Unique Disability Industry LinkedIn Profiles with Rebecca Okamoto
Communication consultant, Rebecca Okamoto, the self-described “20 word person”, is our guest today. Rebecca works with clients to confidently and clearly market their businesses in as few as 20 words. She worked with both Martyn and Mai Ling to upgrade their LinkedIn profiles and she walks through her process in this interview and explains how vital it is that your profile educates your audience. This is a great conversation that is full of valuable information for every professional regardless of industry.
Contact Mai Ling: MLC at mailingchan.com
Contact James: James at slptransitions.com
And I think a lot of people don't realize that their passion, their mission, or their strengths are their expertise.
Mai Ling 00:13
Welcome to Xceptional Leaders with Mai Ling and Martyn, where we spotlight high profile topics and amazing people who are changing the world view on disability. I'm Mai Ling at MaiLingChan.com.
And I'm Martyn Sibley of MartynSibley.com. And today, we're going to be talking about tatada.... the LinkedIn profile is... Really cool, really, I was one of these ones where you've done the interview, but I've met Rebecca, which we'll expand on in a moment. But it was quite cool that we both add to the map, the guest and that the interviewee on, on this podcast, you know, and I think, Rebecca just brings so much passion to this sort of how to sell yourself, I think, coming from Britain, we definitely have a slight kind of awkwardness about selling ourselves. I don't know how the culture is...
Mai Ling 00:32
Yeah, I think as I if I would make a very generalization, I think there is a sort of, is it appropriate to do that? Maybe it's also as a disabled person or a person with a disability, that, you know, that there is that feeling of segregation and suppression over years. And as a, as a community over generations, you know, and I think maybe it's a minority group thing as well. But like, either way, I know that I have always found it hard to sell me. And Rebecca is just amazing. I'm looking at really.
Mai Ling 01:38
O I love it. Yeah, I want to jump in with so many things. First of all, I met Rebecca Okamoto (https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccaokamoto/)through the Asian corporate and entrepreneurial leaders, amazing nonprofit organization here in Phoenix, Arizona. And I watched her presentation during the annual conference. And I was front and center, because you're saying the same things that I'm thinking, I think it's cultural. So definitely, as an Asian culture, we do not walk around touting all of the things we've accomplished. And I learned actually a lot at that conference, understanding that it's kind of generationally taught, you know, is that if you do good work, other people will recognize it. So, you don't have to say it, right. And she stood up there. And she said, her saying, which is you need to say what you say and share what you do in 20 words or less. And I was like, Huh, how do you do that? Right? And so, I sat there, and I thought, okay, I'll just follow what she's saying and do it. And of course, I was all over the place, you know, and I do this, and I do that. And you know, once you get going, you have this whole list of stuff. And so, I ended up reaching out to her and saying, Hey, could you help me with my LinkedIn, because I really feel that doing this in the space of disability, and being sensitive. You know, that's another layer that I really need to be cognizant about. And she was fantastic.
Yeah, it was, I would think we both greatly benefited just from talking to Rebecca. She was kind enough to help both of us with our LinkedIn. So, I think that the plan was we were going to share the know, the hope I bet was that as you say, that succinct version that goes at the top of LinkedIn to join and go first Mai Ling.
Mai Ling 03:16
Sure, mine is I'm a business strategist helping disability focused thought leaders and entrepreneurs ideate and launch profitable ventures. Now, that's not my elevator pitch, right. It's a little bit of a mouthful, but I like to say I'm a disability business strategist. I really love this because the ideate part is working with therapists and parents and teachers and special education educators, you know, and they have this great idea. And that's where we start. And then the launching piece is all the little pieces. Oh, my gosh, Martyn that, you know, like home office and setting up an LLC. And you know, how do I do taxes? And who do I need to reach out to? And how do I network? And how do I do social media? I mean, just goes on and on and on. But fun stuff. How about you?
