Name: Lena L. West
Location: New York, NY & Miami, FL
Education: “Some college; mostly life.”
Job title: CEO of Influence Expansion; Creator of the Authentic Influencer Social Media Marketing System and Real Women Do Social Media
What she does: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, podcasts, etc., etc… it can be exhausting to keep up with the ever-evolving world of social media. But to Lena West, one of Forbes magazine’s “Top 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter,” it’s all in a day’s work. Call her a master of all things social media–Lena’s mission is to help women harness their power to become more successful, lucrative business owners. As the CEO of Influence Expansion, a social media strategy, development and marketing firm, she’s also the creator of “Authentic Influencer Social Media Marketing System” and “Real Women Do Social Media,” the only social media marketing programs created specifically for women business owners. Her company helps female clients build their online presence from A to Z, which includes developing custom blogs and online community/membership sites and providing social media “concierge” (done-for-you) services.
How she got her gig: Using her background in information technology, Lena worked in general technology strategy and consulting. As the popularity and relevance of the internet exploded, more and more of her clients were asking for help getting online, so she started an Internet marketing company to help companies figure out how to gain a competitive edge. One day, Lena was reading author and business teacher Jim Collins’ book Good to Great, about how a good company can become a great one, when she had an epiphany. Her general technology strategy firm was a good company–but good just wasn’t, well, good enough. “I realized we could not be the best in the world at that. It wasn’t in our DNA. We were good, but not the best,” says Lena. Then, she saw a window of opportunity she just couldn’t ignore: “When social media came to the forefront, we knew this was the horse we wanted to ride. It just made sense,” says Lena.
Lead the Pack: Before her firm transformed into a social media consulting company, Lena had started experimenting with social media on her own. “I started to teach myself social media marketing because I wanted to be on the grid more. I started generating a lot of attention, business leads and opportunities,” says Lena. “People started coming to me and saying, ‘You really need to teach me how to do this!’” Social media was hot, and Lena knew that there would be tons of business owners clamoring to build their online buzz. Even more crucial? They’d need help navigating the complex and always-growing social media sphere–and so her social media marketing firm was born.
Be the best: “I realized what we could be the best in the world at was teaching women business owners how to really get their money’s worth from social media,” says Lena. Her firm had the unique ability to both understand the strategy behind social media and the technical nitty-gritty needed to create it: “That’s a very, very hard combination to find. We’re the best of both worlds.” Now, Lena is recognized as an expert in her field, winning several business awards, including The Network Journal’s “40 under 40” and the Women’s Congress’ Entrepreneurial Champion for Women in Business–not to mention being named in the always-prestigious Forbes magazine as one of the Top 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter.
Making a difference: Lena’s career hasn’t been defined just by her desire to run a stand-out company. One of her most memorable moments was when she realized she could make a true, lasting impact on her clients’ lives. “The first time I got a real testimonial from a client was when I realized that internet marketing and social media help people build successful businesses,” says Lena. “It also helps people become surer of themselves. What we do helps people lead better lives.”
This job is for you if: You have the drive and passion to know your area of expertise inside and out. “Once you know your craft, you’re more confident working with clients, speaking on stage and you tackle challenges from a totally different perspective,” says Lena. “Plus, think of all the people you can help when you operate from a place of confidence in what you offer!”