Meet Antoinette Minor a.k.a The Young Professionalist. She is a businesswoman, creative mind & blogger here to bridge the gap between Millennials and the corporate world. In addition to professional tips, Antoinette gives Millennial Nomaad a peak into her personal thoughts, fears & triumphs. I couldn't believe when she told me later in the interview that she used to be a shy homebody, because she seemed like she was a natural at eloquently expressing herself and connecting with me whom she had recently met.
What I loved about her insight was that she is an impressive example of someone balancing the best of both professional worlds and showing us that you do not always have to choose between corporate vs. creative entrepreneurship. As a matter of fact, Antoinette shares with us that it was her experience in the corporate world that helped shape her success as the founder and writer for her own website. #LadyBoss
Occupation: Program Manager for a financial counseling agency/ Blogger & Founder of The Young Professionalist
The key to happiness is: Living your life by making decisions based on what's good & right and making sure to make yourself happy first.
My kryptonite is: Pastries
In three words, I would describe myself as: Personable, Fun and Ambitious
I dream of: Being happy regardless of what the future may hold
Success to me means: Looking back and being able to see progress in myself and achievement. Success also means helping others to reach their dreams as well.
Define curiosity: Curiosity is like having an itch that needs to be scratched and you just can't ignore it. When you finally do scratch it or find the answer, it's a wonderful feeling.
To be brilliant is to be: Creative. You don't have to be smart to be brilliant
MN: You work in the corporate field and you run a successful blog. What inspired you to create The Young Professionalist? How does your experience working for a corporate company differ from that of beginning your own creative venture?
AM: I was inspired to create The Young Professionalist out of the desire to share my journey as a corporate milennial. I graduated from college just after the financial crisis of 2008. Unaware of what was going on around me and the real reason behind the struggle to get a job, I realized the corporate world was much more than just a resume and being qualified for a position. You have to present yourself in a professional manner, build a network, and many other things they just don't teach you in college. My plan is to put all my stories and thoughts into a book, but for now they live on the blog.
The two actually don't differ very much. At the end of the day, you are running a business. I've learned many skills in the corporate world that translate into successfully running my own business. For example, sales, event planning & networking are all things I learned to do at my 9-5. The only difference is that I choose the direction of the company and all of the responsibilities are on myself, instead of a group of employees.
MN: From your experience, what are some common mistakes that Millennials make when first pursuing and/or working for a corporate company?
AM: Millennials jump into their careers and believe they should have high-level positions or promotions within a year, which are goals that are achievable. But for most, it takes time and hard work to prove yourself in the workplace. You have to build rapport and create a brand for yourself. It's almost like a political campaign. Get your staff members on board with you as a person and show your worth through hard work. Promotions and pay raise will come with time.
MN: As we discussed, many Millennials are turning away from wanting to work in the corporate field. Why do you think that is? How do you think corporate companies can better appeal to Millennial job seekers?
AM: One reason is the job market. Although more and more companies are opening positions, there are plenty of companies looking for years and years of experience. Something that many Millennials just don't have yet. It is extremely hard to secure employment in your field that will allow you to survive after your student loan payments. Because of this, I've seen many of my peers turn to entrepreneurship and away from corporate. It's an opportunity to gain experience and work with your passion.
Another reason is company culture. Millennials want an experience rather than a job. We don't just want a 9-5 to punch in & out and earn a paycheck. We want to feel fulfilled by the work we do and contribute to society. Corporations can appeal to Millennials by being open to our opinions, knowledge and willingness. By taking a chance with a hard working Millennial whom is willing to learn, you can raise employees who will be beneficial to the organization. Be open to trying new methods and trust that we can have amazing input when it comes to company culture and growth.
MN: I love how you mentioned that it is important to dress for the job you want, rather than for the job you have. It is understood that how we choose to present ourselves plays a powerful role in shaping how others perceive us. Yet, to what extent do you believe this ideology to be superficial. What are the pros and cons that result from this emphasis on image?
