In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we’re spotlighting Brand School’s Fabulous Faculty! They are successful business owners who share their deep subject matter expertise and guide Brand School students to embrace and express their own magical TWISTS. Get to know our faculty in the interview below (and learn more about their own brands at the end of the post).

We asked the faculty about working with Brand School, their brands, and how they bring their own TWIST!

What are your personal TWISTS that influence your professional brands?

Alison: I worked as a professional actress which gave me a deep understanding of how nerve-wracking it can be to be in front of the camera. I am able to share techniques with my clients on how to stay present and grounded during a photo session.

Danielle: I’ve had to reinvent myself a few times over the years because of personal changes in my life but I’ve always stayed close to communications and marketing. My passion for finding solutions outside the box remains from the day I left graduate school.

Brooke: I started my baby and toddler sleep practice when my children were little. Their needs inspired my work and gave me the push to define myself as an expert in the space. Now with The Right Pond, and as my children grow, I am also transitioning to an expert in helping students apply to private high schools and colleges. I am learning a lot and getting ready to go ‘live’ with an updated site in September.

Mark: Bartending and bouncing taught me people skills.

Christine: I recently experienced a big TWIST, having gone from self-employed social media trainer and personal brand coach to full-time senior community editor for my favorite social media management software, Agorapulse! 

What is something a Brand School student has taught you?

Alison: I’ve learned that everyone has a unique story and one can find clarity and purpose by honoring that story.

Danielle: Connecting with the students has always reminded me to be patient with professional growth as it doesn’t happen overnight. I’m always reinvigorated by talking with passionate students so eager to start their businesses.

Brooke: As I look to grow my business, I often come up against imposter syndrome. Several Brand School students gave me the confidence to own my own story and gave me the boost to know that I am the right person to deliver my brand promise.

Mark: Some of them can actually design themselves.

Elissa: I’ve learned so much from the Brand School students with regards to their businesses. There are so many types of businesses that I didn’t even know existed and it’s wonderful to see the passion that each brings to the process.

How do you continue to support Brand School students after their graduation from the 8-week course?

Alison: I’ve had the good fortune to work with many Brand School students after graduation in various capacities. Whether it’s consulting on stock images for websites, doing headshots, or photographing a full branding session, it’s always rewarding. The clarity and shorthand vocabulary developed during Brand School allows me to easily communicate with graduates to fully realize their brand image goals.

Danielle: I’ve been honored to stay in touch with several students and have even connected some with some possible business opportunities.

Brooke: During Brand School, I love having the chance to run my own “extra help” office hours and work one on one with students as a Brand Buddy. After graduation, I continue to follow, support, and celebrate Brand School alumni on social media.

Mark: I’ve been doing one-on-ones with each of them to help bring their TWIST to life in web and logo design.

Elissa: I have continued to work with several Brand School graduates for their trademark and business needs. I’m proud of all of them! They really dove deeply and worked extremely hard to come up with their brands.

When you’re not helping to teach Brand School, what kind of clients do you typically work with?

Alison: I typically work with women entrepreneurs who are in transition, whether professional or personal.

Danielle: For my main job, I work full time with real estate agents. As a side passion, I work with individuals who want to organize their homes to tell more put-together and compelling stories about who they are.

Brooke: Engaged, concerned parents eager to find a better school for their children. They are smart, hardworking, and devoted to their children.

Mark: Corporate, Start-ups, and Public Projects and Non-Profits.

Elissa: I love to work with entrepreneurs, startups, and small companies who are launching or expanding their businesses, as well as clients in the entertainment and arts industries.

Out of everything your brand offers, what kind of assignment is your favorite to work on?

Alison: I especially enjoy working with women who are embarking on a new chapter in their life and love collaborating with them to express their new brand through images.

Danielle: My side business organizing brings me a lot of joy. I love helping people find some peace in their homes.

Brooke: I love offering an initial complimentary call to prospective clients. It is my first opportunity to hear their story and my brain instantly buzzes with ideas of how I can help– it feels great! I wish more people knew about this free call. There is no obligation, truly. I love doing them.

Mark: Branding and rebranding.

Elissa: More than a specific type of assignment, what I enjoy most is working with passionate thought leaders.

Christine: I love working with videos. They’re a great way to engage your audience on social media because they provide an instant emotional connection. They are also easy enough to bulk-create, so after recording for a few hours one day you can have enough content ready to post for a few months.

What is a brand that has inspired you lately?

