What if Catherine the Great had a LinkedIn

Helen Mirren as Catherine the Great via HBO
What if Catherine the Great had a LinkedIn? How would she represent her array of accomplishments like empress, politician, education advocate and writer in a way that would be both credible and approachable? 

What is LinkedIn & Does it Matter?   

Each section of a LinkedIn profile provides an opportunity to tell part of your story. LinkedIn allows users to connect with previous and current coworkers, companies and leaders in every imaginable job field. 

If you don’t already have a profile and you’re asking yourself whether or not you should bother investing in another social media platform, the answer is YES. It’s one of the first places employers look to post jobs, search for potential new employees and screen candidates. 

When thinking about your personal brand and the 7 Ps of marketing, LinkedIn is a must in helping share your story (positioning) and ensuring your professional information is accessible (placement).

The Leading Lady
Before diving into the how-to of Catherine’s hypothetical LinkedIn, let’s meet this leading lady. Catherine ruled the Russian empire from 1762-1796. She remains the longest reigning female in Russian history. Her time as Empress made such an impact that it is often called the Catherinian era and is considered the Golden Age for the nation. Even actress Helen Mirren points out that Catherine “rewrote the rules of governance by a woman, and succeeded to the extent of having the word ‘Great’ attached to her name.” 
Catherine around the time of her marriage via History.com
What’s amazing about Catherine is that she wasn’t born into riches and wasn’t even born in Russia. Though born a Prussian princess, Catherine was penniless and given away in an arranged marriage. But circumstances, including having a drunk and idiotic husband, did not dampen Catherine’s ambition. 

Once in power, she led Russia into the European cultural and political scene, expanded the territory, created new cities, spearheaded vaccinations, started a girls school, championed the arts and even wrote artistic works of her own. 
Catherine the Great and her husband Peter III of Russia via History.com
However, Catherine was not without her weaknesses and critics. When married to Peter III, she was unable to provide an heir for nine years. This put her at risk for time in jail, a nunnery, or even exile. Later, a cloud of suspicion hung over her ascension to the throne since Peter’s death followed her strategic coup and his absence allowed her to reign without rival. 
Helen Mirren as Catherine the Great via The Telegraph
Her collection of lovers may seem like an early illustration of feministic freedom, but the revolving door of boy toys incensed many whispered judgments about the scandalous nature of her relationships. Additionally, she had an ongoing list of great ideas, but some said she did not succeed in truly implementing enough positive changes or systems, including a true education system. 

When creating her LinkedIn, Catherine would obviously leave out any of the criticisms or unflattering portrayals of her character. The goal would be to underscore her strengths and the great things she did accomplish. 
Helen Mirren as Catherine the Great via New Statesman
So now that we understand who Catherine was, we can imagine her reclining on a chaise lounge in the Winter Palace with her iPhone, considering how to craft her LinkedIn profile. The brisk Russian weather is offset by a blazing fire nearby, while Vasily Pashkevich’s “Fevey” is playing softly in the background. Letters are on her desk awaiting her review from Grigory Potemkin on the military front, as well as her friend Voltaire. But those can wait, because nothing stands between this ambitious girl boss and taking action to help her career. 

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The Glitter Plan

Pink Juicy Couture tracksuit collage Mean Girls
By Meg O’Donnell via Refinery29.
Once upon a time, in a far-away land called Los Angeles, there were two girls that dreamed of fashion in the sweetest of colors. It was fashion that felt luxurious, fit like a dream and delightfully came in every color of the rainbow. 

It was Juicy Couture. 
Marie Antoinette pink hair rococo style ad by Tim Walker

Juicy Couture as by Tim Walker with vintage car and surfboard
2007 ad campaign photographed by Tim Walker. Image via Dallo Spazio.
For designers Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, they didn’t need a business plan. They needed a glitter plan. As they created a world full of terry cloth tracksuits, California style and casual luxury, they didn’t follow the rules. Instead, they embraced a “specifically female, punk-rock style of entrepreneurship.” And in the process, they reshaped the fashion landscape and created a global brand. 

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Dressed for Summer


White button down dress with flower print for spring and summer
A world of travel, history, romance, flowers and water-color worthy pastels. This was the world offered by the Lela Rose Spring 2020 collection. 

In what has been a dreary start to spring and summer with the global pandemic and lockdowns, this Lela Rose collection reminds us of the beauty in the world around us. 
Pink red floral dress for spring and summer

White dress for spring and summer
There is hope for a sunny day outdoors walking in the park, of traveling to picturesque destinations or enjoying a garden party with friends. 

