DE&I

Live Lessons: Take a Stand and Build Your Brand

Jan 31, 2023

Welcome to Pass the Mic and the Live Lessons series. Life happens in the moment—and so do opportunities to pass the mic. We’re having live conversations with powerful female leaders, giving them the opportunity to share their wisdom and mentor the masses.

Want to distinguish yourself and make an impression? Have we got some impressive advice for you. We kicked off the year at CES, partnering with the Female Quotient (The FQ) to show up with a kick-ass Pass the Mic lounge. Our very own Director of Content and Digital Marketing, Jocelyn Hudak, interviewed some of the most powerful women in the industry. These full-length interviews will be available soon (we’re totally going to start a podcast). In the meantime, check out this empowering advice from seven amazing women.

Create your voice.

Carryl Pierre-Drews, Pass the Mic
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“Something that kind of grew in my time, too, is sort of being able to build your brand and creating that voice and meaning for yourself. So, I would say making sure you're using the time, whether it is doing a podcast or going on LinkedIn—becoming a thought leader in your space and having a defined point of view about things. I think that's super important for women to start doing. And then the other thing is to join female organizations and give back. Find the opportunity to network with other women who are not necessarily in your specific company/organization. Get to know these other woman because that is where you will start to develop that rapport and relationship and learn about other organizations, and then hopefully, create a network for yourself to be able to move on within your career.” – Carryl Pierre-Drews, Carryl Pierre-Drews, EVP & Chief Marketing Officer from IAB

Carryl is responsible for providing executive leadership and management of the IAB marketing and communications organization and activities to forward the IAB’s position as a digital, marketing, and media industry thought leader and agenda-setter. Her superpower is growing start-ups and new divisions within digital and traditional media. She’s a Pass the Mic alum, and you can hear more powerful advice from her here.

Develop your style.

Maria Weaver, Pass the Mic
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“Develop your style. And, you know, a lot of people use the’ define your personal brand’ and ‘develop your personal brand,’ which is in some ways very external. That's really about what other people say about you when you leave the room. That's about what other people think about you. And I think defining your personal style is about what feels right for you. When you go to sleep at night, you should go to sleep at night feeling: I did everything I could that day, whether it be to lift another female, to help a colleague. And so developing your style is really important.” – Maria Weaver, President of WMX at Warner Music Group

Maria strives to build culture and drive and value engagement. She has received the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications Award of Excellence, the Council of Urban Professionals Catalyst Award, and multiple honors from The Telly Awards and the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing.

Remain true to yourself.

Christine Croce, Pass the Mic
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“One would be, remain true to yourself and always be authentic. That's one thing that really matters to me because I think once you lose who you are, and once you try to be somebody that you're not, people will see through that. And I think it's just really important that you don't try to be somebody that you think perception-like others want you to be. And once you just continue to be who you are and strive to be the best that you can be, and of course, take feedback. Be open to the feedback. Feedback is a gift, and sometimes it's a little hard to like take the constructive feedback, but you can always better yourself. But always stay true to who you are at the core." – Christine Croce, Director of Marketing, Consumer Activation and Engagement from Philips

Christine leads the activation team, the engagement strategy team, and the shopper team to fully pull together the omni-channel experience and ensure consumers feel a deep and meaningful connection to the brand. 

Let challenges be empowering.

Shauna Alexander, Pass the Mic
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“I remember sitting in my year review after being someone who spoke out about some really, pardon my French, but like fucked up treatment that was going on there. And I remember one of the owners of the company looking at me dead in the eyes and saying, ‘You know, you would have been a perfect employee this year if you just didn’t cause so much trouble.’ And I literally was like, ‘I quit. I quit. I'm not working for you anymore. I'm not making you another dollar. How dare you?’

And so that, I think, is also pivotal moments can be brilliant and high and wonderful, but they can also be challenging and whatnot. And I think it's important to recognize both because we all go through all of them, but they were equally, you know, being Billboard 40 Under 40 person is equally as empowering for my career and my self-identity as was going through that journey of really realizing who I don't want to work for.” – Shauna Alexander, Vice President, Business Development from SoundCloud

Shauna builds partnerships between artists and brands to drive engaging and interactive fan experiences. She was named one of Billboard’s annual 40 under 40. In addition to being a successful woman, Shauna spends her spare time riding horses in national show jumping competitions.

