Every entrepreneur has a list, whether long or short, of people who are influential to their career. If you don’t, you should. I would even encourage you to have a list if you aren’t a business owner. I understand that I don’t know it all and having a go-to list of people whose work I admire for one reason or another helps me to stay motivated and gives me inspiration for my hustles – blogging, PR and operating a nonprofit organization just to name a few.
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, there are other people who inspire me but these are the ones that give me that extra push to go hard. Check them out below!
1. KAREN CIVIL
Karen Civil is a woman who knows what she’s doing. She just has “it,” whatever it is. The main thing that inspires me about Karen is that she is so humble yet authoritative at the same time. She has the presence of a boss, she can hold her own with the guys, she is respected in her industry and she isn’t overly sexualized. I love that she empowers her following and how she has incorporated sales into her blogging platform. Karen manages to keep her brand relevant in entertainment but she has stealthily integrated self-help into it as well…and it’s working.
2. NECOLE KANE (NECOLE BITCHIE)
Necole is a lot like me and the fact that I can relate to her so much is partly why she is one of the most influential people to my career. She is very transparent about her life and the struggles she faces personally and professionally and I like that about her. I try to do the same because of what reading about Necole’s life does for me. She shows that even when you are successful and everything looks good on the outside, you’ll have internal struggles and you have to get through them to become better and be happier even if that means taking a break. I love that she promotes emotional health. Not to mention she made urban entertainment blogging a real possibility for women like me.
3. MARK ZUCKERBERG
Mark Zuckerberg created a product that changed the world and society as we know it. He created a product so valuable and innovative that we cannot live without it and businesses must incorporate it at some point or another to survive and be considered credible. How amazing and mind-blowing is that?! The kicker is that he did it all under the age of 30. His success really speaks to my heart when I’m doubting if my vision will work or be as great as I know it can be. His journey wasn’t easy and I know there were times people thought he was crazy or that Facebook wouldn’t last. Had he let those things discourage him, we wouldn’t be able to communicate so easily, quickly and inexpensively with people all over the world today.
4. JASMINE (THE JASMINE BRAND)
Jasmine is the bomb dot com! I found out about her via a publicist that I follow on Twitter. After visiting her blog, I was so motivated by all that she was doing in the DMV and beyond. Jasmine’s career has catapulted in such a short time and watching her win from afar is the same as a win for myself. She’s part of major entertainment network events, has interviewed some of the biggest celebrities in the world and if I’m not mistaken, she’s living bicoastal like the boss she is. I’m so happy to be able to watch her grow and if you didn’t know, I’ve even blogged for her website. I’ll forever be grateful for having connected with her and I’m excited about what’s to come for her in the future.
5. CASON BURK
I’m so blessed to call Cason one of my good friends and he inspires me so much in the area of work ethic. I may call him a lot of things but lazy will never be one of the words that I use. He has devoted a lot of his life to his career and changing the culture of his organization. His persistence, dedication and drive makes me want to go harder every single day. Another thing that I admire most about Cason is his confidence. Nothing intimidates him, no matter how daunting the task may be and he knows that he can handle anything that he’s faced with. His confidence literally oozes from his body in the way he speaks, walks and moves. I love that about him.
Jouelzy is a #SmartBrownGirl with all the personality, sass and intelligence you could ever want in a woman. Her unapologetic approach to her career is what I admire most about her and she inspires me to be the same. She isn’t afraid to be herself and she knows how to capitalize on what works for her brand to make an even bigger impact among her audience. I love her YouTube channel and she represents for all the educated women that still have a little ratchet in them. Not only does she blog and vlog, she is also a published author and natural hair icon.
7. KANDI BURRUSS
I love Kandi’s entrepreneurial spirit. We share a similar trait in that even if its an area we aren’t really versed in, if we have an idea that could work we still will go for it. The way she turns her ideas into businesses and takes failure for what it is – a learning experience – is so inspirational to me. I also admire her ability to balance her personal life with her role as a business owner and she shows me that it’s possible to have it all.
8. LALA ANTHONY
When I think of the queens of media, I think LaLa Anthony. Even though she works more in television and film these days, she has a lot of media experience under her belt. She has hosted television programs, reported from the red carpet and more. La has a very vibrant and genuine personality and that’s how I always want to be no matter what level of success I achieve in life. I want to remain genuine and full of love for my career. La is also an author and that’s a title I hope to add to my name very soon.
9. DESHUNDRA GIBSON (D. NICOLE)
DeShundra is a phenomenal woman. We attended high school and undergrad together and I’m so happy for the way she has really taken the reigns of her future in her own hands. What inspires me most about Shundra is how she has really just owned who she is and who she was created to be. That’s an area I struggle in because I don’t ever want anyone to think of me as being “Hollywood” or anything like that. Observing her and watching her growth has been extremely helpful and encouraging for me.
10. JAY Z
This list would not be complete without Mr. Sean Carter on it. Jay Z had huge odds against him but he didn’t allow them to dictate his future. I love that he has built this entertainment empire with so many facets from sports to music and clothing. One thing that I like about Jay Z is how he networks with people from all walks of life and many different industries. I also like that despite his celebrity status, he still maintains a relatively low profile and isn’t always on the scene. The element of mystery works in his favor and keeps us waiting on his next move.
Your turn to talk…
Do you have any people who influence you? Share their names and why they inspire you in the comment section below.