Yeah, and I was gonna say those nuts and bolts. So vital with getting a venture off the ground that we all get excited about the big, the big idea and the opportunity, but it's those, you know, nuts and bolts you were talking about that are just as, if not more important, in terms of execution is everything. So yeah, I think it's great to encapsulate all of that in there. And yeah, for me, mine is I'm a business strategist helping organizations design accessible and inclusive goods, services, and workplaces for the 1.3-billion-person disability market. And as you were sort of saying, how, when the elevator pitch sort of what is it you do, it's so easy to go off on all these tangents and different directions and she's done a phenomenal job really packing in the fact that ultimately what I'm doing particularly with Purple Goat(http://purplegoatagency.com/) is around realizing the value of disabled consumers and disabled employees as well and bringing them in contact with mainstream brands in particular. So yeah, it's just great to bring all that into a short sentence. It's phenomenal.
Mai Ling 05:10
It's beautiful. So, I want to get to the interview. But before we do, I just wanted to announce that our book Becoming an Exceptional Leader that Martyn coauthored with myself and 12 other amazing coauthors in the disability space is now available on paperback on Amazon. So all you have to do is go to Amazon and look up Becoming an Exceptional Leader (https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Exceptional-Leader-Accomplished-Changemakers-ebook/dp/B08DWWW8X9), we would love if you read the book and gave us feedback, you can find us on Facebook in that group, also, to continue to find out more about the authors and to follow us and be involved. So, thank you so much.
I mean, we said a couple of times before, how we obviously want to hear from listeners and obviously that please like and subscribe and share, because we want to impact more people that need to know this information. But we've had a bit of feedback, you know, maybe not from a person speaking in an audio forum. But we both been getting really nice messages, haven't we, in general, that we thought we'd share one of them that you had on an email, right Mai Ling?
Mai Ling 06:12
Yeah, so one of our listeners sent us this is just a small quote from a really long email, but it was just very moving and touched Martyn and I, and she says, your podcasts, especially your recent book, have really hit home with me in profound ways that I cannot begin to tell you about. each person's story resonated deeply with me as I can relate to each person in some form. Now since my diagnosis, so we don't know where you are on your journey. You may be somebody with a disability, you may be someone who loves and supports people with disabilities. This is just a space for you to come and listen to all of these amazing stories and leaders of people who are also looking to help people in the world and have been on this journey. And hopefully their stories can help you too.
Yeah, absolutely. I think you're gonna enjoy it and get a lot of value. So, let us know. If you've already read the book, let us know what you thought. And obviously always looking for feedback on the podcast, your thoughts on the podcast to say. To that end, shall we get back to Rebecca and her amazing interview?
Mai Ling 07:13
Yes, we hope that you enjoy it. Alright, so today, I am here with Rebecca Okamoto with Evoke Strategy Group(https://evoke.pro/). And we have a very interesting relationship and that we met a few years ago through the Asian corporate entrepreneurial Leaders Group(https://aceleaders.org/) here in Phoenix. She is one of these amazing women who really takes charge and gets involved and so do I. So, I was on the board. And I have done a number of events with her and really, at one point just said, What do you do? Isn't that kind of what happens, Rebecca?
Yeah, exactly. We run it event.
Mai Ling 07:50
Exactly, exactly. So, in our talks, I really actually, she also did a presentation at our conference. And I'm kind of teasing this a little bit, I am going to let her talk to you about her background. But what I want you to hear is that there are opportunities to connect with people in everything that you do, and also outside of your professional circles. So I've been saying this many times when I do coaching with people is don't just sit with the people that you know, you know, definitely connect with other people go to other industries, you know, even if it's something that is touching your industry, or maybe far reaching, get involved in areas that excite you and interest you maybe something cultural, maybe something personal, but this is where I've made some of my best connections and have met some of the most amazing people who are really big parts of my life and have helped me to move forward professionally. So, Rebecca, can you please give us a little synopsis of what you do with Evoke Strategy and how we met through ACEL.
Thank you so much. I'm super excited to talk with you and your community. So, I'm Rebecca Okamoto, and I'm a communications consultant. And I help entrepreneurs introduce, market, and promote themselves in 20 words or less. So in 20 words, that's pretty much what I do introduce network and promote in 20 words, and we met because I was either giving a session on explaining your value in 20 words, or I might have been talking about how to pitch anything in 15, 30 or 60 seconds.
