Career Woman

Go Where You're Loved...You Will Do Your Best Work

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Hello #BossTribe, it’s been awhile, but we’ve been undergoing some major changes here at The B is for Boss. We are working on bringing more digital content to our platform this year, along with some other IRL networking opportunities both locally in NYC and internationally.

(spoiler alert: check back at 3pm CST today when we unlock our destination and sign ups for our 2019 Summer Retreat.)

In addition to revamping the site, I’ve also done some major rework and revamps in my personal and professional life. Which leads me back to my first big announcement….*drum roll please*

Last month, I left my job and went back to my previous one. Yup, that’s right. I “boomeranged” and it was the best decision I could have made.

I am now co-leading the Digital Sports Group at Taylor PR.

I wanted to let a month pass, before screaming it from the rooftops, but I know now thirty days in, that without a doubt I made the best decision. This past month, I’ve been happier than I have been in over a year. If you recall I wrote a post about how leaving your dream job is never easy. And boy, was that an understatement. Without getting into all the dirty details, in short: I made a mistake. A huge one. I left a job I loved for what I perceived was a better opportunity. However, I didn’t take the time to ensure my values were aligned with the new team I would be joining. I soon realized that I didn’t connect with my manager or my team and they didn’t care enough about me or my career growth in a way that suited my needs. Additionally their culture wasn’t progressive and as a minority woman in the Sports industry, I realized quickly that there were glass ceilings not even my best six inch heels could shatter.

Because we spend the majority of our days at work, it’s important to keep in mind that if a workplace is toxic, it will most definitely trickle into your personal life. Unfortunately for me, not only did it trickle into my personal life, it affected my health and it also trickled into my business. It was very hard to run a career platform, while being so unhappy in my own career and that bothered me. I felt like I was letting so many women down when I couldn’t show up as my best self, because my own job was so draining. But through this experience, I learned a valuable lesson:

“Go where you are loved and you’ll do your best work.”

No job is perfect. There’s always going to be challenges. Whether it is office gossip, politics or competition. However, if at the core you feel loved and the environment is positive, you will do your best work.

I recently read a Marie Claire feature of Lupita Nyong’o, and she put it this way:

“You must always go where you’re loved, because I deeply believe in the principle that the perceiver affects the perceived. So if the person’s perceiving you with love, you’re more likely to do a better job.”

She then goes on to say: “Have you ever experienced this thing where you feel you’re with someone who thinks you’re stupid, and then you start to do really stupid things? Or someone who thinks you’re clumsy, and then all of a sudden you become clumsy?”

You’re probably shaking your head like yes, I know exactly what she’s talking about.

Well, it’s true. When you’re in toxic environments, you can’t show up as your best self. Whether it’s your career, a relationship, or friendship, if the person on the receiving end or in this case the perceiver doesn’t care about you or respect you, it will in turn affect how you show up. Why dim your light for a job or people who don’t deserve your shine anyways?

Be around people who value what is valuable about you.

Be around people who support you.

Be around people that love you.

I could have ran from one bad job to the next, but I decided to go back to a place where I was loved. No matter what people may have thought about my decision. In fact, I know there were several people who had something to say about my decision (many of which are probably reading and screenshotting this now).

However, at the end of the day, I made the decision that was best for my mental and physical health and my happiness.

Don’t run away from a job or opportunity, just to end up in another situation you’ll want to run away from months later. Run towards something.

I did.

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BOSS 101: Interview with Alicia West

In honor of Women's History Month,  we're continuing #BOSS101 interviews. Life happened and I didn't post last Wednesday but wanted to make sure I ended off the month on a strong note! I'm honored to finish off this powerful month with Alicia West #JustAceIt, who I first came into contact with at a conference in 2016. However, while we only briefly connected at the conference, her candid IG stories, her ability to speak things into existence and land bomb influencer deals (hey Jordan!) is what made me realize she's def a BOSS in her own right and has an amazing story that I wanted to be sure and highlight. My goal of these #BOSS101 interviews is to give more visibility to everyday women, just like you who are making their dreams come true. It's not luck or by chance, these women work hard!  I'm so honored that Alicia took the time to catch up wand share some boss tips and behind the scenes info on how she's making a name for herself in the entertainment industry, one day at a time.

Tell us a little about yourself…

I am the digital editor for the Detroit market at Radio One. I write, produce, and shoot content for three different radio stations websites and social media. I am also an on-air talent. I host different segments for the websites as well as for my own and interview artists and other celebrities. Pretty much if it’s digital, I do it!

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What inspired you to work in Entertainment?

Ever since I can remember I wanted to work in entertainment. I was always into pop culture, pretended like I was on TV, wrote songs, sang (although I can’t hit a note if my life depended on it) and a bunch of crazy stuff I’ll refrain from mentioning. When it came time in high school to pick your potential careers, I wrote down that I wanted to be a video jock for Much Music, which is pretty much the Canadian version of MTV. I saw talent like Tyra Banks hosting ANTM, LaLa Anthony on TRL, Angie Martinez on HOT 97, Ryan Seacrest hosting American Idol and his syndicated radio shows and wanted to be just like them!

You moved from to Toronto to the U.S., tell us about that journey.

