Didn’t Need Oprah Afterall…

Look Ma, I’m on the cover of Oprah’s Magazine! I’m not even sure how I happened on to Oprah’s website today, but I did and got a great laugh with the “O Mag Yourself” App.  But it turns out that you will benefit from this “happenstance”!  If you haven’t learned anything about me, by now you should know, the simplest things can inspire me!

When I got the idea to create CAREER Magazine, I had my heart set on interviewing Janice Bryant Howroyd, Founder and CEO of Act 1 Staffing.  My goal was to highlight a successful woman of color who had made great strides in the career industry. A professional mentor of mine (though we’ve never met), I  closely followed Bryant-Howroyd’s career,  admired her story and wanted to share it.  I made numerous attempts to interview with her my attempts were unsuccessful.  Time was ticking for getting my first issue out and I began to find myself frustrated with the process.

I called Chiquita Board, one of my board members to share my frustration and hoped to find a solution.  After sharing my dilemma, Chiquita said, ” Stephanie, you’re a woman of color who has made great strides in the career industry, it’s your magazine, your audience, and your first issue, put yourself on the cover!”  I had every excuse of why I didn’t want to do that.  I didn’t want people to think I was full of myself.  I was trying to separate the “Stephanie C. Harper” brand from the “CAREER Magazine”  Brand (which I quickly discovered was impossible).  I didn’t want people to think I was trying to be like Oprah, etc.  You name it, I found and excuse for why I should NOT be on the cover.     Chiquita as direct as she could be (one of the many reasons I love her so),  told me, “If you are waiting for Oprah, Essence, Black Enterprise or anyone else to tell your story, you’ll be waiting.  Suck it up, put your face on the cover and get off my phone!”  She assured me that she loved me, but hung up the phone anyway.

I sat there and thought long and hard about what she said.  Then picked up the phone and called my graphic designer and told her we were going in a different direction for the first issue.  When I received the cover back, I cried like a little baby.  I felt so many emotions that I was unable to express any of them.  However, we got the first issue out and it turns out that Chiquita was 100% correct about what was suppose to happen with the first issue of CAREER Magazine.   The first cover has become one of the staple pieces we use in our Corporate branding and the image has been all over the world and back!

So I guess I’ll sign off by saying, It’s an amazing feeling to have people in your inner circle who will help you reach your potential, challenge you to do great things, and even hang up in your face…in love, of course!  But more importantly if you are waiting on someone else to get your party started, it’s time for you to start the party yourself.   In closing, here are 3 tips for reaching your goals.

  • Stick to your deadline (even though, I didn’t get who I wanted for the first cover, I pressed on and kept my deadline)
  • Be Flexible (sometimes, we can miss the blessing in disguise because we are not open to change)
  • Take advice (having “yes people” around you will become more of a hinderance than a help, when it matter most)

I’m in such a great mood as I type this blog, I’m going to give you the goods and I’ll even share a partial re-print of the the very first issue of CAREER Magazine issue with you!  As wonderful, powerful, and successful as Oprah Winfrey is, it turns out that to get my party started, I didn’t need Oprah afterall.

If you are a small business owner and you have yet to establish an advisory board, here’s a few reasons why you should do so today!

Check this link for an opportunity to be included in the Small Business Issue of CAREER Magazine in January 2013.  Use the code SCH2013 and get 20% off!

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