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NOTE: If this is your first time visiting my site WELCOME! I'm the Founder of a digital movement for Black Creatives, the social media strategist for a national publication, and an advocate for underrepresented groups in the digital space. I love God, writing, Jay-Z and tacos and will be sharing my thoughts on personal and professional development, social media and more.
"Essentially, our fear of power is our fear of becoming who we really are. This fear keeps us settling for less instead of striving for more, shrinking to fit rather than playing full out, clinging to safety to avoid taking the leap."
- Barbara Stanny, Sacred Success: A Course In Financial Miracles
I decided that this month's theme of focus will be my direct response to fear. Fear of what, exactly? Fear of new territories, new levels and an improved (close to new) version of myself. During the first half of this year, my responsibilities have grown, my platform has expanded in a way that wasn't planned for, and thanks to devoting more time to self-care and self-awareness, I'm learning new things about myself everyday.
Change is scary. Anytime you're confronting something new, fear will come. Inspired by my #blkcreatives call with Tracy G, I'm learning to befriend it. It's time to push down on the pedal and keep myself in tact by focusing on my mission, my capabilities, and my purpose.
What I'm Looking Forward To In June
- Effective planning. I'm learning more and more about what works and what doesn't work for me and this month I'm putting that into action. The #1 key to effective planning? Giving yourself the time and space to plan for the plan. (More on that later)
- Updating services and offerings as a social media professional. This page will be updated throughout the month, stay tuned.
- More #blkcreatives building. As I'm spending more time on building a team and really understanding the backend of the brand, we're also creating content and experiences for our audience while building new partnerships. Learn more about my site for Black Creatives here.
- Producing more original content. Not only will I be blogging more on my site but I'll also be working on a few content based passion projects that I'm really excited about. The writer in me needs an outlet, so I'm creating one.
- MAJOR NEWS ALERT. I'm attending The White House Summit on the United State of Women June 14th in Washington DC!
Convened by the White House, this Summit will rally together a remarkable group of women to celebrate what we've achieved, and how we're going to take action moving forward. I'm BEYOND honored to be attending and can't wait to share my experience. If you're also attending, tweet me and let's connect!
Top Tools For The Month
- Emmelie De La Cruz's Make Yourself Marketable Personal Branding Planner. Now that I have more clarity around my purpose, it's time to officially put her amazingness to use.
- Getting my personal finances are a priority every month for me so using Tonya Rapley's My Fab Financial Planner is a staple.
- Sprout Social is my personal favorite for social media management and planning. I love all things Sprout Social, so expect to see the company mentioned often here.
Affirmations For The Month
I am focused on the call that God has placed on my life.
I am focused on bringing structure and order into my life.
I walk in abundance, all of my needs are met.
I move from poverty thinking and my finances reflect this change.
I am intentional about sewing because God will be intentional about my success.
I am my biggest cheerleader.
Looking forward to a month full of FOCUS. What are you striving for this month? Leave in the comments or tweet me.
Chicago Creative Space Awards (via Chicago Creative Space's Instagram account)
As a Communications professional, I have to be mindful of my energy. Working in the digital and social space calls for me to be constantly plugged into what's going on in our world. At any given time, my brain is being fed the latest news, debates, perspectives, social issues, platforms, technology, pop culture trends, and more.
How does one keep their balance during a time where EVERY thing is literally fighting for my attention?
I always seem to find the answers to my internal questions when I'm not looking. Little did I know, when I was attending the Chicago Creative Space Awards that I would learn the keys to finding that balance:
Make My Mission A Top Priority.
Chicago Creative Space showcases the coolest and most creative office spaces in Chicago and is also a resource for entrepreneurs who are faced with growing their companies on a budget while preserving their unique company culture. They have told stories for some of Chicago's most well known brands and on June 4, the company decided to celebrate those brands at their inaugural Chicago Creative Space Awards.
A picture of the awards program with sponsor Inc. Via my Instagram Page.
In every single detail of the event, the CSS team did an impressive job of allowing their mission and their work to shine through. Each aspect of the event aligned with the company's core values: the venue, Venue One prides itself on not just hosting events but becoming them, the guest speakers (included founder of Imerman Angels, Jonny Imerman and CEO of Tech Week Katy Lynch) all possessed a visible respect, admiration, and compassion for all those involved, and the nominees (included Sterling Bay, Red Frog Events, 1871, and Groupon) all shared an excitement for not only their own nominations but gratitude for the community around company culture. This energy made for an extremely successful event.
