“Oh my god, you’re new? Like what’s your name?” I will never forget the Becky, look at her butt accent D’Andrea Willis faked in front of me for first time. She had just met the most terrified fourth grader in Texas. I had recently moved from Arkansas and I’m sure she noticed how I casually held up the wall at recess. Already surprised that families didn’t ride horses to work, I was taken back how eager Dee was to talk to me. Nevertheless, I was grateful to finally not look like the lonely new girl in the school. Little did I know that her outgoing conversation would be the beginning of a 15-year friendship of laughs, cries and motivation to go get our biggest goals.
Ever since I have known Dee she has always been fascinated with the way people present themselves to the world. From flipping her hair, racing the boys to prove that she could beat them and her endless supply of lip gloss, she never let people see her sweat. So it’s not surprising that she now dominates the social media image of Sabre Communications, the larger than life technology solutions provider based in Dallas. But with all that she has learned and contributed to the company, she still approached life after college with the same fear we all have: Will I be somebody? Will they see what I’m truly made of?
Choosing to major in public relations in college, Dee never felt like a stand out PR student. Her unexpected chance in the industry came with a lot of excitement yet pressure.
“In my final semester of college, I was so confused on what to do. In my field you have to stand out in a major way. I wasn’t in any PR organizations or going to mixers; I just showed up to class and went home. But I took a social media class and fell in love with everything about that world. After creating a social media campaign for non-profit, the class helped me to land an internship at Sabre that started my new journey in the field.”
Internships are never promised and Dee definitely felt the anxiety of moving into a full time position. After the doubt settled, she proved to herself that she could own the job and take the image of the company up another level.
“At the end of the summer internship my manager pulled me into a room and asked me what I wanted to be. I immediately said I wanted to be like him one day – running things. Although I didn’t get offered a permanent position at the time, Sabre put me on a rotational job. I was able to learn many areas including public relations, brand and content marketing. I had been shadowing a particular manager and when he left the company it was completely up to me to fill those huge shoes. It was very stressful and I doubted myself but I was finally offered a full time position as content marketing coordinator.”
Usually very confident, her lack of knowledge in the field left her underestimating her value. She contributes God and challenging herself to showing Sabre that she deserved the position.
“I know that this journey was God’s will. I was so scared and felt like I was going to screw up in the beginning but I ultimately learned that the battles we face aren’t challenges, merely amazing learning opportunities. When I graduated, I didn’t see this. I didn’t think I was unique or skilled to do the job but when you’re thrown into it you realize you really have what it takes.”When you're thrown into a challenge you realize you have what it takes Click To Tweet
When presenting yourself on social media, Dee has learned that it’s all about what you want the world to see.
“In the past social media was just a place to share your thoughts but it shifted into the primary source of information. Some people still haven’t realized that. Social media is your voice and your megaphone. You have to give the world value to what you want to say. There are so many people who are waiting for you to mess up. Of course have fun but be mindful that everything you say is being watched.”
When building up a personal brand or company on social media, Dee has one huge tip.
“Balance. Try to keep balance of being yourself and what you want the world to believe you are. For example, I share information and images to portray a skilled and smart girl who loves marketing. I want people to know that I’m THAT girl when it comes to it. If you exert that vision on social then you will definitely grow into that goal. Just don’t live anything that isn’t you or will never be. Whether a personal brand or business, show why you are the expert in what you are doing.”
I’m so proud of everything that D’Andrea is killing in these social media streets. Since starting her full time job at Sabre, she has represented the company in LA and London , encouraged young girls through social media workshops and so much more. With all the knowledge she has gained, she also aims to support new bloggers to build their ultimate brand. (Who you think is helping me? Duh.) You can check her site out for more tips!
Dee’s most recent workshop