Personal Brands We Love: Alechia Reese, The Millennial Voice


Alechia, Alechia, Alechia. So amazing I had to type her name three times. The Alechia Reese and I met in Miami a few years ago after being connected through a mutual friend, and in true girlboss fashion have consistently supported one another through multiple endeavors. A mother, branding expert, media personality and talent, professional speaker and non-profit foundation runner, there really isn't an area of entertainment and marketing that Alechia hasn't mastered. What I love about Alechia is she is the true example  of "work in silence and let success make the noise." She may not have the largest social media following or accumulate thousands of likes in a matter of hours, but her work speaks for itself. The partnerships she's developed, the brands that she's represented and the results she's gotten for her clients, proves that a large following isn't indicative of success. In this PBWL feature, we get a glimpse into the world of this amazing woman. Keep reading!

Describe your personal brand in three words Genuine. Innovative. Creative.

30 second elevator pitch, Go! I'm the chief branding architect of 360 Gateway Brand Management and we assist emerging and developing brands, products and services in the defining of their brand goals to assist in the development and implementation of an action plan to achieve those goals.

Your typical work day My typical workday begins the night before outlining my client to-do list for the following day based on the timeline and scope of work we've agreed to. I usually coordinate with my intern, EA and contractors using Trello to determine what each person's requirements are and focus for that day/week. After each person has their tasks, I focus on ensuring we meet deadlines and project milestones whether it's creating marketing campaigns, website copy, collateral development or partner acquisition.

How have you developed your brand? I was my first client under the 360 Gateway Brand Management business unit. I have a uniquely different brand that I positioned as such in an effort to use that differentiation to my advantage. I hold an MBA and professional speaker certification. I'm also the founder of an award-winning nonprofit organization, The Rethought Project. I took each of my skills and businesses and created a plan to use each one to feed and grow the other. I understood life is a relationship game, so I used my ability to speak well to create the relationships I needed to reach the goals I outlined before I started. I used my marketing and project management background to always add value to those relationships so one opportunity always took me into my next one thus creating quick growth.

Explain the role that your personal brand played in getting you to where you are today. I am a firm believer in being genuine. I was raised country so being kind and honest are my defaults. I work in the entertainment and corporate arenas on a daily basis and in those industries it's not always as easy to find those who are genuine. This single attribute has gotten me in more doors than I ever imagined. I'm the same on the stage and off, behind closed doors and in front. That, coupled with my ability to create innovative projects, campaigns and action plans, makes it clear exactly what you get with me and clarity is refreshing.

How did you garner press coverage and media attention? I used my network to initiate introductions to those I needed to be connected to and for those who I had no direct connections to I used social media. Many times I would "slide in their dm's" to request their emails or highlight what we were doing. And as Lisa Nichols said,

[Tweet ""Focus on what you do really well because success makes noise.""]

Personal brands attract opportunities. What has been the greatest opportunity you have gotten? I was recently afforded the opportunity to curate and moderate Verizon's #PotentialOfUs city sessions in Atlanta, GA. From that opportunity I was invited to host the Big PayOff concert series in Atlanta, GA and Chicago, IL with Verizon and Melanie Fiona. My gift continued to make room for me and I then partnered with Verizon again to host their activation at EssenceFest in New Orleans, LA interviewing many of my idols like Iyanla Vanzant, Elle Varner, Luke James, Lalah Hathaway and many more. I'm a firm believer in equipping all youth to succeed. The day after the EssenceFest experience with Verizon, my VP, Project Coordinator and I drove to Miami, FL to facilitate the partnership with the Miami Marlins. They partnered with my nonprofit organization for a program I developed called #TakeMeToWork which is an intensive, on-the-job life-skills and leadership training program for foster and under-resourced youth.

Who are some of your mentors and why? My mother was my first mentor. She taught me strength and perseverance, and she is the leader of my village. I would not be the mother I am today without her guidance.

Karmetria Burton, I met her at a conference we were both speaking at and after hearing her background I knew I wanted to connect with her so I asked for her number and she gave it to me and I've been receiving nuggets of wisdom from her ever since and as an executive for Delta she's got a lot of wisdom to give.

