[Ep#213] Empowering Your Personal Branding & Marketing Journey

Empowering Your Personal Branding & Marketing Journey

My guest today says, “In business – lead with empathy. But make decisions without emotion.” 

Joining me on today’s show is Hayley Westoby. 

In the past 12 years, Hayley has worked in top advertising and marketing agencies with global brands.  

She founded Gambit Collective to bridge the gap for small to medium businesses, offering accessible marketing services. In just over 2 years, she built a successful inbound business through social media and personal branding. 

Hayley aims to change the agency perception by providing a positive, empowering environment, inspired by her own experiences and a commitment to transforming the marketing industry. 

On today’s show, Hayley is going to share:  

  • A real and relatable journey with no BS advice (“Social Media is social”) 
  • Honest and practical pieces of advice about personal branding, marketing and social media  
  • How we can build a sense of confidence to back ourselves and our own journey 

             – “Ego is the biggest destroyer of business.”  




Jump straight to these golden nuggets:

[00:02:38] Empathy enhances leadership; emotions aren't detrimental.

[00:05:30] Experience varied: toxic workplaces vs. supportive teams

[00:08:29] Trust and hiring right people are crucial. Micromanaging leads to overload.

[00:12:06] Some people learn from bad experiences.

[00:15:01] Balancing work and personal life is challenging.

[00:20:11] Ideal average day prompts self-reflection and action.

[00:23:38] Progress in job leads to managing people.

[00:26:35] “Staying home with kids is a career.”

[00:29:01] Personal brand matters more than business brand.

[00:31:59] Bank teams can't discuss products, so what?

[00:36:00] Great on Instagram and TikTok, started business. LinkedIn for personal and work content.

[00:38:51] CEO podcast highlights the value of experiences.

[00:43:45] Women entrepreneurs juggle business and family.


Topic: Being an empathetic leader

  • Let's debunk the myth that good leaders can't be emotional.
  • Hayley believes that the best leaders are those who can empathize with others while making decisions without clouding their judgment.
  • Empathy and strong decision-making skills go hand in hand for effective leadership. It's about striking a balance between emotions and rationality.

Topic: Trust and empowerment

  • Trusting and empowering employees are essential for business growth.
  • Doing good work with good people was the driving force behind Hayley's business. Trust and hiring the right people became crucial for success. Hayley's own business journey has been a testament to the power of trust.
  • Micromanaging hinders progress, while empowering your team leads to positive results. 

Topic: The power of personal branding

  • Hayley emphasizes that personal branding is more important than business branding.
  •  It's not about amplifying the business brand alone. Working with big banks, marketing agencies, and insurance groups, I've realized the power of having a large network of people talking about the brand, whether it's work-related or personal aspects.
  • Building a strong personal brand attracts clients who want to work with you and your team, even when you transition from large organizations to starting your own business.


The Power of Empathy: “I think it's only in the last 18 months that I've really grown to understand that me as an empathetic leader is the best leadership version of myself because my team know that I'm a human being.”

— Hayley Westoby 00:03:3000:03:46

Empowering Workplaces: “I've been empowered to make decisions for myself or go into more senior conversations or client conversations to have a difficult conversation, and I've been empowered by the leadership team or my manager or a fellow colleague, that has made the world of difference in terms of how I felt, how I've progressed, what I've learned.”

— Hayley Westoby 00:06:0800:06:29

Creating an Empowering Environment: “I regularly refer to my business as the orphanage because I do like to create a space that is safe, that is, an empowered space because I know that when people feel like they can turn up to work them in their in their full selves, they can bring, you know, whatever's happening at home.”

— Hayley Westoby 00:07:5300:08:08

Empowerment and Trust: “And so I think there's a huge amount of trust comes into that, and I think hiring the right people, is a really important factor in that as well. But I think that for me, there is no other way to do it. You know? There's gotta be trust there. There's gotta be that empowerment to make decisions for themselves because if you try to micromanage a business in the same way that you try to micromanage a team, you end up doing all of the work yourself, and I don't have enough hours in the day to be doing all the work myself, which is why I have a team. So I think it kind of comes hand in hand in the sense that, yeah, for me, it's a no brainer, and it's not a hard thing to do, which In some businesses that I have worked in before have kind of alluded to the fact that it's, you know, really tricky to trust people and really tricky to, you know, Empower people to make decisions because what if, you know, they mess up or whatever? So I think being able to test that theory for myself in my own business has been really rewarding, and I've seen the benefits within the team, and within the business, at large.”

— Hayley Westoby 00:08:2900:09:33

“The Experience of Dealing with Clients: You know, when you go from an agency side, you've experienced agency. Typically, it is like kind of grind environment where it's like, you know, the client's always right, just kind of get the job over the line kind of thing. And then when they go client side, they then become those clients that have treated them poorly or they become these exceptional clients because they're like, I know what it's like to have to deal with a shitty client. So, I think that it can go one of 2 ways, when you've experienced these things throughout your life.”

— Hayley Westoby 00:12:1900:12:50

The Importance of Hard Work in Business Ownership: “And I think that far too often people go, well, I own the business, and therefore, I don't have to work as hard because I'm gonna hire people that will do that for me. And I think that that is such a gross miscalculation of what owning a business is. For me, I'm like, if I'm not the hardest working person in my team, there's something out of whack…”

— Hayley Westoby 00:14:1400:14:33

The Importance of Valuing Your Team: “Half a day doesn't cover me missing out on family events because I had to deliver something for my client. Half a day doesn't cover all of those things that I miss or the money that I could potentially earn if I was working a casual job Saturday Sunday. So, I think just being able to look at, the people that you have within your team as real human beings and flipping the scenario, you know, whenever I respond to one of our team or have a conversation that might be a little bit more difficult, I always go, how would I like to receive this conversation? How would I like to have this conversation if I was, you know, having this conversation with a leader or a boss of mine?”