The basis of CSS reflects the exact culture it represents and that may possibly be what magnifies their energy. Everyone in that room this past Thursday was on one accord because they believed in their mission and created an atmosphere of people first.
Stay Authentic To My Story.
As CEO Max Chopovsky, took the stage to officially kick off the award ceremony, he revealed the inception story of Chicago Creative Space. Max shared that he didn't have any formal training before he began. He put in a lot of ground work for the company by being proactive about opportunities and genuine about what he wanted to accomplish: "I wanted to tell stories."
CEO Max Chopovsky opening the first ever Chicago Creative Space Awards. Via my Twitter page.
While remaining transparent and humble about his accomplishments in building a successful company, I collected the themes of risk taking, having an unwavering confidence in my vision, and always being open with who I am and what I'm wanting to learn. Those themes allowed Max to not just build clientele - it made way for mutually beneficial relationships and created a pathway to the vision of his life without depending on any external factors. Genuine relationships are true currency in today's world and they help us keep our missions in proper perspective. You can't attract the right ones if you're not willing to tell your story.
Never Underestimate My Passion.
The award ceremony was also a fascinating display of the work produced by Chicago Creative Space and clearly showed the passion of each company involved. I've always worked in a freelance/remote consulting role and it wasn't until 2014 that I joined a company in a official capacity. This event helped me to connect the idea of “space” or dwellings to be one that helps you fulfill your purpose. It also helped me realized that the environment where we learn and grow as professionals is often underestimated.
Max decided to follow his passion when creating Chicago Creative Space and although it wasn't the only component that led him to become a success, it was a driving force through the unsure times that most business owners and creatives face. That was clearly manifested in the room the entire night as CSS was able to flourish in a community of the best and brightest in Chicago.
I believe that experiences where I can learn provide the best lessons in life. This event combined innovation, aligning passions with my work, and connecting fulfillment and purpose to my environment. Not only will these things help me maintain my balance, they'll also strengthen my faith in myself and my abilities.
PS. Take a look at the winner of the 75k sq fT category, Motorola. This video was one of my personal faves; watch it HERE.
Inside of 'The Huddle', the Social Media Command Center.
Earlier this month, I had an incredible opportunity to volunteer with the amazing team over at Choose Chicago for the NFL Draft. This was the first time in over fifty years that the Draft had not been in NYC and it was a pretty huge deal for the city. I was in awe at the production of the three day event which brought out hundreds of thousands of fans. Even as a professional, I love to volunteer as often as I can within the industry because with social media the learning never stops. Here are a few keys things I picked up from my experience:
On Paying Attention To Detail:
“People want more experiences in their life and the little things make a difference.” - Dawn Hudson Chief Marketing Officer, NFL
The Draft, as you would expect, had a huge turnout. Over 200,000 people ventured through the fan-driven experience and the NFL left no stone unturned. From the layout of the activities, to types of small prizes shared, to creating virtual touch points for fans to connect with the brand after the event, the small things shined through during the event.
On Customer Experience:
“For many people, this [NFL Draft] is their SuperBowl. Many won’t ever get a chance to even see a professional game in person. This is their chance to connect with the NFL and we have to make sure we’re creating amazing experiences.” - Peter O’Reilly Senior Vice President of Events, NFL
Fans First was the theme of the weekend and the brand wasted no time emphasizing this simple motto. As lead volunteers, we were expected to uphold a very high standard of customer service to ensure that this experience was memorable. This experience really reminded me of how the NFL is a part of American culture and has different meanings for people of all backgrounds and ethnicities and the brand does a great job of putting the customer first.
“We strive for perfection but we settle for excellence.” - Fernando Beltran Engagement Manager, Disney Institute
Each interaction with the organization called for volunteers to embrace excellence as their commitment during the Brand experience. Going above and beyond wasn’t just a theme for the weekend, it’s a theme for the brand overall. Fernando’s quote really stuck out to me as I think about my own professional development in that perfection is never attainable but quality is non-negotiable.
I’d like to work on helping brands prepare for real-time events from a social/digital standpoint and I’m hoping this volunteer experience will lead me to build out my best practices for major live events and conferences. The energy of the entire event was awesome to experience and yes, I even got to keep the jacket. :-)
Interested in learning how I'd like to help brands prepare for real-time events?
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: All quotes were taken directly from the speakers at the Fans First training and all pics are property of Melissa Kimble.