Executive Decisions

Being socially responsible with the impact that your company has on its customers and on society is equally as important as being socially responsible with the impact that you have on the world. This week's feature, Monique Carswell, is making waves and enacting change in more ways than one. From a business perspective, she serves as a Director at NBCUniversal. From an academic perspective, she leads the next generation of marketing professionals as an Adjunct Professor at New York University (NYU).

Monique wears her multiple hats with pride, and she embraces her inward responsibility of giving back to those that come after her with passion. I enjoyed hearing about the similarities and differences in her roles inside and outside of the workplace. Her story is particularly inspiring for anyone looking to excel at multiple professional endeavors simultaneously: if you believe it, you can achieve it.

Read on for details on Monique's experiences in Marketing, ability to balance her roles as a professor and as a full-time professional, and motivations for lifting others as she climbs.

Into the Details

Personal Title

Brand Builder/Fire Starter

If you had to list 3 key success factors behind driving a successful campaign, what would they be?

Being purpose-driven, having alignment with your mission, and depending on your industry and personal objectives, ensuring that there is authenticity behind the goals of your campaign. In addition to authenticity, you have to ensure that the campaign also makes sense from a business case perspective. Knowing the intended target and your company will get something out of the campaign that you're championing is important. You have to ask yourself before you start: "for better or for worse, how will the campaign change people's lives?"

I am most proud of a campaign I led while at Teach For America called Dream. Rise. Do. Through this campaign, I had the ability to inspire Black men to teach. Helping them make the connection that teaching was a viable career path - preparing the messaging and telling the stories of other exemplar male teachers - introducing them to the opportunity and allowing them to be a catalyst for change in kids' lives was crucial for me. Statistically speaking, black men only made up 2% of teachers at the time the campaign was launched. You can look at the current news cycle and realize that with professions like teaching and law enforcement, the understanding and empathy is often absent for youth who don't have people of color in their lives in those positions. When students are introduced to that in the classroom, the idea that people who look different from them would take the time to lead and guide, they start to develop a different perspective on life.

From a business perspective, we were looking to impact the teacher recruitment pipeline. any Black men who were already teachers at the time shared that due to the campaign, they decided to remain in the profession. In some cases, maybe they had already been thinking "I'm the only black, male teacher in Jacksonville, MI" but after seeing my campaign, they realized "this is why I'm meant to be here and my company, does value me." We made a difference.

How do your roles as a Director at NBCUniversal and NYU differ? How are they similar? How do they compliment each other?

The business world is definitely very different than the academic sector in many ways, but there are also similarities. Since I work at a media company that is so cutting edge, the company is often open to exploration, questioning, and risk-taking, elements that are also the foundation of a strong academic setting. I also get to apply the work that I do to my teaching lessons. Actually being able to provide concrete examples and contextual case studies in this business climate helps because I'm doing these things on a daily basis. It's helpful for students to have a professor that works in a discipline they're studying because the business world shifts and changes at a moment's notice every single day.

My reviews as a professor consistently say that students have enjoyed the first 10 minutes of class, which I always dedicate to current events. I use this time to talk with the class about what they saw in the world of marketing that week or that day. In terms of differences, as a professor, you are your own boss. You get to maneuver your classroom; there's a curriculum but you get to steer it. There is definitely a lot more liberty and freedom for you to direct your explicit vision. I am responsible for coming up with exercises for all of my sessions and my class is 3 hours long, so I have to account for every single minute of that time. There are no breaks in that window, as a professor, I'm always on. At work, I can take a lunch break, or a bathroom break. In the classroom, there are no disruptions: my time there is focused, and it's pretty driven because of the outcomes I set beforehand for every single class.

In business, I might have a short-term checklist that contributes to the accomplishment of long-term goals, whereas in the classroom, I have to deliver an outcome, my students have to gain something very tangible, at the end of every class; teaching, for all of these reasons, sets a very high bar.

As a leader and as someone who works with other leaders in your firm, how do you ensure that your voice shines through in your work while still maintaining a collaborative spirit?

It's tough - you definitely have to be your own PR person and try to shine, where applicable, so that others on your team and in your workplace know what value you've added. You can do that in a way that's respectful of the fact that it does take a team effort to get from A to B. Good leaders emphasize the fact that setting team goals and crossing the finish line together is understood across the group. As a leader, you also want to make sure you lift up other people. That's an even greater sign of a strong leadership. In doing so, you can show how strong you are by recognizing and empowering others.

In terms of ensuring that I still have a voice that's heard: I make sure that people want me in the room, know that I have a perspective to offer, and know that I can effectively champion and question things when needed. I seek to ensure that my team knows that I'm actively engaged, always thinking, always refining, and always innovating. Because I have a seat at the table, I have the responsibility of speaking up and knowing that I am there for a reason and to fulfill a purpose. My advice based on that is to bring your expertise and bring your "A" game all the times. Even so, there are always areas to improve. When you receive feedback, take it in stride and determine how you can best apply it immediately to show that you are listening and are always open to growth.

"Because I have a seat at the table, I have the responsibility of speaking up and knowing that I am there for a reason and to fulfill a purpose."

How are you best able to lift as you climb?

It's about exposure, like what you're trying to do with your blog. Someone who works with a non-profit wanted to see if a group of their youth could tour my office, and to that, my response was "absolutely." Letting down the ivory tower and making the platform that I've reached accessible, sharing my story, and sharing avenues for access to my career path are powerful ways that I can and do lift. I also make sure that I'm providing inroads to the things that I wanted as a young professional; being a conduit to give others access to the things I wanted to do.

"Letting down the ivory tower and making the platform that I've reached accessible, sharing my story, and sharing avenues for access to my career path are powerful ways that I can and do lift."

This practice is not just something that I offer to young people, but also to my peers. I can only share my story since that is the only one that I have lived, but I can also suggest other avenues to explore. Another way that I lift others is through sharing on a one-on-one basis. I take a lot of informational interviews even when I'm stretched because for me, it's the right thing to do.

If you had to list one go-to garb item in your work wardrobe, what would it be?

Oh, my Diane von Furstenberg (DVF) wrap dresses! Anything DVF: that's my superhero costume.

Want to learn more about Monique's work experiences? Check out her LinkedIn page!


If you see me on this site, the product or service with this tag created is owned or distributed by a black-owned business!

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