Bold Journey: Meet Victoria

  • Q&A
  • Bold Journey: Meet Victoria

Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Victoria McCallum. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.

Hi Victoria, so excited to talk about all sorts of important topics with you today. The first one we want to jump into is about being the only one in the room – for some that’s being the only person of color or the only non-native English speaker or the only non-MBA, etc Can you talk to us about how you have managed to be successful even when you were the only one in the room that looked like you?

I have learned to be effective/successful by coming prepared and being engaged. Being the only one in the room, a lot of the time, people don’t expect much from you. They don’t expect you to speak up, ask questions, or have a difference of opinion or solutions to a presented problem. A lot of time people expect that you are there, not because of your experience but because of some checkbox quota.

Come prepared and be engaged. Do all the things that someone in your position should be doing:
– Do your research
– Know the problems and possible solutions before asked
– Ask the right questions and speak with confidence that your words are valid and important

If you believe that, everyone in the room will also believe that.

Thanks for sharing that. So, before we get any further into our conversation, can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and what you’re working on?
We are a creative marketing firm whose services include but are not limited to web design, social media content management, creative writing and graphic design and illustration for your marketing needs.

What I love about Na’Toria Marketing & Design Solutions is that we are majority Artists, minority techies. What brings my team joy is that they are able to be creative, focusing on their special sets of skills to assist the small businesses and entrepreneurs in our community and perform marketing activities that are for the audiences that they are also a part of. It comes full circle really. As creatives, a lot of the time we have to supplement our income with jobs that divert our attention from creative pursuits but pays the bills. At Na’Toria, our aim is to provide creatives a living wage doing what they love to do for the businesses and organizations that align with their beliefs.

Something new we are working on is developing a grant program for creatives of color who are pursuing Fine or Digital Arts degrees. Originally the grant, The VLM Arts Award was a personal endeavor to “pay it forward” in a way that I once benefited from while I was pursuing a fine arts degree. Now we are working on what that will look like for Na’Toria. Beta testing name is the Na’Toria MDS Arts and Technology Award.

Looking back, what do you think were the three qualities, skills, or areas of knowledge that were most impactful in your journey? What advice do you have for folks who are early in their journey in terms of how they can best develop or improve on these?
For me, developing my communication skills, my ability to process information before I respond/react, and to learn how to read people’s needs. I would recommend the following:

When dealing with clients, team members, or anyone really – when someone has a complaint or is dissatisfied with something, 9 times out of 10, they want to feel heard and understood. They do not always want to hear explanations or rebuttals. We tend to get on the defense when someone has a complaint related to their experience with us (business or personal). Instead, we should listen to what they are saying, repeat it back to them to show that we hear what they are saying, and together brainstorm solutions/ideas to move forward. I usually use the line, “Now that you have brought this to my attention, what would you like to see happen moving forward?” It tends to make people feel affirmed and less guarded.

We are all balancing a thousand things. On both the client and business end, it can benefit everyone to be as transparent as possible. One of the worst things we can do is waste each other’s time. If you need an extension, communicate that before the deadline, if you do not understand something, say so. If life circumstances change the way a certain project will play out, make it known by providing an alternate game plan. Life be lifeing, I think we all know that, but we should be transparent with all those whom are impacted by those changes. It’s the respectful and considerate thing to do so people can make informed decisions on how to proceed. In my experience, people are typically relieved because they needed the adjustments as well! A lot of the time, they will respect and appreciate our ability to be honest and expectations will be managed.

Before we go, any advice you can share with people who are feeling overwhelmed?
I get overwhelmed A LOT. I am conditioned that way but I do not want to live that way. The goal is to get as much out of my head as fast as possible and whatever is left, is what I need to focus on. I rotate strategies that help me. Walk, journal, change my environment. I live for my daily walk. Anytime I go for a walk, I think out loud – basically talk to myself. I get so much clarity after my walks and I tend to know what I need to do next. Journaling before bed, allows me to sleep better. I clear out the clutter, I set up my goals for the next day and I write or review all that I accomplished during the day. Changing my environment – Working from home has its perks and advantages but it also has its disadvantages. While I work, when I go to the bathroom or get a snack, I am constantly reminded of my chores that I have to get to, whether it’s dishes, or mail, or laundry etc, I see everything everywhere and that is overwhelming. Being able to spend the day at a coworking space, or a coffee shop, I’ve even spent a day or two in a hotel room just to give my head some mental space and I always have laser focus when I do that. All this to say, when you are overwhelmed, give yourself some space. However that may look to you – do it. When you give yourself some space, the noise get lower and the priorities present themselves more clearly.

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