Authentic Branding (w/ Danisha Lomax)

Zach sits down with Danisha Lomax, the VP & National Paid Social Lead at Digitas NA, to discuss how individuals can brand themselves effectively in this new economic climate and how organizations can more authentically brand themselves to attract Black and brown talent.

Struggling with your Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) work? Kanarys—a Black-founded company—has your back. Regardless of where you are on your DEI journey, we arm you with the insights you need now to take action now. From audits to assessments to data-informed strategy, we’d love to be the partner you have been looking for. Email stacey@kanarys.com or learn more at https://www.kanarys.com/employer.

Connect with Danisha on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Danisha’s also the lead of the San Francisco’s VivaWomen of Color BRG. Check them out on Twitter.

TRANSCRIPT

SPEAKER 1 0:00

Hey, what’s up, y’all? This is Zack. And look, I’m really excited about this. And I want to also shout out the team for being able to do this. You’re listening to this, because we’re doing something called 12 days a podcast. So this is content that we want to make sure y’all get before 2020 is over I. So we’re hitting y’all with some content. As we wrap up the year for the next 12 straight days. These are interviews that we had earlier this year. But we couldn’t get to releasing them because of coordination and just current events, we wanted to be a little bit more responsive to all the chaos that was happening around us in real time. So what we’re doing is we’re dropping this content for y’all now, because we don’t want y’all to hear it, like 20 weeks from now. We want y’all to hear it now. So what you’re about to hear is a super dope conversation that we have with an incredible guest. But before we get there, we tap in with Tristan.



SPEAKER 2 1:10

What’s happened in living corporate fam, it’s Tristan of lay field, resume consulting, and I’ve teamed up with living corporate to bring you all a weekly career tip. So today, let’s discuss our elevator pitches. Most of us have heard of what an elevator pitch is. But for those who aren’t aware, elevator pitches are short, concise statements that explain who you are and what you do. It’s called an elevator pitch. Because apparently, you’re supposed to imagine that you get into an elevator with another person, and they ask you what you do. And then you only have that brief moment in the elevator to give them a meaningful response. Now, I don’t know about you, but I very rarely talk to anyone in elevators, let alone strangers, but let’s flow with it. While most of us may have an elevator pitch, I’m here to tell you that we need to rethink the way that we do them. We’ve been taught to lead our elevator pitch with process rather than leading with results. When we do that we leave the other person wanting to know what’s in it for me. So let’s listen to one of my old elevator pitches as an example, I used to lead with. I’m a career coach and resume writer that approaches career development by combining my client’s personal brand with their career field through strategic coaching in the development of resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles, marked by their consistency and fusion of keywords and unique formatting that helps my clients stand out. Are you looking for help in elevating your career? Well, it sounds good, it doesn’t lead with results, it doesn’t immediately tell the person what’s in it for them, and it puts the other person on the spot. In order for us to make faster and more valuable connections. We need to talk about how we create wins for our companies, our clients and provide those within the first 60 seconds. By doing this, we don’t make the person guess what’s in it for them. We give them examples of what could be in it for them. So let’s replace the process in my first elevator pitch with some results and see how it transforms. I’m the head career coach and resume writer at lay field resume consulting. As a result of the coaching resumes cover letters and LinkedIn profiles I provide my clients, they not only landed roles in fortune 500 companies, but are better equipped to position themselves as experts and become their own biggest advocate in their careers. I’m looking for individuals who are ready to level up their careers. Can you think of anyone who needs some help? Which one do you think is better? Reach out and let me know. This tip was brought to you by Tristan lay field resume consulting. Check us out on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at lay field resume or connect with me Tristan lay field on LinkedIn.



SPEAKER 1 3:42

Today, just like every week, we have an incredible guest the Danisha Lomax, Danisha Welcome to the show.



SPEAKER 3 3:50

Thank you so much. Thank you. I’m so glad to be here.



