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Conversations with the Inspiring Vanessa James

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa James.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Vanessa. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
My entrepreneurial journey started in 2010 after a fruitful career in radio. As a proud Miamian with Trinidadian roots, I always knew that Miami was home for me; the market where I wanted to flourish, thrive and give back to. After over ten years as a radio host and music director with IHeartMedia (formally Clear Channel broadcasting), my station flipped formats in 2010. After a few job offers that would force me to leave the market, I, and it was at that moment that I realized that the entrepreneurial road was the one for me.

I wasn’t ready to leave Miami yet, especially after digging my heels into the community and creating a tribe of my own. Instead, I used that momentum to launch my own small business (Vanessa James Media, LLC), a full-service multimedia company where I proudly flex my skills as a voiceover artist to over forty radio stations nationwide, content creator, brand and social media strategist as well as on-camera talent.

As I gained confidence and my stride as an entrepreneur, navigating the many valleys and peaks, I became more passionate about sharing my journey with other budding creators in hopes it gave them the courage to push through their obstacles. Now, in addition to the skills mentioned above, my give back includes creating opportunities for multicultural entrepreneurs in Miami as well as speaking across the country to likeminded creatives. Additionally, I’ve created two signature Miami based events; VJMedia Mixology and the annual Women of Impact dinner, both aimed at highlighting, celebrating and connecting creators in the market.

Has it been a smooth road?
It absolutely has not been a smooth road, but I imagine it would be hard to find an entrepreneur who would say yes. There have been many moments of insecurity when I thought about dropping it all and heading back to my comfort zone of corporate radio and television. Well into my transition to entrepreneurship, I was still sending resumes out and interviewing. Yet none of those opportunities came to fruition, and I was continuously being pulled into the direction of creating my own way.

Learning discipline to complete goals, the art of follow-up and follow-through, integrity and keeping your word are all reasons, outside of my talent, that I’ve continued to thrive as a small biz owner. I remember working with Lincoln Motor Company on a campaign recently for my annual Women of Impact Dinner in Miami. The agency director for the brand reached out after our campaign finished and said that he had never received a hand-written card before as a simple thank you. It’s the details like that that have helped me to stand out in a crowded field. As the famous Maya Angelou once said, “people may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

My advice for young women starting their entrepreneurial journies is simple: find your passion, chase it with every fiber in your being and be impeccable with your word. If you master those simple skills, opportunity will always find you.

So let’s switch gears a bit and tell us more about your work.
As I mentioned earlier, my skillsets are grounded in the multimedia space with an emphasis on voiceover, content creation, brand strategy, and on-camera hosting. Over the past ten years, I’ve had the pleasure of lending my voice to radio stations such as KTU-New York, San Francisco’s 106 KMEL and Hit’s 97.3 here in Miami as their official voice.

Additionally, I now proudly voice over 40 stations nationwide and lend my voice to brands such as Palace Resorts, ESPN, JetBlue, Barbados Tourism board and more. I’m known as an on-camera host and voiceover artist widely in the media landscape here but have gained traction in the content creation space as of late as well.

I recently curated campaigns with Nissan for their LA Auto Show reveal of the new Nissan Kicks and hosted the live red carpet experience for their collaboration with Star Wars.

I’m most proud of my brand collaborations with companies like Hispanicize, where I proudly launched and led the music division for five years helping to elevate and promote emerging Latin artists.

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
Opportunity and inclusion are two of the biggest barriers that women face in today’s working landscape. Opportunity is often stifled by gatekeepers who overlook incredibly talented people, instead opting for more comfortable choices. So often I hear women speak about the lack of opportunity that they face in applying for jobs, in growth within their current jobs and in the ability to spread and expand their wings because they are bogged down with tedious tasks.

One point that I want to make sure and get across is, if in fact, you are in any of those situations, its crucial to address it head-on. Women often feel the need to assimilate and dim their lights in fear of looking too confident, too knowledgeable and too strong. It’s overdue that we throw those playbooks out the window and begin to create a different narrative for success for ourselves and our communities. If we’re being honest about our skills and abilities, then there should be no competition aside from self-growth. I once had a situation while at the radio when a former VP asked me to train someone who would be my future boss. I remember feeling exhausted of the thought of training someone else for a position I was more than qualified for realizing that I wasn’t awarded that opportunity because of my gender. I never spoke up about it, and it was one of my greatest regrets and lessons.

Standing tall often may mean standing alone, but it can also be a teachable moment for you and others involved. Had I spoken up about the gross undervaluing of my skills at the time, maybe my career path would have been different.

Inclusion is also a crucial component to success for yourself and community. Too often we assume that others just get it when often we need to be the vehicle that guides situations so that we can gear the outcomes that we desire. I for one work hard to make sure that my events, my business, and my platforms are inclusive of creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs that I admire, want to work with and currently do. Inclusion fosters ideas and ideas become a reality when put to work.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.vanessajamesmedia.com
  • Phone: 954-325-56987
  • Email: vanessajamesmedia@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @vanessajamesmedia
  • Facebook: Vanessa James Media
  • Twitter: @msvanessajames
  • LinkedIn: Vanessa James Media

Image Credit:
Alain Green

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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