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Marina Byezhanova is the Co-founder of Brand of a Leader, a personal branding agency for entrepreneurs and executives. As an entrepreneur, global speaker, show host, and personal branding expert, she has been quoted and referenced in various publications, including,, Yahoo News, Financial Post, Fast Company, and Success Magazine. Marina’s mission is to inspire entrepreneurs to speak up, stand out, and be radically authentic through the power of building their personal brands. She’s a tenured member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and has served in local, regional, and global roles.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [03:38] Marina Byezhanova talks about moving from Ukraine to Canada and facing immigration challenges
  • [11:07] What is Marina’s personal branding philosophy?
  • [15:48] Marina shares client success stories
  • [23:22] Who is Marina’s ideal client?
  • [24:28] How Marina builds company culture and why it’s important
  • [31:07] Marina’s insights on business partnerships
  • [33:17] How Marina navigates entrepreneurial impatience and stays happy and satisfied

In this episode…

Being a successful entrepreneur involves more than just opening up shop. It requires vision, resilience, adaptability, and the ability to embrace the journey with its highs and lows. It’s these traits that have sustained  Marina Byezhanova through her journey.

Marina works at the intersection of personal branding and leadership development. Through innovative strategies and a people-centered approach, she helps individuals and organizations craft an authentic brand narrative and foster an inspiring company culture.

Join Jeremy Weisz, host of the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast, for an enlightening discussion with Marina Byezhanova. They dive into Marina’s entrepreneurial journey, her insights on personal branding, and the challenges of fostering company culture within a team of freelancers. From her immigrant roots to building a business that aligns with her strengths, Marina’s story is filled with valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs.

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:01 

You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.

Jeremy Weisz 0:23 

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, founder of where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs leaders today is no different. I have Marina Byezhanova. And she is the founder, co-founder of Brand Af a Leader and Marina, I’m going to formally introduce you in a second. But before I do, I always like to point out other episodes of the podcast people should check out. And a big shout out to Adi Kevit, who we met through. You were on her podcast, she’s got a great podcast, I listened to the episode yesterday, fantastic. I did an episode with Adi and we geeked out on our favorite productivity tools because she helps people basically she has an easy button for people to produce their SOPs and their processes so people can actually have the work they’re doing and be it replicatable. And she’s does amazing work. Also, because this is an agency, one I interviewed Todd Taskey, who he kind of matches agencies with private equity. So they get purchased, and he has a Second Bite Podcast. So sometimes he finds that some of these companies make more on the second bite they do on the first when they’re bought by private equity and the private equity sells again, they get a larger multiple, so it’s really interesting and how he values agencies how he talks about how agencies grow on that podcast and Kevin Hourrigan, too. He’s been an agency owner since 1995. And so he kind of talks about the evolution of his agency from the 90s, that I’m anymore and and this episode is brought to you by Rise25. At Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 partnerships and relationships. And how do we do that we actually help you run your podcasts. We are an easy button for a company to launch and run a podcast we do accountability strategy, and full production execution of a podcast. We kind of Marina call ourselves the magic elves that work in the background and make sure everything happens. And for me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. And I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. I’ve found no better way over the past decade to profile the people in companies I most admire and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should. If you have questions go to And Marina does regular episodes too. And a lot of times you can find them on LinkedIn. We’ll talk about that. But without further ado, Marina Byezhanova is co-founder of a personal branding agency, like I mentioned, called Brand Of A Leader. And she’s been referenced all over the place publications, you’ve heard of Inc, Forbes, Fast Company, Success Magazine, Wall Street Journal, the Financial Post, she’s spoken audiences of entrepreneurs all over the world. She’s also a tenured member of another Entrepreneurs Organization. And she served in multiple roles local, regional and global leadership. And marinas mission is to inspire entrepreneurs to speak up stand out, and to be radically authentic through the power of building their personal brands. And I’ll share her superpower in a second. But Marina, thanks for joining me.

Marina Byezhanova 3:22 

Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to have this conversation.

Jeremy Weisz 3:26 

When I was reading, I found online, your superpower. And I don’t know if you know what I’m gonna say here, but it’s been Ukrainian. Talk about that.

Marina Byezhanova 3:36 

I might tear up here. It’s an emotional, emotional topic. I was born in Ukraine. I grew up in Ukraine as well. I came to Canada my family emigrated after I finished high school. My first plane ride ever was coming from Ukraine to Canada when I was 16. Ever since I have to tell Jeremy every time aboard a flight, I’m the giddiness. Most excited. Everybody looks like they can be bought there. This is going to be so annoying. I’m giddy and I’m flying is like a one-hour flight. So when I came to Canada, it was 1998. And when people asked me where I was from, I had very heavy accent. So I got that question 100 times a day, where are you from? I would say hello. People would say where are you from? And I would say I’m from Ukraine. And nobody knew what in the world that was or were in the world that was and so people said, oh, Soviet Union, Russia, and you could say no Ukraine. And then fast forward. Eventually people started doing business with Ukraine. Traveling to Ukraine. People knew what Ukraine was. People just knew of KIA. So okay, you’re from Ukraine. You’re from Kia? No, I’m not from Kia. I’m from Harkey, which is the second largest city. And as you know, it was over a year ago, February 24th of last year war started in Ukraine. And all of a sudden everybody knows about Ukraine. People know of the smallest villages that I’ve never knew off and will ask me the names and will reference Ukraine. What I realized and why I have put that in Ukrainian is my superpower put that on my social media is that, when you’re an immigrant, there’s this really crazy identity battle you go through, right? Who am I? Who am I like? I don’t fit in here and fit in there. Where do I fit in, especially when going through that as a teenager is quite rough. And then all of a sudden, as Ukraine started resisting this brutal war, and as we started hearing stories of Ukrainians and personality and things coming out, I was like, oh, my God, that is my identity, I might have tried to suppress it become North Americanized. But that is really who I am. And I do believe that the strength and the resilience and the ability to overcome, I think that those are a traits that Ukrainians share, and I’m very proud to be Ukrainian.

Jeremy Weisz 5:50 

Also immigrants. I mean, it’s like, I find, my grandfather was an immigrant. So my mom was first generation and you find like, there’s a certain drive, and there’s a certain not taking things for granted I felt as a from my grandfather.

Marina Byezhanova 6:08 

Well, let’s be honest. Also, there’s a big chip on the shoulder that you get, because you come to a new country. And I mean, even when it’s well-meaning you still face discrimination, right, you still face comments. And there are challenges. I’m not one to enjoy soft victimizing in the woods meat type of mentality at all. But there are challenges. So you develop a chip on your shoulder, and you want to prove everybody wrong. And so that, you know, what might look like drive to others, is the internal desire to show that you’re not less them.

Jeremy Weisz 6:40 

What was it like growing up there?

Marina Byezhanova 6:43 

So different than how my kids are growing up here. And I know that we say that as parents even right, I’m sure that if you talk about your kids, you will say while they’re growing up very different than how I grew up. So of course, there’s also that generational thing, and sometimes thing of privilege and things like that. But growing up in Ukraine was, well, first of all, I can tell you, I never thought that I would see the world. Because in geography when we looked at the map, often say this, learning geography and looking at the map of the world to us, or at least to me, was like to my kids, looking at the constellation map, they know that there are those planets, but it’s more intangible now not by him visiting them that next summer. So it did feel very insulated. There was no internet yet. So we weren’t connected to the world, there were a lot of misconceptions. But it was our life our world. It seemed normal. And of course, a huge immense culture shock when I deplaned, in Montreal, Canada.

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