Roswell based business women debut a new venture and has its focus set on leveling the playing field for professional women.
The professional blog is formally known as “The Office Protocol” or “The O Protocol” for short, was co-founded by Meridian Group Partners Manager Director Theo Keyserling and Head of Research Kristen Ballou.
“Our mission is to level the playing field for women by providing sensible insight regarding impression management in the professional world,” said The O Protocol website.
“Impression management is not limited to what you say, it’s everything your persona is delivering to your audience,” according to Keyserling.
This can encompasses not only clothing, but also hand placement when speaking and first impressions at interviews.
“What takes center stage when making an impression is everything you are not saying,” according to protocol.
“After 18 years in recruiting with 12 being in executive search, I’ve learned that words have little impact without presence,” said The O Protocol Co-Founder Theo Keyserling.
Keyserling offers some initial tips for the interview process.
“When the interviewer, regardless of title or position, enters the room you must stand up and shake their hand. Other than your overall appearance, it is the first clue that the individual understands appropriate business protocol,” she said.
Keyserling also recommends to “stay standing until you are offered a seat. If no such offer is made, sit down after the interviewer is seated.”
She hired Kristen Ballou, “an expert in behavior analysis,” four years ago to aid in her search practice at Meridian Group Partners, “furthering confirming my observations that in a corporate environment, personal presentation is more important than technical skills.”
The rules are different for women in terms of professional presentation.
“We waver between wanting to be feminine, but also wanting to be seen (and paid) as an equal to our male counterparts,” said Keyserling.
The O Protocol is “designed to help working women make simple effective choices to boost their careers and subsequently their confidence.”
She came to the decision “it was time to pass along the knowledge that I have gained from working in large companies” after attending seminar about the “ever-evolving world of corporate protocol.”
Keyserling credited her diverse “client roster for Meridian Group” for giving her an “insiders perspective of a variety of different corporate settings and what works and, more importantly, doesn’t work.”
Ballou and Keyserling developed the concept in July and launched in September.
“Kristen Ballou is instrumental in this effort and does most of the heavy lifting, so that I can maintain my focus on our search clients,” said Keyserling.
The duo decided on launching with New York based clothing brand, MM. LaFluer.
Ballou and Keyserling described MM. Lafluer as “appropriate for any age, and with sizing from 0 to 22W, any size.”
“They capture the importance of remaining feminine, but also deliver a heavy hitting professional look,” said Keyserling.
She described the brand as “designed with the same intent as The O Protocol, so it was a natural fit.”
“The O Protocol,” features a variety of professional brands at different price points to fit any budget.
Keyserling noted already having plans for the future, which includes featuring products as well.
The O Protocol is putting women they refer to as “power models,” in the spotlight to feature business professional attire.
Power Models, according to Keyserling are “some local Roswell women that have blazed their own trail in a variety of industries.”
There are models in her 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.
Keyserling and Ballou are models, alongside Past Roswell Rotary President and Liberty Mutual Insurance Agent Lisa Carlisle, Roswell Inc Business Development & Outreach Coordinator Debra Ewing; Lynne Lindsay, who is well known for her career in magazine publishing, and her daughter, Caroline Lindsay, a recent graduate of the University of Georgia.
“They are leaders in the community and have acted as mentors to me. In the future, I’ll incorporate other women as well,” she said.
Keyserling is “pleased with the results we have made in a small period of time.”
“We are looking forward to seeing The O Protocol help individuals further their careers,” she said.
The O Protocol has already garnered attention outside of Roswell and Georgia and confirmed speaking engagements.
“We will be presenting at the National Women Who Count conference next week in Kansas City on the importance of impression management,” said Keyserling.