And last, but certainly not least Sonia Jackson-Myles, founder of The Sister Accord is one of my most impactful mentors. She took me in as one of her babies and I consider her like a second mom. Not only was she named the $20 Billion Dollar Woman by Essence Magazine she embodies the kindness, wisdom and unapologetic excellence I desire to attain.

What were the steps you took in college that impacted your professional success? I created friendships with women who supported my crazy ideas. If I said I wanted to go to the moon they would look at me crazy and tell me I had their full support. I also took the time to discover what I actually liked doing because I saw so many people who were miserable. I knew I wanted to be creative and be included in all aspects of a company so I figured marketing was the best place and majored in it.

What would you say to a young person who wants to work in your industry? Become very clear of what your goals are first. I work between two industries: entertainment and corporate America. In entertainment, if you don't know who you are and what your purpose is, you'll be eaten alive. In corporate America, know what your goal is and be kind to those in positions that are seemingly of no use to you like the cleaning crew, the assistants, the secretaries. These are the people who assist those you want to connect with in making decisions and they have access to their schedules. They can position you to win.


What can we expect from you in the near future? We are working on international expansion for my nonprofit organization with the #TakeMeToWork initiative. We will also be partnering with a number of corporate and entertainment activations under my professional speaker's brand. Lastly, we will be hiring additional contractors as the 360 Gateway Brands company continues to expand and bring on more clients and accounts.

Connect with Alechia

http://www.alechiareese.com | Linkedin | Twitter


Personal Brands We Love: Tracey Edouard


What's the number one way to get more followers? Twitter chats! These one hour virtual discussions are the perfect way to connect with others in your space and own what you know. Mashable Business has weekly #Bizchats on multiple topics; the first one I stumbled upon was coincidentally on personal branding . In my true DIY publicist fashion, I  wanted to see who the host of the chat was so I could connect with them and offer my expertise for a future chat. Who other than the fabulous Tracey Edouard to not only have created and currently run the chat? As I researched her, I grew fond of the brand that she had created for herself as a social media strategist and a Mashable employee. Like many other recent graduates, Tracey went through an unemployment period, but what set her apart from other job seekers, was her commitment to freelancing and developing her skills while she looked. Read more about this awesome woman below.

Today also marks her one year anniversary at Mashable, so send her some congrats!

[Tweet "Happy work anniversary @talkthattrace! "]

Describe your personal brand in three words

Independent, Innovative, Inspiring

30 second elevator pitch, Go!

Hi! My name is Tracey Edouard. I am a graduate from Penn State University with a degree in advertising/PR. I am currently a social media assistant for Mashable, where I primarily focus on optimizing daily content under the business vertical for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I'm most proud of creating Mashable's first-ever #BizChats Twitter chat: a series that highlights various business topics, which has seen more than 190 million impressions and has generated over $60K in outside revenue.

Current position and your typical work day Current position: Social Media Assistant at Mashable.

My typical work day consists of scheduling and monitoring business articles for various social media accounts including: Mashable Business, & Startups on Facebook, Mashable on LinkedIn and overnight tweets for @Mashbusiness on Twitter.

In addition to scheduling and optimizing posts, I'm usually in the midst of executing a current #BizChats Twitter chat or planning a future chat. Many intricate details go into organizing #BizChats including: drafting the questions, reaching out to influencers, scheduling the tweets, writing the promo and recap articles, interacting with the participants (as @MashBusiness on Twitter), etc.

Personal brands attract opportunities. What has been the greatest opportunity you have gotten?

The greatest opportunity I've gotten was the ability to work for Mashable. My boss shared with me how coveted the Mashable internship program is. Hundreds of applicants are screened and only a handful are chosen. I didn't have any previous connections at Mashable before applying, which shows that my work really spoke for itself and got me through to the interview rounds.

Even though I dealt with a rough unemployment period, I still remained active online by writing blogs on LinkedIn, going to networking sessions and creating a social media presence for my family and friends' side businesses.

Related: Preparing for the Job Search

In addition, my supervisor giving me the freedom to make #BizChats my own entity has been a huge opportunity. Not only am I acquiring new leadership skills, companies like MOO Business Cards and HP see the value in Twitter chats and have been willing to compensate the company to be associated with it.

Who are some of your mentors and why?

My mom: Although we don't work in the same industry, my mom's hard work, support and determination has always inspired me to do my best no matter what. For that, I'm eternally grateful.

