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How to Write a Great Executive Bio

By February 13, 2014 No Comments

What makes a great executive bio?

Executive bios showcase the experience and expertise your executive team brings to the table. The bio should attract attention for executives among key audiences, and make the case for the executive within the industry. Contact us today to see how Write2Market’s public relations outreach can help you land your key executive on national television.

An effective executive bio should provide a general understanding of the executive’s experience, capability and successes… it should not recount their resume. The bio is not an exhaustive history—it is a selection of highlights.

A bio for the CEO of a large fuel supply company would omit her master’s degree in psychology – and focus instead on demonstrating how she drives revenue and provides fuel solutions. Executive bios also boost a perceived sense of humanity, and show that these are not a bunch of nameless people hiding behind contracts and phones.

Where to display executive bios

Bios may appear on your company website under the “About Us” heading, or they may be intended to help sell your expertise as a speaker, for industry conference. As such, the audience may include journalists, looking for experts to interview; prospective customers hoping to gain confidence in your company; or conference audiences who need to be impressed by the qualifications of the featured speakers.

Learn more about how we can land national television placements, speaking engagements, and other public relations opportunities for your business!

The typical written executive biography…

  • Is one page in length, two pages, maximum
  • Is a narrative – telling a story about the executive
  • Is written in third person – don’t use “I” or “you.”
  • Is filled with facts, evidence and examples that bolster the executive’s image.
  • These day, often a full executive bio building exercise includes video. Here are some examples of executive video.

Key elements for writing executive bios

  • Write to the market. An executive bio is a marketing or networking tool, not a resume. While some executive bios may be intended to secure speaking engagements (like this), sell courses, books or other materials, help to develop a consulting practice, etc., the intent is not to find its subject a “job.” An executive bio shouldn’t look like a resume or read like a resume.
  • Tailor the bio to its marketing purpose. If the bio will be a full-length, separate document discussing only a single individual’s achievements, the bio should help to “brand” him or her. These types of bios read a bit like a commercial. They sell the executive to speak at a conference or some other high-profile event. If the bio will be part of a corporate press release, a company brochure or website, or any other material that is attempting to advertise or create public relations for the company, the market is your company’s customers or client base. In this case, the bio should read more like supporting evidence for the company.
  • Preliminary research. The generalized executive biography is simple. Do the research and write the bio when you have all the information needed to make your executive’s case. As you ask questions, new, valuable, informed questions will occur to you. Remember that too much information is a good problem to have. What is the purpose of the bio? Where and how will the bio be displayed? Who is going to be looking at the biography?
  • Relevant background on the industry. Consider the issues facing your company and your customers. Use this information to present the executive in an appropriate CONTEXT. Visit competitor’s sites and position your executives in a truly unique way.
  • Develop questions for the executive. It may be necessary to get additional information from the executive, to add specificity. Focus on the market’s needs and how your executive’s experience fulfills and exceeds those needs. The bio should include how the executive solves problems in both tangible and intangible ways, quantifying the solution.
  • Job Responsibilities. What does the executive oversee on a daily basis?
  • Prior Experience. What did he or she do in previous career positions? If the bio will be used in a press release announcing a hire or promotion, it should include the correct title and the job responsibilities that title entails. Include any leadership posts the executive held, or initiatives they developed and launched. Quantify increased sales, improved production, etc., as numbers validate claims of achievement. “Under her leadership, the operations team opened 14 new stores in 18 months, earning a coveted Trump Award for team building and service excellence.”
  • Highlight Industry Awards or Honors
  • Community and Industry Involvement. How does the executive show leadership outside the office? What charitable activities does she participate in? Is he an advisor to government or serve on boards or panels?
  • Education. Where did the executive attend school? Academic honors or achievements? Advanced degrees? Special certifications or training?
  • Personal Viewpoints. Include a short statement reflecting the executive’s vision for the company or personal business philosophy. This may serve the marketing purpose.
  • Publications. Where has the executive been published? Where have they been quoted? “Frequently interviewed by the Wall Street Journal on…” sure sounds good.
  • Contact information. How should the executive be contacted, if at all? In a press bio for ProfNet or a release, the executive may want their assistant to be contacted. If the bio is for a web site, they may not want their email published.
  • Family. If the executive is married and has a family, include this, depending on length limitations and market purpose. This may be a good conclusion. “Blake lives with his wife and twin daughters in Columbia, South Carolina.”
  • Include a photo. Feature an acceptable headshot of your executive.
  • Eliminate extraneous details. Include only the details that translate to SPECIFIC ASSETS FOR YOUR MARKETING PURPOSE. Personal hobbies or habits are only appropriate in a full-length bio, and only if branding will be enhanced by such “humanizing” touches. Omit, or gloss over any irrelevant experience. Don’t account for gaps in work experience. And unless this is to be a full-length, stand-alone bio, do not include personal contact information.