The journey has been hectic and is still crazy to this day! Since I was in middle school, I’ve been researching and planning on how I can move to the U.S. Originally the plan was to go to high school/university on a basketball scholarship but that didn’t work out as planned. After graduating in 2012 from my Radio post-grad program in Toronto, I decided to move to D.C. for an internship at WPGC. I stayed out there for 4 months before I realized I had to go back to Toronto. I didn’t have enough experience to get the work visa I needed to stay in the U.S. Then again, in 2016, after losing my job the previous year, I decided to chase after my dreams and auditioned for a program called the WEEN Academy which was held in New York City. I ended up getting into the program which meant I had to move to NYC for 4 weeks..I decided to stay until I got a job in America (which I totally did!). From there I moved to Detroit, where I have been for just over a year.

What is the craziest thing you've ever done to get a lunch/calendar meeting with someone?

I haven’t done anything crazy to secure a meeting but I do remember the first time I reached out to someone for coffee. Her name is Pauleanna Reid, a super dope writer, motivational speaker, mentor, business owner, etc. Anyways, I ended up being 15 minutes late. She wasn’t pleased and was straight up with me on why it wasn’t a good look especially as a first impression. I don’t think I was ever late for a meeting again.

How important is networking and relationships when it comes to your career?

Networking is EVERYTHING! I needed to build my network particularly in the U.S. in order to get the work permit I needed. A lot of people are scared to take chances on just anyone especially when it comes to industries like this. I feel as if you are able to really hone in on your industry relationships, they will be able to help open the doors. That doesn’t mean you will be automatically get the job, you still have to do the WORK to get those opportunities, but it makes the process of finding jobs and securing the interviews a little bit easier when you have great relationships. Now that I think of it, I’ve gotten all my jobs through references. Most hiring managers look within a company, and ask their network before hiring from external job boards.

What’s one piece of advice you have for women out there that are looking to start a career in radio/entertainment?

Be willing to work! It’s true when they say women have to work 2x hard than a man and black women have to work 2x harder than that. This is such a male dominant industry, so the respect isn’t always there. If you do your work, show your passion and don’t put up with anything, you will be able to gain the respect you need to flourish.

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What challenges do you face as a woman in your field? Specifically, what challenges do you face as a woman of color?

I have seen men be hired over women. I have seen people go to the men for answers before the females (who are actually in charge of the men). Luckily I have yet to face a challenge that was blatantly because I am a biracial female. I work for an African-American company that is owned by a woman. That is pretty empowering and allows me to feel as if I can’t be stopped.

I do feel as if the opportunities aren’t always present but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it. Over the past year we have seen plenty of women of color taking charge, and owning the space. And I believe every female needs to be unapologetic and have faith that they can do whatever they want.

You also have a brand of your own, tell us more about that.

I started justaceit.co because I needed to motivate myself to chase after my dreams. I was stuck working a regular job at an advertising agency. It was okay but it wasn't what I wanted. I knew that I wanted to work in media, so I started the blog to remind myself that whatever goals I have (whether fitness, travel, career) to always go out and just ace it. Since then it has become more than just a blog, it’s a lifestyle, a mantra. I focus on spreading positivity to women of color who are unapologetically badass through different digital mediums. On YouTube, I do videos of my experiences, and tips on how to get into the industry. Interview WOC who work in entertainment/media for my #justaceit podcast (available on iTunes), and I just started this thing called ACE-ism, where I share 30 seconds (ish) of inspiration on Instagram. I have a lot more in the works for 2018. It’s been a learning lessons trying to manage a full-time job and working on my own brand.

When trying to build your brand and expand your outreach, what components do you find most valuable?

Authenticity. If it’s fake it won’t stick. Do something you are truly passionate about. When you do, people will be more drawn to you. And, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You really can’t become successful without stepping out of your comfort zone. Go meet people, explore your interests, put yourself in uncomfortable situations….that’s when you’ll figure out what your brand truly is.

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What inspires you?

When I see other people living their life to their fullest potential and doing great things. It honestly inspires me to step up my game. I love a person that knows how to hustle.

What Quote do you live by?

I love quotes...so much that I have my own quote book. Every time I find a quote that resonates with me, I write it down in it. One quote that’s really been on my mind lately is “Make yourself at home but don’t get comfortable.” It’s from the TV show Being Mary Jane when she moved from Atlanta to NYC. It resonated with me because I just moved to Detroit at the time of the episode airing. I now have it on a sticky note by my bedroom door so I can read it every morning. I use it as a reminder that it is okay to make a city my home, but to not let it make me complacent. It’s easy to settle when things are going okay….I don’t ever want to settle again.

How do you redefine the B Word/What’s your Boss Word?

#justaceit…..whatever you want to do is possible. Often we give ourselves a grocery list of reasons why we can’t achieve our wildest dreams. In reality, all we have to do is go out and #justaceit.

Do you have any parting words, advice, or tips, to help a millennial woman aspiring to build her brand, her career, and/or a side hustle?

I lost my job in Nov. 2015 and didn’t work for a full year. I didn’t do it because I wasn’t employable. I did it because I was tired of settling and being average. I knew my passions lived elsewhere and I was ready to sacrifice my savings, playtime and whatever other luxury I could have done if I was employed. I knew that it was what I needed to do in order to focus myself on my goals. I made a promise that I wasn’t going to go back to work until I got a job in radio, and I did just that. Anything is literally possible. Your dreams are possible. You have to go out and #justaceit.

