Coniah Adebayo is a media and brand expert specializing in social visibility and challenging brands to lean into authentic storytelling. She has worked to identify spaces and programming that serve multicultural audiences through integrated marketing campaigns and she is passionate about inspiring action through messaging. Coniah is also a big advocate of self-care. Read the full interview below to learn more about how she stays motivated by giving herself small rewards for facing obstacles.
Finish this sentence: I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for ________________.
The investment of time/support of my mentors, friends, and family and the challenges I faced that helped me build resilience.
Resumes highlight professional and educational achievements. Which one of your life or personal experiences deserves to be on your resume?
I love to provide support in unexpected ways. I have often shared my personal story with grief and loss and supported those who were navigating similar experiences. This could include the tough conversation about logistics or just providing a listening ear. I was recently featured on “The Grief Coach” podcast and it is a cathartic feeling to help others through storytelling.
What qualities do you look for when hiring someone on your team? What qualities do you avoid?
I typically seek out emotional intelligence and the ability to empathize with others. This trait often shapes how people view their work and their impact on those around them. It’s hard to say which traits I avoid because they are often revealed in a dynamic environment that can’t be duplicated in an interview. However, if I notice that a candidate struggles to accept accountability or seeks constant praise for their work, I would be concerned about whether they can maintain motivation when work becomes challenging.
“Lean into failure. Study it, accept it, forgive yourself and move on.”
What’s one piece of career advice you wish you could give to your younger self?
Lean into failure. Study it, accept it, forgive yourself and move on.
Which three books, podcasts, or news sources do you think everyone should read? Why?
This has evolved but I recently finished “Atomic Habits” by James Clear and it illuminates how to create an environment for sustainable routines. Another book that has served as a foundational ethos for my career is “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. The anecdotal storyline helped me clear the noise and identify purpose for everything in life. I was a late bloomer to the podcasts industry but now I am hooked. There’s an amazing meditation podcast that I listen to every morning called “The Daily Shine”. It was created by two women of color and helps address our internal limiting thoughts and reframes them in a way that relieves anxiety. It really made my 2020 more bearable.
Diversity, equity and inclusion is front and center right now. How do you express your commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in your personal and professional life?
Personally, I aim to lead with empathy in all situations. I am mindful of the power of words and their impact and I support organizations that are making great strides to build a more equitable future for everyone. A few examples include Chicago Votes, Higher Heights, and Win Black/Palante. These groups all have missions to make voting accessible for all citizens and elevating the voices of women, Black, and LatinX people. At work, I try to set an example by speaking up and leading with authenticity. I also support one of our internal resource groups with programming to help our employees share their experiences and perspective in a safe space.
What’s one tangible step every employer should take to help build a more representative organization?
Establish metrics and address your leadership and confirm that they share your organization’s commitment to equity.
How do you recharge your batteries?
I am a big self-care advocate. I take breaks throughout the day, I meditate, l lean into my skincare routine, and I give myself small rewards for facing obstacles. It could be something as simple as a sweet treat or lighting a candle.