On the Rise: Tola Lawal

2015headshot2-1When I think of the word Go Getter, there are a few individuals that comes to mind and Tola Lawal is one of them. Having been the driving force behind some of the best marketing brand , Tola’s work ethic and knack for marketing speaks for itself. These days, you can find Tola doing another type of branding – one that involves providing the youth with the tools needed to pursue a higher education. Read more about Tola below!

1.Where were you 6 months after college?

I always knew I wanted to be in PR/ Marketing but I didn’t know how to get there. After graduation, I applied to various roles in marketing however, after many failed attempts I came across a temp agency that helped me get to my destination and the rest was history. I highly recommend college graduates to reach out to a temp agency and build a relationship with a recruiter in the beginning of their job search.

2.Tell me about your career journey to counseling.

Throughout out my career, I have always been the point of contact for advice, especially when it came to college counseling. When I was laid off in 2014 from BET, I took that opportunity to fuel my curiosity. I first started with doing a tour discussing the transition from high school to college which was sponsored by Black Enterprise. I then launched my non- profit organization Gyrl Wonder. Now, as Assistant of Director of College Success I have never found myself more comfortable and passionate about my job and I enjoy every second of it.

tola_in_class3. What sparked Tola Speaks?

I am a Marketer by nature, I realized that if I wanted to do speaking engagements focused on the youth, I needed to create a successful brand around it.

Continue reading

On The Rise: Brittiney Jones

IMG_6921Brittiney Jones is not a stranger to life obstacles. In fact when life gave her lemons, she made the best lemonade out of it and ended up founding her own non-profit organization. While in High School, Brittiney was emancipated at an early age and began paying bills, essentially becoming an adult. It was while working with a case worker she realized  that there were not a lot of resources for people similar to her.  Upon completing her bachelors from Western Michigan University, she moved to Chicago and  founded Chicago Youth Opportunities Initiative, an organization serving youth who are wards of the state in Chicago. While maintaining a full-time role she  managed to  recruit 7 Board Members, 4 Associate Board members and over 20 mentors to the nonprofit.  Let’s find out more about Brittiney.

  1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan. I attended Michigan State University my first year out of High School for 3 years and finished at Western Michigan University due to some financial hardships. Looking back I’m so glad I had the experience to attend a large school and a smaller university. There’s so many perks to each and I’ve learned so much along the way. Currently I’m working in Chicago for a technology company within Human Resources. I enjoy traveling, learning new things and the outdoors.

  1. Where were you 6 months after college?

Six months after college I began working in sales for a technology company. I created a pretty easy transition for myself. During my last semester I attended our universities career fair where I passed around my business card, resume and interviewed on the spot with a variety of different companies. Shortly after I had some offer’s coming my way and secured a job. I knew early on that I had to began to plan for the next step in my life.

  1. How did you get into the HR field?

While working at my prior company I was contacted by a recruiter through LinkedIn with the opportunity to join a start-up tech company. At the time the company was working out of an incubator with a little over 32 employees and looking to scale. I accepted the job offer because I wanted to have the opportunity to be apart of a company from the ground up, see things happen in real-time and be able to create an impact within the organization. During my time working I began to take on special projects and proved to my CEO that I was deserving then managed to transition from sales to a promotion to a role focused on talent acquisition and development. I wanted to be challenged and further my skill set, I sought out an opportunity with greater responsibilities and landed a managerial talent acquisition role with a myfirst start-up organization.

  1. You are a serial entrepreneur, how do you stay on top of things while managing your personal life?

I use a philosophy called Eat the Frog First. It’s about doing what you don’t want to do first and getting that out the way. I’m a huge fan of list. I love the idea of writing things down and crossing them off as they get completed. I also love calendar invitations. My life both personal and professionally are driven by Google calendar invites. Friends will send me calendar invites for dinner, festivals, the beach and I’ll block off my personal time based on priorities like CYOI, emails, reading etc. I’ve also been looking into a new app called Sloth to focus. It’s a timer and I use it like a game.

Continue reading