Alison: I recently bought a piece of jewelry from Awe Inspired. I love their “Goddess Collection”. Their jewelry celebrates women who have inspired through the ages, from the Greek goddess Athena to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Danielle: I am a huge animal advocate and foster animals through a rescue organization called New York Second Chance Rescue. But the Briarcliff SPCA is an organization and brand I’m proud to be connected to and to have in my town. I’ve adopted several animals from there and am so inspired by the love and passion and dedication they have to helping the voiceless.

Brooke: I am presently on a wellness kick and have fallen down the rabbit hole and am listening to Dr. Will Cole’s podcast. He has his own personal brand, but I am having a great time discovering brands that he supports. Solluna is a supplement brand by Kimberly Snyder who is LIVING THE LIFE on a cocoa farm. That’s what I am into lately. I am sure it will be something different next month 😉

Mark: Tesla.

Elissa: The College of William & Mary. I’ve been involved with the college process and the use of the “&” in the “W&M” branding shows that their students always bring more. The school emphasizes the importance of bringing the “and” to all that it provides and to the ultimate student experience at the college.

Christine: As a branding geek, one company that I love watching is Rifle Paper Co. They’ve been doing a LOT of brand collabs over the past few years, and I really admire not only the way they’re able to perfectly blend their brand with others so that it feels fully like both partners, but also how well they choose their branding partnerships. Anything they do not only looks and feels like them, but they also work with partners who appeal to the same sensibilities as they do. They really understand their fans.

In the spirit of Teacher Appreciation Week, do you have a teacher or mentor you want to give a shoutout to?

Alison: I had an amazing improvisation teacher named Paul Walker when I was in graduate acting school whose mantra was “just say yes!” Even when you’re terrified of putting yourself out there, say yes. That lesson has served me well in my photography business and in life.

Danielle: I feel as if everyone I’ve worked with over recent years has taught me something. I’ve collected all of their wisdom and draw from it often. It takes a village and I’ve found so many people who have helped me learn and grow and evolve.

Brooke: When I was a classroom teacher, I shared my room/my class with an amazing and super talented math/science teacher.  Shana was 100% authentic with her students, funny, tough, demanding, and compassionate. We have both moved on to different paths, but I would work with her again in a heartbeat.

Mark: Julie.

Elissa: I’d always like to shout out to my mom- my first teacher in life, who also happened to teach everything from nursery school to graduate school.

Are there any other passions that you incorporate into your personal TWIST?

Alison: I am passionate about women supporting women.

Danielle: Home organizing is something I adore!

Brooke: I am an avid reader and book/podcast listener. Other people’s creativity fuels my own.

Mark: I like a good Manhattan!

Elissa: My love of nature.

Anything else about your professional brand that you would like to share?

Alison: I offer a half-day branding session with a makeup artist, several clothing changes, and various locations. It’s a good great way to build branding and social media content. My priority is to take care of my clients through every step of the process – to support them from the first conversation about their goals to the delivery of their images.

Danielle: I know support real estate agents at Compass and something I’ve shared often with them is finding their TWIST. Julie’s mission is always in the back of my mind and I love helping people find their differentiators.

Brooke: The Right Pond is growing into bigger waters — the college space! I will still help families find the right secondary school, but I am also gearing up to work with juniors and seniors through the college process.

Mark: I offer video and sizzle reels. We are collaborators rather than dictators. Our goal is always to get to the base of our clients’ needs and simplify the messaging–regardless of the complexity of their businesses. And we do it through innovative design and creative content creation.

Elissa: I am a go-to general counsel who is a trusted legal advisor. I can protect, start, reinforce, and enable growth, all while building relationships as well as businesses.

Christine: Agorapulse recently launched Social Media Pulse, an online community for social media managers. It’s a forum with tools, courses, connections, and more. It’s an incredible place where you can build your career and meet other professionals. It’s entirely free and ready for people to join now.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to all educators!

Links to the brands of this fabulous faculty can be found below:

Alison Sheehy (Image Specialist): Alison Sheehy Photography

Danielle Della Pella (PR & Marketing):

Brooke Nalle (Teaching Assistant): The Right Pond

Mark Lo Bello (Graphic Design Consultant): Brand Shot Design

Elissa Hecker (Intellectual Property): The Law Office of Elissa D. Hecker

Christine Gritmon (Social Media Strategist): Gritmon

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Julie is the Founder and CEO of BrandTwist, a brand consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and corporations build stronger, more profitable brands.


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