As an award-winning business leader and founder of two branding agencies, Brandi Kamenar has created her own entertainment industry success story. We chatted with the founder of Image Design Studio, which builds clients’ brand and image from the ground up, about how recent college graduates can beat out the competition, achieving the ever-allusive work-life balance, making a lasting impression on your supervisors, and why you should never, ever give up on your dreams.
Betty Confidential: A good number of our readers have recently graduated college. What is your advice for standing out when job hunting?
Brandi Kamenar: Your personal brand and image represent who you are and first impressions are often the deciding factor in securing a job. Ensure that your personal brand and image are polished, unique, appropriate and in alignment with the company and position for which you are interviewing. You always want to make a positive impression and be distinguishable from your competition.
Come prepared – research the company and person interviewing you (it is all about personal relationships, as people want to work with those they trust and respect). Make sure you create relatable personal experiences and work background scenarios that will impress your interviewer. Offer more information than what is required on the job description, to assure that you can easily handle the job, and take over the position seamlessly.
Most important – consistency! This will ensure that your personal image at the interview, on your resume, and on your social media pages – all represent you favorably.
BC: What does it take to become an entrepreneur?
BK: An entrepreneur thrives on the challenge to succeed in every way possible. You must have a burning desire, passion for hard work, drive, and not be afraid of failure. True entrepreneurs do not waste time on unsuccessful projects – they pick themselves up, dust themselves off and move on!
BC: Can you give us a rundown of your day-to-day responsibilities?
BK: As a Personal Branding Agent and CEO, I‘m always busy, and most often work a 12 to 16 hour day. This entails directing the careers of my clients nationwide, spending a minimum of three to five hours on the phone in strategy and branding sessions, and connecting with publicists, agents, media, producers and tastemakers to build relationships. It is also essential that I make sure to attend and support fundraisers and events to cultivate these connections and give back to my community.
I always have two to three coffee meetings and usually a client dinner per day. I spend the rest of my evening, from 11 p.m. – 2 a.m.) responding to emails, handling our company marketing/PR plans, financials and setting appointments for the following week.
BC: Did you ever think about giving up?
BK: Give up, never – that is not in my personal nature. I would rather make changes that better suit my ever-evolving vision for growth. Change is inevitable. You have to be willing to change and adapt with the current economy, constantly re-inventing yourself and your business, to acclimate to global needs.
BC: If you could go back and tell your 21-year-old self one thing, what would it be and why?
BK: With age comes wisdom and confidence…so at 21 – inexperience can often create doubt. Going back in time, I would have trusted my decisions and been more open to accepting the journey and its obstacles. It is essential to continue following your dreams and learn to ask for help, therefore, the best thing I could have done at that age would have been to find a mentor. Mentors are imperative!
BC: What is the most rewarding thing about running your own business? What’s the most difficult?
BK: Challenge to me is my greatest reward! My ability to always create success with and for my clients, while supporting their dreams and business, brings me personal and professional fulfillment. I manage my clients’ brands as if they were my own; if not for any other reason, that’s the way I learned how to do it.
My most difficult task? Taking time away from work for personal time.
BC: Is it possible to balance your professional life with your personal life? Do you have any strategies to share with us?
BK: It is possible! But it takes commitment and dedication to achieve this important balance in life. This has been the most difficult for me to achieve in my career, but I have learned the necessity of taking one day at a time. Lately, I have significantly improved my ability to focus on my personal life, which equally benefits my personal fulfillment, and in turn my professional life.
BC: As a CEO, what advice do you have for young professionals who want to make a good impression on bosses?
BK: I have found that if a young professional is willing to help and learn, it will take them far beyond their talent only. It is essential to be accountable, ethical, resourceful and supportive. Going the extra mile and above the call of duty is the key in advancing your career. And “saying yes” is the surefire way to achieve success.
Diana Denza is BettyConfidential’s contributing editor.