SPEAKER 1 3:54

I want we’re glad to have you here. I need to ask how you and your loved ones are doing during this pandemic.



SPEAKER 3 4:00

Oh my God, thank you so much for asking. You know we are we are alive we are well, we are adjusting. And sometimes we adjusting within one day, I am super thankful that my children and I are in this together. But I’m not going to lie. I’m definitely humbled because shout out to the teachers. It’s a lie. I have been humbled more times than not in these like nine weeks. So you know, living in mind.



SPEAKER 1 4:31

Listen, so my wife is a teacher, right? She teaches on ninth grade English. And it’s interesting. She and I talk about this a lot right about like, a lot of these parents are coming into the realization about heart disease like teaching your kids all day like being responsible for them all day, but it’s quite it’s been quite a quite a journey for sure. I have some friends and some folks on my network who are going through a similar journey, but everybody’s cool. Everybody’s alive though.



SPEAKER 3 4:57

Yes. That’s really where I’m at. I mean, I cannot complain.



SPEAKER 1 5:01

Okay, you know, straight up. I’m the same here for my family, you know, had a couple of friends who got sick, but no one has, has perished. Thank God and we’re trying to stay safe. Just stay inside, you don’t mean, use your common sense, you know? I mean, that’s all the sense, you got use the common part. Already know what kind of you just about to be this is great. Okay. So let’s get right into it, you know? Um, yeah, so let me keep it a being with you, right. So like, I was looking at people I would I wanted to, you know, you know, live in corporate just want to have like, okay, you know, trying to have these names, you know, we’ve had some pretty big names on the podcast, and just like who have interacted with our platform. And so I was I looked at your name, right? And then I was like, what is digital variants? So I clicked it, right? And y’all have like, 50,000 followers on like us, like, what is this, right? Like, I’m like, and so then go back and look at your title. And I’m like, yo, and like I said before, like, offline, I was named Danisha Lomax, like, I got it. Okay. So let’s talk about I really. So I’m trying to understand like, and I’d love for you to explain to us like, what is your role as Vice President, group director, national paid social lead at Digital Veritas? Like, what does that entail?



SPEAKER 3 6:27

Yeah, so um, as the National paid social lead and digitize, I get the absolute honour of working with a team of 50 Plus, paid social media experts who are doing amazing work across various advertising and brand verticals, entertainment, retail, CPG, etc. For me, specifically, this role means always looking for first market opportunities to bring my clients really trying to find and negotiate favourable rates for them, because we are doing a lot in the distribution in the media space. So that always kind of ties back to that efficiency metric. But really just deepening the relationship that digitize has across the social media platform, landscape. Relationships are so important to me, and it’s being able to reach out to the agency leads, etc., at you know, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and really strengthen who digitizes in the marketplace. Although we already have kind of a strong flip there. And I’m also as part of this role, really excited about what social media means from being a connector of cultures and allowing us to authentically represent and talk to and talk with multicultural audiences and doing that in a really authentic way. Our capability, though, does not work in silos. So add to just ask, we have strategy teams, we have creative teams, we have data and analysis teams technology, you know, I could go on, we really pride ourselves on being that connected marketing agency. And it’s really shown in our work and what we do in the paid social media space.



SPEAKER 1 8:05

That’s incredible. I want to talk about San Francisco, Viva women of color, and because I feel as if it all comes together, and I’d love to understand what fuels that work as well.