My boss Ryan: I always appreciate my supervisor's honesty. He took a chance on me when he brought me onto the Mashable team and has been guiding me along my professional path ever since. He always tells it like it is, and doesn't beat around the bush.

Jaime Hoerbelt: Jaime was my supervisor at my first job, but after we went our separate ways, we turned into great friends. I always reach out to her when I have a big business decision on my hands. She's even met with me on several occasions to help refine my personal documents. I always value and appreciate her feedback.

What were the steps you took in college that impacted your professional success?

1. Going to professors' office hours: Many students underestimate the value of going to office hours. Your teachers are literally getting paid to sit in their office and wait for students who need assistance. This is your opportunity to make yourself known as well as build a genuine relationship. In college, I always took advantage of office hours whether it was to gain assistance on homework assignments, projects or upcoming exams that I needed extra help with. It really helped me gain a deeper knowledge of the topic I studied, as well as creating allies that made it significantly easier for me to ask for job recommendations at the end of the year or to place them as references on my job applications.

2. Buying my name: From your first year in school, you should really make it your mission to build a portfolio website. Your name is unique to you, and chances are, no one has turned it into a website yet. Visit wix, squarespace, godaddy and buy your first and last name. Claim it so that no one else can, and over the next four years, build up your online portfolio with your key assignments, projects and extracurricular activities. That's what I did, and I really stood out from other applicants at job fairs because recruiters would see that as

Related: Why A Personal Website Can Catapult Your Branding to Greatness

Studying abroad: The thought of taking classes in another country was daunting at first, but the actual experience was irreplaceable. What lies at the end of the scholarship applications, visa acquirement, and tedious packing is an experience of a lifetime. Not only did studying abroad stand out on my resume (great conversation starter, too), I acquired memories and experiences that I will take with me for the rest of my life.

What would you say to a young person who wants to work in your industry?

[Tweet "Don't put more faith in your job than yourself."]

It's always encouraged to do great work for your company, but at the end of the day, the company has its own goals and so should you. It's healthy to be invested, but don't dig yourself too deep or bend yourself backwards too much for a company that wouldn't do the same for you. You owe it to yourself. If for some reason a company doesn't see your worth, leave and find a company that will value you.

What can we expect from you in the near future?

#BizChats is growing exponentially. As it continues to grow I'm looking to guide it in a direction to feature bigger names, more compelling topics and maybe down the road a segment within a Mashable summit.

Tracey Edouard mashable

Connect with Tracey http://www.traceyedouard.com/| LinkedIn | @talkthattrace


Personal Brands We Love: Ada Rojas, Latina Blogging Extraordinaire


I have this obsession with Latina bloggers and have always been intrigued with how they are masters at being perfect all of the time. From the outfits, to the makeup, to the lifestyle, they always seem so well put together yet out of reach. So when I met Ada at my Command Con event in June, I felt like I had met my long lost big sister or something and I was pleasantly surprised. We chatted over drinks about everything from our love lives to the industry and she dropped some amazing knowledge. Having worked with brands like Shea Moisture, Pantene, Olay and Stoli Vodka just to name a few, Ada has been able to leverage her site Gypsy in the City into a strong and recognizable brand. Known for her great sense of style, love for beauty, and gypsy like soul, Ada created GypsyintheCity.com in 2009 to fill the Latina void in the blogosphere. With hard work, determination, and her undeniable charisma, Ada has been able to attract a following and encourage her readers to welcome change with open arms like a true gypsy. Below she share what’s she’s learned in building her brand and how she asked for (and got) a job that she loves.

Describe your personal brand in three words

adventurous, ambitious, authentic

30 second elevator pitch, Go!

I'm an accomplished online influencer passionate about multicultural marketing. I have a knack for building relationships and connecting with purpose. I truly am a self-proclaimed Gypsy with an adventurous soul, working hard for her righteous throne amongst the elite in the concrete jungle.

Current position and your typical work day

Client Services Manager at Latina Bloggers Connect.

I am fortunate enough to work from home and my typical work day involves client calls, lots of emails, and crafting creative and compelling campaigns for brands and influencers to connect in meaningful ways. When I finish my day with LBC I work on content for my style, beauty, and travel blog GypsyintheCity.com

How have you developed your brand?

