Interview with Benita Conde, Brandcenter wellness strategist
It’s no secret that the Brandcenter can be tough. When students commit to joining the #BrandFam, they commit to a wild two years of classes, deadlines, team meetings, briefs, pitches, presentations, late nights, early mornings, and redos. Lots, and lots, of redos.
Yes, we know the importance of good, hard work. But we also know the importance of taking care of yourself and remaining focused on individual goals. That’s where Benita Conde, Brandcenter wellness strategist and founder of Create Radical Love, comes in. Benita provides workshops and one-on-one coaching for Brandcenter students. She focuses on topics related to building and cultivating a true sense of self, while also navigating the intense and rapidly shifting dynamics of the creative and business worlds.
The Brandcenter social media team asked Benita to talk more about her relationship with the Brandcenter and advice for students, particularly as we navigate today’s ongoing uncertainties.
What is your connection to the Brandcenter? Why did you want to give back to the students?
BC: I first engaged with Brandcenter as an ad industry recruiter many years ago. I would come to the Recruiter Session and recruit graduates into various roles in the agencies and brands that I worked for or with. I always felt a great connection to the breadth, depth, and quality of the program. I felt an immediate connection to Ashley Sommardahl, as well, and stayed in touch over the years. When the time came for me to leave my last full-time agency role and start Create Radial Love, I shared these developments with Ashley; then, when we started to consider moving to Richmond, I KNEW that I would want to engage with the Brandcenter, bringing my Create Radical Love approach to the students.
I have always felt called to work with people coming into the industry. From early on in my career I would speak at schools and meet young talent interested in internships, etc. The ad industry by nature is very reactionary, built on a lot of ego and fear. After years of experiencing it from the inside and then building a platform to help people navigate it from a more loving, holistic and healthy place, I was (and still am!) excited to offer that perspective to the students at Brandcenter. To create systemic change with an industry that can beat many people down, I believe it is best approached from all sides—engaging with those in perceived positions of power and those new to the industry, bringing in fresh and revolutionary ideas!
With everything going on, how do you find your North Star? How can we manifest our professional desires?
BC: Nurturing, listening to and acting from intuition (sensory messages rather than thought) and true excitement is key for following your unique path. We are so easily pulled by all of the fear-based messaging and conditioning in the world. When we act from what we feel (using our sensory system as a guide) is really right for us, we align more to our truth (rather than aligning to fears, limiting beliefs and what others want for or project on to us) and we are then able to manifest more of what we truly desire. Simple actions like taking intuitive walks or choosing food, physical activity, and creative activities from true excitement and intuition can build this muscle and make it easier to trust intuition with what feels like bigger life moments.
I work with clients on defining a personal calling statement, as well, and that can be massively beneficial to help stay aligned to true purpose. When a life is aligned to a true calling (not a specific professional role) it becomes much easier to filter out what's not aligned and move toward true service and creative excitement.
I use a wonderful tool with certain clients and the students at Brandcenter called the Manual of Me. We often spend much time in our heads about what we think we want from a professional experience but rarely get down on paper what we really desire and require from a professional experience. In the talks I give about the job interview process I love to highlight that if you do this work, get clear on what you really desire and WHO you are professionally rather than just describing what you do, you can then sit in the driver's seat of interview conversations. Having an empowered interview conversation feels fantastic!! Giving your power away in an interview because you're not clear about who you are and what you desire from the opportunity can leave one feeling scared and powerless in the exchange.
Visioning and using vision boards to bring your intuitive voice through into visual representation of what you desire can be a very powerful manifestation tool as well. I highly recommend writing out what your desires are and also visualizing them through drawing, collage, etc.
All of these tools fall under my HAVING FUN WITH FEAR approach—rather than letting fears and lack beliefs run the show.
How can we remain positive during this time of uncertainty?
BC: What I'm about to write doesn't always sit well with people because it can be confronting at first, but here it is... happiness is a choice.
But until you know that, until you know that you create your own reality, that you have the power to process what triggers or affects you negatively with compassion and love and you have the ability to stay grounded, until you know that and play with it (Having Fun with Fear here too!), there is a belief or experience that you are a victim to circumstance. So, you have a choice in this time to point yourself to the negative and fear-based influences in the collective or to positive, inspiring, and exciting influences. Choose wisely.
During this time, it's really easy to get pulled into all of the distraction and noise swirling in the collective via the news and social media. I highly recommend limiting news and social media intake. Dip in, get the info you need or connect with the content that raises your vibe and keeps you uplifted, then let go of the rest. You can stay "engaged" in the world and be able to be of service in a much more impactful way with this approach. Deep dives into the fear and misinformation only breed more fear and lack beliefs.
If you follow your highest excitements, even if others don't understand or reflect fear back to you about your approach, you will naturally cultivate a personal empowerment in following your truth that is less than affected by circumstances. Be the eye in the storm!
Take care of yourself in ways that feel best, uplifting or grounding to you. Move your body, get out in nature (if you can safely where you are), meditate, drink water, eat nourishing foods, connect with people who give you clear and positive reflections, create, play, have fun, connect with people in ways that feel aligned for you from a social distancing perspective, be where you still feel that human connection, be of service to others in ways that align for you.
BE YOU — be as truly and unapologetically you in this time and see what new patterns and priorities you take with you into the months to come.