perspectives. I always tell my clients to have a unique point of view, something that comes from them authentically, because when they have that level of self-awareness, it helps to form the foundation of their personal brand. Then, from there, it’s about consistently communicating those aspects in your interactions, whether they are online or offline. Authenticity isn’t just about, or really isn’t about, sharing everything, telling all your business, all of those things, but it is about being true to the core of who you are when it relates to what it is that you share. Another important part of this idea of being authentic is storytelling. Share your journey, your challenges, and your successes in a way that highlights your personality and who you are. I am a storyteller. I really love to tell stories. I didn’t tell a lot of stories because I wanted to get the content out or I wanted to share the things I wanted to share, but I did give you a little glimpse into a piece of a story as it relates to me, and an experience that I had, but storytelling is a big part of my personality and how I show up. Also, you want to engage with your audience authentically. This means not just broadcasting out things, just kind of bullhorn in it and broadcasting your message that way, but also you want to listen. You want to do what I would call actively listening. You want to respond. You want to build genuine connections. Lastly, the last thing I would say is that personal branding is an ongoing process. You grow. You evolve. So should your personal brand. So you want to regularly revisit, redefine, refine, realign, any of those; you want to do those things so that your brand stays in alignment with who you are, the most authentic you.

Melanie McSally
Those are such great tips, Cheryl; thank you so much. It’s been such an honor and a pleasure having your sassy presence here. Your beautiful, sassy presence; it’s been so amazing. The wisdom that you shared with us has been truly delightful. Folks, if you have loved these tips or if you want to hear some stories from Cheryl, let her dive into those stories; let her tell you her stories in a way that only she can. If you want to see what her favorite red shade of lipstick is, then I highly suggest that you reach out and join her community, where she sends you tips and information right to your inbox. So, if you are interested in that, I highly suggest that you head on over to We will put that link on the screen and in the description below. Cheryl is an award-winning entrepreneur. And with that comes lots of great advice, strategies, and tips, and she’s just amazing to be around. Her energy is fantastic. So, I highly suggest that you reach out and join her newsletter and get those tips straight to your inbox. Once again, Cheryl, thank you so much for being here. It has been such a delight and honor having you on The WyzeCast™ Show.

I want to thank our listeners for tuning in. If you like what you’ve heard here today, please do like, share, and comment. We are trying to get WyzeTribe™ to be a hot new release. So if you feel inspired, if you feel moved, if you feel called, if we earned it, please do like, share, and comment. It is free for you to do so and really helps the podcast grow. And we really do love your engagement.

This was another episode of WyzeCast™, the show that elevates the voices, shines the light, showcases the gifts of our heart-centered guests, and amplifies the positive difference they’re making in the world.

If you want to learn more about WyzeCast™, you can visit our We dropped ten episodes every month on the 21st, so you can binge-watch or spread them out over the month. Whatever suits your mood and lifestyle.

Once again, my name is Melanie. It has been my pleasure being your host today. Thank you for listening. Thank you for watching, thank you for your engagement, and I invite you to come back and join me once again for our next episode of WyzeCast™.