SPEAKER 3 8:15

Oh, my god, yes, thank you. Um, so let me just say even women of color is a publicist group, nationally led Business Resource Group. It’s led by two amazing women, Sonia family in Atlanta, and our netta Whiteside in New York. We have chapters all over the US. But when I started, there wasn’t a presence fully established in San Francisco. So at the time, also, in culture, there were some heavy attacks on black women. You know, actually, I can’t even think of a time when it’s not right. So manga was being slandered for being passionate at work. And it’s happened to so many celebrities, but to so many quote unquote, everyday people just like me. So as a black woman in a leadership position, I was like, there has to be a place for people like me, black, other women of color, Latina, Asian American, etc., to come together and talk about what it means to be a woman of color in corporate spaces. And kind of doing some research and asking around, I got connected with those two women. And having looked back, I mean, our main focus is again, giving women of color that space to be themselves, share, gain insight from mentors, people who have made it and kind of get that behind the scenes conversation that doesn’t really happen out in the open, and also create programs that educate and celebrate the intersectionality of all we are



SPEAKER 1 9:43

No you’re absolutely right. I think it’s wild because it’s me check my wife, 2020 right. year of our [Inaudible] So like, people out here still just not being not being intersectional and like how they think about coming So like we talked about, like, we talk about gender and race and very binary terms, right? Talk about sexual identity, very binary terms, we just talk about identity, like in these very, like, just, you know, you’re either this or that. And it’s like, Look, people are multiple things and like, and human beings are complex, and oftentimes, hypocritical. Like, even in their own like, just behaviours. And like, even though embracing that is hard work, it’s critical. If you really want to understand and reach folks, you know what I mean? Because if you don’t, then you end up leaving out whole groups of people.



SPEAKER 3 10:31

100% and with and we can’t have this, the same, you know, come to work as you are, be your authentic self, but then we’re not creating space for that. So we really have to practice what we preach. And I love that the women of color allows me to do that, alongside being in this, you know, national paid social role. It’s coming together, you know, there’s so much intersection, and I love that I’m able to push the culture forward, inspire others, and be inspired by others in this position.



SPEAKER 1 11:01

It’s super cool. I’d love to talk a little bit about like, personal branding, and marketing. But then I want to talk a little bit more about like corporate communications, like during this time, so like, you know, it seems as if there was a point in time and like, the social media was like the young people stuff, right, like, right, but as technology continues, and like as accessibility becomes more and more on the forefront of conversations, regarding career, and also like career progression, and networking, that really, social media, and having some type of digital footprint is critical and growing and developing as a professional 100%. Can you talk a little bit more about like, the role that that’s played over time, and like the role that you’ve seen? It takes shape? Over time?



SPEAKER 3 11:48

Yeah, yeah. So we love to see the social evolution, especially as it pertains to professional branding. When I got started, social was just, you know, kind of Myspace, Facebook was just kind of popping off. We had our black planning, things like that, yes. Yeah, you know, old school, right. Um, but then it developed into this, you know, digital ecosystem. And that allowed you to show people exactly who you were, who you are, who you want to be. And I think over time, it’s just been able to influence so much, right. So now, companies are going to your social profiles first, to get that first impression of who you are. And it’s not just LinkedIn, it’s LinkedIn, and you know, Facebook, and Instagram, Twitter, your websites, your blogs. So in my mind, it’s really important for people to not control the lead in to what they want that narrative to be. So that people understand who you are, and kind of what you stand for. It’s important to keep all those things updated and fresh, because people are always looking and, you know, look how we kind of got connected and found each other, it’s literally through that. So it’s not more of just your resume, kind of speaking for you. And in that sense, it’s a lot of these digital ecosystems, these social ecosystems, allowing them to speak for you, before you actually get a chance to meet someone.



SPEAKER 1 13:15

Yeah, no, I’m really curious, like, just what conversations if any, have you had with individuals who are like realizing that, you know, their LinkedIn, their Twitter or whatever the case may be needs to be sharper, or just present for them to really take the next level of impact and reaching folks in their career journey?



