'Perfect Your Pitch' Event Recap

Written by Meera Manek, Andrea Volkodav on Sunday, 10 April 2022. Posted in Event Recap

Graphic by Lily Wei for Girls for Business

At the Girls for Business March “Perfect Your Pitch” event, Sierra RyanWallick and Pamela Valdez gave insightful advice into ways to improve an elevator pitch. 

Sierra RyanWallick is a senior at the University of Delaware. An extremely accomplished businesswoman, she works at her own startup, an internship, and at a part time job all while taking Entrepreneurship classes at the University of Delaware. She is the founder of AutumnLeaf fundraisers and the founder and CEO of UP Cycle Design. She also has her own Youtube Channel and is a mentor in Girls for Business’ very own mentorship program. 

Pamela Valdez is a New Jersey based content creator. She creates content mostly on her TikTok, Instagram, and Youtube accounts. She also has a fashion blog called Glamour and Guide, which she started in June 2020. She launched a social media management agency in January of 2021 called Valdez Agency. Currently, she is a sophomore at The Fashion Institute of Technology, studying fashion business management. One of her future goals is to get a career in public relations for a luxury brand, or something within the social media sphere. She has had experiences with multiple internships, many being remote due to COVID-19. These gave her knowledge in social media marketing, public relations, and writing content. Pamela is a College Fashionista Community Member, was a Sales Associate, and was a campus manager for Amazon.

Pamela’s Breakout Room:

Q: What sparked Pamela’s interest?

Due to her senior year of high school being remote and thus losing a lot of activities, she had a lot of time on her hands. After listening to a podcast called “How I Built This” by Guy Raz, she learned how different business owners built their businesses from the ground up. She realized that she could come up with a business concept that she could use to help other people. This idea was to help people who wanted to bring their business online and didn’t know how.

Q: What is pitching and why is it important?

Pamela says that pitching is when you send an idea or propose a potential startup to investors, customers, and more. The importance of a pitch is that you don’t want it to be too long or too short because you want the person you are speaking with to stay engaged and be interested in your idea. 

Question: How do you stand out when pitching yourself?

Pamela explains that having confidence is key. You have to know what you are talking about and shouldn’t doubt yourself. She also mentions to do your research and be prepared to answer any questions investors or anybody might have. She furthers that knowing who your competition is and how you can provide something that they aren't is crucial.

Question: What online resources do you utilize?

For graphics and images, Pamela recommends using Stock Images, Canva, and Pinterest. Some social channels she recommends include Youtube, Podcasts, and TikTok. 

Q: How do you utilize online resources and cold email or outreach?

Pamela says that you can find public relations and human resources emails within a company and email them asking if they have time to talk, while attaching your resume. She mentions that job recruiters and human resource coordinators are perfect people to reach out to to promote your idea.

Q: How are resumes important when pitching yourself?

Pamela expresses that using a resume when pitching yourself is crucial. She says that you want to make sure that whoever you are reaching out to can see your past experiences. Your resume also helps them make sure you are a good fit for whatever you are presenting to them. She explains that a strong resume can help to back yourself up when pitching an idea.

Q: What is the importance of LinkedIn and making a profile?

Pamela says that LinkedIn is the best professional social media channel. She explains that you can send a request to anyone who works any position in a company, see job listings, and find internship opportunities. When you make a profile, add a headline about yourself, location, resume, and personal description. She emphasizes that LinkedIn is a great networking tool to take advantage of and recommends that everyone familiarizes themselves with the platform.  

Q: What are the basics of starting your own business?

Pamela says that the first step is brainstorming. Once you have an idea, you can choose a name and figure out your niche. Then, you have to plan out finances and how much it will cost to fund your idea. Next, she says to do your research online or listen to podcasts. After your research, you are ready to create a business plan and social media strategy. Finally, make business goals for the future in order to have something to work towards.

Q: How do you gain confidence and motivation?

