Entrepreneur, Executive Coach, Author, Management Consulting Executive and Thought-Leader Emma Arakelyan On Building Her Brand of Caring
– Part 1 By Giovanna Aguilar
As a writer, I’m always excited to find quotes encapsulating themes succinctly and poignantly. That is why Richard Branson’s number one pickon branding, “You have to stay true to your heritage; that’s what your brand is about,” by Alice Temperley, illustrates the significance of a brand developed on the concept of caring and family values set to drive social impact throughout the world.
This article is the first of two articles from my podcast, which will be released later this month, about Emma Arakelyan, a former partner at EY (Ernest & Young) and managing director at Accenture. She has been an adjunct professor at NYU for over a decade and a featured speaker at Columbia Business School. Her recent contributions include designing a global executive program on FinTech in Japan in 2018 for New York University and a course for business digitization at Columbia Business School.
I am eager to share Emma Arakelyan’s voice and mission for a couple of reasons. One, as a former corporate employee, I can attest to the profound need for promoting and extending caring about the well-being of our co-workers throughout the workplace, from the human resource department to the managing director’s office. Second, the opportunity to work with Emma Arakelyan on her book, The Business Caring Formula: Building Your New Leadership Lifestyle, and then on her brand’s multimedia content strategy, has been an empowering undertaking for me, too.
Giovanna: What inspired you to write your book on building caring leaders?
Emma: I am fortunate to have had an opportunity to work in more than 40 countries in-person and 150 countries remotely. All of that takes me into my portfolio of skills related to technology and business consulting, industry, innovation, students, and education that actually placed me in different spaces throughout various stages in my life. So, I started to consider, ‘what do I do now with all of this knowledge and experience that I have accumulated working in the corporate sector globally for over 20 years?’
That makes me very excited not only for what I can contribute but also for what I can gain from those experiences, because every conversation is a connection with someone who teaches me something, too. This is a point that I’d like to highlight for my audience – that learning never stops. In effect, the journey that I’m now taking includes all of my experience and multiple careers. When I began as an economist back in my country Armenia, I learned that for me to create significant impact, I would have to also look to other fields driving my passion, like technology. It was the new career that I began when I moved to the U.S. in the early nineties, which was followed by my role as an adjunct professor.
So, my multiple careers and combination of all that experience continue to give me the courage to take brave steps to impact the world, boldly.
Giovanna: Can you share how it has been for you to face your own fears on this new journey in your life when you are amplifying your own voice with your branded content – your podcast, book, ‘How-to’ videos, etc., for the world to hear?
Emma: You were actually challenging me to start thinking in multiple directions when we started the book because the concept of expanding my brand’s voice with multimedia was new to me. We began by leveraging my company name Open Mind Productions. The name, “Open Mind,” actually helps me to keep expanding my thinking.
To answer your question, ‘facing your fears ‘is about being open to transformation. And, I love the transformation that came along with this journey, which started with the writing the book and then expanded into multimedia and other areas. I cannot believe how quickly we transformed my book journey into also doing podcasts, videos, blogs and getting keynote speaking opportunities.
It helped me to look at myself in a new light and to look at the challenge as an opportunity to build upon my strengths. And, appropriately, one of my favorite mottos that I write about in my book is, ‘Build on Your Strengths.’
Giovanna: What is the difference from representing a company and then going on to build your own brand with your and set of values?
Emma: I’m going to start by saying that I was fortunate to have parents who since my childhood gave me the advice to build respect around me and care about others well-being. My mom was a nurse and my father an accountant and engineer. He was always preaching to ‘be honest’ and that no matter what situation you are in, you shouldn’t be fearful of telling the truth. So, those values were really ingrained into my approach, and I was always looking for those values in the characters of every book that I picked up to read while growing up.
When you are in the corporate environment, you are actually representing the company, the organization and your team. So, shifting that direction to solely representing myself has been part of my transformation. It requires being ready to represent yourself. The result is that building my brand has been about going through that process of transformation and recognizing that it has also made more relatable to my audience and those whom I coach.
Also, what I’d like for my audience to know is that your transformation will occur naturally by challenging yourself to take a bold step forward to pursue your passion.
Giovanna: In your book The Business Caring Formula, you stress the importance of ‘caring’ and sets up the foundation for your brand. Can you share what that word means to you?
When I was thinking about the book, the important element was always the word ‘care’ and due to the extent that in my career I had several nicknames as a leader or as an advisor. The one that really stuck to my name for the longest time was ‘Emma Cares,’ and I was really happy with it then and now it has inspired the values I write about in my book.
Moreover, what I’d like to add is that caring is not about being nice to people. It is about addressing what is the right thing to do to take care of all the involved parties, starting with yourself, then family, friends, community, country and finally society.
One of my known sayings is in my book, ‘You don’t have to be right. You have to do the right thing’ and it translated into this very mature caring process.
Giovanna: What does Emma Arakelyan want to accomplish with your brand of caring?
Emma: My mission is to target and prepare a new generation of entrepreneurs who care about the future. I’m focused on helping develop genuine leaders who are invested in making decisions that will have positive outcomes for themselves, the organizations they are working for, and more importantly, society as a whole. My brand of caring is dedicated to driving impact throughout countries, regions and the world.
It is with that vision and responsibility that I wrote my book and led me to amplify my message into the other media my company Open Mind Productions is creating, including my podcast where I invite world-renowned thought leaders to share their stories with the underlying theme of caring.
As someone who began a career in finance and transitioned into technology, I have witnessed how innovation and progress can flourish when the concept of caring is incorporated into our leadership approach.
Part 2 Emma Arakelyan’s Business Caring Formula Is About Being an Engine of Change for Positive Impact