Phenomenal Grit, Career Conversations for Women of Color is the go-to place for inspiring you to tap into your personal magic, navigate challenges, crush it at work, advance in your career, and find joy doing it! In each episode, Phenomenal Grit host, Alia Kemet will interview amazing women of color who will share their wit, grit, and wisdom to help you achieve your career goals. Grit is defined as having an indomitable spirit. A person with grit has a firmness of character, strength, passion, perseverance, and most of all courage. In fact, it doesn’t hurt to have it in a remarkable or exceptional way, I’m talking—phenomenally! No Grit, No Pearl. Let’s Go!
She's A Baaaad Mama Jama! Finding Your Voice with Mimi Dixon, Marketing Executive
Today on Phenomenal Grit, Mimi Dixon, Crayola Marketing Executive takes us back to a pivotal moment in her childhood which helped define the leader she is today. She’s an engaging storyteller and visionary. I appropriately titled this episode, “She’s a Baaaad Mama Jama” and you’ll have to tune in to find out why. Enjoy the conversation.
About Mimi Dixon:
Mimi Dixon is a highly motivated and dynamic thought leader with +20 years of expertise in Integrated, Shopper & Sports marketing for leading global brands. She describes herself as a “Big Idea Generator, Activation Master, Strategic Thought Leader, and Passionate Marketer”. Currently, she is Director – Brand Activation & Content at Crayola. In this role, she spearheads Advertising, PR, Shopper Marketing, National marketing campaigns, and Digital & Social Content & Imagery. Most recently, she led the development & activation of Crayola’s 2020 Colors of the World skin tone crayon launch which garnered over 3 billion impressions to date and has gone on to win various marketing, diversity & inclusion & product industry awards including a TOTY (Toy of The Year) award for Creative Toy of the Year. Mimi also serves as the Chair for Crayola’s first Diversity & Inclusion Council & is hard at work in building the council’s foundation for both the council and the company.
Mimi has been featured in Forbes, Black Enterprise, Diversity Woman, AdWeek, and CBS Saturday morning. She has also served as a 2021 judge for the Effie, AME, and ANA Multicultural Excellence Awards. Prior to joining Crayola in June of 2014, Mimi held various roles within increasing responsibility at Campbell Soup Company over a tenure of 16 years. During this time period, Mimi executed copious national marketing campaigns, managed the company’s NFL sponsorship for eight years, activated numerous brand & celebrity partnerships, and lead retail-specific activation for key retailers like Target, Kroger, Safeway & Publix.
When Mimi is not creating or activating the next successful national marketing campaign, she enjoys traveling, reading, binge-watching true crime & reality TV shows, shoe shopping and spending time with family and friends. Mimi is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated and completes public service activities with her local alumnae chapter. Mimi has a Bachelor’s of Arts from Rutgers University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Delaware. She currently resides in Hamilton, New Jersey.
Colors of the World Skin Tone Crayons & More | Crayola.com | crayola.com
Holding Space for Women & Following Your Calling with Ayodele Kinchen--Entrepreneur, Waist Bead Practitioner
Ayodele Kinchen is a native and current resident of East Palo Alto (EPA). She grew up in a Pan-African home and community circle, attending independent, k-8th grade African-centered schools in EPA and was immersed in Afro-centric cultural academia, leadership development, and rites of passage programs created and coordinated in part by her mother. She is a graduate of Howard University (Washington, DC) where she received her BA in Business Administration-Management (1999) and graduate of START-Up (2002) – an EPA business incubator and training program for entrepreneurs.
Ayodele is an entrepreneur and professional dancer. She began making jewelry and handbags and officially launched her business, Duafe Designs in 2004. She worked her business during off-hours/weekends and managed to perform as a primary dancer for Fua Dia Congo - a Congolese African Dance company where she studied under the renowned Malonga Casquelourde. Her dance career extended to teaching youth Congolese dance, drum, history, and song as a part-time resident artist for and the ALICE program (Arts & Literacy in Children’s Education, Oakland- 2004-2008) and VALA (Visual Arts Language Arts, a Tides Program, Oakland, 2008-2013). Her resident artist work introduced her to EnCompass Academy Elementary in Oakland, where she accepted the position as the Director of After School programs (2013-2016).
Ayodele worked full-time at EnCompass Academy and part-time as a business entrepreneur until her 3rd child was born. Her growing family needs and increased demand for her products did not function in tandem with a full-time job. Ayodele too long desired to be 100% self-employed. Thus, in 2016, she resigned from her Director post to further invest in her growing business and create a better work-life balance for her and her family.
As the gifted visionary, designer, and owner behind DUAFE Designs, Ayodele specializes in one-of-a-kind waist beads, natural shell jewelry, fashion accessories, and eclectic handbags. She is a self-taught artist with a keen eye and talent for design, and finds joy creating wearable art that transforms the everyday woman into a Queen, and young girls into empowered Princesses. She builds awareness of African culture, tradition, and holistic wellness through her services that include waist bead parties, facilitating sister circles, youth/community workshops, a rite of passage program for girls 7-17 (Sisters of Tomorrow Bat Area), and consulting. Ayodele uses her art as a medium towards empowering young girls and women by designing pieces that heal, encourage, honor, and beautify the mind, body, and spirit. Her products can be found on her website www.duafedesigns.com or at her store located in Downtown Oakland, Ca.
