Petra Zink is a certified Personal Branding & Digital Strategist, international Speaker & Consultant and most recently, the Author of the book “Trusted Authority”. Petra is specialized in helping professionals monetize their expertise and become the Trusted Authorities in their industry.
She is the Founder of impaCCCt and The360Talent.Co – both companies are designed to future-proof individuals and organizations through coaching, training and keynotes that make long-lasting change.
Petra recently launched Your Brand. Your Future., a top rated Personal Brand Podcast show. She’s also an official Forbes Coaches Council Member, has been featured on forbes.com, the CEO Magazine, news.com.au and multiple podcasts.
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Table of Contents
Let’s start with a brief introduction first. Introduce yourself to our readers.
Petra Zink: My name is Petra Zink and I have made it my mission to help smart and driven professionals get their message heard, seen and paid. When I started my first corporate career in marketing, I thought working hard will do the trick and get me ahead. It did for the first 10 years and my work ethic which was once my biggest asset had become my biggest baggage. I was always heads down, first in, last out so I didn’t network, nor did I ever talk about my achievements.
Instead of the promotion that I expected, my senior leadership team put me on a performance improvement plan – my world turned upside down. So much so that I left the industry and got intro recruitment where I realised, interviewing hundreds of smart professions – that the lack of being able to self-promote wasn’t a skill that only I missed. It was common amongst most of my candidates. This led me into discovering the power of personal branding and over the last 7 years, I’ve been lucky enough to work with driven senior professionals as well as corporate leaders and their teams on defining their message and help them monetise their IP by going from technical expert (best kept secret) to the Trusted Authority.
Our audience is interested to know about how you got started in the first place. Did you always want to become a CEO or was it something you were led to? Our readers would love to know your story!
Petra Zink: Not at all!
Being raised in an entrepreneurial household, I swore to myself that I’d never go through this roller coaster of having a lot of money coming in one day, nothing the next.
It wasn’t until I realised in corporate that I wasn’t a ‘great’ employee. I always questioned things, pushed boundaries, was too hard working but in the detriment of building my influence. It wasn’t until I changed into the recruitment industry where you basically have to run your own business that I realised that I can outperform everyone and get rewarded by it. However, there were still too many red tapes which eventually led me into setting up my own business and now I can confidentially say: I’m not employable anymore (neither would I ever change it).
“Selfmade” is a myth. We all received help, no doubt you love to show appreciation to those who supported you when the going got tough, who has been your most important professional inspiration?
Petra Zink: Absolutely! I’m a big believer in ‘money fast tracks results’ so I’ve invested since day dot in coaches. In fact, I engaged my first coach when I was still employed and was hooked since then. Even in the first 6 months of setting up my own business I invested in a high end mastermind which was a game changer and it literally gave me a mini MBA in 12 weeks. Nowadays I still work with a lot of coaches but also make learning an everyday priority, from listening podcasts, enrolling to short courses, developing my own programs which requires a lot of research, interviewing thought leaders for my podcast and book which was released in 2021.
How did your journey lead you to become a CEO? What difficulties did you face along the way and what did you learn from them?
Petra Zink: Being a CEO means you’re constantly running into difficulties. From clients who are late with payments to tech systems breaking down, to finding solutions how to pivot a business when a global pandemic hits to identifying where to upskill to not fall behind. Every difficulty is however the preparation for the next level of challenge.e New levels, new devils and embracing teh suck that comes from ‘failures’ and turn them into learning is what keeps things fresh and interesting (and with that, your skill sets sharp and relevant)
Tell us about your company. What does your business do and what are your responsibilities as a CEO?
Petra Zink: Today I run 2 businesses, a B2B and a B2C business – another advantage fo being a CEO with multiple interests and skills.
Both businesses are deigned to help professionals and their teams to future-proof themselves, We help driven leaders to go from being the technical expert to the trusted authority in their industry so they can monetise their expertise through a portfolio career.