 

BOSS 101: Interview with Karinn Chavarria

In honor of Women's History Month,  we're continuing #BOSS101 interviews every Wednesday throughout the month of March, with some bad@$$ women that are redefining the "B" word. I'm honored to continue this month off with a high school friend, Karinn, who I feel like I've witnessed blossom into this Food and Fitness Boss Lady in such a short time. It's crazy, because social media has allowed me the opportunity to keep in touch with people I may have never had the opportunity otherwise -- Karinn is definitely one of those, since I haven't seen her in over a decade; but I get to stay up to date on all her fun shenanigans via her blogging and social platforms. From Karinn's insta stories to her candid and honest posts, she's definitely someone you should be following for motivation, gymspiration, and a good laugh. Her blog and brand @feedthecurves is definitely on the rise and I'm so glad I was able to catch up with her as she offered up some boss tips on how to lean into your passions, hustle everyday, and live as your most authentic self.

Tell us a little about yourself…

My name is Karinn, I'm from Houston, TX and I'm on a mission to inspire women, minorities like myself and entrepreneurs to do what they love. I consider myself to be a hustler. I've been called that many times and I'm coming to terms with being able to say that myself. But what do I do exactly? For starters, I run a blog and brand called Feed the Curves. I'm also the co-founder of the fitness movement #FindYourSweat. I wear many hats from developing recipes for my blog to  restaurant marketing. I also curate and host events and work with companies for social media content!

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Tell us more about your blog/brand FeedTheCurves & FindYourSweat

Feed the Curves is all about celebrating your body by feeding it what it needs from the inside out. I've been overweight to emaciated and the last thing I'd want someone to do when embarking on a lifestyle change is to feel deprived or lost. So, I found a solution-- to advocate a mindful balance between food, fitness and a social life.  I'm a proponent of moderation and keeping it real so you'll find me posting a healthy meal one day then enjoying tasty libations at the newest restaurant the next.

I recently worked with Whole Foods for #VeganViernes, my weekly dose of vegan recipes, which was a highlight of 2018 so far. I'm not a vegan but I find there to be a disparity of education on the subject amongst blacks and hispanics. You can find me blog about ALL things food/fitness/and social events related on Instagram @feedthecurves. Be on the lookout for my website relaunch!

Find Your Sweat originally started as a hashtag and challenge to encourage women to find a workout that they truly enjoy and inspire them to fall in love or back in love with being active. My partner Cori and I completed 30 consecutive workouts in 30 days to showcase the variety of ways to get active in Houston. We tried everything from jiu-jitsu to samba (Brazilian dance) to boxing then posted about it on our social media channels. We quickly garnered media exposure and the response was far more than we expected and very humbling. We made a commitment to ourselves and to each other and found solace and unity when things got tough. We didn't want FYS to end after the challenge. We wanted women to experience the same camaraderie we did when you work together and not against each other. From that, the idea of hosting empowering events through fitness was born. We now host events in Houston and plan on taking it further! You can find more about our story here and subscribe to our newsletter for upcoming events here!

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Give us a little background on who Karinn is and what aspects of your early adulthood guided you to where you are now.

I'm multi-faceted and very complex to say the least. I've dabbled in so many things and experienced a lot in order to realize my potential and purpose. In college, I worked for a start-up gold trading business located inside of a grocery store. I also worked as a brand ambassador for numerous marketing agencies and events. Working both simultaneously equipped me with knowledge of running a small business, people skills and passion for production. The gold trade proved to be lucrative and soon everyone was buying and selling so the company expanded from 1 store to over 100 in a matter of a couple of years. I was there to see this company grow from conception so I fell even more in love with business. I loved it until they went corporate and I had to follow rules like a dress code haha. I received my degree in Journalism and Global Business but upon graduation my life took a different turn. Instead of pursuing journalism, I moved on a whim to Denver start my own business. At 23, I registered my first LLC and opened my first brick and mortar store in Colorado. Having my own business was great but I was pursuing a trade that my heart wasn't in. I thought that I'd be fulfilled monetarily but I hated it. I promised to never go into something that I'm not wholeheartedly willing to lose sleep for. I moved back to Houston and that's when the soul searching and going back to the drawing board began.

What inspired you to pursue a job outside of the traditional 9-5?

Because of my free-spirited nature I always knew that I didn't belong in one place but in many and I also don't do well with authority, so I knew I had to be my own boss from the beginning. But when I moved back to the H from Denver, I felt experience and tenure was lacking on resume. It was so frustrating getting back into the job market and receiving denials. That's when I really started hating the corporate world. I worked with temp agencies and couldn't find a job that suited my search for creativity and culture. I knew I was capable of anything and nobody would give me a chance. After each rejection, I thought to myself, "Like, y'all have never met me. I'm badass and can do that job just as good as the next person and probably better."

That's when I landed an Account Executive position with the Houston Press. I worked in digital and print sales with mostly restaurants and bars. This position gifted me more insight into business and events so I loved it but I also hated being a slave to the clock. When I got laid off, that added more fuel to the fire. I felt like a number, so I started thinking how I could turn my passions into a profession. I used my work experience from college and the short stint at the press to reinvent my life and say no-more to the traditional 9-5.

What is the craziest thing you've ever done to get a lunch/calendar meeting with someone?

I needed to find the owner of a bar and he was not reachable via phone. So I decided to become a bar fly and just hang out for a week until he showed up lol. I became a regular.

How important is networking and relationships when it comes to your brand/business?

You've probably heard that your network is your net worth which I can attest to. Networking is so important to your business because it gives you access to a pool of opportunity and can help you form incredible relationships. Relationships and how you nurture them are just as important. I believe having a good reputation will set you apart so be the person that you'd want to work with or for when shaking hands.

What’s one piece of advice you have for women that want to pursue a career outside of the traditional 9-5?

Be passionate about your idea and believe in yourself. The three P's of success are Passion, Persistence, and Patience.