Mai Ling 09:16
Exactly. Yeah. And just what she said, you know, she put a hole, a big description into just a couple words. And now I do recall it. That was the session when I was feverishly writing things down. And the reason why she's on the show today is because I have been out there on LinkedIn. And I've said, You know what, I can write my own profile. I know what I do. And so, I put something together, put it up there. And then after going to her session, I was like, Oh, she is showing that showing me that I'm so verbose. I'm pointing out things that are not really that important. And I think that I am not shining a light on my strengths and my activities enough. And so, you know, unless I had my mom write it, which I actually considered Rebecca. It was Not really portraying the things that I needed to portray, and then also being sensitive because this is in the disability space. And so, Rebecca, if you recall, I reached out and I said, I need help. But I think it's a very special kind of help. Because I feel that, you know, we can't, I don't know what it is, we can't like rave about ourselves, because of the work that we do. And so, can you help me put this into words? Because you saw it immediately?
Yeah. So really, what I find when we started working together was that people don't want to promote themselves and sound pushy. They don't want to sound commercial; they don't want to have they're taking advantage of a very special community. And what we really talked about was, how do you describe yourself using your passion or your mission, and your strengths that instantly really, sort of jives with the people that you're talking to? So, it's a very different way of describing yourself adding value where people say, yes, that resonates with me, and I want to get to know you.
Mai Ling 10:57
Exactly. And so, Rebecca had me go through a number of activities, which I literally was like, rolling my eyes like, Okay, here we go. You know, I had to dig in on a Saturday afternoon. And it did take me actually a couple days to go back to and look at, and digging into things like your why, who you're really serving? Can you expand on that a little bit?
Yeah, so most of the time, when I work with people on their personal brand statement, or describing their business and their value proposition, they want to say things like, Hey, I'm an award winning, bestselling author, they want to talk about themselves, because naturally, we want to be impressive. And we think the best way to impress people is by talking about ourselves, which in particular, in your space, makes it very sensitive, because again, you don't want to be bragging about yourself. So really, what I try to get people to think about is, who are you trying to serve? And what do they value. And when you say we value the same thing, and I can help you meet your mission, you know, serve your community, it makes a really good way of connecting, make an instant connection, actually. And that's why you can connect in as few as 20 words.
Mai Ling 12:04
Yes. And, you know, you really helped me to focus in on who exactly are you serving? And I'm sure that I said something like, oh, people with disabilities, I want to help them communicate. And then you made me drill down and drill down and drill down, you know, to the point was, I was like, I don't know, what am I doing? But when we got down to specifics, it really became so succinct and easy for me, do you? Do you find that a lot with the people that you work with?
Yes. What I find in general is that when you get really clear about who you want to meet, and I just say pick one person, one community, one person that you would really like to build a network with, you will actually find that when you develop your personal brand, it resonates with many, many other people. So, I'll give you an example a friend of mine, she wanted to get a job at Lyft or Uber, but she's very mission based. So, we wrote a very mission based personal brand introduction. It she didn't ever get the job with Lyft or Uber. But by introducing herself very confidently, in 20 words, she started getting many, many, many opportunities where people say, I'd like to know more about you, or I'd like to work with you. And I just talked to her yesterday, she has a brand-new job working in the election space. So, somebody's very mission based and helping people vote, which is a great space to be in. And she's using the same introduction that we developed for commercial opportunity, such as Lyft, or Uber.
Mai Ling 13:34
Fantastic. Yeah, I was assuming it wasn't for a driver, right?
It was not it was to go into like, Community Relations or government relations and things like that. So, it's really to help companies help other companies.
Mai Ling 13:47
Excellent. I'm going to ask you to repeat your tagline again now that we know some more about you.
Alright, so I help entrepreneurs introduce, market, and promote themselves in 20 words or less.
Mai Ling 13:59
20 words or less. Okay, so how long would you say you and I worked on my, my LinkedIn profile, like start to finish, you know, with the, with the questionnaire.
With... I don't know how long you took on the questionnaire, but I think it took us like four decently long sessions, like hour to an hour and a half per session. But I'll tell you that once. What made it go really quickly for me is once you did my questionnaire and said, Who are you trying to attract? And what do they do? It took me almost no time to develop your personal brand statement and a LinkedIn profile. Like once you did the work of who you're trying to attract. Who do they serve? What communities are they looking for? It made it really easy for me to say who you are in 20 words.