Make conscious decisions. 

Latraviette D. Smith-Wilson, Pass the Mic
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“We're all human. And so, I think I don't necessarily subscribe to the ‘just get over it, just let it roll out.’ We're human—things impact us. And I think the first part of that is acknowledging the impact, but then making a conscious decision of how you're going to allow it to affect you. And so, you can allow something like that to dictate your future and your destiny, or you can say no. And it's hurtful, I mean, a lot of these things can be extremely hurtful. But at the end of the day, are you going to allow someone else to dictate your destiny? And you make the choice: yes or no. And then you get up, and you go based on whatever that choice for you is.” – Latraviette D. Smith-Wilson, Chief Marketing & Equity Officer from Horizon Media

Latraviette is changing the DE&I world by ensuring it's a business imperative, showing up in all aspects of the company. She was named as one of Forbes’ “Black Women Leaders to Follow” and awarded the Café Mocha “Celebrating Women: Powerhouse Award” and Black Enterprise’s “Next Generation: Women of Power.”

Make self-doubt work for you.

Marci Serbonich El-Deiry, Pass the Mic
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“You know, just as women, we have to lift each other up. We have to continue to encourage each other. And we were talking about this yesterday, you get in your head, you have that imposter syndrome, you have that self-doubt. And there's various schools of thought of how to deal with it: squash it, embrace it, live with it, whatever. But it makes you better as, and this is men or women—if you can embrace it, and if you can say, ‘Okay, feel the fear, do it anyway, take a deep breath,’ it keeps you humble. It keeps you curious. It helps you know that, hey, there are things that I need to work on and strive for, and I can get through this, and I can get to the next. I'll learn from this experience.” – Marci Serbonich El-Deiry, Vice President of North America Marketing from Philips

Marci guides all consumer experience from end-to-end by leading the business strategy team, the engagement strategy team, and the consumer experience team. She leads three big Phillips brands: Sonicare, Norelco and Avent. 

Be loud and proud.

Marissa Nance, Pass the Mic
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“There was a point when someone said to me, ‘You do realize that there are probably four people on the planet who do what you do better than you. That's impressive.’ And I said, ‘Well, no, no, I didn't. But now that you've said it like that, I'm going to tell everyone that for the rest of my life, because there's truth to it.’ 

There are maybe four to five people. My background, before I launched this agency and became a CEO, I ran branded entertainment at the ad agency, at the media company. So, I helped launch shows like Survivor, and Top Chef, and The Biggest Loser. For our FedEx client. I helped write a film called Castaway, which is probably before a lot of us, but there was a little FedEx in that movie, and I helped write that. These are incredible successes that I never really talked about, and I didn't crow about. 

And as I became an entrepreneur, and I was on my own and was looking to achieve successes on behalf of not only myself, but my team, someone who I respect said, ‘You have to think in that way because you don't have the holding company anymore. They're not there to back, you are the holding company, and you're not only holding yourself up, but you're holding up those around you.’ So in doing that, don't just fade to the back, hold up that sign, crow. Be loud and proud about what you can do.’ 

So there are not a lot of people in the industry and branded entertainment who do what I do better than I do. And it's those series of successes. It's being at Cannes and being a judge. It's writing now the defining book in branded entertainment that they use in universities. It's doing all of those, helping launch all those iconic shows. Those all add up to the moment when I accepted and opened my arms to the fact that I am a badass. How about that?” – Marissa Nance, Founder and CEO from Native Tongue Communications

Marissa’s company is a first-to-market minority and women certified media agency, working through the lens of diversity to strengthen their media, marketing, DEAI, and content solutions. In her past holding agency life, she successfully generated innovative and original revenue streams via her ground-breaking branded entertainment work.  

You’re probably feeling ready to take on the world after all that great advice. If you need more motivation, check out the latest Pass the Mic content.

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