What inspires you?

My mother's valiant and beautiful story of being an immigrant and achieving the American Dream. She moved to the U.S. from another country to live a better life. She had two children and my father left us when we were toddlers. She'd scrub toilets in order to ensure food was on the table. She built her own janitorial business. Wanting to leave that laborious industry, she sought out new opportunities. She then became the Director of Operations for a multi-million dollar company THEN opened up her own business. My mom is a self-made boss and didn't even have the resources that we have now (or know English!). She is my hero and everything I could have asked for when God blessed me with a mother. She is the reason I'm inspired by women and minorities.

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What Challenges have you faced as a woman in your field? Specifically, what challenges have you faced as a minority woman? -- if any?

I haven't personally experienced gender-bias in the blogging field because it is comprised of mostly women. However, this "crowded" space of female influencers can tend to be competitive. I hate to say it, but you'll meet some inauthentic people along the way who only have their best interest in mind. I don't view this as a big challenge though, I view it as unfortunate human nature and personality disorders hahaha.  

When trying to build your brand and expand your outreach, what components do you find most valuable?

I'd say figuring out your niche is highly valuable. You have to target the right audience to create content that connects and receive reciprocation. Without knowing these things, getting traction and engagement will be difficult. Once you have a niche, people view you as an expert in that field so you naturally gain a loyal readership/following. When you do attain this, asking for feedback from time to time is a good idea (ie. what would you like to see more of, how can I improve, how was your experience etc.).

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When we embark on a journey of building any sort of business, we imagine it going a particular way. How do you deal with inevitable disappointments?

Inevitable disappointments should be a part of the business plan. If you painted a pretty picture of your business and how it's supposed to be, let me be the first to tell you that you're in for a rude awakening. What you do with mistakes and disappointments is learn from them. Use them to strengthen your character and be constructive not destructive. Your setbacks and how you overcome them is what makes your journey that much sweeter and better. With the faith of a mustard seed and the strength of a bull, there's nothing that can stop you.

What Quote do you live by?

“A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once." - William Shakespeare

Not the most conventional or modern quote but indeed one of my all time favorites about courage and nobility. A coward has died so many times from not taking risks or standing up for what they believe in, thus dying inside numerous times before their actual death. The courageous only experience death once because they face the challenges and calamities that life throws at them.

What tips do you have for others working to be noticed by brands/partners?

Being authentic and yourself is what can set you apart. You can find me cussing, twerking, then I'm interviewing a restaurant owner. I never felt the need to be cookie cutter because it's not who I am. I'd like to think that brands like authenticity.

How do you redefine the B Word/What’s your Boss Word?

Bold- Bold are those who take risks and get to where they need to be regardless of circumstance. Be bold in your word, your presence, your conviction. I believe that bold women rule the world.

Any parting words for the #BossTribe?

Don't compare yourself to someone else and don't give yourself excuses. Excuses and comparisons has killed many dreams. I know it can be daunting to take a risk but face your fear and do it anyways, pave your own road of success. You're never too old or too late in the game so start now! As I like to say, one persons chapter 27 is another's first page.

 

BOSS 101: Interview with Maya Allen

In honor of Women's History Month,  I'm bringing back #BOSS101 interviews every Wednesday throughout the month of March, with some women that are redefining the "B" word. I'm so excited to kick this month off with this gem, that I met last year at a mutual friend's birthday party. I was instantly in love with her personality (and bomb highlighter). She is creating waves in the beauty industry and truly redefining the "B" word when it comes to beauty, branding and a being boss. You have probably read one of articles or seen one of her viral videos on the likes of Cosmpolitan or Byrdie. When we met, my blog hadn't launched but I knew then, when it did I definitely wanted to feature her. I'm so glad I was able to catch up with her as she offered up some boss tips... get your pen and paper ladies! Maya took us to school with this interview. Class is in session!

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Tell us a little about yourself…

I’m Maya. I’m originally from Portland Oregon and a proud Howard University alumna where I majored in journalism. I’ve always been inspired by the power of words and using storytelling as a way to uplift humanity, particularly women. I truly believe in radiating self-love and spreading positivity. The world needs more love so I put forth that philosophy first in everything I do.

Give us a little background on who Maya Allen is and what aspects of your early adulthood guided you to where you are now.

I’m constantly evolving. But being a dreamer has always been a constant in my life. I truly believe I was destined to become a writer. I was born with an undeniable connection to words. Growing up, I collected every issue of American Girl, Seventeen, and Teen Vogue magazine. My adolescent eyes would be entranced by the covers of my mother’s monthly subscriptions to Jet, Ebony, and ESSENCE magazine. The stories I read inside of these slick, glossy pages greatly contributed to my womanhood. I also collected journals and writing became a very personal and therapeutic hobby for me at a young age. And it still is today. I always yearned to see more women who looked like me in the magazines I felt so deeply connected to. This propelled me to pursue a career in editorial. Now as a beauty editor,  I use my voice and platform to tell the stories I needed to read as a young woman. In the cultural climate of today’s society, I take my responsibility to spread representation in mainstream media as an honor. It’s what keeps me going.

Tell us more about your job at Byrdie and what the transition from Cosmopolitan has been like.

At Byrdie, I work on a team of the most talented editors creating fresh, forward-thinking content for the beauty-obsessed woman. I cover beauty, health, and wellness. The transition from Cosmopolitan.com has been amazing, because I’m still in the digital editorial space learning new ways to tell stories that will resonate with our readers. I’m fully immersed in the beauty world covering well-reported features, interviewing celebrities, and beauty experts. It’s been so fulfilling to see my writing transform overtime.  

