October 17, 2021

PRETTY WOMEN HUSTLE

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Women’s History Month Feature – Rasheedah Thomas

For Women’s History Month I will be sharing the stories that define and provide examples of women empowerment, uplifting stories of personal triumph and businesses that are inspiring and are making a difference for women. Women’s History Month is a declared month each year that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

I want to introduce you to Rasheedah Thomas.

Rasheedah Thomas co-founded RC Communications, a DC-based strategic communications firm, in 2014. She advises a diverse group of clients on strategic communications, media relations, and branding strategies. Rasheedah is passionate about women in positions of power, and loves helping women business and government leaders define their brand and raise their profile. She is also a highly sought-after commentator for US and international media where she shares her expertise and analysis of US and international affairs, women’s issues, and personal and corporate branding. Prior to co-founding RC Communications, Rasheedah worked in fundraising and donor relations at National Public Radio. For over a decade, she raised an average of $2-3M a year and created strategic stewardship plans for NPR’s corporate, foundation, and individual donors. She worked closely with NPR’s CEO and other executive management, as well as with major stations and Trustees of the NPR Foundation. As a board member of the Women’s Congressional Staff Foundation, Rasheedah works to not only increase staff diversity on the Hill, but create a pipeline to foster more diversity in Hill leadership positions. An advocate of more women in elected office, she is a Certified National Trainer for VoteRunLead and the national spokesperson for Protecting Our Vote PAC. She is a member of Washington Women in Public Relations and was selected to join Politico’s Women Rule advisory group as one of its first members. Rasheedah was named to the 2020 list of Influential African American Women on LinkedIn. She is a proud native South Carolinian and alumna of Howard University.

Here is HERstory:

After working for 11 years in fundraising and donor communications at National Public Radio, I co founded RC Communications. I’m the woman you hire if you either are in a crisis, or are ready to raise your profile and brand yourself as an expert.

Her business is RC Communications.

What does women empowerment mean to you?

I’m a huge advocate for women in positions of power. I want women to feel empowered, even if they aren’t yet where they want to be. For example: are you a mother? You are responsible for incubating life and expanding young minds. How powerful is that?!

What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share with someone?

One of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou: “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”

What do you want your legacy to be?

I want to create six figure jobs for Black women so they can create wealth for themselves and their families.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by women who life their lives on their own terms, support other women, and remember their struggles enough to try to make sure others don’t have to have the same struggles.

What kind of impact do you want to have on those around you?

I hope people witness my success and see that as confirmation that they, too can be successful. And I want to always take time to give advice or an encouraging word to a woman on her success journey.

What does self care mean to you?

Saying no. Not only is it necessary, it is empowering.

What obstacles have you overcome or hurdles did you personally face and how did you overcome them?

Year Three of our business was rough. Our traditional client pool dried up and I contemplated going back to a 9 to 5 job. Instead, we pivoted to government contracts. It was an onerous process, but very much worth it. We got to add some amazing clients and projects to our roster which helped us with later successes.

When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?

I was never good at taking orders from others! LOL Also, my father always had his own practice and always emphasized that business ownership was THE path to success.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship?

Corporate America is a toxic place for Black women. The stress takes its toll on our mental and physical health. Besides that, I wanted to feel empowered every day over my own destiny. That’s what entrepreneurship gives me.

What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you to do?

To make my ancestors proud.

What are you most excited or passionate about? (In both business and life or both)

I’m excited that I get to use my platform to empower other women, both in my work in the firm and outside. As a board member of the Women’s Congressional Staff Foundation, I help create a pipeline of the next leaders on Capitol Hill. As the the National Spokesperson for Protecting our Vote PAC, I helped create campaigns to defeat Donald Trump, educate the electorate, and help Black candidates get elected. Strategic communications is what I’m good at and I’m blessed to use my skills to uplift others.

What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business and personally?

I want to create a successful seven figure business not just for my own financial gain, but so I can employ six figure Black women. Creating opportunity and wealth for others will be my legacy.

Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.

My parents always told me that I could do anything. They probably regretted that later in life when they wanted me to go a more traditional career route. But they are proud of me now!

Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today? Tell me about them.

In February 2014, I found myself seated in a conference room with my boss, her boss, and an HR representative. I was told they our department was restructuring and offered a chance to apply (apply!) for a more junior position or take a severance. I’ve never made a decision more quickly. And that day, as I made my way home, I promised myself that I would never again put myself in the vulnerable position where someone else had that much power over me and my livelihood. And I’ve kept that promise to myself. Clients come and sometimes go, but NO ONE has that kind of power over me and never will again.

What’s next for you in your business? What can readers look forward to from you?

We hear from people all the time that they would love to retain our services, but can’t afford it. In particular, new small businesses who don’t yet have big budgets for comms. The pandemic has only made those cries louder. To that end, we recently created a private Facebook community – The Communicators Network – where we provide free webinar trainings and resources. We will train on things like executive presence, media training, how to look great on Zoom, and the best ways to brand yourself as an expert in your field. I’m really excited about it and we’ve gotten great feedback already!

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