EPISODE 1: Owning Your Corner -- What Women of Color Can Do to Blaze a Trail in Career and Life

Today, we’re in conversation with Tumi Soyinka, Head of Marketing at Mizani/Loreal. Tumi opens up about her career path from Music Technology to her serendipitous opportunity that led her to now be the head of one of the largest textured hair care brands. The path to doing work you love and finding a career that aligns with you is often a squiggly line and life will take you in different directions than we originally intended. Tumi shares how to be open to that process.

We also get into much deeper conversation about navigating the workplace as a woman of color. How do we navigate microaggressions and insensitivities from our well intentioned colleagues? We talk about loving our natural hair and proudly owning the pieces of identity that make us who we are. 

Grab a cup of tea and join us for this super inspiring conversation!

Want to work with Tumi as your mentor? Click on over to join us at The Mentors Circle -- the career and business mentoring platform for women of color. Applications are open! https://forms.gle/qN3dT9XGqm2CDDAo6

What’s in A Selfie: Why Posting Self Photos Are An Essential Piece of Your Brand

Selfie photographs are not new. It is only recently that self portraitures emerged as a global phenomenon. Historically, self portraits were usually produced by the elite and revered. Fancy pants people who were adored, from artists to politicians. Now, anyone with a smartphone can be instantly zapped into stardom with just a selfie stick and a click.

Google estimates that roughly 24 billion selfies were taken in one year alone. A quick hashtag search for #selfies will yield you over 342 million post results on Instagram.

It’s no doubt we are living in a selfie-nation.

In my work, I most often come across three types of people: the selfie lovers, the dabblers, and then there’s people like me who hate the idea of being in photos. It’s why I spent years BEHIND the camera instead of in front of it.

Over the years, I’ve embraced a new idea. As the woman behind Project She Went For Her Dreams, a global brand that champions this movement of building a legion of confident women in business, I knew that I had to stop hiding behind my work and start being the face of it.

I was inspired by my mentor and many other countless women change-makers who unapologetically capture themselves in a good ‘ol fashioned selfie every now and then while giving absolutely no fucks about what others think of them while doing so.

And isn’t that what stops many of us? The fact that we care a little too much about what others think of us. There’s a little voice in our head that says, who am I to post this photo of myself? And another voice that says, who do you think you are, some sort of celebrity? Or we may buy into this false sense of humility, that shames us for daring to tie our name and face to the work that we do.

This is a problem I see mostly as women, while the men of our time have no issues being front and center of their work and accomplishments.

Without going too deeply into the social conditioning and systemic challenges women face as it relates to being seen and credited for their work, we can all agree that self promotion has always been a tough nut to crack for women.

I’m in favor of women amplifying their professional platforms and with that building mediums of expression and communication -- including the selfie. Selfies have an incredible ability to create a magnetizing power. Whether snapshots taken “on the go” or posed and non-spontaneous, the visual aesthetic of a person captured in their essence, helps us create an understanding of ourselves and establishes our existence to those around us.

In a world where we are our own brand builders, here’s a few statements that make the case for selfies as a brand advantage.

  1. Selfies are a form of self expression

  2. Selfie’s build trust

  3. Selfies humanizes you

  4. Selfies are an extension of your career

  5. Selfies are a form of reputation management where you can control how you are perceived

  6. Selfies can be empowering and encourage motivation and online support

Selfies, while they can be used as a form of self expression, they can also be dangerous forms of validation and sources of approval that if mishandled can drain you of all self esteem.

"The key is to make sure you avoid the psychological pitfalls. If you’re so keen to promote your ‘brand’ that you start to become reliant on likes and validation as a key to your success and if you just identify yourself as a brand, your self-esteem can become solely based on your pictures. You relinquish your control to people you don’t know and negative comments can be very hard to deal with." - Dr. Aaron Balick, Psychotherapist.

If you have a service, a mission, a cause you believe in, are an activist, a change-maker, thought leader, and have a message you want to get out to the world, make selfies a vibrant part of how you express that yourself and grow your platform.

Now I'm off to lunch to grab lunch at a beautiful Mediterranean bistro in midtown. The spicy shrimp risotto looks amazing. But first, let me take a selfie.

Why Women Don't Ask

I have worked around some of the best business people in the game, both men and women. There is a stark difference between successful business men and women and those who are just getting by and that difference is: their ability to ask for and get what they want. It’s something that so few of us especially as women are willing to do. When it comes to making the ask in business, quite simply, women won’t do it. This is certainly not to say all women, but for the vast majority, we are not getting what we want because we are shy about asking.

Here are the top reasons why we’re not asking:

  • We feel like we are being a bother to the other person.
  • We are afraid of hearing No.
  • We don’t want to come off as being too aggressive or worse, selfish.

And here’s what is happening as a result:

  • We are getting paid way less money.
  • We are settling for smaller pieces of the pie.
  • We are not getting ahead in our business at nearly the rate that men get ahead.

We have to do better ladies.

We must acknowledge the hidden barriers at work that stop us from asking. Ever since birth, girls have been taught not to promote our own self-interest and to put the needs of others ahead of our own. We also fear being perceived as bitchy or too pushy.

It is time that we shift this paradigm. There are women in business who have nailed the art of asking for what they want and as a result, experience a level of success that few of us achieve. And as someone who used to be a non-asker and have since tossed that behavior to the side, here’s what I now teach women about asking for what you want:

  1. Be direct, just ask. No need to justify or rationalize your request. Be mindful of being passive or appearing insecure when you ask.
  2. Consider that the person you are asking will benefit from the request as well.
  3. If you hear a No, don’t personalize it. Don’t make a rejection about you.
  4. Ask for more than you think you can get.

Remember, everything you want (new business, more clients, new job, more money!) is on the other side of that Ask.  

Asking takes practice. What will you ask for today?

If you’re ready to ask for and get what you want, work with me to help get you there quicker. Schedule a free session with me today!