Speaking of Cosmopolitan, you were making waves there, creating a true lane for women of color before you decided to go. Why the switch?

I wouldn’t trade my time at Cosmopolitan.com for the world. It was my first “big girl” job in the industry and my experience was incredibly valuable. There, I learned how to think visually and package my feature stories on a bigger level. It was the most ideal start to my journey of becoming an exceptional editor, storyteller, and most importantly a hard worker who knows how to think strategically and critically in today’s digital age. My former bosses and team members at Cosmo have become mentors and close friends. I’m always seeking new challenges and ways to professionally stretch myself while building my digital repertoire. I’ve been an avid reader of Byrdie since its inception a few years ago. Learning how to cater my writing and editorial skills to a more niche, beauty-obsessed audience of smart women intrigued me to make the jump. It’s been an amazing experience thus far.

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I had a similar situation, where I left a dream job for another job and people couldn't believe it. But I knew in my heart it was right. What piece of advice do you have for women who stay in jobs/CAREERS because of the influence of others?

I was so taken back by the overwhelming amount of responses I received after I made the announcement that I’d be starting a new job. I knew that I’d successfully tapped into a new demographic at Cosmo, which built a lot of my loyal readers who follow my work. But I had no idea that so many people I didn’t know were so personally invested in my career. To be honest, I didn’t know how to handle the overwhelming amount of Instagram DMs, text messages, calls, and emails that flooded my inbox inquiring about my transition and my next step. Some people’s unsolicited advice about my choice to evolve professionally were negative. And this feedback was coming from people I didn’t even know. I had to take a step back, center myself, and realign my thoughts away from all of the noise. I’m naturally an extrovert, but when it comes to my dreams I’m an extreme  introvert and selective about who I share them with. This was a decision I made for myself and I knew that it’d serve me well and the millions of potential readers I was doing it for. My advice is to live life on your own terms. A strong sense of self will elevate you higher and higher. You’re the author of your own story so write it however the hell you want.

You have had a couple videos/photos go viral. What's your secret?

It’s so exciting working in digital media because I’m staying submerged in all corners of the internet every single day. I’m a beauty girl at heart, so I always know what’s having a moment. It’s not only about knowing the latest trends, but becoming an expert on how people like to digest and consume content. In terms of video and photo-heavy features, I credit lots of my viral content to being on the pulse of beauty. But I like to package things differently in ways that haven’t been done before. I always think to myself: how can I elevate this concept and tell this story visually in a new, authentic, and innovative way? I stay abreast of up-and-coming hairstylists, makeup artists, and influencers that haven’t been discovered yet. I’m constantly seeking inspiration and I use my sharp visual aesthetic with my editorial eye to create relatable content that speaks to all women.

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What inspired you to work in your industry?

Growing up, I never felt included in the conversation in mainstream media. I grew up in a predominately white environment and was always the token black girl. Outside of my immediate family, I didn’t see the celebration of black beauty anywhere. Our rich culture, skin tones, hair textures, body shapes were excluded. You could barely find us on the covers of magazines, on advertisements, or on big screens. I wanted to change that. I wanted to use my infinite love of words to inspire women who don’t deserve to be an afterthought.  It’s so fulfilling to work in beauty and create concepts that celebrate and empower women of color. There’s truly no greater feeling.

How important is networking and relationships when it comes to your brand/business?

Good relationships are one of the core values of success. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my mentors who’ve been there for me through every step of my professional journey. There’s a big difference between organic and forced relationships, though. Since the beginning of my intern days over six years ago, I’ve made it a point to be kind to every single person I come in contact with—from the Editor-In-Chief down to the messenger who delivers packages all day and the janitors who are at the office with me late at night when I’m still working. I’ve made it a priority to build authentic relationships and friendships with people in the industry because it’s important. I’ve cultivated those relationships because you never know where that person will end up or how that relationship can professionally propel you further. My former bosses while I was interning have turned into close colleagues and friends of mine. However, people make the mistake of strategically building relationships with only themselves in mind. I can’t stress enough that it’s not only about you. I wish I could show some of the messages I’ve recieved that simply state: Hi, I know you don’t know me but how can you help me? When approaching someone for professional advice you have to come correct. Do you read their work? Or do you just follow them on Instagram and think they’re cool? Those are two very separate things. I’m a strong believer that all relationships need to be reciprocal. My mentors teach me things and I learn from my mentees, it’s a constant exchange of knowledge, which comes from experience, and I value that. My “brand” (I use that word loosely because I feel like it’s used too fluidly nowadays) is not about me—I do everything to be of service to other women. When you realize that the core of your career is bigger than you, you’ll excel. You’ll naturally want to connect and collaborate with dope people and do dope shit. It truly takes a village.

What’s one piece of advice you have for women that want to work at A magazine?

You better get ready to work, girl. And I truly mean you need to be willing to put in the work. Lots of women reach out to me and tell me they want to work for magazines but nine times out of ten they have such a glamorous perspective of the industry—it’s not 100% glam. Actually, if we’re being honest, most of my career has been a combination of sleepless nights and early mornings at the office. With that being said, enter in the industry for the right reasons. Interning is so incredibly valuable. Take your internships seriously because they can turn into your job. Be the first one at your office and the last one to leave. Build a good rapport and solid trust with your editors so they allow you to take on responsibilities beyond the traditional “intern” role. To do that, act as if you’re an integral member of the team and allow your work to show for it. Pay attention to detail, go above and beyond, know when to speak up and when to be a sponge on the wall and soak up your experience. Understand that to write well, you must practice the craft daily with the intention to improve.

