Thursday, September 1, 2016

BOSS Spotlight: Meet The "Media Executive" Kyra Kyles

Kyra Kyles, The Editor-in- Chief and Senior Vice President of Digital Editorial for EBONY Media Operations, LLC. One of WVON and Ariel Capital’s “Top 40 Under 40 Game Changers” and Chicago Defender’s “40 Under 40 to Watch,” this Chicago native is a sought-after speaker on issues of race, gender, class and media diversity. Outside of EMO, Kyra is co-founder of a content production company, Myth Lab Entertainment.  

TheBOSSNetwork: What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career? 

Kyra Kyles: One of the obstacles I faced in my career was making sure not to be literally Black listed. Essentially, as an African American journalist, you are sometimes asked to cover areas specifically because of your skin color. My goal is to always ensure that we have balanced and equitable coverage of People of Color, but occasionally, I would have to fight back if I saw that I was being pushed toward certain assignments due to ethnicity. To paraphrase the Esurance commercial, that’s not how any of this works.

BN: What inspired you to break into your particular industry? 

KK: I have always wanted to be a writer, since I was about 3 or 4 years old. I was inspired by notable television anchors and, as a young, reading the newspaper next to my father who was not only an entrepreneur but a voracious reader. He was always consuming about three to four newspapers a day.

BN: How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?

KK: Welp, it can be a challenge for sure. What I try to do is put in 110% when I am working and be sure to delegate, allow others to shine in their areas of expertise and find tools that speed the plow so to speak. When I am out with friends and family, I try to unplug and live in the moment. It helps to schedule things like yoga, movie nights and parties.

BN: What is an inspirational quote that you live by? 

KK: Nike, “Just do it.”

BN: Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way? 

KK: My mother, who is a ridiculously creative and imaginative woman, has always encouraged both me and my sister to delve fearlessly into the arts. She is a lover of literature and from an early age, instilled an appreciation for the written word. My sister, though younger than I am, is a supergenius of the universe, wildly creative and an incomparable problem solver. My father, as I mentioned, was a thinker, entrepreneur and an optimist who always just jumped in there and showed a lack of fear I try to emulate daily.

BN: What are your "must-haves" to keep your career or business going strong? 

KK: The Internet, since  I’m a digital native; the latest, greatest work of fiction to keep my imagination working overtime and a team of amazing colleagues who can help meet goals. All are essential.

BN: What is your definition of a BOSS? 

KK: A BOSS Is someone who isn’t afraid to pave their own way, but also shines that flashlight back to help others on the path. I don’t go for the every man/woman for him/herself mentality. Where’s the fun in that?

Be sure to follow Kyra Kyles on Twitter @thekylesfiles and check out her products and services at

BOSS Spotlight: Meet The "Life-Style Connoisseur" Ashley Austin

Ashley Austin, M.S., is a writer, stylist, and media maven with an entrepreneurial spirit. Working in advertising with her passions for food, fashion, DIY, and all things glam. When she’s not on the clock Ashley enjoys traveling, reading and discovering new trends. Catch up with Ashley at 
TheBOSSNetowrk: What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?
AA: Believing that I had to be a master at everything. I soon realized that this was impossible and started to vet professionals that were a good fit for me and my business. Outsourcing professionals like hiring a lawyer, accountant, and a graphic designer helped me save more time and money in the long run. It also relieved some stress and allowed me to focus on the areas that I was great at writing and styling.

BN: What inspired you to break into your particular industry?
AA: I love being a resource for women. There seemed to be a limited urban perspective online for lifestyle content that I was interested in. Many of my friends would ask me for DIY, style, and beauty tips. Since I have always had a love for fashion, writing, and photography I thought what better way than to launch my blog. Uptown Belle has allowed me to be a resource to women who are looking for one place to get there Lifestyle content. Styling developed pretty naturally as well with cleaning out my girlfriends closets, shopping for them, etc. I loved seeing the look on their faces when they would be happy with the results.

