Women Founders to Watch: Angelina Darrisaw
Angelina Darrisaw (@linadarrisaw) is a social entrepreneur, an international business and career coach and digital media strategist. As the founder and CEO of C-Suite Coach, a groundbreaking career-coaching platform that provides accessible professional development resources to diverse, millennial professionals, Angelina collaborates with employers to create business solutions that empower and educate teams, as well as retain and engage diverse employees. Her many accomplishments include winning 1st prize at Uber’s NYC Pitch Competition, speaking at TEDx Deer Park, the 2016 Democratic National Convention Diversity Breakfast, WICT’s National Conference, the Black Female Founder’s Demo at Google and The Root’s Women Making History panel, among others.
WomenWerk sat with Angelina to learn more about her journey to growing her company and building her personal brand.
1. How have you developed and expanded your personal brand?
I’ve grown my own personal brand in two key ways. By volunteering and taking the lead, and by being consistent in how I show up. I stayed involved with most organizations that have helped me throughout my life in some way and that has unexpectedly driven opportunity. For example, I’m on the board of Youth Communication, where I was once a teen writer for their publication and have been able to build public speaking opportunities as a board member. I was a student in Prep For Prep, and when my companies were having students from the organization visit, I would sit on panels to discuss what I did. Inevitably, through volunteering, a perception was created that I was not only comfortable taking the lead, but also suited to do so.
Consistency is also very important. How you show up creates a perception and helps set an expectation for people. For example, that can be in the work that you do as well as the way you show up. I’m a firm believer in dressing for the job you want and not the job you have, especially when you’re the youngest person in the room and in many times in my career, I was.
2. What is C-Suite Coach and what makes it different from other coaching services?
At C-Suite Coach, we service diverse working professionals via programming and coaching and help companies engage and retain diverse talent. Our audience is very targeted and that is on purpose, so we can truly focus on impact with a subset of professionals, many fortune 500 companies are struggling to retain. Many companies only use coaching to serve the the managers and executives, but the talent pool who needs these services the most fail to get access.
3. When you work with women of color, what are three unique things (positive or negative) you notice about their experiences as professionals?
When I work with women of color, especially Black Women, I immediately notice that even though they may face struggles at work, like being the ‘only’ or being asked to speak for a whole race, they still radiate positivity. These women have so much tenacity and drive to thrive in their own careers AND then give back so others can thrive too. This can be a rarity in today’s society but Black Women and other women of color are all about it.
4. What are some lessons you have experienced in growing your company that others looking to launch theirs should consider?
You can’t be shy about what you are doing and why. It can feel like your company is all you are talking about, but it should be all you are talking about, especially as you are growing. As you let people understand your work, opportunities will come to you organically. Introduce yourself and your company powerfully and find ways to articulate how people can help you drive the growth you need.
5. How can we stay in touch with Angelina and follow the C-Suite Coach?