Charise Roberts, is a 21 years old recent college graduate and marketing assistant at Frank and Eileen — a high end clothing company that makes its products with love in sunny California. As an expert in all things millennial, she spends most of her time learning about what’s new in tech, fashion, pop culture, and politics, while keeping her own followers up to date on her own journey through the digital age. When she is not executing creative advertising or blogging, you’ll find her sunbathing, drinking Earl Grey, and scouting out all the best restaurants in Los Angeles.
For #YmazingPeople Charise Roberts, 2016 LinkedIn Top Voice, gave us some exciting and informative insights about her life and career:
Graduation from UNC Chapel Hill
Why do you do what you do and how did you get to this point?
I’m a marketing assistant at Frank and Eileen, a clothing company. I’ve wanted to work in fashion from the time I was a little girl, although I had a difficult time deciding exactly what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do something that would allow me to be creative and competitive, but I also wanted some level of job security (Read: I wasn’t interested in being a starving artist). When I came across marketing/advertising, I realized it was the perfect way to realize my dream of working in fashion and also make use of natural talents. During my last few months of college, I sent out quite a few resumes and cover letters to fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands I admired, but Frank and Eileen turned out to be the perfect fit for me. A start-up style company where everyone has hands-on work that they can own, and an impeccable family of co-workers. Before I could get there, however, I took internships at ad agencies, built up a robust portfolio of art direction and copywriting, and spent all my free time learning how to live with style.
If you had a message for your 10 years younger you what would it be?
Spend less time in your own head and more time listening to other people. 90% of the time, you have so much more to gain by being a good listener than sitting around thinking about yourself.
If you had 1 question to ask the 20-30 years older you – what would it be?
What is the most surprising thing you have learned in the last 20 years?
What drives you?
I’m driven by blind ambition. I think there is a certain type of person who is born with big dreams, and either they pursue those dreams relentlessly or at some point they give up. I’m only 21, so I don’t want to speak too soon, but I think I’m the type of person who goes after something relentlessly. I can’t imagine a life in which I have settled. I would rather just work harder.
Charise during her time working at an Ad agency in New York
What routines do you have in your daily life? (the kind that helps you get everything done)
Eating a healthy, balanced, breakfast, lunch, and dinner around the same time every day keeps me focused. If I’m hungry, I can’t focus on anything else, so I never skip out on meals. Self-care is important if you want to get things done!
What was the biggest challenge for you to jumpstart your career? And how did you solved it?
It was tough figuring out how to get my foot in the door. I was smart, I went to a great college, but I didn’t really have any connections in the field I wanted to enter. Honestly, the only way of jumping this hurdle was to use brute force. I had to introduce myself to a lot of people, send resumes to companies that hadn’t mentioned they were looking for a new hire, and always be prepared to hand out my business card. When I worked at my first couple of jobs in the advertising/marketing industry, I would meet other people who told me they had gotten the job through a parent connection or something similar, whereas I had to muscle my way in with a smile. It can be frustrating, but it’s worth it.
Who is your role model?
Olivia Kim, the VP of Creative Projects at Nordstrom. First, I love Nordstrom as a company and a brand, they are committed to excellence and style (both of which are very important to me). I love that Olivia Kim has been a go-getter throughout her career with unstoppable energy. Her taste is impeccable, which has allowed her to literally carve out her own path in the fashion industry.
Who mentored you, and why?
I can’t really pick one mentor because tons of people have helped shape me to be who I am today. My mother taught me how to have faith in the world. My late father taught me to never stop seeking new knowledge. My professors in college taught me thing such as, “The ability to refine your idea is just as important as the idea itself” and “Always pay attention to what is new and cutting edge– your job depends on it”. My bosses have taught me that there is no such thing as a stupid question, as long as you listen to the answer and take notes.
What was the best advice you have ever received? Like, seriously, ever?
Always show gratitude. It’s so important to show people you care when they do nice things for you, and that translates into a positive rapport. So often, I see people take each other for granted and then have no idea why their relationships (romantic, platonic, business) go sour. If you want to really enjoy your day-to-day life, say “thank you” more often!
What could young hustlers learn from you?
To write everything down! My notebooks are my life.I keep everything from diary entries, recipes, meeting notes, contact information, prototype ideas, designs, and whatever else you could think of in my hands at all times. I couldn’t tell you how many times, writing stuff down has saved me. If you really want to hustle, make sure your best ideas and information don’t get forgotten when you go to sleep at night.
Charise with her team at the 2016 National Advertising Competition
What have you learnt from GenX/Babyboomers and from the younger GenZ?
GenX has taught me that it’s still okay to reach out to people with the job you want, even in the digital age. Back in the day, it was appropriate to knock on a company’s door with your resume in tow, and expect to land a job — especially if you knew someone. Nowadays, that would be considered extremely off-putting, but you can still reach out to people via email or LinkedIn to pick their brain about how they achieved what they have achieved. Making those kinds of connections can still lead to job offers or other useful things in the future.
GenZ has taught me that social media can be really really fun! I grew up at the same time that social media was becoming a thing, so it’s not quite as integrated into my life as it may be for my younger counterparts, but I’m amazed by the way teenagers use social to grow their circles and share information. I still feel a little awkward taking Instagrams in public, but I love seeing other people use platforms to make art and much more.
How do you influence society?
I try to be a leader for other young black women like myself. Growing up as a woman of color in America, I’ve had disadvantages here and there, and those disadvantages are often amplified in the fashion/beauty industry. By showing up every day and doing what I do, I hope to inspire young girls who may feel like they’ve been dealt a slightly tougher hand.
How should GenY/GenZ change worklife/education/leadership/career paths/ media…?
I want us to change the way we view work entirely! The industry I work in is so fast-paced, and people will work themselves to the bone, which isn’t healthy at all. I want my generation to take more time being choosy about their career and pick things that make them feel fulfilled, as well as put their foot down when it comes to work-life balance. We have to end the generations of people who live for the weekend and begin a generation of people who live for life itself.
From your perspective, what are the biggest differences between the young generations (Y (1980-1995) &Z born after 1995) in comparison to GenX (1965-1980) and Babyboomers (1950-1965)?
I think we have very different views of “change”. This may be simply because people tend to grow more conservative as they age, but GenX seems to be more wary about the world changing in any way, whereas GenY and Z are interested in changing things up all the time. As someone on the younger end, I love experimentation in ways of thinking — I feel that you have to go through trial, error, and change to make the world a better place. It won’t always be easy, but it’s necessary.
What will be the biggest challenge for humans in the next 10 years?
Automation. It has been in our interest for quite some time now to bring robots and automation more heavily into the mix, however, that’s going to completely disrupt the way we structure human societies. I worry greatly about how the global economy is going to be reshaped over my lifetime, because I don’t think it is going to be a smooth process. We are already seeing issues as unskilled labor jobs shrink and increasing numbers of people are going to college and ending up unemployed.
How would you want others to describe you?
Happy, loving, and kind.
Who are the two most inspiring young people the world should know right now and why?
Evan Spiegel, 26, is the co-founder of Snapchat. Like Zuckerberg, he dropped out of college and went on to create a phenomenon, which is so cool.
Sara Du, 17, created an app called BlueJay (As you can see I think app designers are cool). This app uses bluetooth connected drones to fly over disaster areas and allow first responders to help more easily. I love all things socially responsible and it’s amazing that someone came up with this at 17.
Thank you very much Charise for that #ymazing interview!
Follow Charise on LinkedIn.
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