Pamela emphasizes that practicing your pitch is really what makes it perfect and is going to give you confidence when you present it. She explains that making a business about something that you are very passionate about is ultimately going to give you the most ambition. Also, starting small and having friends to bounce ideas off of is quite helpful. 

Q: What is the most important part of a business?

Pamela says that the purpose of your business and the reason why you are doing it is the most important part of a business. It is crucial to see the long-term success of a business. If you're just doing it for the moment and you just want to see where it will be, then it is not going to have long-term success. The WHY of why you are doing your business is the most important part.

Q: How do you gain more confidence in yourself?

Pamela looks at confidence in the long term. She asks herself where she can be a year from now if she puts herself out there and gets out of her comfort zone. She says that if you don’t step out of your comfort zone, then you won’t ever know your full potential and where you could be one day.

Q: What are some tips for putting yourself out there more?

Pamela mentions that being able to have a bigger impact on a wider audience can contribute to putting yourself out there more. One tip she gives is utilizing social media. Through social media, she can talk to other people online about their experiences and use multiple platforms to engage with her audience. 

Q: How do you think of new, innovative ideas for your business?

Pamela tries not to always follow trends because they can lose popularity fast and often is not content that is going to be able to hold up. She gets a lot of ideas off of problems that she used to have when she was first starting out and how she can inform people about them. For example, when she was starting her agency, she was unsure about where to start researching content ideas. That question in itself is something that she turned into a piece of content; she made a video on what platforms she used to research. 

Q: What is a good way to find internships as a highschooler or just in general?

Pamela explains that she was able to get a lot of remote internships as a high school student through using the Indeed job platform. She says that once you get one internship, no matter how much experience you have, you can build up to bigger internships. 

Sierra’s Breakout Room:

Sierra shared multiple resources and opportunities, including pitch competitions such as the Diamond Challenge for High School Entrepreneurs and accelerator programs like Launch X and Dual School.

Sierra also discussed pitching takeaways, emphasizing that storytelling is the base of every pitch. “Storytelling is how we connect with one another,” RyanWallick says, “It’s so incredibly important when pitching yourself or your idea”. She also suggested following a pitching formula that makes sense. Usually, she likes to include a problem, solution, some current competition, traction with customers, and future goals in her presentation. Most importantly, she says, have a reliable team. Customers will invest in a team more often than they invest in ideas. A creative, quick-thinking group of people will always be able to make things work, even if an idea fails. Finally, understanding your why, or the reason why you believe in your pitch. Conveying the motivation behind your pitch will allow the audience to emotionally connect with the pitch, she says, which is more important than anything. Swaying an audience emotionally will make a pitch memorable. “They might not remember what you said, but they’ll definitely remember how you made them feel”, Sierra advised.

Sierra also asked us all to consider what our own personal brand is. “What story comes together from your social media?” Asking friends, family members, and mentors to describe you and your ideas will allow you to be more introspective and examine your personal values. Sierra believes that a pitch needs to be consistent with your personal brand, especially since consistency is key when starting your own business. Making sure all your social media pages (yes, even your finsta) is consistent with your personal brand can enhance your prospects and be very helpful when possible investors or even just customers are looking at your brand. Ms. RyanWallick discussed how having a concrete personal brand creates a positive association with your brand and leaves a consistent mark on your audience.

“Your pitch is all about how you want others to feel about your brand”, she said. Her advice? Understanding who you want to be seen as is the best way to craft your pitch.

Thank you to our amazing panelists, Sierra RyanWallick and Pamela Valdez for sharing incredible and detailed insights into making a pitch! If you missed our event, make sure to check our your event recording on Youtube.

We hope to see everyone at our next GFB event!

About the Author

Meera Manek

Meera Manek

Meera is a Business Analytics Writer at Girls For Business.

Andrea Volkodav

Andrea Volkodav

Andrea is a Business Education Writer at Girls For Business.

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