What Does Your ‘Professional Presence’ Say? Maximizing Your First Impression


Live demo on audience volunteer

The “Crown Jewel of Fifth Avenue” was well polished and adorned on the evening of September 14th at the beautiful Worth New York showroom atop the iconic Crown Building.  New York Fashion Week provided the backdrop as the heavens opened and corks of sparkling prosecco bottles popped in unison to kickoff What Does Your ‘Professional Presence’ Say? Maximizing Your First Impression. And what an impression it was!  The rain did not dampen the atmosphere one bit.  Guests enjoyed networking, comparing notes, trying on new Fall styles, and learning from the talented speakers who would help all present project externally the power we hold within us.

FWA Entrepreneurs Committee co-Chair Diana Merenda welcomed guests and thanked Committee member and host Samantha Britell, Worth New York Wardrobe Stylist and Agency Owner. Samantha, who joined Worth after a career in banking, noted that a comfortable, appropriate, and stylish wardrobe helps provide the confidence to excel at work, while communicating credibility and creativity. Many of us will change roles or companies throughout our careers, and our professional attire should adapt to reflect these changes. Asking, “Is this the image I want to project?” can tell you when or how to refresh your look. Building a wardrobe of key basics over time allows you to easily incorporate a new piece to update your style as needed. Enlisting the aid of a friend or stylist can help as well.

Our speakers: Rebecca Casciano, Alyssa Peek and Samantha Britell

Samantha introduced makeup artist, expert and coach Rebecca Casciano, founder of Sacred Beauty Salon Series. Rebecca’s mission is to empower women to discover the connection between inner health and outer beauty and how the art of makeup can be a source of self-expression, creativity and confidence. Rebecca advised on ways to transform a professional daytime look to take us from the office to an evening out after work.  As she spoke, Rebecca demonstrated on an audience volunteer, who was transformed during the presentation from an already beautiful, well coiffed professional to one who was now unforgettable.

After reviewing wardrobing and makeup, it was time to learn how to tie this all together and capture the unforgettable you in the important (mostly dreaded) head shot!  Alyssa Peek, founder of Peek Photography, specializes in photographing women who are looking to convey a certain intangible portrayal of a confident online presence regardless of their age, shape or size. Alyssa has photographed hundreds of clients, and explained that the Fear Factor is in every single one!  She taught us how to stand, be conscious of the proximity of ‘certain’ body parts to the camera, the all-important tilt of the knee, and other angles.  Everyone agreed the differences across poses were amazing.

There were a number of excellent takeaways from the evening, including:

  • Wardrobing
  • For a modern update, consider knits instead of a jacket, particularly for business casual. They enable you to look professional and approachable, are comfortable and pack beautifully.
  • Tailoring is key! Clothing is an investment and a good tailor will ensure your wardrobe is proportioned to your specific needs for comfort and style.
  • Makeup
  • Restore your glow by rubbing 2 drops of a plant-based oil or serum such as Max & Me Enchanted Face Oil between clean hands. Using your fingertips, lightly tap oil under eyes, on top of cheekbones and anywhere that seems dry or flaky.
  • Brighten under eyes and balance out any redness on the skin with a creamy concealer with a small brush or fingertips. Try Alima Pure Cream Concealer. This will help you appear more alert and give skin a polished appearance.
  • Create more glowing highlights by adding a slightly shimmery product 1-2 shades lighter than your skin tone. Apply to brow bones, inner corners of eyes, top of cheekbones and cupid’s bow. Try Modern Minerals Moonstone Highlighter.
  • Add color to cheeks and lips, it instantly brightens and warms the face and smile. On cheeks, choose a color that resembles your natural flush, such as W3ll People Universalist Multi-Stick in Pink Coral. For lips, don’t be afraid to try a vibrant color like Nu Evolution Lipstick in Sassy!
  • Photography
  • Posing for an unrehearsed look makes all the difference; your expressive face is the focus. To reduce the appearance of a double chin, for example, bring your nose forward and tilt head down.
  • Face is the Focus: Make sure your face is as ‘dressed’ as the rest of you, in a natural glorious way that brings out your power.
  • Smile from your heart and with your eyes, and let your beauty shine through!
  • Making that first impression work for you is a career builder at Time Zero but memorializing that in a great photo can lead to new opportunities
Speakers respond during Q & A

Speakers respond during Q & A

By the end of the evening the skies were clear and so was the message, which reinforced  the old adage:  You never get a second chance to make a first impression!  Committee co-Chair Diana Merenda announced that after that excellent presentation about external first impressions, we look forward to further personal growth with ‘Part Two’:  Monetizing Your Voice by professional Career Coach Lisa Panarello at the FWA Entrepreneurs Lunch & Learn on November 10th.

Mark your calendars!  Diana extended the FWA’s gratitude with kudos to the talented panelists who shared their knowledge with the group and awarded special raffle prizes to lucky participants!  Networking continued until ‘lights out’ – at least on the inside of the ‘Top of the Crown’!