The Brand Called You: Leveraging Social Media for Success

by Cougar News Staff 610 views0

By Zoe Levin – Cougar News Contributor

College of the Canyons went tech savvy at a panel discussion on social media and personal branding.

The event was hosted by associate adjunct business instructor Bianca Phillipi and sponsored by the Arts and Business Learning Community in conjunction with student clubs Ad Cats and AdAMAnt.

Speakers included two COC alumna – Avriel Epps, social media strategist and intern for Walton Isaacson, an advertising agency in Los Angeles, and Abigail Mason, an actor, producer, and host of “Hey Abigail”.

“It’s all about figuring who you want people to see you as,” said speaker Avriel Epps.  “It is about finding a balance.  When you google me what pops up?”

It’s not just what pops up, it’s about what those results say about you. Everyone has the power to shape the content about themselves online. Mason and Epps focused their discussion around harnessing that power for career use and success.

“I have a Facebook and LinkedIn, but I don’t really use it that often,” said graphic design student Susan Turner. “I really wasn’t taking the whole thing seriously until I heard the presentation last night…it is actually a really useful way to connect and network.”

While at COC, both panelists encouraged student club involvement as means to promote oneself and get involved.

“I want people to know when I am applying for jobs that I take my professional life seriously and have been preparing for this position from the very beginning,” said panelist and former Ad Cats President and Founder Epps.

Beyond the slew of social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, new names to the industry like were mentioned. is a website specializing in personal website creation.  During the presentation, Epps pulled up her personal website,, as an example of how she has created a space online to showcase herself to employers and universities beyond typical social media outlets.

“I knew that after I went to New York for the award I won from the American Advertising Federation, and every big ad agency was in the room and I gave them my business cards and they kept telling me ‘we’re going to google you!’” said Epps. She wanted to find a way to make the right impression that would speak to her personal brand.

Taking it to the next level, the event was broadcast online via UStream, a site that hosts live webcasts (The site hosts an archive of the live recording at

LEAP, an initiative of the chancellor and the professional development center, produced the Arts and Business Learning Community.  Established December 2010, the organization’s goal is to, “provide an opportunity for arts and business students to engage in a collaborative alchemy, fostering both personal and communal innovation.”

“LEAP is part of the COC professional development program,” said committee member and instructor Bianca Philippi. “It is comprised of faculty and staff that have come together to work on addressing some kind of need on campus for which there is currently is no program or service.  Arts and Business was one of those projects that evolved.”

The current team involves both arts and business faculty and students.  They plan to integrate more programming into the fall 2011 semester.

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