I've developed my personal brand by always being transparent with my journey and fearless in my pursuit of success. I graduated from the City College of New York with a degree in Public Relations and Advertising, and I always practiced a lot of the things I learned in college on my brand and watched it develop into what it is today.

Explain the role that your personal brand played in getting you to where you are today.

Like Kanye says "Everything I'm not, made me everything I am." Embracing this allowed me to tap into my potential and have confidence in my abilities, allowing my personal brand to shine. I feel like once you are in tune with your personal brand and authentic self you become a magnet for opportunities. People are attracted to your confidence and shining light.

Gypsy-main-reddress-682x1024 (1)

How did you garner press coverage and media attention?

By building relationships! I studied all the people in my industry that lived in NYC. Fashion and beauty editors, publicists, advertisers, media personalities, multicultural marketers, fellow bloggers, etc. I made sure to attend as many events as I could if I knew they were going to be there. Since I did my research I knew who they were, and I would introduce myself, give them a business card and follow up. Whenever an opportunity for a feature that fit my brand came up, they would always reach out because I had built a relationship at that point or they remembered me. Networking is crucial! You never know who you are going to meet, but you won't know if you don't go!

[Tweet "The opportunities are there but you must show up and show out first."]

Personal brands attract opportunities. What has been the greatest opportunity you have gotten?

I've gotten so many great opportunities, and I honestly can't think of just one! I think the greatest so far were my features in Cosmo For Latina and Latina magazine as well as my current position as Client Services Manager with Latina Bloggers Connect. I can finally say I'm doing something that I truly love and enjoy!

Who are some of your mentors and why?

I have a few mentors. Some I personally know and some I don't. The ones I do know don't even know that I see them as mentors. I guess this is my opportunity to let them know.

My boss lady Ana Flores for sure!

She is such a remarkable woman. I admire her passion, intellect, and hustle which is why I reached out to her for a position. I'm so incredibly lucky to work with her and her amazing team, whom I learn tons from daily.

Cosmo for Latinas Senior Beauty Editor, Milly Almodovar Thompson.

Since I was a child I've always been obsessed with fashion and beauty magazines and to see someone that looks like me and comes from where I come from at the helms of a major magazine in the multicultural market is really inspiring. I don't even think she knows how powerful that is for young women. It just validates the fact that dreams do come true if you work really hard.

Life and business coach, Marie Forleo.

This woman is a marketing genius. Absolutely love everything about her and the empire she has built. Whenever I feel like crap I watch one of her videos for inspiration. She always knows how to ignite your passion and hustle.

Of course I can't forget about my imaginary fairy godmother, Oprah Winfrey. One day I'll meet her; one day!

What were the steps you took in college that impacted your professional success?

I built relationships with my professors and always went to them for help and advice. Even out of college I still try to communicate with them. They truly are a wealth of knowledge and connections. If you are not taking the time to cultivate those relationships with your professors you are doing it all wrong! I also built relationships with my peers and helped them as much as I could and in return they helped me and still help me to this day. We were like a family, always looking out for each other. A lot of them didn't even know about my blog until I was featured in Cosmo For Latinas. I never wanted to come off as that girl who thought she was better than everyone else. I also attended a lot of the special lunches and events my communications department held. This was a great way to build relationships with industry professionals and alumni before I graduated.

What would you say to a young person who wants to work in your industry?

Always carry yourself like a professional. If you can believe it then you can achieve it. Take advantage of any opportunity to attend an industry event. You never know who you are going to meet that can help you on your journey. Always have business cards available, even if you don't think you need them because you feel like you don't do anything important. Always put yourself in the position to serve others and be of help even if it doesn't pay monetarily. It will pay off eventually. Never take no for an answer and always do your best. A strong work ethic and passion will take you further than you could ever imagine.

ada rojas, gypsy in the city quote

What can we expect from you in the near future?

As an online influencer, I hope to continue to grow my audience and resonate with my readers. I find happiness in pursuing my dreams and inspiring others to do the same. As a multicultural marketer, I hope to create meaningful yet effective, award-winning campaigns with passion.

Connect with Ada http://www.gypsyinthecity.com | Linkedin | Twitter | Instagram

Personal Brands We Love: Duanecia Evans, Education Reformer


IMG_8752 With a strong commitment to educational equity, social responsibility and community development, Duanecia continuously thrives to extend the lessons of her own life experiences through mentorship, workshops and extending her voice through social media.

