Senior Communications Executive and Owner – bRand Communications & Consulting

College/University attended?

University of Georgia – Journalism

Tell us about yourself:
I’m what people refer to as a “true southerner”. I grew up right outside of Atlanta, GA and went to college at UGA where I graduated from what continues to be one the of the top journalism schools in the country. I’ve always loved to read and write, which led me into communications, brand marketing and PR. I am the mother of 2 great kids 21 and 10.
I have worked in PR, marketing, and communications for 25 years. For half of those years, I worked on the agency side at Ketchum and then half on the corporate side at Coca-Cola and ExxonMobil. Currently, I own a small consulting firm (bRand Communications & Consulting based in Chattanooga, TN.) Clients include Honeywell, the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee, Chipotle and Mars Petcare. I specialize in internal/executive and sustainability communications but also support clients for external branding and media relations.

What does leadership mean to you?  

I believe in “it’s not you, it’s us”. For me, it isn’t about personally winning. It is about empowering my teams to win together. I truly believe that everyone plays an important role and should feel valued if I am doing my job as a leader.

What advice do you have for women aspiring to be leaders in their field?

Learn as much as you can and continually improve your skills. Find out what you really enjoy to do the most and then do it! Ask for what you want and clearly explain what you can deliver. Consistently check in with your manager to find out how you can improve. Finally, grow and nurture your network of other women (and men) that you admire and trust.

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Why and how did this person impact your life?

My first boss when I was an intern at Coca-Cola in the 90s. She has been my boss several times throughout my career and is still a close friend. She has always given me solid advice and counsel, even when it was hard to hear. And she has pushed me to be better.

What has been your proudest moment in your career?

That is hard to pinpoint one moment over a 25-year span. The first one that comes to mind is when I was asked to interview for an extremely difficult senior role working for a very tough manager. It was also during a tough period in my life personally. I made a list of pro’s and con’s and then really thought about what I could learn from the role and what I wanted to get out of it. I negotiated for a promotion and accepted the role. Although it was probably the hardest few years of my career, I learned more in those years and made more strong connections than I did over the entire span of my career.

What steps do you think members can take to make more of a difference in women’s leadership issues in the local community?

Join groups like this one, be as active as possible and offer to provide advice, mentorship and any free services you can to educate and help others.

How do you like to spend your free time?

Being with family and friends. Hiking and enjoying the outdoors.

What have you gained most from your CWLI membership?

I’m a new member, although I was a member several years ago before being relocated to Texas. I found that other CWLI members are willing to help others as much as possible, no matter your years or experience or qualifications.