AM: It depends on how you look at the idea of your image. Think about it as a respect factor. When you go on an interview and dress appropriately, that is respectful to the potential employer and shows you care. You cared enough to impress the interviewer by being presentable. It's about making the other person comfortable enough to listen to what you have to say and learn more about you. On the other hand, you do have to create your own personal brand. Once you land a job, you will have plenty of opportunity to show who you really are through dressing appropriately, while implementing your own style. If that means wearing a typical suit, yet jazzing it up with a personalized lapel pin then that is the art of being yourself, while appealing to others. I personally like to mix my style by wearing a suit jacket over a fun, colorful dress.
The con with all of the emphasis on image is that you have a large percentage of people who do not feel they can be their authentic self in the workplace. How can any environment be enjoyable when you can't be yourself? You have to find that balance in order to enjoy yourself at work.
MN: Where do you think fear comes from? How does it affect you? What fear have you overcome in order to grow as an individual and/or professional?
AM: Fears come from experiences in our life that have made us feel afraid and stayed with us. For example, someone may fear the dark because of a scary movie they saw or a traumatic event that happened to them in the dark. There is also the fear of the unknown, which can contribute to someone's overall fears. Fear affects me all the time. I fear being judges and it's a constant battle. I just try to remember that being judges is a part of life. At the end of the day, I'm not going to die because someone does not like me.
I had to overcome shyness. Shyness was my fear of others due to fears of being judged or not liked. Once I overcame my shyness, I was able to open my mouth and ask for what I wanted. Opportunities then came my way, because others knew what I wanted. I wasn't demanding, but my voice was heard. Now I can speak in front of huge crowds, which is needed for my line of work. My comfort for public speaking is a quality that I absolutely love about myself, because it sets me apart form others.
MN: People often say that the road to success may test one's virtues. What are the values you will never sacrifice, even for success?
AM: The one thing I never want to do in exchange for success is to intentionally hurt someone. Business can be cut throat and for some, success may mean sabotaging another to put yourself ahead. I believe in an environment where we are all cheerleaders for one another. There is more than one seat in the c-suite. I will also never sacrifice my relationship with God for success.
Many people will say they won't sacrifice their happiness, but at the end of the day, we all have done that at some point. For example, you may not be happy with staying late to finish a project. Although it is a temporary moment of frustration, you ultimately sacrificed a moment of happiness for the long run.
MN: What does "awareness" mean to you? Would you consider yourself a spiritual person? How do you manage stress?
Awareness to me means being present and in the know. Being aware is a choice. Sometimes awareness is the tougher road, because ignorance is bliss. I do consider myself to be a spiritual person and believe God is always present. I am not the best at managing stress, and I'm often told to take time for myself and relax. I'm naturally someone who feels that I am not progressing if I am not busy, but there is a difference between busy and productive. I have to realize that it's important to manage stress in order to be productive. When I do that, it's usually through prayer and moments of relaxation to myself. There's nothing like a good church service on Sunday morning followed by pizza and lazy Sunday activities on the couch!
MN: Love. What do you think is the key to healthy relationships between family, fiends, couples, etc? How would you define love?
AM: It's easy to love someone, but love is only half the battle. You have to to respect the one you love regardless if it's romantic, friendly or a family type love. When you do that, you will then be able to value their differences while connecting on the principles that you both agree on. Love comes in many forms. Each feels different but none are wrong. You love people for different reasons and you love people from different distances. Some people you may talk to once in a blue moon and others everday, but it doesn't mean you love one more than the other. For me, love is a feeling of care, encouragement, happiness, selflessness and respect.
MN: If you had one message or piece of advice to share with others, what would it be?
AM: Hard work is a habit. You have to make it a habit to get your work done and strive for success. Not everybody can do that, and that is what separates the great from the mediocre. Whenever you feel like you are done, just realize that putting in an extra 5-10% can make the difference. Don't hold yourself back by not going an extra mile.
MN: Who is a female businesswoman and/or entrepreneur that inspires you? How so?
AM: I don't have a particular businesswoman or entrepreneur that I look up to, but the one woman that inspires me is my mother. She isn't a business owner or high level executive, but the sacrifices she made in order for me to become a future power woman is what inspires me to keep going. She put her children before herself and for that I can never let her down. All she wanted was an opportunity for her children, and I wouldn't be where I am today if it were not for her sacrifices. I can't let that opportunity pass me, because she worked too hard to put it in front of me.
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