Q&A with Author and Marketing Strategist, Courtney R. Rhodes

Courtney R. Rhodes
Courtney R. Rhodes

For years author, marketing strategist and entrepreneur Courtney R. Rhodes has been the brand-building pro that companies turn to when in need.

Through years of working with companies such as the Ford Motor Company and Clear Channel among others, Courtney noticed a commonality in each brand’s approach that allowed them to accomplish their goals while supporting their communities. It is this model that led her to recognize the unconventional idea that the marketing and branding process can be used as a path to self-actualization and personal success.

Rhodes’ most recent endeavor is her new book, ‘Make Your Mark: Personal Branding Through ‘On-Purpose’ Living’, is designed for the modern-day professional, college student or dreamer looking to achieve lifelong goals through smart use of their personal brand. In the book, Rhodes has channeled her 20+ years of sales and marketing expertise into relatable strategies that will motivate you to harness your most valuable asset — you! — and show you how to take your dream from vision to victory.

N’Digo recently sat down with Rhodes to learn more about her career path and what people will gain from picking up her book.

Tell us about your childhood and what you dreamed of becoming as an adult?

I was born in Maryland but grew up in a small farm town in South Carolina. I spent the majority of my free time outside on my grandparents farm and playing sports with my male cousins. As a kid, I was very intrigued by professional women but mostly I wanted to be a television or radio personality.

How did you segue into becoming an expert on branding?

While I was earning my undergraduate degree, I completed several internships in the communications space. One of those internships was at Radio One in Baltimore which exposed me to other aspects of the industry. After graduating from college I was able to work in the NAACP National President Office for Kweisi Mfume as a special assistant. That particular position allowed me to work on everything communications and marketing based in the organization, from the NAACP Image Awards, the NAACP National Convention, and the African American Heritage Festival in Baltimore. That opportunity inspired me to pursue a masters of arts degree from the University of Baltimore’s School of Communications and I was hooked from there.

What exactly is TheBrandistaGuide.com?

TheBrandistaGuide.com is my baby. It’s a personal branding, style, career and lifestyle guide for young women. It’s an outlet for me and contributing bloggers to share expertise and perspectives on things that can empower young woman pursuing their dreams and wanted to live their lives out loud.

What is “On-Purpose” Living as described in your book title?

It’s the conscious effort to live your life authentically. It’s understanding who you are, how you’re wired and using those strengths to purposely pursue your personal goals for your life.

Courtney R. Rhodes

Speaking of which, what can readers expect when they pick up your new book, Make Your Mark: Personal Branding Through ‘On-Purpose’ Living?

Readers can expect to find guide to help them filter through the cluttered online space of personal branding talk. To understand what personal branding really means and how to apply in in your everyday life to help them reach their personal and career goals.

In your opinion, what are three of the biggest mistakes people make in regard to their personal brand?

The first mistake is people don’t realize the power of impressions. Everything we do both online and in person influences how everyone else views us and our potential. Secondly, we don’t always understand or appreciate the value of our differences. Being different is what gives us authenticity and the things that make you different from everyone else in your industry offering the same services or capabilities exemplifies your brand. Third, people should ask
themselves if what they’re posting and saying on social media is something that would be ok with their grandmother seeing? That’s a nice little conscious check I that would help people be more self-aware of what messages they’re sending about themselves, their interests and activities.

What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m a tomboy at heart and I’m obsessed with old fast cars.

Can you name a book that changed or really impacted your life?

The most impactful career book I’ve read is “Winning” by Jack Welch. His perspective on leadership has inspired how I approach everything in business. He made it clear that competition is a way of life in business and should fun, he pointed out the importance of always having a mission and vision, which I live by, and he reiterated that if you’re not always willing to change you’ll die.

Courtney R. Rhodes
Author and Marketing Strategist, Courtney R. Rhodes

Best advice or words of wisdom?

The best advice I’ve gotten came from my daughter about 10 years ago when she was around nine. I was faced with making a tough decision regarding my career and move to another state for the two of us. I had a conversation with her and we discussed the pro’s and con’s and after explaining and over-explaining to her. She simply responded and said, “What does your heart tell you? You already know the answer.” – Hands down best advice….from that day on, I always go with my intuition and it never steers me wrong.

Favorite quote or affirmation?

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” – Dr. Maya Angelou

What’s next for Courtney Rhodes?

I’m committed to doing more personal development and empowerment work with women and girls. I think we live in a time where we have to embrace, encourage and support one another more than ever.

Courtney’s book, Make Your Mark: Personal Branding Through ‘On-Purpose’ Living, is available at Amazon.com and other outlets. Follow Courtney on Instagram and Twitter at @thebrandista. For more information, please visit www.courtneyrrhodes.com.

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