Alisha Miranda is an expert in branding, social media, marketing and public relations–plus, she’s a facilitator with The LAMP, working in our Digital Career Path program that kicks off this month! She’s done a ton of work with young professionals and entrepreneurs helping them get started in building their own business and brands, so it makes perfect sense that she would be doing similar work for disconnected youth at the outset of their careers in the media and technology industries. Read on for her small business tips, her thoughts on why media fluency matters for young people entering the workforce and what she’s looking forward to in 2013.
Your tag line is, “Ambassador of Awesomeness.” Sounds pretty awesome! What does it mean?
I don’t like being confined to certain professional titles and so I like to own other phrases that I feel are more fun but also capture the kind of work I do. I started calling myself an “Ambassador of Awesomeness” shortly after college when I realized I have always been a multi-tasker who is in constant pursuit of the next awesome project. As a freelancer/consultant, I get to work with many companies who are doing awesome things — whether it’s food, travel, technology, or culture, I want to spread the word and represent as many awesome things as I can. Plus, with the nature of my work changing regularly, it’s easier to just say “I’m working on something awesome” rather than I’m working for X company and then a week later, I’m off to the next company.
What first got you interested in the branding, marketing and publicity world?
I feel like PR and writing have always been easy for me. I get bored really easily so I like the challenge that comes with the digital media world, and with today’s ever changing landscape, it requires me to be skilled in multiple areas. I feel like it’s been a constant progress in direction for me to start out as a journalist, then move into public relations, then running marketing campaigns, to working on brand strategy today. I feel like all those disciplines compliment each other and bring me unique opportunities, so I’m interested to see what the digital world will require of me next!
Starting in early February, you’ll be part of The LAMP’s team teaching media literacy in the Digital Career Path program, which trains disconnected young adults in the skills they need to thrive in a digital workplace. Why do you think media literacy is an important concept for the students to learn?
Today’s career-minded person — especially for young people — absolutely must be fluent in the digital landscape. Technology is at the center of how we work and without the basic computer and web skills, the job search will continue to be more difficult than ever. I’ve trained a number of young people on using social media tools and networking skills to guide them in the right direction for job placement and it’s amazing how much of an advantage you are if you learn just a few tricks of the trade. Copywriting, HTML editing, web design, and photography can go a long way to help a business, so if you can master these skills quickly, you’ll be a key asset to any company out there.
Digital Career Path is not the first time working with young people–you also consult with start-ups and entrepreneurs. What surprises you the most when you first sit down with a start-up team?
Working with startups has proven more difficult each year. Perhaps my biggest surprise is two-fold: those startups who manage to rise to the top and succeed with very limited resources, who simply get it (and by “it” I mean having an amazing eye for design, language, customer experience, and product marketing, etc) and those who remain stuck and never grow due to limited resources. Sometimes as a consultant I’m forced to take a step back and fall into an operations/product manager role, fixing product issues or assessing user feedback, rather than focusing on the actual promotion of the company/product. The key for someone who wants to be a consultant like me is to find a startup who simply has their act together so that you can do what you need to do.
What are you most looking forward to in 2013?
I’m looking forward to integrating travel back into my lifestyle. I consider myself a digital nomad, not one to be tied down by geography, and traveling has always been what makes me happiest. I’m excited to explore other cities that will allow me to keep working remotely. A change of scenery is always a good thing for inspiration!