UAD had the pleasure of interviewing the very inspiring Janell Hazelwood: Media & Branding Strategist, Digital Content Creator and Founder of ‘The BossMoves’.
1. What is ‘The BossMoves’ and what was your motivation / inspiration in creating it?
The BossMoves is a consultancy that serves minority and women-owned small businesses and non-profits, providing the following services: editorial strategy, content creation, business development and social media management.
My inspiration came during my more than 10 years in the media industry, watching business trends, covering executives and directly engaging with minority and women entrepreneurs. I saw that there was a need in these areas for amazing entrepreneurs who could boost their revenue and media exposure potential simply by tweaking aspects of their marketing, social media and business efforts to make them more competitive in the market. Minority women entrepreneurs are the fastest growing segment of business people in the country, however many face inequities. My passion is to help level the playing field a bit. Sometimes, I’m even able to coach an aspiring entrepreneur tap into their true purpose and monetize it as well.
2. What advice would you give to other young members of the diaspora when creating a brand / organisation?
First, go to God in prayer. Ask for your purpose and avenues to monetize it. Get into your Bible and strengthen your faith.
Second, do your research but don’t over think it. Act! Get a mentor who has sustained success in what you’re trying to do, and if you can’t find one, read up on your “dream” mentor. Follow their every move and learn from their strategy.
Third, partner with others who are building as well. Look for smart, innovative peers who are passionate about what they do, and find a way to build community with them, whether it’s via social media, Meet Ups, group meetings or masterminds. Host and coordinate events together or barter services. This has helped me TREMENDOUSLY! Lastly, don’t ignore what’s right in your back yard in terms of your direct connection to your culture, your resources, your family, your community and your network. Find a way to serve and use those elements to boost what you’re trying to do. We often will look everywhere else but in our own backyard for the blooms of success. Look in your own garden, from church to work to community organizations to family and friends.
I currently focus on global, career and women’s content. These are the areas that I’m most passionate about in terms of writing things that drive change or forge inspiration. If something I write leads to someone expanding the way they look at their purpose and how to monetize it, I had done my job and followed what God has called me to do.
4. As a member of the diaspora, how do you stay connected to your home country or Africa in general? What kind of contributions would you say you’ve made to the continent?
I have always been lead to being global-minded. My family is very diverse, with roots in America as well as abroad. I’ve never liked to feel closed in or limited, thus I’ve embraced learning all about and relating with diverse cultures and locales. My parents encouraged this growing up. I’m an 80s baby, so oftentimes in school, we would not learn about African or African American history as much. My mother, maternal grandmother and father were big proponents of education, travel and reading books about the history of black people all over the world that were not supplied by our schools or teachers. The stories and figured we learned about were often Eurocentric or Caucasian, and black as well as African history just wasn’t as widely talked about or taught as it is today
As an adult, I’ve carried this with me: participating in the West Indian parade in New York, Virginia and Washington; travelling to the Caribbean and giving back via charitable works; participating in cultural events at work and school; helming the Power Women of the Diaspora (www.blackenterprise.com/tag/power-women-of-the-diaspora) series at Black Enterprise (www.blackenterprise.com) to highlight positive stories of women professionals of Africa and beyond; and helming Global Content for the publication as well. I write positive stories of the diaspora that will connect people of color around the world via the power of the press and social media.
5. Would you ever consider being based in Africa through your field of work or do you aspire to work there doing something different?
Yes I do.
6. Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
In 10 years, I’m a publisher, international public speaker, author, wife, mother and evangelist. If I am doing what God called me to do—to show people the Christ in me through my talents in editorial and communications and to help people tap into their purpose and actually make a living at it—whatever makes their hearts sing and creates an impact using what God called them to do—I’ve truly accomplished the utmost.