Years ago, the college graduate would have fell for the “American Dream” hook, line, and sinker: go to college, learn everything you are taught, and when you are done you will automatically land the job of your dreams. Fast forward to 2013, and that couldn’t be more far from the truth. Luckily for us, we have women like Emmelie De La Cruz, who can help us prepare for the real world. Through her site and company, she is teaching young people and professionals about the power of your personal brand. Graduating with three jobs offers, this marketing communications professional and entrepreneur is creating her own reality. As a consultant she is an expert for professionals, businesses, and organizations alike. As a woman, she is a prime example of pursuing your dreams relentlessly.
Introduction and Interview by Melissa Kimble
What inspires you to create?
Lack of information inspires me. I really dislike not having the answers to my burning questions. We have become accustomed to searching online for information. It’s like second nature. I want to make sure that when students and young professionals are looking for answers to their branding and job search questions, they will find answers.
Your site, The Branding Muse helps young women and college students learn to take control of their personal brand. When did you first realize how important your own personal brand was to your professional development?
I realized very early on that my personal brand on campus propelled me to new heights, and I was able to leverage my credibility and skill sets to gain access to internships, jobs and even the dean of the communications school. By having a personal brand that was consistent on social media and my website, I was able to make myself stand out from my peers. Needless to say, I graduated with 3 job offers when some classmates are still unemployed. That was what sparked me to write my first ebook and launch the site.
Not only are you a consultant by way of your company, you also hold a full-time job along with other various responsibilities. How do you manage all of your roles and what tips can you offer others who wanting to do the same?
The hardest lesson I learned by having a business and working full-time is that I cannot do it all. I have to really pace myself and plan far ahead. I prioritize what is important and needs to get done right away. Sometimes that means social media being a bit neglected or writing only one blog post a week, but I have to make sure I stay sane and rested. I also always use my lunch hour to my greatest advantage. For example, I often catch up on social media and emails and try to draft a blog post, that way when I am home from work, I can focus on more time intensive tasks.
My dreams. I am a huge dreamer and believer in the secret: Your thoughts become things. I stay focused by knowing that this situation is temporary and that I will get my brand to a much larger platform in a few years. I love helping businesses and young people. Their happiness is what keeps me going. I just keep my head down and keep grinding until I see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is only the beginning and I have a lot of work cut out for me.
Your work experience has spanned over various industries, including nutrition, bio-science and medical technology, health care and fashion as well as B2B marketing. Are there any areas in particular where you see opportunities for women of color?
Women in general, but especially of color can benefit in many industries, but we must be willing to explore those options through internships and volunteer experience. Health and technology are rapidly growing fields but women often are underrepresented. I believe that when we take risks and seize opportunities, we are often surprised by the outcomes.
You’ve stated that college does not teach you how to land a job, how to network, personal branding in the digital space, how to develop thought leadership, how to strategically position yourself or how to become comfortable with your own greatness. What challenges have you overcame to become comfortable with your own greatness and how can others find their own?
Girl! It took a good look in the mirror to realize that I am a woman of color and that opportunities are not going to come knocking on my door. I had to strategically plan to take them. Mommy and Daddy can’t call in favors and don’t have colleagues or friends that can extend me a job. I didn’t learn much about the professional world or networking growing up. All I knew was that I needed to graduate from college and help build a better life for my family.
The greatest challenge that I had to overcome was realizing that this is a competitive world that we live and I had to sacrifice a lot of time and even personal relationships to make sure that I had a competitive advantage. I had to accept that I was a “ghetto” girl from the Bronx with a Spanish accent and an attitude and learn how to stay myself regardless of who I’m interacting with. Once I got comfortable in my own skin, I really believed I could do ANYTHING. Failure is not an option and once we all realize that we control the outcomes, people will start getting off their behinds and working for the vision they see for themselves. In the words of Rick Ross, “these haters can’t hold me back!” Read the lyrics, I promise you will get an energy boost.
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About the Author: Melissa Kimble (@Melissa_Kimble) is not only the Owner and Creator of My Creative Connection, she is also available for hire as a Public Relations and Communications Consultant through The 3178 Agency.