During her time at the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, Connecticut - Duanecia noticed a variety of similarities between Bridgeport and Harlem, her hometown; encouraging her to stay in the city beyond graduation and lend a hand in efforts to improve the city, particularly those related to education reform.

Duanecia graduated from the University of Bridgeport in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and currently works at Teach For America on the Connecticut regional team.

Describe your personal brand in three words

graceful, polished, formidable

30 second elevator pitch, Go! I have a love and unwavering commitment to equity, to mindfulness and to growth. As manager of Community Engagement at Teach For America - Connecticut, a game-changing teacher preparation and leadership development program; I have the privilege of shaping the training, development and leadership experiences of 190 current teachers and over 500 alumni across six cities in Connecticut. Most meaningfully, my work gives me the opportunity to build relationships and connect people who care about the prosperity of our children. Mostly, boys and girls who look like me and share my life’s walk. I am professionally challenged by the intricacies of our nation and how systems of oppression in their skillful design, have kept and continue to keep children and families from living their best lives. I walk with scars earned through poverty. It took a lot of time and strength for me to realize and accept what it meant to be born and grow in zip code 10031. I spend my days ensuring that I, and those around me lift as we climb. I firmly believe that all children are able to break cycles, achieve and take their rightful place as today's leaders, they shouldn’t have to wait until tomorrow. I will work relentlessly until this is true.

Current position and your typical work day

I manage Community and Digital Engagement at Teach For America - Connecticut. Most days I spend my time divided between Stamford, Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford and Windham building relationships with community members, leaders, veteran educators, and students. Through this, I am able to align Teach For America - Connecticut's long-term intent with our daily actions and interactions to meaningfully engage and learn from communities. Additionally, I actively seek to amplify teacher, alumni and community voice through the management of our regional website (tfaconnecticut.org), cross-promote community events and opportunities through our social media channels, as well as, develop and maintain best practices, policies and procedures for Teach For America - Connecticut's external facing content.

How have you developed your brand? I've developed my brand by taking advantage of every opportunity to be at the table. In 2012, I had the opportunity to meet and learn from one of my personal heroes, Dr. Howard Fuller. He spoke to the necessity of "taking your seat at the table"; not passing on an any opportunity to be in the room and share meaningful insight, experiences and perspective; actively resisting silence. His advice empowered me to stay on my game. The challenging part about being invited to multiple "tables" is that it requires you to remain in the know. Anyone in education knows just how difficult this can be. We are doing "people work", we are passionate about what we do. This passion sometimes creates highly contentious conversations and even polarized environments. However, I believe that we are all well-intentioned, we want what's best for children and families. Guided by this belief, I intentionally spend lots of time gaining perspective and building relationships with people regardless of which side of an issue they may sit on. This allows me to make informed and meaningful decisions and strengthen the conversation, when I am afforded a seat at the table. I am clear that in many rooms, I am often the only woman, the only person of color, the only young voice - I have to show up.

Explain the role that your personal brand played in getting you to where you are today.

I began my first role out of college at Teach For America as Assistant to the Executive Director. It was a phenomenal experience that afforded me the opportunity to work alongside a profound manager and strong team. Through this experience, I was able to learn the ins and outs of our organization, what made it strong and what our opportunities for growth were. It also, gave me a seat at many, many tables - as a listener. Through my listening I was able to observe our need for someone, a team, to manage the ways in which we engage with community and how we approach our program's development, inclusive of community voice and experience. This paired with my degree mass communications, experience with social media and personal role as an active community member directly placed me in the position to design a role for myself: Manager, Community and Digital Engagement. In February 2014, with the support of my team, I began as the first member of our region's Public Affairs and Engagement Team.

How did you garner press coverage and media attention? This is honestly an area of growth for me this year. I have appeared in publications including the New Haven Register, however, I have yet to take full advantage of press and media. I enjoy being behind the scenes and while I see media as an key lever - I haven't paid close attention to putting myself in front of the camera. It's more important for me to see a parent, student or teacher at the forefront, being vocal about the wins and areas of growth in their community.

Personal brands attract opportunities. What has been the greatest opportunity you have gotten? Of my many meaningful opportunities, the greatest has been the ability to travel the country, meet and work alongside people from across the world committed to improving the lives of children and families.