Unapologetically Supporting People of Color with Tiana Conley, Marketing Executive
How do you overcome adversity and develop an authentic voice while thriving in corporate settings? "There is no such thing as a diversity hire. Sit at the tables that value and respect you!" Tiana and I cover a myriad of topics in this raw and rare conversation. We're talking about self worth, how to recognize true allies and, thriving not just surviving in your career. Enjoy the conversation!
Tiana Conley serves as the Vice President of Global Cereal for the Kellogg Company, where she is responsible for the $6 billion flagship portfolio with treasured brands such as Special K, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops and Corn Flakes. Prior to joining Kellogg, she was Marketing Director of global tequila at Beam Suntory, where she led a portfolio of 5 brands and oversaw operations at the Casa Sauza Heritage Center in Tequila, Mexico. Before joining Beam Suntory, Ms. Conley held a variety of marketing roles at Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble, including leading the $4 billion Global Bath Tissue Portfolio as well as leading the P&L for the North American Olay brand. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Business Administration degree from Xavier University Williams College of Business in Cincinnati, Ohio. Tiana is based in Chicago and is mother of two children, Griffin and Ava.
Don't Edit Yourself. Go for it! with Ingrid Otero-Smart, President & CEO
I'm kicking off Season 2 of Phenomenal Grit with Ingrid Otero-Smart, President/CEO, Casanova//McCann, a minority owned multicultural advertising agency. This is an honest conversation about showing up in your career authentically as a working mom, a woman of color and defining your career for yourself at any age. Ingrid encourages women to go for the roles they truly want and to chart their own course. Enjoy the conversation.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Ingrid Otero-Smart has over 30 years of advertising experience in the U.S Hispanic Market and Puerto Rico. She joined Casanova Pendrill in August of ’08 as President/CEO. The Agency re-branded as Casanova//McCann in 2016 and she acquired the majority stake from Interpublic Group in 2020, making Casanova a minority-owned Agency once again.
At Casanova, she leads the agency operations, managing offices in Costa Mesa, New York, Detroit, and field teams in Dallas and Chicago.
Account experience includes Nestlé USA, US Army, Carl’s Jr, US Postal Service, Cigna, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, California Lottery, US Bank and Ford Division, among others.
Under her leadership, the Agency doubled in size, opened the Detroit office, expanded the Nestlé relationship from one brand assignment to 18, and doubled its revenue.
Ingrid started her career at McCann in PR and joined Mendoza Dillon & Asociados in California in 1987. She worked there as an Account Director and left 18 years later as President/COO.
In 2005, she joined Anita Santiago Advertising as President.
Ingrid is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (currently known as CMC). She is a founding member of this organization and has served as the Treasurer, head of its Marketing Communications Committee, chair of the Media Committee, and is a Past-President.
She is a former member of the Board of Directors of CPI Corp.; a former member of the Board of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce; former member of the Board of the U.S. Hispanic Family of the Year.
Ingrid currently serves in the Dean’s Advisory Board of the School of Communications, at California State University Fullerton (CSUF), Agency Advisory Board for the School’s Practical Advantage Agency, and on the Board of Governors of this institution. She is also a founding member of the Latino Communications Institute and currently serves as its Vice-Chair.
Awards and Recognitions:
2009 Hispanic Ad Executive of the Year, 2011 OC Business Journal Business Person of the Year (Marketing), 2013 OC Business Journal 50 Most Influential in Orange County, Earlier in her career, Hispanic Business Magazine recognized her as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics, two years in a row, 2013 Hispanic Marketing Achievement Award for her contributions to the US Hispanic marketing industry : 2013 Girl Scouts of Orange County Celebrate Leadership Award, 2014, Hispanic Lifestyle Executive of Excellence, 2014 OC Business Journal 50 Most Influential in Orange County, 2015 Ad Color Rock Star Award, 2016 AWNY Advertising Women of NY Mother of the Year, 2016 NY Puerto Rican Day Parade Corporate Executive of the Year, 2017 California State University Fullerton’s Practical Advantage (the school’s student-run advertising agency) recognized her with its first Excellence Award, - 2019 School of Communications at California State Fullerton Distinguished Communicator Award, 2019 Oasis Partnership Award, 2019 Inducted into the Hispanic Advertising Hall of Fame, 2020 Latina Style Entrepreneur of the Year, Los Angeles
Ingrid is a magna cum laude graduate of the School of Communications of the University of Puerto Rico. She has a son, Jordan, who has a degree in Communications and is pursuing a career as an actor.