SPEAKER 3 13:40

Yeah, this is it. It’s so funny, because I could see your point, I talked to a lot of younger Junior professionals, a lot of women of color, who are like, Oh, I didn’t know you know, LinkedIn needed to be this or that. And the first thing I say is, you are your first PR agent, you control your narrative, you tell your story. And if you are not owning that, then you’re leaving it up to two people, two individuals, two companies, etc. to make up in my mind, in their mind, who they think you are. And so I am always like, keep your LinkedIn refreshed, you know, every month, you know, if you can, it’s really important to ground yourself in that work, especially in these times. Right? Make sure your Facebook and your Instagram is telling the story that you want to tell. And if it’s if it’s one story, then that’s great, lean into it and own it, but make sure you’re consistent. So a lot of conversations I’m having on the real the real is just about oh figure out who you are first, like what are your values? Who are you to yourself? Who do you want to be to the world and then make sure you’re reflecting that?



SPEAKER 1 14:45

I mean, that’s really helpful and it’s funny because I was about to ask about like some of your biggest I was not asking you know, some key like tips you would have in terms of like personal branding recommendations, but I think that really is comes to the core of all of it is just okay, who are you Really? And what are you trying to broadcast and then consistent in that, I think like, consistency is so critical, right? Like in life, but certainly, on a platform like social meet, like in any type of like social media platform, where like, I can like, look and see the history of the things that you’ve said and done.



SPEAKER 3 15:16

Okay. And gather those receipts. And we are I’m not sure.



SPEAKER 1 15:23

I’m not sure, that doesn’t align with what you said on March 7, 2019. Like I think, to your point around, like just being clear with like who you really are, it makes it easy to be consistent, because you’re just being yourself.



SPEAKER 3 15:39

Right, 100%. And then that is where true authenticity lies, right? We throw that word around, I use it a lot. But I fully understand that I know what I’m going to engage in and when I’m not, and I know when I’m going to have that open in depth conversation on which channels that will happen, because I know where it matters most for me, so I’m not, I’m not getting involved into things that someone else may be passionate about, because I understand that that is their lane. And I appreciate that. I honour that. But I mean, I need to continuously honour the values that I set forth for me, and be consistent in it.



SPEAKER 1 16:14

Now there’s a real it’s actually, that principle doesn’t just apply, I think to individuals, but it applies to, to groups of individuals or organizations as well. Right. And so, you know, we’re in the midst of this pandemic, you know, what are some trends you’ve seen during this time as it pertains to company corporate communications? And what in your mind, should companies be mindful of as they attempt to reach their audiences in meaningful ways?



SPEAKER 3 16:39

I love this question. It’s so important, and it’s so great. And it really gets to the heart of the company and who the individuals are behind the company. I think at first when, you know, COVID first became like, widely known and widely spread, it was really talking to our clients and brands about Okay, being okay with taking a moment to pause, take a moment to pause and think about what is it at this time that you really need to communicate to the audiences that you’re trying to reach, shifting the kind of push salesy messaging to be more empathetic, in real to the times, but also understanding that a lot of the essential workers are actually made up of black and brown people that are living in those communities. So looking at the entire landscape, understanding that, but also understanding that going back to my love for social media, and kind of what my role is, social media immediately was where everyone was going to not only get the news, but to also find a level of escapism into just be whether it’s through entertainment, and tick tock hashtag challenges and things like that, or to like find some new cooking opportunity, you know, because there was that downtime. So bringing all those things together, to then figure out what their nose Northstar was. So what is your purpose? How can you be empathetic in that time? What is your audience already interested in that you can kind of shift the conversation to pull in that empathy? Colin, yes, we understand what’s going on. But keep your brand alive, right? I think the biggest thing that people will look at, because we’re all people we’re all humans, is the brands that actually did not say a thing. And so whenever this turns back into whatever it will be, those will be the brands that will be hurting in the long run, because their brand equity will then be kind of challenged.