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Find Your Perfect Bra Fit

Christian Dior Fall 2009 Couture vintage bombshell inspiration
Christian Dior Fall 2009 Couture
It’s a typical Monday morning. You walk into the office, briefcase in one hand, latte in the other. Your heels are clicking on the newly shined floors as you move from the elevator to your office. You have a 9am meeting and it’s already 8:45am, which means you barely have time to slip off your coat and do your initial check of emails before heading to the conference room. As you walk in, you feel confident and prepared to make your presentation at the meeting. 

Now is not the time to be concerned with the bra you are wearing. 
Christian Dior Fall 2009 Couture vintage bombshell inspiration

Christian Dior Fall 2009 Couture vintage bombshell inspiration
No matter how great your blouse or sweater looks, the layers you wear beneath them matter just as much, if not more so in some cases. 
Christian Dior Fall 2009 Couture vintage bombshell inspiration

"Without proper foundations, there can be no fashion."
-Christian Dior

Christian Dior Fall 2009 Couture vintage bombshell inspiration
Undergarments help form the foundation of what we wear, with the bra being the key piece in providing support, shape and comfort. You can choose from a range of styles like halters, strapless, push-up, wireless, unlined, etc. But no matter the style you choose, the perfect fit should remain a priority. 

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Queen of Rococo

Marie Antoinette blue gown at Versailles
Marie Antoinette, played by Kirsten Dunst  and directed by Sophia Coppola in 2006
Versailles. A place of luxury, dreams, politics and romance. The palace served as the heart of the French court for over 100 years during the 17th and 18th centuries. 
Marie Antoinette on chaise lounge let them eat cake
Marie Antoinette
It was within the palace’s shimmering walls that Marie Antoinette made her home as the Dauphine and then the Queen of France. Ruling the cultural and political scene in the years before the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette became a fashion icon. 
Marie Antoinette walking in the gardens of Versailles
Marie Antoinette
During the Rococo era, Marie Antoinette embodied the stylistic notions of the movement by embracing the romantic details, ornamentation and light hearted spirit in her fashion choices. Rococo fashion often included pastel shades, ribbons, bows and an air of frivolity. 

Thom Browne Spring 2020 Collection in Marie Antoinette Rococo Style

Thom Browne Spring 2020 Collection in Marie Antoinette Rococo Style
If Marie Antoinette was still alive and reigning from the palace of Versailles, she would surely be dressed in Thom Browne’s Spring 2020 collection. The designs were dripping in romance and whimsy. 

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Embrace Ambition

Designer Tory Burch in pant power suit
“Am-bi-tion,” noun: A strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work. 

Ambition has long been treated as a taboo or dirty word in relation to women. Though men can make goals, seek promotions and reach for new heights of success, the same actions in women are often viewed in a negative light. And it’s not only men that look down on ambitious women. Other women are just as guilty of making judgments and harboring this gender bias. 
Tory Burch in her office
Research has shown that men and women can have the same credentials and produce the same results, yet be perceived differently. A study was conducted at a university where students were given the same case study, but some received a case about Heidi and others about Howard. Though both cases showcased the character as a successful Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Heidi was perceived to be less likable and less likely to be hired, by both female and male students.  

Negative perceptions of women in power and leadership persist like those from the case study, as well as more tangible disadvantages such as lack of mentors and access to key networks. Knowing this, Tory Burch has stepped in to help close the “ambition gap.” 

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Disco Diva in the Office

Green velvet suit with turban
It might be a new decade, but that doesn’t mean that fashion doesn’t still look to history for a bit of inspiration. 1970s flair made an evident appearance in the Kate Spade Fall 2019 collection. Velvet suits, flowing shirt dresses, snappy patchwork and cozy faux fur and shearling ..it’s enough to make “Saturday Night Fever” era John Travolta proud. 
Brocade suit


Lavender velvet suit
The power suit got a vintage reboot with luxe velvet fabrics and shimmering brocades. The silhouettes featured wide leg pants, not too different from bell bottoms worn by hippies and disco divas of the 1970s.  
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Girl, Make Your Move

Rachel Hollis Girl Stop Apologizing
Rachel Hollis via The Hollis Co.
“It’s time to stop apologizing for who you are. 
It’s time to become who you were made to be.” 

