Collaboration, inclusivity, and teamwork are some hallmarks of my leadership approach. But no one is perfect and we all can continue to learn and grow in these areas to build more effective environments at home and at work. When you do build more inclusive and collaborative environments, it can spark innovation and instill trust. That is why I plan to discuss these topics and unpack them in various ways.


I majored in communication (interpersonal/social communication) in my undergraduate days at the University of Maryland, College Park. Communication has always fascinated me since then. I ended up working in marketing and communications (not the interpersonal side but rather connecting content and channels to audiences). However, there is no escaping the interpersonal communication is there? It is in us and all around us at the same time.



Later, I ended up teaching an online communication masters course part time about business communication and culture as an adjunct professor. I speak and train on this matter because it is ubiquitous and of utmost importance to our livelihoods.


Some organizations and individuals realize this sooner or later and that it is not something that you should leave to chance. Communication and all of its parts can be strategically enhanced and utilized to improve our relationships within our familial networks, within our communities, within our friendship groups, and yes within our companies.


#communicationandculture #communication #culture #leadership #interpersonal #internalcommunication #externalcommunication


How important do you think communication is in your life?

  • Very important

  • Somewhat important

  • Not sure

  • Not at all important







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January is national mentoring month. I am proud to be a mentor to a creative, exceptional marketing professional. She is a marketing manager with strong leadership skills that I know will serve her well in her future endeavors. I had been casually sharing my thoughts and tips to trainees and undergraduate students who would find me and reach out to me for various reasons. Maybe they were working on a paper and needed to interview someone or they were looking to launch their marketing careers. I tried to meet with most of them to answer their questions. I have also met entrepreneurs via the same route and I can think of one that left an impression that I keep in contact with to this day. One thing I realized is that I could easily answer their basic questions that could help guide them on their career paths.


I decided to more formally mentor through one of my professional organizations to which I belong, the American Marketing Association’s DC Chapter. They have a very well run mentoring program called Marketing Mentors Network. I was already very involved in the AMADC Chapter’s committees such as the DEI committee and I thought this mentoring program would be another way to stay engaged in my association while paying it forward so I applied to be a mentor and started serving in the fall of 2021.


Fortunately, I was paired appropriately and my mentee/protege was serious about maximizing the program and opportunity. So we met and discussed expectations and goals. Then, we set a plan to achieve those goals. It takes time to meet goals but I have to say that my protege is proactive so I’m always impressed when we meet every two weeks and she’s already accomplished or attempted the strategies we just discussed. It feels great to help someone else progress in their professional development. I feel the growth

symbiotically as she continues to progress. I learn more about myself as well from the questions she asks me about my professional journey. I have had to reflect on questions like:


  1. What would you say are the qualities that contribute to your success as a leader?

  2. How do you intend to continue growing?

  3. What have you found to be the most effective methods of asserting authority?

  4. What have you seen are the top attributes to successful company culture?

  5. What drives you, keeps you motivated/ambitious?

  6. What's your definition of success?

  7. What do you think is the ideal work/life balance?

  8. What are the top things you would look for if you were hiring a Marketing Manager to work with?


Some of the things I do that have significantly benefited our program and time together are:


  1. Set high standards

  2. Encourage sending agenda for review before each meeting

  3. Discuss progress towards goals each week

  4. Encourage keeping good notes of what we discussed during each meeting

  5. Give my undivided attention for that hour

  6. Be generous with compliments and encouragement


As you can imagine, there’s a lot that can be said around those questions. So our conversations are engaging and definitely could extend beyond our time together. I couldn’t have asked for a better protege who is professional, passionate, and personable. She is well worth the time and it is so rewarding to share my experiences with her. I may inspire her but she also inspires me vis a vis. If you have the opportunity to be a mentee or a mentor consider taking advantage of it because the progress made can be on both sides.


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Take the time to reflect on the progress you've made in the past year. It's common to feel like you’re always working toward something but not making progress? I'm always working on goals. I haven't made resolutions since my 20s, but I do always set short term and long term goals for myself that range from as small as pray more every morning (instead of just at night and at meal time) to larger ones such as work on my doctorate. I’m always planning too, but that's a whole other matter. I often hear my family, friends, and colleagues talking about their life and challenges. But one thing that gets overlooked is the progress they're making in various areas. We need to acknowledge the progress we’re making along the way and additionally share our journey of how we made that progress. People have asked me ‘how do you do it’? So I’m going to open up and share how I make progress across various aspects of my personal and professional life. Hopefully, you’ll do the same thing so we can learn and grow together. So start now and acknowledge what you've already accomplished and answer this question: What can you do today that you couldn't do a year ago? Ponder that and share if you feel so inclined.


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ABOUT

How do you do it? It's a question that's followed me for decades. I've had various people ask me that question. This is my attempt to answer it.

I've always tried to keep my business and personal lives separated. I didn't think it was professional to share too much of my personal life in professional settings and vice versa. I've learned it's very difficult to separate the two and that you can benefit by learning from both experiences.

So now I believe you must bring your whole self to the table if you want to thrive in today’s crazy world; your personality, your sense of humor, and most importantly, your heart. All of these elements brought me to rebrand and merge my professional and personal personas into one brand that helps others to position themselves professionally and personally with intentionality.

Join me on this journey so that we may live, learn, and grow together in style.

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I’m a seasoned CEO of multiple ventures but I needed to differentiate myself in a crowded marketplace. Veronica helped me to refine my brand positioning and to define my unique value proposition (UVP). She patiently listened, thoroughly understood my goals, and methodically worked through a process to create a UVP and new tagline for my brand. It was just the beginning but I’m more confident in my product now. She’s been an invaluable strategic partner on this journey who cares and understands entrepreneurs and CEOs. I’m continuing to work with her on other projects as well. 


-Darelle Joiner

Speaker and Life Coach

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