— Hayley Westoby 00:15:0400:15:40

Viral Topic: Balancing growth and responsibilities in business
Quote: “Do you just wanna only be yourself for a business, which is fine? Do you wanna have a team and eventually grow and scale? Because I think that most people want that. You know? They want their own office. They want their team of people, but they don't understand that with that I mean, you know, with great power comes great responsibility.”

— Hayley Westoby 00:16:4900:17:09

Ideal Average Day: “What is that ideal average day look like for me? And there were a number of things that came up for me there that then made me really think, like, why am I not doing that in my normal life? Because I can, but I'm just not.”

— Hayley Westoby 00:20:3700:20:49

The Power of Personal Branding: “Having started my own business now and seen a few of my clients that I've worked within massive organizations now follow me to where I am running my business Because they wanna work with me and my team, it says nothing about the business brand and everything about my personal brand.”

— Hayley Westoby 00:29:0500:29:20


Q&A Snapshot: 

1. Do you agree that the best leaders are those who can empathize with others while making objective decisions?

Answer:  Emotions can play a role in leadership, but it's crucial for leaders to strike a balance between empathy and making objective decisions. Empathy allows leaders to connect with their team members on a deeper level, but decisions should ultimately be based on facts and logic to ensure the best outcomes for the business.

2. How have such environments impacted your own leadership journey, if at all?

Answer:  Toxic work environments can have a profound impact on one's leadership style. They can either motivate us to create a better work environment for ourselves and our team or negatively affect our approach. Supportive environments, on the other hand, can empower us to lead with empathy and create a positive culture where everyone can thrive.

3. Trust and hiring the right people are highlighted as crucial for business success. How do you prioritize and foster trust within your own team?

Answer: Prioritizing trust starts with hiring the right people who align with the organization's values and goals. Open and transparent communication, giving employees autonomy and responsibility, and providing support and feedback are all essential elements in fostering trust within the team.

4. What are your thoughts on this approach, and how do you incorporate it into your own leadership journey?

Answer: Personal branding plays a significant role in leadership. It allows us to develop a strong professional identity and establish credibility in our field. By investing in personal branding, we can create authentic connections with our team and attract clients who resonate with our values and expertise.

5. How do you strike a balance between personal and business branding in your leadership journey?

Guest Response: It's crucial to strike a balance between personal and business branding. While the business brand represents the organization as a whole, personal branding helps humanize the leadership and fosters trust and connection with team members and clients. By intertwining both aspects, we can leverage our personal brand to amplify the values and mission of the business.

6. How do you approach difficult conversations and ensure a respectful and empathetic environment within your team?

Answer:  Difficult conversations are inevitable in any leadership role, but it's important to approach them with empathy and respect. I strive to consider how I would like to receive difficult feedback and approach the conversation from a place of understanding and support. Creating a safe space for open dialogue and valuing everyone's opinions lead to a more respectful and empathetic environment.

7. What steps have you taken to foster a supportive and empowering environment within your organization?

Answer: I have taken steps to ensure a supportive and empowering environment by implementing policies that prioritize work-life balance, such as adequate annual leave, and by providing opportunities for personal and professional development. Creating open channels of communication and encouraging team members to share their ideas and feedback has also been crucial in fostering a positive culture.

8. How do you handle and address the emotional aspect of decision-making within your leadership role?

Answer: Decision-making often involves an emotional aspect, especially when it comes to recognizing and rewarding hard work or making choices that align with our values. However, it's important to balance emotions with rational thinking to ensure the best outcomes. I approach decision-making by examining both the emotional and logical aspects and considering the long-term impact on the business and team.

9. How do you ensure that your work ethic sets an example for your team?

Answer:  It is important to be the hardest working person in the team. I set an example by demonstrating a strong work ethic, meeting deadlines, and going the extra mile when needed. By leading by example, I strive to inspire my team members to embrace hard work and a strong sense of dedication towards our goals.

10. How do you approach fair compensation and work-life balance for your team members?

Answer: Fair compensation is important to ensure that team members feel valued and appreciated for their hard work. I ensure that my team members are compensated for any extra hours or overtime worked, including weekends or events outside of their regular contracts. I also prioritize work-life balance by encouraging employees to take breaks and vacation time to maintain their overall well-being.

About Hayley:

Hayley has spent the last 12 years working within some of the most well respected and well-known advertising and marketing agencies, working with some of the world's biggest brands. She noticed a huge gap in the market where small to medium sized businesses were stuck between the high costs of big agencies and the risk of hiring freelancers. That's when Gambit Collective was born, a pay as you go marketing agency making marketing, social media and personal branding accessible to all.

Over the last 2 and a half years, she has built and scaled a 100% inbound business through the power of social media and personal branding.

Wanting to not only bridge the gap between large agencies and freelancers, she personally has a goal of wanting to change the perception of agencies. Having had her own awful experiences in the world of advertising agencies, she has a personal mission not only to help our clients, but to provide a nourishing and empowering space for others to work. She sees so many people leave or look to leave the industry because of the toxic environments and leadership – she is determined to create a space for those people and set a new standard for marketing agencies globally.

Contact Hayley:

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