Mai Ling 14:48
It was amazing, honestly. And the other four sessions really was the drilling down part of it and helping me to get to, you know, really, what are you doing, and then we kept tweaking because you only have a limited release. That you have 20 words, you know, and you couldn't have all these lands. And you also couldn't have too many of these colorful adjectives kind of get, got too convoluted. I remember doing that. And we were going back and forth about like one word, I wish that I had a snapshot of my profile before because my profile before was very boring. You know, I could say, very boring. I'm going to read the first sentence. And this is all you says, I'm a business strategist, helping disability focused thought leaders and entrepreneurs, ideate and launch profitable ventures. And I was like, Wow, that's amazing. And so, what I would say is, well, I'm a speech pathologist, and I've had a number of successful businesses, and I really understand how to get involved with social media. And so I help entrepreneurs get started, and the person I'm talking to their eyes glaze over, and they're like, all they heard was speech, their person, they say, Oh, you know, my father had a stroke. Is that what you do?
Mai Ling 15:54
Right? Or, you know, I know someone with Autism, do you work with children? Like, that's not what I said.
Yeah, so you would be surprised, because what happens when you first meet people, is it literally within milliseconds, they're judging your credibility, and your trustworthiness. And within eight seconds, they've already evaluated you, as all they hear are the first eight seconds. And I always tell people, some people can't see their name and eight seconds, and you have a better chance of engaging with a goldfish than the person that you're talking to you. So, when you talk to that goldfish, what's the one thing you need them to take away? So, when you say, I'm a speech pathologist? That's exactly that's all they heard. Because it's all they needed to hear that goldfish just swam away.
Mai Ling 16:39
So, for our listener, this is why I want you to know that I know that this was a little bit of a point of contention with me. So, I was like, well, don't I need to say I'm a speech therapist, and she really helped me to get over that, because, of course, somewhere in the conversation that's going to come out. And then that's like an Oh, well, piece, right. And that puts you into a specific part of the industry or healthcare, you know, and something else. But in order to get that conversation going, you need to come in with something very specific. And this, this is her gift, and this is why I'm bringing her to you. Another thing I want to point out, Rebecca, is that you had me put some historical and interesting information about the disability community in my description, and I did not know that that was important. Can you share on the way for that?
Yeah, well, let me address the first part, which is the first thing you want to do when you meet someone, and only eight seconds is get them to think I could use you or that really interests me. And then what happens is you get a "Tell me more" moment. And they're like, Whoa, how do you do that? Oh, well, I am a speech pathologist and I blah, blah, blah. So, in other words, you get to say what you're reversing what you say, instead of talking about yourself first, you talk about them first, then that you hook their attention. And then they're like, oh, tell me more, really. So, you're, they're pulling you for all the information. Instead of you talking really fast. For the first eight seconds.
Mai Ling 17:59
Yeah, I never talk really fast.
Second thing is like on your LinkedIn profile, when we started with, ya, here's what I do. The next part about describing the disability community, and putting in context is, many people don't know what a vibrant community it is, and how many people are affected by people with disabilities, either they themselves have a disability, or are supporting a family member. And when you look at the millions and millions of people, it's like it's like 40% of the US population in some way, shape or form, then it gives a much greater context of Wow, I had no idea. So, you really want people to think differently. So, if you know if you're in like marketing, people know what marketers do. But if you're in a space where people are unfamiliar with what you do, and the potential, you want to give them some context, so they're really provoked into wanting to know more.
Mai Ling 19:04
Hey there, hope you're enjoying the show. I just wanted to take a moment and introduce you to another great podcast that you might like in the Xceptional Podcast Network.
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Please listen carefully. Hi, I'm Matt Hott, one of those of speech science, a weekly podcast bringing you all the information that you can handle related to speech sciences and disabilities. Michelle Wintering, Michael McLeod and I interview leaders and difference makers in the field. Every Tuesday, we drop a new episode, you can find us on iTunes, Android, and on our website, www.speechscience.org/speechsciencepodcast Join us as we try to find the answers to the question "What is communication?"
Mai Ling 19:43
Now let's get back to our amazing interview. Well, I loved you so much that I introduced you to Martyn Sibley, who is my cohost. He in 2016. He was named the third most influential person in Britain with a disability. So, he is very accomplished. He created Co-founded Accomable, which he and his partner later sold to Airbnb as an accessible destination review site, is amazing. So, his LinkedIn is obviously really important because of all of the networking professional things that he's doing. So, I had you connect with him, and he was thrilled. Rebecca, can you share with me a little bit about your journey with him?