What were the steps you took in college that impacted your professional success? I was a very involved college student. Beyond the lecture hall, I served in many positions on student government including Student Body President, I began my journey as a woman of Alpha Kappa Alpha, I planned and organized events in the Bridgeport community - I was always going! This allowed me to understand the power of relationships and community.

What would you say to a young person who wants to work in your industry?

This question brings me to an Angela Davis quote "I'm no longer accepting the things I cannot change...I am changing things I cannot accept." Our generation is responsible for ensuring that our children can live in a world that they're proud of. I would encourage that every young person, not just those interested professionally, stay on top of the issues and commit to resisting silence. Learn about the issues that exist and take your seat at the table!

What can we expect from you in the near future? Along with continued improvement and strengthening of the work of Teach For America, I am excited to roll out my first Young Women's Leadership Development series. I am committed to strengthening the self-esteem and growing the perspectives of young girls and women through goal-setting, positive affirmation and mentorship. The series will roll out in Bridgeport, Connecticut through Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated's ASCEND initiative.

Connect with Duanecia http://duanecia.com | Linkedin | @Duanecia


The Path Less Traveled: Emmelie De La Cruz


I am so excited to kick-off a brand new series on The Branding Muse called "The Path Less Traveled," a host of video interviews by the lovely Neffy Anderson, former BET Social Media Correspondent who is taking the world of broadcast journalism into her own hands. The Branding Muse is all about helping millennials create profits and careers from their passions and this series does just that. I am honored to kick off the series with our interview where I talk about the birth and creation of The Branding Muse, share networking tips, how to own your power and my secret to growing my social media following and clientele!

The Path Less Traveled is a YouTube series by Neffy Anderson spotlighting successful millennials who have turned their passions into careers. It serves as a solution for young professionals with uncommon career aspirations who are looking for encouragement, empowerment, and inspiration.

 Connect with Neffy: @NeffyAnderson | Youtube | Instagram

Personal Brand's We Love: James Robinson, DC's Favorite Chef


  kitchencray_pressJames Robinson, or Chef JR as most of us call him, is a Harlem native who has been the face of the culinary scene in our nation’s capital. Through his catering and events company Kitchen Cray, JR has been able to bring the private culinary experience to celebrities like Tamar Braxton, Bethenny Frankel, Janelle Monae, Amar’e Stoudemire, Anthony Hamilton and DL Hughley. He has also been a contestant on season 13 of “Hell’s Kitchen” and Culinary Fight Night in NYC. What we love about his brand, is that it is all about giving back to his community. We honored him as a DC Power Player in 2014, and are excited to share his insights with you. Keep reading!

Describe your personal brand in three words

Artistic, community-driven, dynamic

30 second elevator pitch, Go!

KitchenCray is a team of private executive chefs who take the experience of having a 5-star meal out of the restaurant and customizes it to wherever our clients desire. The result is a unique, high quality, personalized culinary experience.

Current position and your typical work day

I am the CEO and Founder of KitchenCray. A typical work day consists of checking in with my staff about upcoming events, training new talent, developing menus and traveling between events.

How have you developed your brand?

I have developed my brand by staying focused and true to what I love. I am a family oriented person so that has always driven my decision making when it comes to KitchenCray. As most brands grow they tend to lose touch with the community but my love for my family forces me to maintain the youth and outreach initiatives that helped lead us to success.

How did you garner press coverage and media attention?

Community; KitchenCray has a strong local and social media presence due to word of mouth. This word of mouth is not solely based on client referral, our brand is always out and about in the community. Our work with the Boys and Girls Clubs of DC, and the New York Avenue Men's Shelters caught the attention of several news stations and we catered a number of large-scale events in DC, Miami and NY.

What were the steps you took in college that impacted your professional success?

I studied my craft extensively. I was focused. My goal was to be a master chef and I never shied away from a culinary experience, I always dived in headfirst and struggled with it until I mastered it. And once I reached mastery, I put my own twist on it. This is essentially how I crafted the culinary style that I am known for.

What would you say to a young person who wants to work in your industry?

Never box yourself into one skill, idea or way of doing something. Learn from others and go the extra mile. People always remember you when you go beyond what is asked of you.

