Lead with Your Art: Dr. De’Laija Napier’s Creative Mission to Foster Empowerment

Dr. De’Laija Napier is a dynamic and multifaceted professional, a true marketing maven by day, dedicated to transforming businesses and helping them weave compelling brand narratives that resonate with their target audiences through the captivating world of social media. Her expertise lies in harnessing the power of digital platforms to craft impactful marketing strategies, facilitating the growth of businesses, and driving their success in today’s ever-evolving market landscape.

Recently crowned with the prestigious title of Miss Plus U.S. United 2023, Dr. Napier’s journey extends far beyond the realm of marketing. Since the win, she has embarked on a journey to extend her reach and influence, further solidifying her role as a beacon of empowerment and change. De’Laija’s platform, ‘Lead with Your Art’ (LWYA), has become a testament to her unwavering commitment to fostering creativity and unity. Within this thriving collective, members offer unwavering support, draw inspiration from one another, and engage in a continuous exchange of knowledge and creativity. Under Dr. Napier’s visionary leadership, LWYA has evolved into a nurturing environment where any form of artistic expression becomes a catalyst for meaningful change. 

Whether it’s visual arts, music, literature, or any other creative medium, LWYA serves as a conduit through which these forms of expression converge to create a profound impact on society. Driven by her passion for the arts and her unwavering commitment to making a difference, Dr. De’Laija Napier stands at the intersection of marketing excellence and artistic innovation, inspiring all those fortunate enough to cross her path. With her vision and dedication, she continues to shine as a true luminary, guiding others towards the transformative power of art and its ability to shape a better world.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with De’Laija to discuss entrepreneurship, media and plans for the future:

Can you tell us more about your background and how you became a marketing maven? What inspired you to pursue a career in marketing?

My journey into the world of marketing has been driven by a genuine passion for storytelling and the transformative power of effective communication. I’ve dedicated myself to helping businesses tell their unique brand stories and connect with their audiences through the dynamic landscape of social media.

My inspiration to pursue a career in marketing stems from the belief that every business has a remarkable narrative waiting to be shared with the world. I’ve always been captivated by the idea of taking a brand, no matter how big or small, and crafting a narrative that not only resonates with its target audience but also elicits genuine emotions and connections.

Congratulations on being crowned Miss Plus U.S. United 2023! Could you share your journey to winning this prestigious title and what it means to you?

Thank you so much! I’ve been competing in pageants since the age of 3. It’s been a long road coming and because they can be expensive, I took a few breaks in between. With more responsibilities as an adult, I decided earlier this year that I would try one last pageant system and then finally retire. I was inspired by my close circle of friends and my god sisters, to try the U.S. United Pageant system. I just wanted to have a good time, make some new connections, and see if I still had it in me to compete. To my surprise, I won my state title as Miss Florida Plus U.S. United 2023 in March. Then I went to nationals in July and was crowned Miss Plus U.S. United 2023. Since this is my final pageant (as far as competing goes), it’s an honor to have this title. It’s a reminder that as pageant contestants (men and women), we have so much more to offer the world in the form of community service, advocacy, mentorship, and creativity.

Your platform, ‘Lead with Your Art’ (LWYA), is a unique blend of marketing expertise and artistic creativity. How did you come up with the idea for LWYA, and what motivated you to create this platform?

Lead with Your Art (LWYA) was birthed as a product of my desire to cultivate community. I have so many friends who are talented in the different art disciplines and I wanted to find a way to support them all. As a natural connector, I also desired to help them find ways to collaborate.

LWYA seems to be a hub for fostering creativity and unity. Can you describe the kind of support and exchange that takes place within this collective, and what impact it has on its members?

A lot of artists don’t always have initial support (financial or moral) from their family so LWYA gives them that as much as possible. We host virtual and in-person events to promote the work of our creatives. We also raise money to support projects on a quarterly basis. For the most part, this takes a lot of pressure off of artists so they can focus on being creative while we support the logistical side of things. I’m excited for some new things we have coming in 2024 as well (including a brand new website) so stay tuned!

How do you balance your career as a marketing professional with your role as the head of LWYA?

 I do a lot of planning in my agenda and thankfully I have a good core group of people supporting me. Setting boundaries and not letting the work of one bleed into the other has been a huge driver in balancing both.

In your opinion, what is the role of art in shaping a better world and driving positive change in society? How do you envision LWYA contributing to this mission?

Art plays a multifaceted and pivotal role in shaping a better world and driving positive change in society. Art in all its forms is a dynamic force with the potential to influence hearts and minds, spark social change, and shape a more compassionate, inclusive, and hopeful world. It transcends borders, languages, and backgrounds to unite people in a shared pursuit of a better tomorrow. Our vision at Lead with Your Art is to be a leading provider of arts education and creative resources that enable individuals to achieve their full potential. We envision a world where everyone has the opportunity to express themselves through art, and we are committed to creating a vibrant community of artists who support, inspire, and learn from one another.

What advice would you give to individuals who are looking to combine their passion for the arts with their desire to make a positive impact, similar to what you’re doing with LWYA?

If you’re eager to blend your passion for the arts with a desire to make a positive impact, start by identifying the causes or issues that resonate with you deeply. Consider how your artistic skills, can be harnessed to raise awareness or provoke change related to those issues. Engage in art-driven activism, using your creations as a platform for advocacy, education, and dialogue. Attend events, network with like-minded individuals, and seek mentorship from those who have successfully merged art and social impact. Remember, the key is persistence and innovation—your unique perspective as an artist can be a powerful catalyst for positive change.

What message or legacy do you hope to leave for those who follow your journey, both in marketing and in the world of art and empowerment?

Strive to be a catalyst for positive change. In marketing, aim not only to sell products but to create meaningful connections and foster genuine relationships with customers. In the world of art, let your creativity be a force for inspiration, expression, and social commentary. Empowerment comes not just from personal success, but from lifting others up and advocating for justice and equality. Leave a legacy of empathy, innovation, and a commitment to leaving the world a better place than you found it.

What is your definition of a Pretty Woman Who Hustles? 

A “Pretty Woman Who Hustles” is a force to be reckoned with! She’s not just a pretty face; she’s got the brains, grit, and hustle to conquer her ambitions. She doesn’t let societal expectations limit her. She’s unapologetically herself, and she’s breaking the mold while she’s at it!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/delaija_n/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/delaijan/

Website: https://www.sunflower-media.org/

Jakia Cheatham - Myles

CEO/Founder of Pretty Women Hustle Magazine

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