All posts by S. Renee Smith

About S. Renee Smith

S. Renee has held leadership positions since her twenties, including working for Fortune 500 companies. With over 20 years of experience in communication and image development, she’s the former director of public relations and advisor to a president in academia, television host, producer, and spokesperson for Paramount (UPN-Philadelphia), and owner of a public relations firm. S. Renee was the inaugural host of SHRM’s Daily Show at SHRM19, and she is the creator and presenter of their Senior Leadership Program, Powerful Leaders: Transform Your Personal Brand and Executive Presence. S. Renee’s presentations are grounded in her rich experience in business and coaching. She draws from a variety of case studies and scenarios from coaching over 500 small business owners and working with over 100 organizations that favor her for her ability to shatter old beliefs and mental constructs. Closing the gaps in the minds of audiences regarding how they see themselves, their careers, and their abilities to achieve success, S. Renee has worked with corporations such as Cigna, Bank of America, KeyBank, and Wal-Mart. S. Renee’s lessons are so relevant and easy to apply that global publisher Wiley, of the world’s best-selling reference brand series, For Dummies, hired her to co-author, Self-Esteem for Dummies (2015). Shortly after that, publisher Callisto Media hired her to write 5 Steps to Assertiveness: How to Communicate with Confidence and Get What You Want (2017) because her “advice on leadership and relationships in the workplace is results-oriented and actionable.” S. Renee is also the author of Harness the POWER of Personal Branding and Executive Presence: Elevate Your Life and Career NOW (2019); Our Hearts Wonder: Prayers to Heal Your Heart and Calm Your Soul (2014); The Bridge to Your Brand: Likability, Marketability, Credibility (2011); and There Is More Inside: Personal Essentials to Living a Power-Packed Life (2005). A media resource, OK! Magazine, Woman’s World, Entrepreneur, Shape, Marketing Daily, and Workwise have shared her practical advice with their readers. Additionally, she has made countless radio and television appearances. Among many recognitions for the impact she has made on others’ lives, July 17, 2010, was declared S. Renee Smith Day in the City of Buffalo, New York. On May 9, 2013, she received a commendation from Delaware House of Representatives as a Personal Growth Expert, and on April 16, 2015, Wilmington City Council acknowledged her for her literary work. In 2006, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the National Association for Equal Opportunity.


I appreciate the privilege of serving you over the years. I have grown and learned a lot about human potential and leadership and business development. Most importantly, I learned about myself and my relationship with God. Since 2005, when I launched my speaking and writing business, I’ve had some BIG wins and many losses. That’s business. That’s growth.  

It is that journey that has taken me to the industry’s mountaintop and through the valley of the process. What I’ve learned and the body of work I’ve created over the years have opened a door to work for one of the world’s top organizations. Yep! I can’t believe I said that, either. But first, how can I help you to expand your brand and continue becoming more likable, marketable, and credible? Watch my video to you here.


I am going to Amazon to create the strategy and build and implement programs to develop their leaders worldwide! I start on March 8, 2021, which is why I’ll no longer be available to work in my business. You can watch my final video here that includes how God strategically sets us up for big opportunities if we just trust him.  Feel free to read articles on this blog and visit my YouTube page. You’ll find over 200 free videos.

I wish you continued growth and success and meaningful moments throughout your life’s journey. It has been a pleasure to serve you. 

There Is (Always) More,
S. Renee


Here’s what I tell my clients: you become the expert when someone else acknowledges your intellectual property or your level of accomplishment is so profound that you’re called to the table to assess and bring perspective to a situation. Put plainly; you earn the title of an expert!

It seems everyone is buzzing about being an “expert.” Or how you can become one. I’ve even been in workshops where attendees are told by “marketing gurus” to be confident enough to add expert to their title—and people will never question them. In my opinion, this approach is dangerous for the person, consumers, and the marketplace.

From experience, I have interviewed and even hired people who proclaimed to be experts only to discover they were fumbling their way through, learning as they go. It is likely you know how frustrating it is to learn that someone is “faking it until they make it” on your dime.

Let me be clear about my perspective. Everyone has a start point as they build their credentials and credibility, but to blatantly mislead, manipulate and tamper with people’s hopes and dreams with emotional marketing tactics such as declaring yourself as an expert before achieving said status, is baffling.

You may be asking, “S. Renee, what do you believe? How does a person can become an expert? When is it appropriate to add ‘expert’ to your title?”

Here’s what I tell my clients: you become the expert when someone else acknowledges your intellectual property, or your level of accomplishment is so profound that you’re called to the table to assess and bring perspective to a situation. Put plainly; you earn the title of an expert!

There are many paths to expert status. I’ve been the expert at work—serving as director of public relations at a university. This led to serving in the cabinet and as an advisor to the president. And now an industry expert—both required building a brand through an intentional process that steadily increased credibility and visibility.

Here are the five steps I took to get started:

Step 1: Recognize Your Internal Conflict: Most people have desires, dreams, and hopes. On the other hand, they have uncertainty, fear, and doubt. The first step to building a brand is to successfully manage your thoughts.