Turning Challenges Into Opportunities with Imani Bashir, Journalist, Storyteller & Entrepreneur
Have you ever met someone you instantly know is an absolute star--someone who lights up the room with their energy and joy? This is what it's like to be in the company of this week's Phenomenal Grit guest.
I am absolutely in love with this conversation and so excited to feature journalist, storyteller, and entrepreneur--Imani Bashir. This is a conversation full of grit, laughter and lessons. Learn how Imani began and grew her career. If you are looking to be inspired to turn challenges into opportunities this conversation is for you. No Grit. No Pearl. Enjoy the conversation.
About Imani Bashir
Imani Bashir is a Black American Muslim journalist and thought-leader who has appeared in Forbes, The NY Times, Glamour Magazine, BBC, and many media outlets around the world. Having lived in 5 countries, her storytelling speaks of cultural connectivity, social issues, and alternative living as an expatriate. Having lived in Wuhan, China at the beginning of the pandemic, Bashir and her family were displaced for 7 months living in hotels and Airbnb's.
Throughout that time Bashir continuously created work that dispelled prejudices surrounding COVID-19, leaned into transparency of being separated from her husband and son due to border closings, and as a result of living out of luggage, stepped into her entrepreneurial spirit to create her own line called The Takeoff Collection.
Her greatest goal as a Black Muslim woman that considers themselves a global citizen is to champion travel through the lens of togetherness, immersion, and acceptance. She can be found on all social media platforms @sheisimanib
Growing a Family Legacy: From Corporate To Entrepreneurship with Karla Trotman, President & Chief Executive Officer
This conversation is about Karla Trotman's journey from corporate America to embracing entrepreneurship and the legacy of her family business.
Karla mentions this article in our conversation. It cites that 50% of multi-cultural women were thinking of quitting and leaving corporate careers. Karla leveraged her experience in business, to lead and grow her family business. Her career plans are rooted in giving her family a legacy her grandchildren can one day eat from. Enjoy the conversation.
More about Karla Trotman
Karla Trotman is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Electro Soft, Incorporated (ESI), an electronics manufacturing and engineering firm in the United States. She holds a B.S. in Business Logistics from The Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from Drexel University. The breadth of her experience in business extends to supply chain logistics, purchasing, global scheduling, and e-commerce where she served in key roles in companies to include Honeywell, Gap, and IKEA.
Defying expectations is a common thread in the life of Karla. While at IKEA, Karla became the mother of two sons. With two challenging pregnancies, Karla recognized the difficulties prenatal and postnatal mothers experience. Her tenacity for learning, assessing, and fulfilling the needs of local and international communities is evidenced through her establishing Belly Button Boutique while on maternity leave. Karla utilized the power of the Internet in combination with her logistics background to start a successful online business selling products for prenatal and postnatal women. Over the span of 8 years, her business expanded to celebrity and international clientele. She was featured on NBC 10 News, People Magazine’s Celebrity Baby Blog, CBSNews.com, Huffington Post Live, several radio shows, books, and countless blogs.
The success of Belly Button Boutique was an indicator to Karla of her ability to expand her horizons and affect change across multiple industries. She saw her success in navigating both the online space of business and logistics as an opportunity to propel Electro Soft, Incorporated (ESI) forward. ESI was established by Karla’s parents Jim and Sheila Wallace in 1986 and is the largest African-American electronics contract manufacturing and engineering firm in the United States of America. Karla exited corporate America with her sights focused on ESI. Over the past ten years she served in the roles at ESI as Special Projects and Marketing Manager, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and currently as the Chief Executive Officer. Under her guidance, ESI was able to gain a competitive advantage by implementing an online strategy ultimately increasing became a flat revenue streak.
Through her leadership at ESI, Karla was named an Influential Woman in Manufacturing by Putnam Media. In addition, she won regional business awards and acquired GWL Technologies. As an influential voice in manufacturing, Karla cuts through the narrative of what is expected of a leader in her industry and sets a precedent for future leaders.
Karla inspires future leaders to be their true selves and to go after whatever interests them in life. She serves her community as a board member for Carson Valley Children’s Aid and the Montgomery Child Advocacy Project, which raises money to train lawyer advocates to support abused children and victims of human trafficking. She is Co-Chair of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Manufacturing Alliance, President of the Drexel Executive MBA Alumni Board, Member of the Drexel University Board of Governors, and an appointee to the Montgomery County Workforce Development Board. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated.
I absolutely love the podcast, Phenomenal Grit! All the episodes have served a purpose in my life as a mom, parent, entrepreneur, and teacher.
Grab your notebook and pen!!
So many great nuggets of wisdom and phenominal thought about topics that are presented in a way that inspire me to want to be great! Thank you for this amazing podcast! I look forward to listening to more and more! You are a God send!
Inspiration, Action, and pure Awesomeness!!!
Alia, thank you!!
Your podcast is insightful, funny, actionnable, inspirational and just plain motivating! What great conversations you are leading. Amazing guests and discussions. I truly cherish those 20 min weekly listening time. Can’t wait to listen some more!!