So, my journey with Martyn was almost identical to my journey with you. He wanted to position himself differently, actually. So, the reason why I think I really was working with him is he wanted to improve his personal branding or marketing or value proposition, because I think he wanted to go more into working with larger corporations. And I have a lot of experience working with corporations. And he needed a way to attract their interest in order to create more accessible products and services, or corporate environments for employees. So, this was so important, and he needed a, he needed his LinkedIn profile to really establish himself as an authority. And it came across as a little bit too informal. And it didn't come across as the authority in this space.
Mai Ling 21:12
His, the intro is perfect. I'm a business strategist helping organizations design accessible and inclusive goods, services, and workplaces for the 1.3 million, billion-person disability market.
Mai Ling 21:24
And it says right there, what can I do for you?
Right, and I think that, interestingly enough, when I talked to him, Martyn, he actually told me those words, he, I think he... usually I tell people, you tell me 1000 words, and I pick the 20 that I like
Mai Ling 21:40
Yes, Usually, most people know their personal brand, like this, it's actually remarkable, but they just use, they just package it in so many words, and you just have to find the right 20. So, when I told him, this is what I think you do, he's like, well, that's fantastic. Like, how'd you get there and am like, you told me. Yes, you make it seem so easy. And then I love it's several paragraphs, single statements, you know, and I also had in my head that it's, you just want to have a bunch of bullets and get out, right. So, this is very conversational. Like, somewhere in there. It says, I'm uniquely qualified to lead this transformation. Love that word. I'm a regular guy who happens to have a disability called spinal muscular atrophy. This means and gives a little bit of information in there. However, I drive my own adapted car, run my own business, and live independently. I'm also an author, keynote speaker, and podcaster. And this is what I hear so often is I am Martyn. You know, I am not my disability. However, in this situation, you and Martyn chose to highlight that that yes, there is a disability component. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Yeah, so I'll tell you that he actually uses most of those words, and I read everything about his website. And I lifted that from one of his BIOS. And he actually did not want to say that when he thought it was too casual. But in this particular case, I'm saying you want to demonstrate you are at authority. And who better to do that than someone who is dealing with this every day, yet no one would even know it.
Mai Ling 23:13
Again, that's why Rebecca is here is to talk to us and help us to understand how to bridge this gap where we are achieving things, we are doing things and we are also dealing with our own challenges and things like that. And you know, so many people say, you know, I am Mai Ling I am not my disability, right. So, it is very, very important that there is a component in there when it can point to expertise. And that is what I love about Rebecca and what she's done for Martyn and me to help us to do this. How was working with Martyn and I different from any of your other because I assume you work with corporate clients?
I do. I think that one of the most important things was, first of all, your branding, and your LinkedIn profile, really had test to educate your audience. So, one of the most important things like I said, if you're just a pure marketer, people know what marketing does. If you say you're a salesperson, people know what sales is. But when you are leading in a space and pioneering in a space and trying to grow an audience, how you position yourself is different. There has to be an educational component about your branding. So that made it different. Also, I think you and Martyn, like probably many people in your area, don't think of yourself as remarkable, or realize your expertise. And it's very important to be humble and accessible. And I think a lot of people don't realize that their passion, their mission, or their strengths are their expertise. So, people like well, you know, I don't have this title. I might not have a certification, I don't have my MBA, those things don't matter. really resonating with someone value to value or mission to me. Share your passion and passion is much more important.
Mai Ling 25:02
Oh, I love that. I do love that. And I do. Remember when I was talking to you that you really were like pushing me to include things. And I was like, Oh, I don't know, what would you say for listener, what's a good place to start for them to take a look at their LinkedIn and try to, to shape it, you know where they're in service to the person that they're communicating with.