What does CEO stand for? Beyond the dictionary definition, how would you define it?
Petra Zink: For me, a CEO is a professional visionary and juggler, someone who lives in the future whilst not taking the foot off the gas on what is happening right now. It’s a fine line between setting up the future direction whilst being connected with everyday’s challenges as well as celebrations.
When you first became a CEO, how was it different from what you expected? What surprised you?
Petra Zink: I had a glamorous idea about what a CEO does. Little did I realise how many hats a CEO has to wear and the skill sets required to manage a CEO routine. What surprised me most was the focus on having many tough conversations and decisions to make every single day. There is no one who tells you what to do, often not even someone who can share experiences because of different pathways. It’s learning to trust your instincts whilst supporting decisions with data.
There are many schools of thought as to what a CEO’s core roles and responsibilities are. Based on your experience, what are the main things a CEO should focus on? Explain and please share examples or stories to illustrate your vision.
Petra Zink: I think the main role of a CEO is to be a role model and leader, not just from a people’s perspective but from a thought leadership’s perspective. It’s about starting and engaging in conversations, from social media to conferences to local events. It’s about creating a community where thoughts are welcomed, where ideas are born and also challenged.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Petra Zink: Where to even start?
From small decisions like which CRM and online learning management system to use to firing staff members to chasing overdue payments. As hard as those calls were to make, they have taught me more than any education ever will and made me more aware what to look out for in future situations.
How would you define success? Does it mean generating a certain amount of wealth, gaining a certain level of popularity, or helping a certain number of people?
Petra Zink: Success for me is having choice. This is one of the biggest benefits of building a personal brand as you aren’t at the mercy of others which I learned in my first career – in marketing – that this is the most vulnerable situation to be in. Especially now, where more jobs get replaced, teams are getting leaner, the market place more competitive: being able to create commercial opportunities based on your personal brand is your life insurance and this for me, is success.
Some leadership skills are innate while others can be learned. What leadership skills do you possess innately and what skills have you cultivated over the years as a CEO?
Petra Zink: My biggest skill is and always has been to see trends and innovations before they are a thing. In my marketing career, I developed over 55 new products and services based on reading between the lines of data, research and consumer behaviour. This certainly comes in handy now as we constantly evolve and develop new products that are aligned with today’s and tomorrow’s market needs.
A skill that I have learned (and still have to improve every day) is having tough conversations with different stakeholders.
How did your role as a CEO help your business overcome challenges caused by the pandemic? Explain with practical examples.
Petra Zink: After my experience being put on a performance improvement plan, I swore that I’d never rely on one single income. Since then, I built a portfolio career with at least 2-3 income streams. When the pandemic hit, I had 6 income streams – luckily as 2 of the biggest ones were gone overnight. Whilst I did feel sorry for myself for a day, I put myself back together and focused on building out the other 4 income streams. Now, I have 11 income streams and a method I also teach my clients.
Do you have any advice for aspiring CEOs and future leaders? What advice would you give a CEO that is just starting out on their journey?
Petra Zink:Hold onto your hats- it’s a wild ride!
As much as running your own business and/or being a leader sounds admirable, it isn’t for everyone. I’ve worked with many highly talented professionals who are better intrapreneurs in individual contributor roles and would crumble being the leader. You really want to know yourself before you take the next step in your career to set yourself up for Success.
Thank you for sharing some of your knowledge with our readers! They would also like to know, what is one skill that you’ve always wanted to acquire but never really could?
Petra Zink: A skill that is on my bucket list is standup comedy. This is something I want to explore further this year as I know it will help with thinking on my feet, making my keynotes more engaging and also support handling tough conversations.
Before we finish things off, we have one final question for you. If you wrote a book about your life today, what would the title be?
Petra Zink: Well- funny you ask.
I actually did write a book and it got published in Dec 2021, with the title: Trusted Authority.
How to go from unknown to known in this digital-first and highly competitive world of work; also without the title 🙂
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Petra Zink for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Petra Zink or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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