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What Challenges do you face as a woman in your field? Specifically, what challenges do you face as a black woman?

Black women, understand that we’ll always need to work twice as hard. If everyone’s at 100%, I’m aiming for 150%. It’s the way of the world we live in, and we’re more than capable to handle everything that comes our way. As a black women working in the media, I truly believe it’s my innate responsibility to put on for my sisters every single day. I’m constantly pushing our stories to the forefront of my coverage because the world needs us. With that being said, I feel a lot of pressure from that duty to push representation forward and tell our stories the right way, since they’ve historically been told the wrong way or not told at all. However, I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by magical black girls in my life who constantly pour into me. That love I receive transcends and touches every aspect of my life—professionally and personally. So, in retrospect every challenge becomes a blessing in disguise.

When trying to build your brand and expand your reach, what components do you find most valuable?

Be genuine. With the rise of social media, everything is becoming oversaturated and clouded by a facade. People are judging your life based on your Instagram page, which is nothing but a highlight reel and not real life. In order to move and maneuver in these waters, showcase authenticity. When your purpose goes beyond the surface of self-righteous pursuits, everything will fall in line.

When we embark on a journey of building any sort of business or brand, we imagine it going a particular way. How do you deal with inevitable disappointments?

I’m my biggest critic so this is tough. Being a perfectionist is a double-edged sword because not everything is going to go as planned and I’m still learning how to be completely unafraid of failure. When I’m in the midst of disappointment, I hold on tight to the belief that everything that is for me is for me and will not pass me by. I’ve gotten so many NO’s and doors slammed in my face (literally and figuratively) but I’m so grateful that I didn’t let that stop me. People are surprised when I share my disappointments because for some reason it seems like I’ve had the ideal career. There have been times when I’ve felt so low in my career. I’ve nearly lost myself in my work before, which became a vicious and unhealthy cycle. I’ve learned to never lose who I am working to please someone else, no matter the job, position, or title. I had to pick myself back up. Instead of sitting in my thoughts for too long and harboring self-doubt, I step away and remind myself of my why. Being gentle with myself, practicing gratitude, and self-care has saved me.

What inspires you?

Black excellence. I’m so proud of US. I jump at the opportunity to sing our praises, showcase our beauty, and remind everyone of our magic. I truly believe Black women are God’s gift to the earth, so my sisters are my number one source for inspiration.

What Quote do you live by?

It’s impossible for me to pick just one. From the woman I was named after: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”—Maya Angelou

From Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

How do you redefine the B Word/What’s your Boss Word?

Be unapologetic. I know that I have a gift and I’m on a mission to reach the highest, truest, fullest expression of myself.

Any parting words to inspire and help a woman reading this that is inspiring to build her brand, her career, and/or a side hustle?

Know that you’re that girl. You have a superpower and no one can take that away from you. Celebrate your life, your losses, your wins, and your failures, because they’re all a part of your testimony. I don’t look like what I’ve been through because I know my very best is yet to come. This is just the beginning.

If you're not already, go follow this gem @mayaalenaa to catch her glowing up your insta feeds with her latest beauty photos and articles.

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Building Your Network - When You Know No One

In April 2017, I said goodbye to family and friends and headed to the airport with 2 suitcases. I was doing it. I was traveling abroad for the very first time. I was moving across the world and I didn’t know anyone.

As a person that’s really big on relationships, it was more alarming to not have any connections than it was to be moving overseas and away from familiarity. Taking a lesson from our girl Issa Rae: "it's not about networking up, it's about networking across" - I focused on connecting with people that were 'in the trenches with me, struggling with me and just as hungry as me' (no, seriously, LOTS of lunch and dinner dates). Here are 4 strategies to build your tribe in 2018, the same tactics that helped me build a tribe in a country where I knew no one:

1. Tap into your network.
Start with your circle: ask your company for introductions, reach out to your family, friends and professional contacts.

Shortly after being offered my teaching role, I proposed to the hiring manager that I would start and manage a FaceBook group for new hires and current teachers. He was thrilled. I created the group and in a few days - it slowly grew with people from all over the world planning to move to Bangkok. We connected. We all shared our doubt, excitement, and advice. And we made plans to meetup in town as everyone flew in.

Within the first 2 hours of arriving, I was walking out of my Airbnb to the skytrain to meet people from the group. (Shout out to Bangkok for the WARM welcome: literally and figuratively). I am still very close to this circle and we’ve had many experiences together. From Khao San Road (good times) to island hopping, the memories are priceless.

2. Network online.
Connect with people on social media and forums.

  • Join FB groups - Recently, I posted in several expat groups searching for a swim instructor. Enter my new friend, Mimi, that was also looking for a swim instructor. We compiled research together, all via FB Messenger and a Google Drive spreadsheet. A week later, we met for the first time at a pool for a swim lesson. That's insane to me. Mimi and I immediately connected and supported each other throughout the swim lesson. We even made a bet - whoever comes up from underwater first buys the first drink! The world is truly beautiful.
     
  • Start conversations on IG - I love shopping. I knew that shopping for curvy sizes, and American sizes period, would be a challenge while living in SE Asia. So, I searched for industry contacts on Instagram. I connected with two plus size bloggers and brands and I continuously nurture the connections. This has also helped me leverage these connections for future collaborations and opportunities.
     
