To be a leader, you just need to have an idea & run with it!
My career journey
I’ve had so many different jobs over the last 8 years of my working career from retail to advertising, support work to journalism, health promotion to admin, finance, youth work and more. Through it all I’ve learnt a variety of skills that have allowed me grow and develop as a professional, giving me the opportunity to create my own job role as the founder and managing director of my own company, but also slot myself into other part time roles to earn a living whilst pursing my dream. I gained most of my professional experience working in media and communication as a freelance journalist as well as in youth and community work for charities and community organisations.
I began my career as music journalist interviewing and promoting up and coming talents via my blog which gave me the opportunity to write for MTV and Yahoo as an entertainment Journalist. In university, I also wrote for my student newspaper Arts London news, as a features writer, you can view some of my work here. In the past I have interned with the likes of Catch 22, FHM, Men's Health Magazine and Investment week, written for the likes of The Guardian, MTV, The Metro, Mambo Magazine, Newham and Stratford Recorder and most recently The Voice Newspaper where I am a News Contributor covering the area of community news and health.
As it stands, I would say I’m a health educator and community journalist, using my skills and qualities to empower others to learn how to better manage their health and wellness, with a focus on sexual health and relationships.
In 2011, I decided to launch my own sexual health publication. At the time, I was working as a Sexual Health Assistant for the Terrence Higgins Trust as part of the National Chlamydia Screening Program. Here I was employed to engage young people under 25 in sexual health testing, treatment and contraception as a result of the growing STI prevalence among young people across the country. In this role, I engaged with young people first hand daily where I was confronted with many myths and misinformation, this coupled with my love for journalism gave me the fire I needed to develop my own magazine to address these issues.
At the time, I never knew I wanted my own company, but after launching the 1st issue of Shine ALOUD UK I was heavily inundated with requests for more content, which led to me coordinate and publish 7 magazines 4 online and 3 physical editions all of which you can be view online. Our most recent issue focused on the theme of Self-Love and Confidence, with the aim of empowering young people to active develop skills to be become the best version of themselves. What started out as a small-scale project in 2011, quickly turned into a social enterprise that now uses creative media and peer led training to change the perceptions and behaviour of young people under 25.
Money has always been an interesting one for me. I believe that if you do what you love well and long enough, eventually you’ll be paid for it. That has always been my motto, thankfully it has served and I hope it continues to. I believe that if you start with money in mind, you’re unlikely to be happy because it means you’ll potentially do anything for money, that’s not to say money is an afterthought - we all have bills to pay and responsibilities - it just shouldn’t be the only thought, as I say, do what you love and do it well and you WILL be paid.
Also, having MULTIPLE streams of income is VITAL to success. As a freelancer, and someone who’s always worked part time, I learnt early on in my professional career that money would not be consistent, so I had to find additional work to supplement my income to allow me to achieve and maintain the life I want to live. I’ve also learnt to be responsible with money, because I know what hours I put in to make it as well as take my time to save for things that are important such as visiting family in the UK and abroad.
I’m not sure anyone actively chooses to be a leader, because I know I didn’t. I found a cause that I was passionate about, but the way it was being delivered by others didn’t resonate with me, so I made my own approach to tackle the same problem and I’ve managed to bring others on board with me to address it, thereby creating impact, so organically I’ve kind of grown into the position.
But as a leader, it is important to be confident, flexible, approachable, creative, inquisitive and always, always always maintain a thirst for learning. Many of the world’s most dynamic and inspirational leaders have these qualities, you don’t need to be the richest, smartest, or buffest person to be a leader, you just need to have an idea and run with it. Once you start leading by example, people will begin to follow, if not your cause directly, then follow by creating something else that represents them, and that is also demonstration of being a leader, encouraging others to make change, even if it’s not with you.
1. Step out of your comfort zone –
Do karaoke, run a marathon, volunteer locally or abroad, visit gallery’s and museums, travel, do whatever you need to do to expose yourself to new ideas and experiences. It’s so important to learn and grow and this can only happen when you step out of your comfort zone and do new things. As they say, you can’t expect things to be different if you continue to do the same thing every day.
2. Make reflection a habit –
Unfortunately or fortunately I’m a kind of act now think later lady, so I spend a lot of my time thinking later about the things I’ve done – both good and bad LOL. Whatever way round you operate, always try to take some time out to consider what you could have done differently to make things better, whether it’s after an exam, after a first date, or even in argument with a partner or friend. It’s important that we take some time out to reflect on the things we do daily, to be better and do better tomorrow.
3. Capture the moment –
Not just for Instagram, Facebook or twitter, but for your own personal archives. On the days that you feel down or unmotivated it’s good to look at your achievements or even moments where you’ve had fun. Whether it’s that award you won last year, the picture of you and your mates looking your best on a night out or even you in gym toning up for summer, use these to give you that extra boost you need to move forward and remind yourself how far you’ve come, emotionally, physically and professionally.
By Rianna Raymond-Williams