Do What Works For You

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I often speak with women in business about what it takes to be successful. What’s in the secret sauce? There is much discussion around women leaders and what happens behind the scenes for us to effectively serve our roles.

I must admit, I can be naïve when it comes to this – but, I’m okay with that. My motto is: “The best route to take is whatever works for you.”

Growing up in love with music, I wished upon a million stars that I could sing. I probably rehearsed my favorite ballads until the tracks wanted to give up! I even took choir as a high school freshman, and had the nerve to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner”…solo! At some point, I had to face the reality that this wasn’t going to happen for me. Instead, I took the route of being inspired by voices like Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.

I moved on, focusing my energies where I could win. I started journaling and fell in love with writing. My goal became to find a way to align my passions and entrepreneurial spirit.

When I first interviewed at Flowers Communications Group out of college, I had the chance to meet Founder/Chairman, Michelle Flowers Welch. What an opportunity. I walked in, and noticed immediately her regal demeanor, wrapped into a graceful, 5’11” frame. Within moments, I knew she was a sharp, amazing leader. I asked about her entrepreneurial spirit…my naïve self. What she shared – like Aretha’s voice – made a lasting impact.

When I returned to Flowers in 2008, I got a lot of feedback: some didn’t think it was a good move, and I was boxing myself in by returning to a company where I’d already worked – especially a small one, focused on multicultural communications. But I knew the opportunity was different – more about quality of life that comes when you’re passionate about what you do, versus the concern of people’s perceptions.

The lesson? I learned early that my 5’4” self was never going to be tall like Michelle, and it would take this lifetime and another to sing like Whitney. As CEO of Flowers Communications Group, mother, wife and all the other life titles I proudly carry, I stay rooted in the gift of who I am and what makes me unique. It’s too tiring trying to move to the pace of someone else’s shadow. But what I can do, is stick to what works for me – even if that means making mistakes and having no one else to blame. I like thinking clearly; so, I block out information overload that clouds my judgment or taints me with cynicism. When I get off track, I look to my younger, bold self to bring me back. She always reminds me to do what works for me. And, that’s what I do.

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About Rashada Whitehead

Rashada Whitehead is president/CEO of Flowers Communications Group, a leading multicultural public relations agency that specializes in integrated marketing communications initiatives. With more than a dozen years of related experience, she is a well-respected senior strategist, sound counselor and precise decision maker who inspires creative, efficient and impactful outcomes. Outside of the office, Ms. Whitehead serves on the boards of Chicago Scholars and My Sister’s Keeper, is a mentor with several youth-oriented organizations and leads professional development classes for teenagers and young professionals.