On Finding Your “Why”

The Brand Leadership Institute transformed the way that I see myself as a person, and as a leader.

It provided me with opportunities to focus on my brand and be to accountable in action, which led to tremendous growth. In addition to my MVP and 90-day plan some of my most meaningful takeaways were the accountability partner and pod relationships, learning to say no, and harmonizing my personal and professional brand.

What I appreciated most about the BLI program was the relationships that I took away from it.

I did not know how much I was missing a cohort community, a pod, or an accountability partner. My accountability partner has become a sounding board for me – most days helping me to say no to things and reminding me that a no is a complete sentence, and a yes to myself . Without that support this experience would not have been the same.

I valued the opportunity to be connected to other women within my organization and get to know them on a level that I wouldn’t ordinarily. For example, there are women I knew prior to the program but I did not know what their goals were, what challenges they faced, and how we could support and uplift each other… until now. Now I see them as women that will be there for me throughout my career, cheering me, and I plan to be that for them as well.

BLI was the first time in almost 4 years of working here that I was a part of a company-sponsored development program. It is so unique to anything else our company offers, and one that I look forward to championing as an alum for many years to come.

Building My Mission, Vision & Purpose

I have always identified with the mission and values of the organizations I’ve worked for. Now I also know that my mission is to be known as an influential leader who delivers results and is a catalyst for change. And my values are Relationship Building, Open Communication, Positive Influence, and Delivering Results.

Before BLI, I had heard many people use the phrase “find your why” – but I had no clue how I was going to find mine.

It turns out, the answer was within The BLI…

I worked so hard to find the right words that I didn’t want to share my MVP until the end of the program. In a matter of weeks, I went from staring at the workbook blankly trying to figure out which short phrase would communicate my mission, vision, and purpose… to now using them casually in conversation when describing myself.

In addition to building my MVP, I also put several goals into my 90-day plan which required a lot of action and discipline. When I reflected on achieving all of my goals, even though some took slightly longer than planned, I felt a true sense of accomplishment. Through The BLI, I learned that other alum have shared this concept with their colleagues and it’s something I have also shared with my team.

The Power Of Perception & Reflection

The perception reflection exercise was one of my favorite parts of the program. It allowed me to gain a better understanding of how I am perceived within the organization and the unique value I bring. I honestly wasn’t expecting the responses I got which pretty much all echoed “Lauren is known for getting things done” and also reiterated that I needed to learn to say “no”, and nurture my delegation partnerships. When I look back on The BLI, and the feedback I received from my manager during and after the program, I realize that it has given me a tremendous boost in confidence that I didn’t know I needed. This has helped me take a much different approach to everyday life. I am much more intentional when saying yes, managing my time, and demonstrating my unique value. Before The Brand Leadership Institute, it had been years since I was engaged in a community of women. I am truly excited for what the future holds on my She-Suite Sisterhood journey!
Lauren Wiley

Lauren Wiley

2020 BLI Alumna
Talent Acquisition Manager, BAE Systems, Inc