What's Next?

Writing a compelling executive bio is only half the battle. We specialize in creating digital content that engages your audience and drives business. If you’re interested in working with a marketing and public relations agency that knows your industry, we’d love to hear from you!

Examples

Mark Brown, CIO and Executive Vice President of Business Development

As CIO and EVP/Business Development at A-One Fuels, Mark Brown helps A-One customers overcome the challenges they face today in fuel supply, financial controls, and risk management. With his global perspective, the entrepreneurial-minded Brown is a recognized expert in business processes related to fuel economics, with several national speaking credits and publications to his name.

His career has focused on business process engineering and optimization with a highlight on developing technology that intelligently manages and empowers the supply chain. As COO at GasPlus, a company he co-founded, Brown created supply chain management and tax automation solutions throughout the downstream energy industry for clients like Wal-Mart, Ryder, 7-Eleven, UPS, and Chevron. He launched his career with Exxon Mobil in marketing, eventually handling distributor development for the lubricants market.

Brown was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Energy Technology, Houston and Gulf Coast Area, 2007. He is a graduate of Clemson University in Chemical Engineering and holds an MBA in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix.

Jane Boyd, Executive Vice President of Operations

Jane Boyd is famous for saying “nobody leaves here with a clean white shirt.” Executive Vice President of Operations at A-One Fuels, Boyd is a hands-on leader who focuses on perfecting each transaction for optimal efficiency–which reduces the overall fuel spend for each A-One customer. Boyd believes that by tracking and monitoring, you can get a better handle on anything in business—and thanks to her team of 85 professionals,

A-One has reduced the gap between lift and turn 60% in the last two years. They’ve also sliced credit rebills in half and moved to an environment where almost 80% of the accounting transactions are electronic. She is proudest of how the quality accounting procedures she’s responsible for complement the quality product A-One delivers.

Over the next two years, Boyd hopes to make “touching paper” an exception—and accurate, immediate electronic procedures the standard. Her goal is to help customers have more visibility than ever into their total fuel spend.

Before joining A-One, Boyd was with MidWestern for four years as Senior Vice President of Accounting and Administration and Corporate Controller, and with Arthur Andersen for eight years in both the Audit Division and the Business Process Outsourcing Division. She graduated with a BS in Accounting from Louisiana State University, Summa Cum Laude.

Steve Galt, CEO, Aurora Corporation

Galt founded Aurora Corp. in 2003 and quickly grew it into one of Atlanta’s most respected and sought after enterprise software development firms. Aurora Corp. specializes in process and collaboration automation for mid market firms—i.e., creating software that turns tedious, repetitive, and costly labor tasks into streamlined, automated processes that save organizations time and labor dollars.

Aurora has developed robust enterprise applications for a variety of industries, including professional services, creative agencies, utilities, and the airline industry. Aurora Corp. also donates software development to worthy causes—most recently creating an application for SafeRide that helps the nonprofit connect sober drives with people in need of a ride home.

Before founding Aurora Corp., Galt worked in software development at Motorola, Delta Airlines, and Georgia Department of Transportation. He received his degree in computer science from Georgia Tech with honors. Galt serves on the board of advisors for Write2Market, Atlanta’s leading marketing and PR firm, and volunteers with Hands on Atlanta. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling, camping, and restoring classic cars.

Renee Patterson, Principal, First Call Consulting

Imagine you, with . . .

. . . the panache and technology of TBS

. . . the stability of Colgate Palmolive, and ;

. . . the successful product launches a la Estee Lauder.

While marketing academics may insist that the magic is in the classic foursome of “product, place, promotion and price,” anyone familiar with the background of marketing executive Renee Patterson will insist that what you really need is the fifth P—practical leadership.

Renee engineered First Call Consulting so she could bring the brilliance of big-label marketing to mid market and smaller brands. She brings proven results, including:

  • 16 years of applied marketing strategy for world-renowned brands
  • Product launches for one of the recognized gurus of the consumer product launch, Estee Lauder
  • 9 years with Atlanta media mega-giant TBS, including launch of video on demand and high definition networks.

With her global triumvirate of experience in marketing technology with TBS, in marketing execution through all-season-exceptional-player Estee Lauder, and in marketing stability through brand strategy for Colgate Palmolive, Renee Patterson thrives on creating marketing success for companies like yours.