I’ll share the steps I took to begin my journey. I’ll go into detail during my webinar series Pivot Toward Success…Your Brand Development Webinar Series. The first webinar is How I Built a Brand to Become an Industry Expert–And You Can Too!.

Step 2: Resolve the Need to Be Successful Today: You are already a success. Stop looking to emulate others and find your unique value proposition.

Step 3: Own Your Dream: Many people get excited about fulfilling their dreams and sharing them with others. Then give up when they find themselves doing the work by themselves.  Most people will not help push your wagon until you reach a certain level of success. It’s your dream. Don’t be afraid to travel alone.

Step 4: Track Your Life: Assess your personal and professional experiences. This is necessary to identify your brand story that aligns with your brand’s value. For example, in the ’90s, a university official reached out to me about a job. After working as a recruiter for three months, I realized I was overqualified for the position. I assessed the university’s needs against my work experiences and skills. Within months, I negotiated a $15,700 pay raise and a new leadership role. 

Step 5: Get Clear on Your Brand’s Substance: You may not be the expert today, but there’s something you have that others want. This can become the foundation of your brand’s success. Identify what it is and start building.

© 2020 S. Renee Smith helps employees and small business owners become more likable, marketable, and credible to increase their income and influence. She’s a branding and communications expert, author of six books and media resource. Sign up for her webinar series: Pivot Toward Success…Your Brand Development Webinar Series.  

REMAINING CALM DURING CHAOS: How to Position Your Brand During Transformational Change

The handwriting is on the wall–you have to pivot or reinvent yourself to remain relevant.

Photo by Hans Peter-Gauster

Author S. Renee Smith

As I talk with my inner circle of national leaders who are scrambling to identify solutions for America’s challenges, I’m clear that the time is now to be intentional about who you are, how you show up, and the work in which you decide to engage.

Even before coronavirus, America has had a pandemic and experienced an economic depression. And we have marched for equal rights. However, to my knowledge, NEVER have we faced all three at the same time. This is a peculiar time but many opportunities await those who intentionally package, position, and promote themselves.

Takeovers, mergers, market movement, and new leadership can come in a wave, storm, or tsunami. We are in the midst of a tsunami.

Therefore, you have to decide whether the direction of the company you work for is still a good fit for you. Most companies in transition will want to minimize the loss of valued employees, but they know everyone isn’t built for unstable, turbulent environments that transition often creates. If you decide to stay, position yourself so that leadership can see your commitment, stability, and faith in them and the organization.

This is how to navigate change, position yourself, practice executive presence, and increase your brand’s value:

Keep your eyes on your target. During drastic change, transition, and transformation, it’s typical to feel as though you don’t know what your next step should be. It’s traumatizing to feel disconnected, vulnerable, and at risk of losing your job and all that you’ve invested. Decide on your target and keep your eyes on it.

Know the focus of the organization. We are creatures of habit, but change is upon us. The people, the rules, and the system are in the midst of transformation. Clearly, what you’ve done over the last 20 years isn’t necessarily needed for the next 20 years. It doesn’t align with the new paradigm. Remember, when you were hired you were a part of the team who implemented a new way of doing business. Organizational change isn’t personal; it’s a deliberate attempt to keep the company relevant and competitive in the marketplace.

Staying in the past will only frustrate leadership and cause you to sabotage your career. Ask questions to understand why the leadership team believes the decisions they’re making are necessary. As best you can, stay out of the emotional pit, and put what you hear into context so that you see where you are, where they want to go, and how you can help them get there.

Realign your brand. Based on what you learn by being attentive, asking questions, and realigning your brand, here are some foundational basics:

During a transition, company leaders work to strengthen the infrastructure by streamlining processes, increasing efficiencies, and managing the negative impact of change. Leadership will tell you what they can when they can so remain alert and agile by keeping the following in mind:

Minimize distractions. Rumors will fly, and the volume of the noise will rise. Dial into your frequency, and find your guiding light. You may be on a need-to-know basis until leadership has a clear understanding of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Don’t spend time on anything that doesn’t work for your benefit.

Control what you can control. Focus on what you’re accountable for each day and deliver. You’ll have strategic goals to meet. Push hard, meet the objectives, and the rest will take care of itself.

Brand positioning allows you to control your narrative. According to an article in USA Today, among the most common and up-to-date phrases in business, politics, and savvy American life is “‘controlling the narrative.’ That is, telling it your way before someone else gets to tell it—and possibly tell it better— their way.” The way you show up and what you say when you do, determines what people hear and respond to—even if you don’t whisper one word.

© S. Renee Smith helps employees and small business owners become more likable, marketable, and credible so that they can increase their income and influence. A branding and communications expert and author of six books, this blog is an excerpt from Harness the POWER of Personal Branding and Executive Presence. Check her latest free webinar: REINVENT YOURSELF: Build a Brand That Gets Results