Welcome to She Leads Podcast Season 5, Episode 11! This episode of She Leads Podcast features Ebony Vaz founder of Above Promotions. Ebony Vaz is an Author, Speaker, and Writer who leads her life like the Boss she is. To hear Ebony’s take on leadership, listen to her interview as she discusses the necessity of figuring out what works best for ourselves, being aware and considerate of others viewpoints, and the value of servant leadership.
Ebony Vaz Bio
Ebony T. Grimsley-Vaz is the Founder and Chief Strategist of Above Promotions, a digital marketing, public relations and promotions company in the Tampa, FL area. She is also the author of the book titled, “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation,” a marketing instructor for Jolt and an expert consultant for Coach the World.
For over 15 years and 80+ brands, Ebony has had the opportunity to work on campaigns for businesses such as AT&T, AAA, AOL, Cold Stone Creamery and Verizon Wireless to smaller national and international organizations and large non-profits such as the University of South Florida.
She is a diversity and tech contributing writer for Moguldom.com and has been featured on MSNBC.com, Food and Wine, Social Media Today, Food Fanatics, BizBash, AdWeek, PR Daily, Yahoo.com, the Retail Customer Experience, Business 2 Community, NewsOne.com and other publications, panels and hosted events. Invited to speak on diversity in tech, marketing strategies, crisis communication issues, leadership, and organizational techniques and professional journalism, Ebony leads colleagues across the U.S. through crisis communication topics and the creative community. She has educated those in the business and entertainment communities, and her expertise is well-respected in her field.
While many of her clients and reach go beyond the Tampa Bay area, she continuously gives back to her local community by organizing and volunteering at events for Techstars Startup Week Tampa Bay, Hospitality Hackathon, Ignite Tampa Bay, Bar Camp, and is a member of (ISC)2 Tampa Bay, InfraGard and the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists.
She is also a Board Advisor for the Bright Young Minds Coalition and a Kauffman Fellows Academy and Techstars Venture Deals participant.
Nicole Walker’s Interview Commentary
I really enjoyed this interview with Ebony and I hope you did as well.
I agree with Ebony’s suggestion to use servant leadership as our guide to being an effective and successful leader. An effective leader feels that no task is beneath him or her, and serves by giving what is needed to reach the goal. Some of the core principles of servant leadership include having empathy for others, being a good listener, being able to resolve conflicts, and being aware of yourself and those around you. Ebony shared a gem with us, which was the resource she uses as her blueprint to servant leadership. This is the tool she uses to fully understand and encompass the essence of a servant leader. I am super excited to check it out and I suggest you do the same! A quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reads, “In a servant leadership culture we learn by choice or example that if we want to be great, we have to serve others respectfully.”
I admire Ebony’s decision to run for class president in high school, as well as her achievement of this honor. Having the courage, desire, and willingness to take on this type of duty considering all it entails, as a teenager, is commendable to say the least. Although Ebony did not see herself as a leader in high school she most definitely was, and her becoming class president is the proof. Even today, although she still has a hard time considering herself as a leader, she most definitely is and the proof can be seen in both her personal and professional roles. As Ebony mentioned, our callings and gifts come second nature to us. When we embrace and exercise our gifts, we will be led into the roles that were created for us. A quote by Estée Lauder reads, “I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”
I can relate Ebony’s experiences with assuming people felt the way she felt and thought the way she thought, as I experienced the same. As with Ebony, I had to realize and accept that everyone doesn’t think or operate the way that I do, which was a hard reality for me! I have come to realize that understanding this concept is key understanding others, and it helps us to be considerate and mindful of their needs. Communicating openly and asking questions will aid us in discovering the expectations, feelings, and viewpoints of those we interact with. A quote by Audre Lorde reads, “It’s not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”
Nicole Walker’s Takeaway of the Week
Ebony told us about the weekly and daily routine she uses to be productive, and I absolutely loved it. I have battled with figuring out the best practices for myself as the many tactics I employed have not been suitable to how I operate.
I will make it my business to create a weekly to-do list because I often have a large daily to-do list which spills over into other days of the week, so having a weekly list makes sense for me. I will also categorize my tasks to ensure I can covering items for each area, as I desire balance in my life and agree that this is a good tactic to ensure I met my goal.
A quote by Michael Jordan reads, “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
Nicole Walker’s Leadership Challenge
My leadership challenge for you would be to think about the one thing you can take away from this episode and adopt into your life. I know it’s hard to absorb too much information at one time and it’s even harder to try and implement too many changes at once. When I attend a training or listen to podcasts I aim to walk away with a least one thing that stuck out to me and one way that I can change as a result. I challenge you to do the same!
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Thanks and until next time “Be Empowered and Empower On”!