Millennial Moves is an ongoing series highlighting millennials of color making creative and ingenious moves in their careers and as entrepreneurs
Before the age of 30, Gabrielle Simpson’s career already included working as an executive at CBS and NBC, a production assistant at ABC and teaching full time at New York University’s graduate school.
An advocate for women’s equal pay beyond Women’s History Month, Simpson is now the director of Communications and PR at FCB Global, a top advertising agency. She also still manages to teach at NYU. A graduate of Iona College, the Los Angeles-born media maven always had a passion for storytelling, or as her website boasts, a ‘Gift of Gab.’
Starting out in humble beginnings, going to several different schools and being told that she would only be able to go to state schools by her high school counselor, did not keep Simpson from dreaming beyond her neighborhood and setting her eyes on the East Coast.
Since then, she has worked with three of the top broadcast networks, has been featured in several media outlets, speaks on media and digital marketing across the country, and also shares career advice on outlets such as Jopwell.com and Thrive Global.
Simpson sat down with Black Enterprise contributor Mia Hall to share advice on how to ‘level up’ in 2018 and beyond.
Hall: What is one piece of advice that you can give a professional that wants to ‘level up’ or go to higher heights in their career?
Do free work, strategically.
Even when I’ve been looking for a promotion in my regular corporate jobs, I’ll start going above and beyond my job description so that when I’m ready to say, “hey I deserve more money, or a better title,” it’s because I am already doing above and beyond what is being asked of me. I meet a lot of girls who want to have a webcast or a podcast and want to have a successful blog and when I ask to see their blog they’ll tell me that they haven’t started it yet. You don’t need someone’s help to start your blog, you can create a YouTube channel on your own and that’s ‘free work’ because that’s you taking time out of your schedule to work on your brand, goals, passion, and craft.
I personally am getting into blogging more. I tell stories on others; I also tell stories about the company but I also want to tell stories about myself, so that’s me taking time to write things for the Huffington Post or a different publication, or my website, or my blog.
That is absolutely time-consuming. I will put reminders on my calendar so during this time I know that in the next two hours, I’m going to work on me and do some of this free work for myself that in the long run, will help to enhance my career, brand, and trajectory.
What would you suggest people do now, even in the first quarter, to elevate themselves throughout the year?
So, what I always do at the end of the year or top of the year is create a vision board.
I wanted to get a new car so last year I had a picture of a new car on my vision board and I ended up getting that exact car. Literally putting things into the atmosphere and being able to see it and review it will help you go far.
I also create a vision statement to go on my vision board. Depending on the industry that we’re in, we may not necessarily be taught that we are a brand, but everybody is a brand, regardless of what field you work in or what you do.
Because you are a brand you should have a mission statement for yourself. What is it that you are here to do and how are you going to do it? At the top of the year, I always revamp. I ask how do I take it to the next level? Then, I’ll rewrite my personal mission statement and that will be something that I put on my refrigerator or put it as the screensaver on my phone so that I’m constantly reminded that this is what I’m trying to accomplish.
Even though you might not have an exact map on how to get there because you know where you’re trying to go you’ll create a roadmap; you’ll do initiatives and figure out a way to get there and if you don’t know how to get there, ask. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to ask for help and find people who do what it is that you’re trying to do or can point you in the direction of where you’re trying to go.
One thing people don’t realize is that people like to talk about themselves and brag, so you can strategically use that as a way to finesse someone’s ego, but also use their time as a way to help you get further. I have weekly check-ins at the top of the year with all of my mentors to say ‘OK, these are my goals’ and because they are invested in me they are willing to help or point me in the right direction.
What other advice do you have for those interested in professional growth?
Never underestimate who can be a blessing to you and who can help you advance your career.