  • Comment in forums/blogs - I asked several questions on different travel forums such as Trip Advisor. I’ve found relatable contacts that understand issues like shopping for hair products (the struggle) and I get random contact requests via different forums.
     
  • Connect with professionals in your industry on LinkedIn. One of my best roles I've had as a Digital Marketing Manager at Texas Instruments (TI) started as a simple LinkedIn message. I connected with someone from my alma mater (Hook 'Em!) who had just been hired at TI and asked her how she found the opp and about her experience thus far. I had no expectations. Yet, that simple message led to me being flown out to Dallas for interviews as well as 2.5 years of great corporate experience - all without even filling out a job application. LinkedIn provides a platform to connect with hundreds of millions of professionals all over the world for FREE - take advantage of it. 
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3. Get out and make in-person connections.

  • Go to networking events. I’m all about attending conferences, professional happy hours, etc. We all know the pros of in-person networking. Before even moving to Bangkok, I had RSVPed for an upcoming American Chamber of Commerce happy hour. I now have a few corporate connections in different industries from different parts of the world.
     
  • Join meetup groups and actually go to the events. Going to large networking events isn’t for everyone but meetup.com provides a space to find intimate groups with people that share the same interests ranging from book clubs to hiking. There’s a group out there for you. And if there isn’t a group for your interest, create one (see tip #4).
     
  • Volunteer. A couple months ago, I emailed an Opera organization to manage marketing and PR, on a volunteer basis. Because of one email, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the CEO of a top PR agency that has offices in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. Volunteering also allowed me to attend events where I was introduced to Ambassadors and members/associates of the Thai Royal Family. Golden.

4. If all else fails, create your own small community.
Before moving, I searched for a space for Black professionals living in Bangkok to no avail. So, I created a group on meetup.com that now has over 50 members and has created so many connections, both socially and professionally. We’ve had great times together, shared professional advice and collaborated with each other at planned networking events. I’m looking forward to what 2018 brings us!

About Tori
Tori moved to Bangkok 8 months ago as an English teacher because she was eager to explore other parts of the world for a year. Before moving, she was a PR and Marketing Consultant helping to promote startup companies as well as high profile events and clients such as FoxTV via press releases, red carpet media interviews, social media and press conferences. 

She has also worked in corporate marketing, radio and as a Media Buyer for an advertising agency. After living in Bangkok for a couple months, she grew in love with the city and decided to settle in for a bit. She is now working at a marketing agency and venturing into arts and media in Bangkok with plans to launch an online shop and blog, ToriTalks, in 2018.

       

 

 

 

 

HOW I REACHED MY GOALS IN 2017

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When you want to reach places you have never been, you have to be willing to do things you have never done. At the beginning of 2017 I created a vision board and I had all my goals written out and I was ready to crush the new year. In their true fashion, internet trolls came (like they do every year around this time) with memes, talking crap about how they think vision board parties are pointless and how they don't need a new year, new me mantra.... because blah blah blah. And that's fine, for them. I've never been one to shy away from proclaiming "New Year, New Me", because every year in my twenties, life has gotten better and better since I started being intentional with my goals.

If New Year's resolutions or Vision Boards aren't your thing, that's fine. However, I don't see the point in being negative or talking down about people who are committing to be a better version of themselves in the new year. Yes, more often than not, people drop the ball -- but I admire anyone who has the guts to try and change their life. For those people, I want to help hold you accountable, so a year from now, when the internet trolls and bitter bettys are whining again, you can look back at all the progress you have made -- and know you truly proved them wrong. 

"There is something refreshing about pressing reset on your life and refocusing on the new year." - Me

I love a fresh start! So I've always been the type to set New Year's Resolutions and because of the planning system I use, I've been able to see most of my goals through. Emphasis on most. The ones that I didn't reach, I adjusted the timeline --and I'm perfectly fine with that.  I would choose that outcome any day over waking up on New Year's Day pretending like I'm not about to set that year on fire. My only  hope is that I can encourage you to do the same.

Here's four ways I was able to reach my goals in 2017 -- and you can too in 2018.

Turn those "CAN'Ts" into "CANS" and DREAMS into PLANS.

Two years ago in 2016 I hit a lot of goals, but I missed a few too by making excuses. The biggest mistake I made was not properly planning. I wrote down a list of goals, but I had no action plan of how I was going to get there. Don't get me wrong, 2016 was still a pretty successful year, as I completed about 80% of what I had set out to do. However, I got there through many sleepless nights and way more stress than I needed. This year, I was much more strategic and my 2017, was one for the record books.

For starters, I launched this blog. I've had the idea for this blog and owned the domain since February 2016. For 14 months I let fear, procrastination and excuses cause me to sit on my idea. However,  what I did differently in 2017, was that I made thebisforboss all my passwords. (I changed them now, so don't try to break into my bank okay? lol) But seriously, I wanted to remind myself everyday about the plans I had made. I wanted to remind myself everyday that I could do anything I put my mind to.

Instead of dreaming and then creating excuses as to why I couldn't reach said dreams, I made plans.  I wrote them down -- and not just as my passwords. I made a planner and I created timelines to stick to. I created excel sheets for my financial goals, I created mood boards for my blog, and a vision board that captured my travel desires, and my goals for my . 9-5. 

What happened next, I could have never predicted. The four main things that I wrote out and reflected on my vision board was: get promoted, make six figures, launch my blog, and pay off my Invisalign and credit card debt (over $12,000 combined).