So, your LinkedIn profile is all about attracting interest. It's not a digital resume, for instance, it's really about getting someone who's reading it to say, woo. I want to know more about that person. So, the most important thing to first of all think about is where I started with you and with Martyn is, Whose eye do you want to attract? Is it a recruiter? Is it a type, of course, not just a corporation, but a type of Corporation? So in your case, it was, I'm looking for people, you know, in a difference, actually, your space was different than Martyn's space, Martyn was trying to establish himself as an authority with large commercial corporations, a fortune 500, who aren't offering enough accessible services for either their employees, or for their consumers. In your particular case, it was how could you help corporations in this space improve, right? And you were trying to whether it was helping other companies grow, or offering something in, you know, more expertise, but each one though it made it easier was when I said, whose eye Are you trying to catch? So, the most important thing you're thinking about is? Who do you want to know you? And then it's what's important to them? Right? So, if in Martyn's case, what it is, is really exposing the number of consumers they're excluding. So, every large corporation wants to make more money. You are now excluding a quarter of the world's population of all places; would you not want to? If you want to grow your market? Don't you want to tap into an untapped marketplace? So, you have to position it that way?
Mai Ling 27:07
Interesting. Have you worked with other disability focused companies?
I have not. This is the first time I have I've worked with nonprofits, and I've worked with mission-based companies. So, it's similar to but it's in your particular case, I had to be more careful about the language and really personally diving into what's going on in you know, what, how do you use language? What, what do you say? What do you don't say? How do you position things and not position things?
Mai Ling 27:36
Okay. And then, if someone wanted to work with you, do you have a website? Or how can we stay in touch with you,
You know, a great way is just going to 20words.com. So, it's the number 20, and then words.com.
Mai Ling 27:52
Well, that's brilliant,
20words.com and take a look at some of the things that it offer for entrepreneurs. And I give a free class on introducing yourself in 20 words, right there, they can take a mini course that comes out, it's like 10-minute segments, three days in a row. And they can help describe themselves that way.
Mai Ling 28:12
I love it. And you are a very clear communicator, can you tell us a little bit about your background, which is very interesting.
My background is I'm actually a by degree, I'm a mechanical engineer. And I started working at Procter and Gamble. So, for almost well, more than 20 years, I worked at Procter and Gamble in the supply chain. And it was a very wordy, timid person when I started working. And I really struggled with making myself stand out. So, my parents told me, whatever you do when you start working, never raise your hand and never brag about yourself,
Mai Ling 28:45
So, I didn't. And for the first five or six years of my life just makes me laugh of my employment, like all my peers got promoted ahead of me. Because no one knew who I was. And my parents told me, your work will speak for itself. And it did not. And I really learnt the importance of speaking up. And that's one of the reasons why I became very passionate about communications. Was there stereotypes or unconscious biases about women, about women engineers about being Asian, and I had to overcome that. And it does not matter how smart you are, it does not matter how brilliant your idea is, if no one understands you. So, I became very passionate about communication is the way that people get recognized for their ideas, and their potential and their strength.
Mai Ling 29:37
Beautiful. Well, that's your gift. Rebecca, thank you so much for sharing that with us and being really so succinct and clear in how you can help people you know, obviously 20words.com cheese, how much clutter can you beat? That's great. Well, thank you for joining us, and hope you enjoy the rest of your day.
Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Mai Ling 29:55
Thanks so much for joining us for this episode. And remember that if you have a creative idea that you're ready to start on and want help from someone who truly understands what it means to build a disability focused offering visit mailingchan.com and let's get started.
Be sure to check out MartynSibley.com to embrace your place as a world changer. If you are serious about becoming an influencer and impacting the world, please join me in my VIP Academy where we focus on you and build momentum together. We will see you in the next episode. You're listening to the exceptional Podcast Network.
I'm Rebecca Okamoto, and I'm the 20 word person. I'm the founder of Evoke Strategy Group, and I help entrepreneurs introduce, market and promote their businesses in as few as 20 words.
I’ve spent my entire career studying clarity to help people who have something important to say, but struggle to say it.
My goal is to make it easy for everyone to master clear, concise communication. My processes are fast and effective, and you can apply what you learned in your very next interaction.
Work with me. I’ve been on both sides of the desk: getting pitched to and pitching to others. I’ve worked with solopreneurs, brand new startups, corporate-professionals-turned-consultant, and managers at all levels.
I’d love to help you communicate more confidently, build demand for your brand, and get the recognition you deserve.
Looking forward to connecting! Rebecca
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