BN: How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?
AA: I don’t as it is tough in the beginning stages when you are building your business. To make my dream a reality I knew I would have to sacrifice my time, money, going out with friends, etc. With this in mind I try to plan and prioritize my schedule so that I can dedicate my time to a particular task while I am in the moment. So if I am working on a blog post or styling a client my attention is 100% dedicated to that post or that client. If I am having a night out with my friends I am 100% focused on spending time and living in the moment with them.

BN: What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
AA: “Don’t downgrade your dream just to fit your reality. Upgrade your conviction to match your destiny.” –Stuart Scott It is important that when you look back on your life you can say that you have at least tried to live your life’s dream and purpose. As women I think we sometimes have a tendency to minimize our dreams out of fear or uncertainty. When we really should be pushing ourselves to go beyond the imaginary limits that we have set in place.

BN: Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
AA: My husband Ray Austin has been very instrumental and supportive through my entrepreneurial journey. Also, owner of Standout Style Boutique and Coach Tamika Price was very influential in me deciding to pursue my passion sooner than later. Dr. Shante Bishop has a very inspirational “Branding for Believers” podcast that keeps me grounded and focused during those tough days.

BN: What are your "must-haves" to keep your career or business going strong?
AA: Besides my laptop and phone I would say the Hootsuite app helps me manage my social media content and the Xero app keeps my finances in order while I am on the go.

BN: What is your definition of a BOSS?
AA: An innovative leader who is constantly ahead of the curve, takes risks, and creates opportunities.

Be sure to follow Ashley Austin on Twitter @TheUptownBelle and Instagram @TheUptownBelle and check out her products and services at

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Self-Worth And Added-Value: Why You Must Bring Both To The Corporate Table By Jacqueline Miller


Do you generate a profit for your organization? No matter where you appear on the organization chart, if you are to be viewed as an asset, you must be able to demonstrate your value. Your company is investing in you and will inevitably be asking, “What’s in it for us?”

Unfortunately, it can be difficult for a woman to embrace the true value that she brings to her organization when she is struggling to see much value in herself. However, many companies fail to address the latter, because there is often a disconnect between an employee’s personal life and the P&L statement.
Multiple studies continue to indicate that happy employees are also more productive employees. How realistic is it to expect that a woman who is struggling and overwhelmed at home and with self-worth, would also be a highly-productive employee?

The organizations that make the “Best Companies to Work For” lists appear to be proactively addressing these issues. I applaud them and am optimistic that more companies will continue to strive to do an exemplary job of advancing all women and helping them juggle the struggle of self-care, work, and family.

Without question, personal responsibility must exist. Before a woman can honestly assess her value to her organization, she must have a relatively clear understanding of her value to herself. Companies measure the ROI of their employees, and its employees should measure the WIIFM factor (what’s in it for me) - besides a paycheck.

Where to begin? Here are three recommendations:

1. Examine the activities that consume most of your workday, the skill set required of you, the results derived from your efforts, and determine how these things connect back to the company’s bottom line. Are you providing added value? Are you being seen, heard and fairly- compensated?

2. Have clarity as it applies to your personal value system. A woman must define her own set of values, what she views as being right or wrong, practical or not.  It is when her behaviors are in conflict with these pre-determined values, or she allows someone else’s behaviors or practices to go against her values, that she potentially may leave others to question her sense of self-worth. When you know your own worth, no one else can make you feel worthless. If you don’t see and own your worth, you will routinely surround yourself with people who don’t see it either. When your self-confidence rises, the quality of your life tends to follow.

3. Invest in yourself. It’s quite easy to say that you want a better life. However, the true test of those words is in one’s actions.  Don’t solely rely on company-provided training, which is generally related to your job. Seek out personal development resources, i.e. courses, books, coaches, mentors, etc. Taking these initiatives demonstrates that you are a woman who prefers transformation to stagnation. As a working mom, in doing so you are also setting the example for your children when it comes to taking initiative and the value of personal growth.

The bottom line is this — if you aren’t valuing yourself, what value are you truly capable of bringing to an organization?