These are the final words of Rachel Hollis in “Girl, Stop Apologizing.” Though used as a conclusion, they also serve as the perfect start to the journey she takes you on in the book. 
Jenna Kutcher desk and office photography
Photo by Jenna Kutcher
Rachel speaks to the reader as a friend, sister and mentor. The words are at once open and honest, as she lays out key mindsets, actions and skills that are needed to help you reach your full potential. Whether you dream of becoming a CEO, a hairdresser, an event planner or mom of the year, the book is full of insights ready to help you soar. 

“I believe deeply in what you’re capable of. I think you can achieve anything you set your mind to, but you’ve got to set your mind to it. You’ve got to be relentless in your pursuit and flexible in your methods.”
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Dinner at the Club

Ralph Lauren Fall 2019 Womenswear inspired by a jazz club and power dressing
There was a time in history when it was standard to get dressed for dinner. As day faded into night, dresses would be pulled from their closets, ready to sparkle in the dinner table’s candlelight. 
Ralph Lauren Fall 2019 Womenswear inspired by a jazz club and power dressing

Ralph Lauren Fall 2019 Womenswear inspired by a jazz club and power dressing
Though the daily ritual of changing for dinner and making it an affair of its own has long since passed, there are still those special occasions that call for black-tie attire. For a woman, that often means the fanciest of dresses. However, Ralph Lauren reimagined “the elegance of black-tie dressing as a powerful expression of modern femininity” in his Fall 2019 collection. Though dresses remained an option, suits were at the forefront. 
Ralph Lauren Fall 2019 Womenswear inspired by a jazz club and power dressing
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The Sparkle of Success

Kendra Scott CEO, designer and philanthropist
Image Source: Forbes
Her first business failed. She was pregnant and on doctor’s ordered bedrest. The circumstances did not hint at the success that was to come if only approached with passion, grit and determination. Kendra Scott refused to let past failures or current obstacles shape her future. Instead, she gleaned the lessons she could from any trials and used them as seeds of knowledge in her new venture. 
Kendra Scott designing and making jewelry
Image Source: Thrive Global
Confined to her bed during her first pregnancy, Kendra used the time to act on a long held passion of jewelry making. After having her first child in 2002, Kendra hit the pavement with her toddler in tow to convince local Austin, TX boutiques to carry her handmade jewelry. Business thrived, that is until the financial crisis hit in 2009. 

As sales plummeted by 40% and the boutiques carrying her jewelry closed their doors, Kendra had a choice. She could have either accepted the downfall as the end of her dream, or as an opportunity to evolve and continue pressing forward. Thankfully, she chose to continue moving forward. 
Kendra Scott flagship Austin Texas store exterior

Kendra Scott flagship Austin Texas store interior
Kendra Scott flagship store exterior and interior. Image Source: Kendrascott.com

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Girls Who Run the World

Girls Who Run the World by Diana Kapp and Illustrated by Bijou Karman
Who runs the world? GIRLS. 

Beyonce confirmed this fact in her 2011 song and author Diana Kapp proves this again in her recent book, “31 CEOs Who Mean Business: Girls Who Run the World.” With colorful illustrations from Bijou Karman and insightful writing from Diana, the book introduces readers to 31 women changing the face of business. 

Girls Who Run the World by Diana Kapp and Illustrated by Bijou Karman
Jenn Hyman from Rent the Runway

With women from industries that include fashion, food, science, technology and companies like Stitch Fix, Spanx and Farmgirl Flowers, the profiles are presented in a relatable and insightful story format. Readers get to know more about these amazing women through a question and answer section, before diving into stories of starting up, floundering and find their way to success. 

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Power Moves

Taylor Swift and Stella McCartney design collaboration for Lover
Taylor Swift and Stella McCartney working on the 2019 Taylor Swift x Stella McCartney fashion collaboration via Hollywood Reporter 
For generations, women have worked hard to lay the foundation for life as we know it today. They fought for the right to vote, drive cars, get an education and take on powerful roles in the workplace. 

However, even as the year 2020 kicks off, gender inequality still exists. American women earn $0.79 to every man’s $1 according to CNBC. But the issue is not just in the numbers and paychecks, it’s often in our words and mindsets. 
Taylor Swift performing Lover album 2019
Image via Pop Crave
Taylor Swift takes on the topic in her song, “The Man.” In it, she imagines how she would be treated and what people would say about her if she was a man instead of a woman.

“They’d say I hustled
Put in the work
They wouldn’t shake their heads 
and question how much of this I deserve” 

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