What can we expect from you in the near future?

We have just launched a new KitchenCray experience, you can expect us to expand, experiment and innovate the fine dining experiences in more cities throughout the US and we have cookbook that will be released in a few months!

Connect with James           

http://kitchencray.com |@KitchenCray | Linkedin

Personal Brands We Love: Arionne Alyssa Nettles, Jill of Marketing Trades


Arionne - CrownArionne - Crown Arionne Nettles, or Arialyssa as we have come to know her, has done a tremendous job of keeping herself relevant and at the forefront as a journalist and marketer. Her brand is consistent, positive and just the kind of inspiration that others need to learn to use their personal brands to grow their businesses. Read more about her below.

Describe your personal brand in three words: Enthusiastic, Optimistic, Fly

30 second elevator pitch, go!: I'm a professional storyteller—journalist, business writer, and content marketer—specializing in helping people and businesses share their stories on a number of platforms and to a variety of different audiences. Under my company, Fourth Concept Media Group, I apply "4th estate" knowledge of media and journalism to help these brands create content that can leave a mark with their target markets. Additionally, I teach Chicago-area teens the power of words through Write Chicago's "sicker than your average" writing workshops.

Current Position: Currently, I'm juggling a number of positions between my company's projects and companies that I work for on a contract basis, but I love how every day is different. One day's focus may be to redesign a website and the next, may be to edit a manuscript. The very cool (and sometimes very hectic) life of anyone in a writing-related field is that it generally involves multi-tasking throughout a ton of different projects.

How have you developed your brand? I've developed my brand by staying true to what makes me who I am. As cliché as it may sound, everything isn't for everyone and after trying a lot of different things, I learned that what I'm consistently good at and what I enjoy doing is writing. Once I was able to hone in on a particular focus, I was able to brand myself as a professional in that field, working only on projects that I felt were similar to my interests and that didn't go against any of my beliefs. I still think that I'm a Renaissance woman, doing a bunch of different ventures all at once, but they are all still related to that focus.

Explain the role that your personal brand played in getting you to where you are today. I've always been a very optimistic and motivated person and it's always been a goal of mine to be well-rounded. In high school, I was captain of the cheerleading team AND in the society of physics. I'm still a nerd, and I know it, but I'm also a "cool kid" when I want to be. I've always been the girl-next-door and I've implemented that throughout my personal branding. I think that I have the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between industries and to help people see that you can enjoy and know a little bit about everything.

How did you garner press coverage and media attention? I started getting media attention by using media to shed light on others. People like information and they like to know stories. Once I started to focus on other people and their stories, the attention somehow started to turn towards me—people wanted to know how I did what I did—and I realized that storytelling is an essential part of building brands.

Personal brands attract opportunities. What has been the greatest opportunity you have gotten? The greatest opportunity, as far as recognizable, would be writing for JET Magazine. Everyone knows JET and its history so it was amazing to be writing on a platform that's recognized by people of all ages, since prior to that, much of my writing was geared towards millennials and those even younger than us.

Who are some of your mentors and why? Cameka Smith from the BOSS Network and Tone Swep from Pure DOPE Magazine are two mentors that I'm extremely proud to work with and that I attribute my personal growth to. Not only are they both creators of amazing businesses, but they've given me opportunities to showcase my talents and grow my brand. They're more than just mentors at this point—they're definitely my advocates and I'm lucky to have them!

What were the steps you took in college that impacted your professional success? In college, I soaked up every opportunity available. College is all about experience so being involved in real-world projects helped build my entrepreneurial spirit and I didn't even realize it at the time. I was always a leader, in every organization, and it taught me how to work with people, how to motivate your team, and how to make people excited to work with you.

What would you say to a young person who wants to work in your industry? I would say to get a strong grasp on English by reading and writing as much as possible. No one is perfect, so being committed to working on your craft and getting better is essential. Also, read at least 3 business or news articles per day. You'd be surprised how many great networking conversations you'll have about the topics you'll find there.

What can we expect from you in the near future? In the next few months, I'll be focusing more on journalism and will be writing for more publications. Additionally, I want to build more collaborative projects and relationships that will allow me go full out in helping clients and partners grow their current content marketing strategies.

Connect with Alyssa

http://ArionneAlyssa.com | Linkedin | Twitter: @arialyssa