SPEAKER 1 18:39

So let’s talk a little bit about like corporate communications as it pertains to communicating to like their own employees, or you think about like, so there’s, of course, there’s internal and external marketing, right? So like, all right what does it look like? Do you think and this time to like, make sure that you’re not ignoring or erasing the challenges that black and brown folks are feeling? So I think about the Asian Pacific Islander community that is being like, disproportionately attacked, because of COVID-19 by folks of all shapes and colors, and they’re starting to, they’re starting to focus on how they’re putting out some response and stuff like that. And I also think about black employees, who, because of stomach inequity, and like, just the way that America is set up, you know, certain inequities are being exacerbated by this pandemic. And then we’re and we’re saying the fact that like black folks represent a disproportionate amount of deaths of COVID-19 as well as compounded by the realities of like, additional murders of black folks for simply being black, right, like, what does it look like for companies to create meaningful communications during this time that empathize and help at least not have engagement crashed even further for those people groups that are already working at working from home?



SPEAKER 3 19:56

Yeah, that’s a beautiful question and so timely I’m going to go back to the business research groups and the employee resource groups, because that is why these spaces, these safe spaces were created for people to be able to go share and talk about. So from a digitus perspective, we actually got our multicultural in Asian lead resource groups they got together and they coined an open letter and talked about what it meant for people of Asian descent, Asian communities to be heavily impacted like this. And so they kind of poured their heart out in, we put that up on our website, saying for black and brown communities, be the women of color, we’re talking about these things. And we’re holding space for people to come and share and talk about what it means to be conflicted at work. Because you’re dealing with all of the things that are happening in the world. And letting people know, it’s okay to take a moment to pause and step back. Because, you know, we are not expecting you to be able to operate at full steam when your life is impacted, like trauma is being pulled up and pulled up because all these things are happening. So it really goes back to again holding that space, and letting people know that they can hold that space for themselves and others too.



SPEAKER 1 21:14

That’s helpful. That’s what’s up. I think it’s important to when you think about, like, you know, I say this as like, as a black person, like I recognize that, like my white owned, white majority leadership company is not going to fully grasp and understand the challenges that come with having dual consciousness in America as a black man, like I don’t, I don’t expect him to like, fully grasp that. Nor am I looking to have that conversation with him, like y’all are here to pay me. So I can pay my bills, right. But at the same time, it’s like, man, it would be nice if I knew that I wasn’t just like a product, a pure product to recognize when at this late stage capitalist society. So like, everybody’s trying to make some money off of somebody else. But like, and it’s anyway. But it’s just it’s.



SPEAKER 3 21:57

Not. I mean, that is so important. And because we don’t have that expectation, I will say this, for me specifically, that is where my social responsibility really comes in heavy, because I know it needs to come from me. So you know, I’ve been posting things on my Instagram just about the murders that have been happening and how angry and tired I am. And what that means for me, as a black woman with children, who I hope can see past 26 you know what I’m saying? Who can be an award winning EMT or whatever, and not have to fight to live. So I am holding space for you know, junior younger professionals underneath me as well as myself, because I believe that I need to do that for me. And I’m and I’m not expecting anyone else do.



SPEAKER 1 22:45

So let’s talk about what does it really look like for you as a black woman in this advertising space? Am I wrong to presume that like digital advertising, because a majority white space.



SPEAKER 3 22:57

You are not wrong to presume that traditionally? No, you’re not [Inaudible] I want to say shout out to all the multicultural agencies coming up, shout out to traditional agencies, like ours who have multicultural arms, shout out to all the people that are that are understanding specifically in the paid social space, because that’s fine, that that social is globally multicultural, right, and you can reach out and talk to and talk with so many different people, and shout out to the leaders that are you know, sticking with advertising, because they know that you can make it you know what I’m saying you can make a career out of this. And I was actually just talking to a really good friend of mine, because we’re both leaders in our own right. She’s on the client side, and within an agency, and we just talked about how like, you know, oftentimes strategy creative roles are kind of prized over media specific roles, which is what I’m in. But we are like we’re here and let us tell you why you should be here is so important for me to show younger black women of color, men of color, black men, all that coming up and like you can make a name for yourself and do some really good work.



