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Brand strategist Deondriea Cantrice on how to embrace and own your career path

DCAuthor, social media mogul and brand strategist Deondriea Cantrice greets everyone with a smile. Rightfully so, the seasoned business professional is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt. A mother at 14, Cantrice had to put college on hold to focus on rearing her children, who are now ages 24, 20 and 17. In 2006, she deemed it imperative to return to college; so she earned her bachelor’s in communications, with a minor in psychology and an emphasis in conflict management; she has since graduated from several leadership programs and has become certified in customer service training, stress and time management and became a trained facilitator and skilled speaker on personal branding, communications, writing and motivation.

Here, the vice chair with the city of Aurora Human Relations Commission and board member for the Department of Regulatory Agency Psychologists Examiners Board talks career and aspiration.

What inspires you to show up at work every day?
When I show up at the office, people are happy to see me and they appreciate the value that I provide. Knowing that I make a difference and the sense of accomplishment are the reasons that I show up for work each day.

How did you determine your career path?
I woke up one morning on this career path. Being very fluid and open to learning, I accepted a job in marketing. I never performed the required job duties before, but I was confident that I would be able to perform the job. With a little direction, on the job training and motivation, I embraced and owned my career path in writing and marketing.

What other industries connect to your career choice?
There is not an industry that doesn’t connect to my career choice. Whether it’s in research, advertising, internal communications, or training all industries have a need for a writer that can reach to the target audience and convey a message effectively.

Describe the skill sets that are essential to future business leaders and innovators.
It is essential that future leaders and innovators possess the courage and confidence to take calculated risks, invest in their employees, clients and vendors. Open communication and trust has to be the cornerstones to be and remain a leader and innovator.

Define innovative methods you apply to your business and life.
I am consistently discovering an innovative approach to business, life and relationships. I have been able to develop effective use of social media platforms to reach and engage my audience to build mutually beneficial relationships. I also understand the value of diversity and have created a network of people that think, create and operate differently than I do.

How do you set goals and evaluate your success?
I set goals that are in alignment with my personal brand and career path. I consider what I would like to achieve and why I want to achieve it, then I create a strategy to accomplish my goals. I evaluate my success by not only achievement, but lessons learned, and the people that I have been able to impact.

Who do you consider peers in your field? Who is setting a great example of best practices?
I consider anyone that is passionate about writing and committed to the craft of writing as a peer. I believe JK Rowling, James Patterson and Tyler Perry as great examples. They all work diligently to remain relevant and have the ability to write within several outlets and reach the masses.

How do you stay abreast of changes in your field?
With globalization and the continuous evolution of technology, changes occur faster than ever before. In order to keep my finger on the pulse of my field, I read, research, subscribe to various mediums and I continuously invest in my education, my craft and myself.

Name your favorite role models for success in two industries.
I would say Oprah Winfrey is one of my role models because she was confident to enter an industry that wasn’t color, woman, or weight friendly. Once she infiltrated the industry, she dominated it. My second role model would have to be Bill Gates because of his innovation with technology and his recognition of loyalty.

Name three books that changed how you saw life that you would recommend to others.
The books that served as pivotal changes in my life that I always recommend to others are The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford, The Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey and The Four Agreements by Miguel Angel Ruiz

Explain why lifelong learning is important to you.
Lifelong learning is essential to personal growth. I have discovered that the more I learn, the more I know. As a direct result of my lifelong learning, my critical thinking skills are sharper and I am able to relate to a broader audience in a variety of situations.

Describe the voice of success that you hear in your head.
The voice of success in my head speaks with authority it is resourceful, brave and confident. It tells me that I can have my hearts’ desire, if I am willing to do the work. More importantly it tells me to weigh the rewards and the risks, and then act.

Community success based on what you do in the community means what to you?
Community success for me is building a community of pride, respect and education. Having the ability to develop a network and utilize the resources within the community, will produce a successful sustainable community.

What role does technology play in your daily life?
Getting out of bed every day would be useless if I didn’t have my iPhone. The ability to access social media platforms, apps, email, and my calendar has made me more efficient and productive. On a good day, I actually use my phone to talk to people.

What software and technology tools have made the biggest difference in your life?
Microsoft Office and I have been going steady for a very long time. I love that the software is intuitive and work in tandem with one another.

How do music and cultural events define your self-identity?
My identity is defined by music. Music is timeless, evokes emotion, and it is the only form of communication that can penetrate the mind without a filter. Whether it’s a memory, the lyrics, the melody or a feeling, everyone can listen to music and take something different from it. I am music!

Define your personal culture.
My personal culture is one of integrity, ingenuity and loyalty than is based on values. My personal culture is fluid, innovative and creates positive, memorable experiences for those that I encounter.

Describe your favorite vacation spot.
My favorite vacation spot is anywhere with sunshine, water, sand, a cool breeze and an umbrella drink.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would you change?
If I could change one thing about the world, it would be for people to be more understanding. Understanding and agreement are not synonymous but if we better understood culture, values, and people there would be less conflict, judgment and pain in the world.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would you change?
If I could change about myself it would be to become more disciplined in saying no.