One of the most sought out communication skills is the ability to explain complex ideas in a simple way. Between career coaching and digital business strategy, creating actionable steps with problems that have depth is what separates the professionals from the experts and puts us in positions to lead. Brooklyn-bred social entrepreneur, Angelina Darrisaw, is shaking up the industry by stretching us to think critically about diverse millennial talent and digital media strategies. As founder and CEO of the C-Suite Coach, making success accessible in the workplace through carefully developed programming, like Playing at the MVP 2018, is especially imperative to increase productivity and drive the potential revenue 2.3 times higher. Increasing visibility in the workplace has a similar strategy as entrepreneurs. While Google Analytics allows us to measure goals like website traffic, it provides us with insights on how well we’re executing our goals. Vanity metrics are much quicker to collect. Nonetheless, as marketers, we need to leverage that data to develop insights that identify why churn and bounce rates are high and activate that information. We spoke with Angelina about her experience navigating this industry and why it keeps her fulfilled.
Thanks so much for chatting with us, Angelina. Tell us a little about who you are and early beginnings that brought you here.
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. My mother was young when she had me and my father was absent for my entire life. Watching her hustle (i.e. be strategic, invest in her growth, be bold in professional advancement) to make sure we had more than we did in the early years was the birth of my hustle. Traveling from Bed-Stuy and East Flatbush to the wealthy upper east side for private high school fed that hustle as well. Each day I witnessed extreme wealth and extreme poverty and what seemed to separate the two was largely tied to race and opportunity and that was largely the foundation of my passion for diversity and inclusion work.
Idleness wasn’t an option in my Mother's house and I began interning–paid internships only–at 14. Before college, I had written for a citywide newspaper, interned at Bloomberg and a public policy org as well as attended a political program at Stanford. College and the years following were no different. I actively chased development and shadowing opportunities, internships, jobs, and more which brought me to the inception of my career. I firmly believe we–as people of color, women, and LGBT individuals–have to work to break doors down and build the networks we traditionally aren’t accepted into.
Overall, I’ve had opportunities that are extremely corporate and opportunities that are very front facing. What’s great about media, is that it often provides you with the skills needed to do both.
How do you define media and how does it impact you both as a person and as a professional?
Media has been a passion since I was introduced to it. As a political science major who graduated to work at ESPN, I would argue that media is political. It is influence and it creates perceptions. It is sharing messages. It is at times propaganda and at times truth. It can open worlds and build opportunities. It is a business.
I can define media from any angle you’d like. As a corporate strategist and analyst – my role in layman’s terms was to keep an eye on the revenue stream and source opportunities to innovate (mostly on digital platforms) without cannibalizing existing revenue.
It has been the foundation of my professional career and personally, it’s yielded me opportunities to brand myself and my business and grow my platform.
Speaker, Business and Google Coach, Brand Ambassador – your resume is thorough, Angelina. Talk to us more about why those things keep you fulfilled as a professional and the value you share to the various audiences you engage with.
My value in every job I’ve done and the work that I currently do has always centered around being a Rosetta stone of sorts. I make information that might be difficult for some very easy to translate. I did this with equity research on media for sales teams early in my career, I do this with technology tools for business owners now, and with my individual clients, I help them translate their passions, visions, and missions into a plan of action. For me, this is the utmost fulfilling. I also believe in being selective in the work you take on. Every great opportunity, every client who wants a coach isn’t right for me. I am most fulfilled when I curate the opportunities well that I bring into my life. Even work that you love can be meaningless if you are not doing it with the right partners/clients/companies. As it’s said, “everything ain’t for everybody.” And, I’ve been most unhappy when I’ve accepted work from a place of scarcity or desperation. Yet, I've most fulfilled when I have faith and am operating with a belief in abundance. This enables me to be highly selective.
What's a huge misconception that small business and larger business about Google Analytics? How do you see the industry misusing this tool?
Using analytics solely for vanity metrics (e.g. how many people came to my site) is probably the greatest misuse I see. There is so much to learn about how your site is being used for Analytics, that goes overlooked. I would begin by first identifying clearly what the point of the website is for your business and how that impacts your bottom line. From there, you can leverage analytics to see if you are meeting the goals that you laid out in that regard. If your goal is to get people to purchase on your site, you need to identify what is most effective in taking customers to the purchase completion page and enhance that customer journey. Analytics can tell you where people are falling off and can help you correct a process that may not be working. Instead of focusing on how many, focus on how to make those visitors into customers and help you meet your business goals.
I also recommend spending lots of time examining the source of your traffic. Knowing how people are coming to you can help you make very strategic business decisions, like where to spend your marketing resources (e.g. time/budget).
You're also an advocate for people of color in the digital media and tech industries. Where do you see the challenge in getting POCs in more spaces from your lens?
Racism. Sexism. Unconscious bias…. But more specifically a lack of coaching, a lack of training that caters to our unique needs, a scarcity mentality at times. And, like I mentioned earlier, sometimes it's us not always believing that we can operate from a place of abundance. That prevents us from negotiating, from being bold, from often putting ourselves out there for certain opportunities. If we feel financially strained, we will sometimes take on things that we are overqualified for or be afraid the opportunity will run away if we demand more. I encourage people of color to stop being “humble” and make asks that are aligned with our talents, skills, and experiences. We are always worth more than we realize. And believe me, if a client or company ever rescinds an opportunity because you tried to negotiate something, they were likely to be a really bad fit.
How do you want to define yourself in this industry?
I often say I feel like Tony Robbins coaching Oprah after I leave a session with one of my dynamic clients. I have gotten to a place where I curate really well who the right client is for me and witnessing their success makes me more proud than any accolade I’ve ever received. My clients are really impressive and it is a privilege to be apart of their growth journey. Also, the majority of my clients are diverse millennials. I want to be defined by my coaching, by my work to create more inclusive spaces, by actively contributing to the success of young diverse leaders, future CEOs, board members, community leaders. Part of that is through my work with individuals, and part of that is through my work with companies to help them develop their diverse talent. Career advancement for black and brown people is a matter of social justice and work in that area is my full-on life mission.