• Brandon Glover

Dr. Debbie Phillips speaks to CHS students about success, building their brand


(l-r) Grady County Schools Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard, guest speaker Dr. Debbie Phillips, CTAE Career Counselor and Work-Based Learning Coordinator Mrs. Michelle Ausley, and Principal Mr. Chris Lokey

On Feb. 14, 2020, College and Career Week at Cairo High School wrapped up with guest speaker Dr. Debbie Phillips' "You are the CEO of YOU" presentation and speech in the New Gym. Students were called by class during their second block class, and the presentation lasted from approximately 10:00-11:15 a.m.


Most of what Dr. Phillips discussed centered around the idea of being "your own brand," meaning that presentation is everything in one's career.

"Your attitude determines your altitude," she told students. "Success is 85 percent attitude and 15 percent technical knowledge ... When you act enthusiastic, you'll be enthusiastic."

Guest speaker Dr. Phillips delivers her message to CHS students on Feb. 14

Dr. Phillips explained that you must have "likeability" and that it's all about how you present yourself and communicate with others, including during job interviews. Specific examples she gave were the importance of being aware of body language, making eye contact, smiling, speaking clearly/not mumbling, showing that you remember a person's name, and giving a firm handshake.


Another one of Dr. Phillips' recommendations was for students to remember the idea of "F.O.R." in social interactions. F.O.R. is an acronym for Family, Occupation, and Recreation. She said that its important to remember this acronym for interviews and other social interactions. She also said to keep the other person's interests in mind and to make them feel important.


"Your resume will get you an interview; you will get you a job," she told students.

When it comes to getting a job, Dr. Phillips said that the main things most employers today are looking for today from new employees are the abilities to listen, learn, and communicate with others, as well as problem solving skills. However, the most important thing, she said, is the ability to get things done:

"Completing things is better than talking about it ... be a finisher," she said.

Below are "10 Commandments of Communication" and "Top 10 Traits Found in Leaders" discussed by Dr. Phillips.



During the presentation, Dr. Phillips got a student to conduct brief a mock-interview with her. During the mock interview she gave an example of a "personal testimony" by saying, "I know you will interview many people with the same qualifications as me, but you won't meet anyone who wants the job more than me."


Telling the interviewer how important the job is to you "helps build trust" and "sets the tone for the relationship" with the employer. It is always important to "close the deal" by being sure to ask for the job at the end of the interview, Dr. Phillips said.

Dr. Phillips also recommended not only joining school organizations, but being a leader, because it looks good on a resume. She also recommended that all students read three books in particular before graduating, which are pictured below.


The three key books Dr. Phillips said everyone should read

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