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Are you afraid of your own brand?

Step up & own it

Everyone has a personal brand. Even if you don’t know what it is, it follows you around like a shadow. Most people have a tough time identifying their brand because they worry more about what other people think about them. Charleen McManus didn’t have that problem – she just wasn’t sure she wanted to own her personal brand – until it found her.

You’ll remember Charleen from the Richmond HERadventures episodes – she’s the one who hosts incredible parties at her house (and yes, I’m waiting for my invitation). Since last May when Mary & I were on the road, she has put her entrepreneurial gig to the side and gone full-time with a South African company – and guess what?! She found her brand in the process!

From creating a look of professionally artsy to walking out of meetings feeling like she knows her stuff now, Charleen is looking good, feeling good, and enjoying life like the kickass human she is. In case you’re trying to find yourself, this is what it looks like when you’re stepping up and owning your personal brand.

In this episode, we dive into why hiring experts to help you is a badge of adulthood, what choosing your career can look like, how knowing who you want to be helps you find your brand, and why Charleen’s parties are quite literally the best (and yes, it’s the food). Listen in or watch us chat, but make sure you don’t listen hungry.


Private Adventures in Branding Facebook Group

Charleen McManus, Solutions Director at MPULL

Her words: Human. Party Princess. Kitchen Scientist. Quirky. Friend. 

Facebook: cmp.mcmanus 

Instagram: @cmpmcmanus

Two Favorite Recipes (as promised) 


Here's one of my well-loved go-to's. You should see the recipe page, it's dripped on and burned around the edges. This is a very flexible and forgiving recipe. I've made it with or without the spinach and in varying amounts, with any kind of ravioli, fresh and frozen, square and round; flavored or plain canned tomatoes in small or large dice. And when I've been out of cream, I've substituted sour cream or cream cheese. Once of my friends made it with tortellini instead of ravioli. It always turns out great. 


3 Tbs unsalted butter

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 (28 oz.) can of diced tomatoes

2 Tbs coarsely chopped fresh basil

1/3 cup heavy cream


2 (8 oz) packages fresh cheese ravioli

1 (6 oz.) bag baby spinach

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in large pot for cooking pasta. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Grease shallow 2-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter.
  2. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, but not brown, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, increase heat to high, and cook until thickened and almost dry, about 10 minutes, Stir in basil and cream and simmer until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon salt (optional) and ravioli to boiling water and cook until al dente. Add spinach to pot with pasta and stir until wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain past and spinach, return to pot, and stir in tomato sauce. Transfer mixture to baking dish, sprinkle with cheese, and bake until top is golden, about 10 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.  


I spent an entire summer perfecting this version. My husband “suffered” though taste-testing them all. Every southern cook has their own variation. This is one is mine. 


1 pound good quality sharp cheddar cheese (hand grated) 

2 Tbs cream cheese

1 Tbs mayo Duke's or Helman’s in a pinch (add a little more if you like a “looser” consistency)

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

3 pinches of kosher salt 

1 Tbs finely chopped green onion (just the green part) or chives

3 oz Cento brand pimentos drained and chopped 


Mix. Let rest for an hour (if you can wait that long) and serve a room temperature with Rtiz crackers (or anything you like cheese on)



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