Within six months of 2017, I had paid off my Invisalign, I launched my blog and received over 5,000 views on my launch video, all while hitting and then exceeding my salary goals. In Q1 of 2017,  I had my best quarter at work. I  got a bonus in Q1, promoted in Q2 and by Q4 I was accepting another role, making even more money. I doubled the salary goals I had set for myself and then I was able to add to it by turning my blog into another stream of income.

Talk about turning can'ts into cans and dreams into plans. I don't say any of this to brag, only to point out the power of planning. But that is only one part ...keep reading. 

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Think of your goals in terms of LIMITLESS possibilities

If you have ever read You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero or Girl Code: Unlocking Secrets to Success: by Cara Alwill Leyba, then you are familiar with limitless thinking/beliefs. 

If you haven't heard of either of those, then you have likely heard of "The Secret" . All three are based off similar principles but to be completely honest, that type of thinking always seemed like Harry Potter talk, and BS to me. Like what do you mean I can "manifest" my life.

However, it wasn't until I read those two books by Jen and Cara that the power of limitless thinking was put in lamen terms, boss b*tch style for me -- that I was able to wrap my head around the power of manifesting and believing that the world is limitless. We can do anything and have anything we set our mind to. Now, don't get me wrong it takes hard work, timing, and dedication. But you can't pursue something if you don't first believe it's actually possible. I meet and hear so many women talk about "I want to do X but it's just not in the cards for me" or "I wish I could do Y but I'm not [insert some self deprecating excuse]." 

Both these books helped kick me in the @$$ and helped me stop thinking and talking that way. I washed away self doubt and started to lean into my fears. Every time I made moves to get more, it happened effortlessly. Why? Well, because there is truly enough resources in the world for EVERY one who opens their mind and heart to see it. When your faith and belief is lifted higher, then the possibilities become more tangible.

I begin speaking things into existence, every single day and they started happening.  I started thinking in terms of having plenty instead of lack. I invested in myself -- I dressed for the job I didn't have yet, I hired an intern for my blog when I only had 500 followers, I started envisioning me making the final payment on things that felt like I would never stop paying on. 

If you're like what in the world is she talking about? I would suggest checking out those two books which really help catapult my thinking. I mean seriously -- a man landed on the moon, so why is it so crazy to believe in yourself?

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Be Stubborn with your Goals but Flexible with Your Methods

 I made more strategic moves in 2017 instead of moving on impulse. I learned what I needed to learn according to the season I was in. It takes time to develop worthwhile goals, too often people's goals center around objects -- and these rarely last. And if they do last, they  achieve them and move on without adjusting.

When I set out to launch my blog, that was all I had set out to do. LAUNCH by June 2016. I gave myself a goal and I gave it a timeline. So I already felt I was headed in the right direction. However, I didn't settle. I remained nimble and steadfast in making this a success. Within six months, I had brought on an intern, wrote an ebook, and rebranded. When 2017 started, I couldn't have predicted that. But I didn't sit on my hands once I realized people were responding positively and wanted more. I invested in a small business coach and started spending hours each week to make sure I was delivering content, products and services to the best of my abilities. 

My blog wasn't the only time I was flexible with my goals. I was also flexible in my career. The only goal I had set out for in 2017 was to be promoted, so once that happened I had planned on riding into the sunset with my new title. However, God had different plans when i was approached by a global agency to work on different sports accounts. So guess what I did? I dusted off my resume and got moving. It was tough, because I loved that job, but I knew I had to set new career goals and couldn't sit because I had achieved the one goal I had set out to. 

You should always have multiple goals to pursue at any given time, but you shouldn’t be afraid to change them if you think that's what they need. It makes sense that our purpose changes in accord with our maturity. The more we learn about the world around us -- and the world inside us, for that matter -- the more our beliefs change.

But we shouldn’t be TOO eager to give up on what matters most. To a certain extent, you need to be stubborn. People will try to change your mind. If you dream big enough and your goals are worth achieving, people will get jealous and call you unrealistic, overly hopeful and bound for failure. That’s the way it is.

But you need to remain stubborn. And, weirdly, the most important part of standing your ground is this: You need to be flexible about how you'll go about achieving your goals.

Because if you can be stubborn with your goals and flexible with your methods, you can do anything.

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Eliminate Toxic People/Things

In 2017, I deleted the contacts that were not serving me. I became more involved in learning about myself, and who I needed to become successful.

Whether it's your in-laws complaining about your cooking/cleaning, your boss being an angry cynic, or a friend being a pessimistic downer, dealing with toxic people can be unavoidable. But the way you respond to toxic people and how long you allow them to effect you is a choice.

In order to be successful, you need a clear and positive headspace. You can't focus on a business plan or a weight loss goal if you're still reeling from the slugs your mother-in-law through at the dinner table two weeks ago. You can't build a business if you're best friend is knocking down every idea you pitch to them. 

Whether you’re dealing with a master manipulator or the office gossip, toxic people can stir up strong emotions. If you’re not careful, the stress and frustration can easily consume you.

In 2018, seek Good Vibes Only. 

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I want to help you crush your goals for 2018.

Below are three tips but I'm also hosting a webinar on 12.28.17 on "How To Conquer Your Year" Sign up here.

Start with these, and see a greater percentage of your goals completed in 2018.

1. Plan

2. Be Consistent

3. Don't Change the Goal, Change the Method.

If you're interested in more ways to reach your 2017 goals, you can also check out our Conquer Your Year ebook on sale for $8.99, it is sure to get you on the right path to conquering your New Year.