Where were you born?
El Paso, Texas
What school did you attend?
George Mason University, BA, Organizational Management & Communications; The Florida State University, MA, Integrated Marketing Communications
What gained you interest in the NIH?
My interest in the NIH, more accurately my interest in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), came by way of an offer of full autonomy over my work. During my interview with the office leadership, I felt confident that this potential employer was going to instill a lot of trust in my creative ability. That means everything in my field because branding is, at its core, storytelling. And stories take time to tell. It was the character and trust of the EDI leadership that sold me on coming to NIH. It helped, too, that the National Institutes of Health (I later learned) is the Nation's prestigious, premier bio-med research institution. To me, it was simply a bigger story and more listeners to tell.
What kind of work do you do at the NIH?
I am the brand manager within the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). I tell the Agency's story of equal employment opportunity, anti-discrimination, diversity and inclusion. Part of the work is managing the office's online presence from design, content, film work, and over user experience, to social media and blog strategy.
What message would you like to send to young Blacks who are considering going to college?
Higher education is a beautiful thing and it is what you make of it. If you decide to go to college, go with two intentions: one, to gain the "college experience". By this I mean the independence, personal discovery, and self-knowledge. Two, go with your head in the game. Have an idea of what you want to learn or figure out. I would even encourage you to consider a two-year college first to knock out the general requirements. By then, you'll have your game face on for finishing your final two years and be less likely to fall into the traps of the college environment that prolong the whole experience. Also know that, in this digital age, there are tons of opportunities online for self-starters. Honestly, there is almost nothing you can't type into Google or YouTube and find a near-complete curriculum. Explore platforms like Skillshare, Treehouse, and Khan Academy. You can learn a lot from following the right people on social media and reading industry acclaimed magazines and blogs. I went to college and earned two degrees, thankfully. My degrees did help me get into the door. But I attribute much of my knowledge and any success that I have had in the branding, marketing, and creative arenas to my attention to the trendsetters I've followed and learned from online.