SPEAKER 1 24:15

I mean advertising. You know, I’ve also I can’t help but notice I’m looking at some of your some of your pictures, you know, like you rock your hair, right? Like I don’t see a lot. And I’m curious to know like, you know, did you have a, I just have to ask, like, Can we talk a little bit about your like your hair journey and like, how like your self-image and then like, you know the role that maybe it played in your own personal brand



SPEAKER 3 24:38

100% my hair, my nails, they are my brand and if you ask anyone and they will tell you that I’m here has always been a way that I’ve expressed myself. When I was younger, I have longer hair. I went to the abuse line, chopped it off. My mother was upset. But I realized that in early age, it was my crown and it was a way for me to share who I was, without saying anything. If you look at Angela Davis and others who had their big afros, and just were making those bold statements in the 60s and 70s, I wanted that. And I wanted to be that, and my parents allowed me to do such because even if they didn’t, I probably would have done it anyway. So over time, I’ve leaned into that, that is really has allowed me to be creative and show my authentic side. And I don’t shy away from it. It has been a beautiful journey. And I am so thankful for the progression that it has led in my career, because I definitely make a statement. And I am all in I am 100%. You know what I mean? I am a black woman, and this is my crown. So I cannot shy away from the beauty and expression that it has given me in my career. So I do get a lot of questions. What is this? How do you do that? What does that look like? And so there goes that duality again, right? Oh, Lord, I got to explain this one more time. At the same time, I can say, let me talk to you about my culture. And let me show you who we are and why we’re so busy. So I always look at every moment as an educational moment, and I’m going to bring you along with me. After talking with me, you’re going to understand why I do what I do.



SPEAKER 1 26:17

That’s what’s up and inspiring. Denise has been incredible conversation. You’ve given a lot of shout outs already. And you’ve had you’ve been dropping gems this entire conversation, but I’ll give you one more space to do it. Before we let you go. Any parting words? Shout outs?



SPEAKER 3 26:32

Yeah, shout out to my digitus team shout out to my leader woman of color team. Shout out actually to my grandmother who actually passed a week and a half ago not due to COVID she lived an amazing life. She was 90 years old [Inaudible] Lomax. Hey the way a feminist before her time shout out to her.



SPEAKER 1 26:54

That’s beautiful the Danisha just thank you again for being a living corporate continue a friend of the show. Look forward to having you back soon. Y’all this has been live in corporate like you know we do like we sent her and amplify marginalized voices at work by having real talk in a corporate world. Make sure you check us out. Make sure you check out denisha Lomax now information’s coming in the show notes. You know, I’m saying I’m not going to list all of our domains. Just you know, we all on the internet, right? Barack Obama’s internet Al Gore’s internet, you know, and I mean, you check us out, you know, we’re on all the different platforms we talked about earlier. Black planet Zenga, zoom, zoom, shoot, what else? Live Wire. You know, we’re on everything. We are here, man. So live in corporate. You’ve been listening to the Danisha Lomax, Vice President, group director of national paid social lead and digital Veritas. And lead SF Viva women of color. Catch on next time. Peace. All right, listen, really appreciate y’all being in here. Make sure y’all check out the notes in the show notes. Make sure if you have a question that you want to send us you have a listener letter, anything like that. Just email us at living corporate podcast@gmail.com. Until next time, this has been Zack. Oh, yeah, make sure you give us five stars on Apple podcasts. All right. Catch y’all soon. Peace.



SPEAKER 4 28:25

Living corporate is a podcast on leaving corporate LLC. Our logo was designed by David Dawkins. Our theme music was produced by Ken Burns. Additional music production by Anton Franklin from musical elevation. Post production is handled by Jeremy Jackson. Got a topic suggestion. Email us at living corporate podcast@gmail.com. You can find us online on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and living dash corporate.com. Thanks for listening. Stay tuned.

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