DeChelle A. Harris
CEO and principal interior designer at Chelle Albert Interiors
What inspires you to show up to work every day?
I love my job. I love helping people turn their homes and spaces into a place they love and that others love. I love helping people to feel better about themselves and their home. I believe happiness starts at home. If a person is happy where they live, they can in turn create happiness in the world.
How did you determine your career path?
I took time to figure out my passion, the things I enjoyed that didn’t feel like work. I made a list. The list was full of random things, which didn’t seem career related. Then I researched which careers would allow me to do those same things.
Describe the skill sets that will be essential to future business leader and innovators.
Integrity, discipline, honesty, drive, flexibility, resourcefulness and vulnerability are all extremely important when starting or leading a business or becoming an innovator. You have to be willing to get down in the trenches, get dirty, work hard and earn respect and a following. It may take a while for the vision to come to fruition and you will be tested, these attributes will make staying the course easier.
Define innovative methods you apply to your business and life.
I use social media to engage with potential clients and brands in which I am interested in establishing partnerships and working relationships. I use running as a metaphor for life to help me get through difficult times. Some runs are hard and every step hurts while other runs seem like you could keep going forever. There are hills and places to stumble, but if you keep going and push through the pain, you’ll find the sacrifice extremely rewarding.
How do you set goals and evaluate your success?
I have a big picture plan and then I have a small picture plan. I know the big picture is where I want to end up but I spend most of my time focusing on the smaller scale small picture plan. I evaluate success on how far I’ve come, the lessons I’ve learned and the mistakes I’ve made. I view mistakes and failure as stepping stones to success.
Name three books that changed how you saw life that you would recommend to others?
How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and The Shack by William P. Young
Describe why lifelong learning is important to you.
I think lifelong learning is important because it helps me to grow. As I learn, my perspective changes and broadens and allows me to see the world with different eyes. Sometimes the eyes that create a problem can’t create a solution because they are looking at things the same way.
What are the three most important factors of being a successful woman?
The three most important factors of a successful woman are confidence, faith and support. Confidence, because you have to have a strong sense of who you are, the world will doubt and critique you at every turn, if you are not sure and steadfast in who you are and what you are doing, it will be hard to stand up to those pressures. Faith, that everything that happens, good or bad, is happening for your benefit. Faith will allow you to push forward when all hope seems lost. And support, everyone needs support, be it family or friend, we all need those people who help us to see our greatness when we lose sight of it. The support of these people will pick you up and dust you off when you fall down and feel like you can’t get back up.
Technology plays what role in your daily life?
Technology plays a major role in my daily life. I use it for inspiration, to see what others are working on, what trends are happening and also to spread my own message and get the word out about things I am doing.
What social media or digital tool has made the biggest difference in your life and why?
Twitter has had a profound impact on my life. When I first joined Twitter, I was very shy and introverted and I hated attending events where I didn’t know anyone. Shortly after joining, I was invited to a “tweet-up.” In the beginning, the whole purpose of “tweet-ups” was to network and expand your circle of influence. Everyone was super friendly and very open to talking to people they didn’t know. Attending these events helped me get over my shyness. Twitter and the tweet-ups helped me become comfortable networking and not only talking to but, also, reaching out to people I didn’t know.
If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?
That people were kinder and more forgiving.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I would have set out on the path to following my dreams sooner.
Who or what motivates you and why?
Becoming better than I was yesterday motivates me. I recognize that I am a work in progress but that I am beautifully and wonderfully made. I strive to achieve the full expression of that. “How can I be the best me that I can possibly be?” is a question I consider often.
What are the do’s and don’ts for young women in business?
Understand your value. Don’t work for free, unless you are sure that the opportunity will benefit you in the long run. Always put your best foot forward, it is better to be overdressed than under. Network, network, network! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Move forward in spite of doubts, even if it is just a baby step, take the step!
How do you successfully grow from business failure?
You examine what worked and what didn’t work. You make changes where necessary and you learn from the experience. I’ve always welcomed my failures as learning experiences and knew that I was better because of them. I’m extremely grateful to have learned the lessons I have early on. I’d much rather fail and learn the lessons now than when I’m 50.
To learn more about Chelle Albert Interiors visit www.chellealbert.com.