We had the good fortune of connecting with Delanie West and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Delanie, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
I believe in the saying ” the rent we have to pay for having the amazing opportunity to live on this planet is to help someone else.” Community service, helping underrepresented people, helping women and girls, taking care of my personal responsibility to make way for others as I climb.

I am incredibly inspired by Madame Secretary Madeleine Albright’s insistence on helping other women, in spaces where women were absent and unseen. She used her voice and position and made way for women. I make sure I empower and create opportunities for peers and young professionals to grow and lead. My firm Be Super Creative donates service hours to non-profits, emerging business entrepreneurs and students.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
From Bio” Delanie West is an engaging, hands-on product design & development creative operations leader with consistent success in creating revenue, profit, and business growth.

Delanie formerly lead the creative teams for AW Faber-Castell, Creativity for Kids, known for leading premium brands in the adult, children, and student fine art and creative gift segments. She served on the Faber-Castell US Executive committee and represented the company in the capacity of buyer at international trade shows. Her tenacity for creative excellence and efficiency aided her rapid rise from jr. designer to serving as general manager and vice president of product development and design at Wilton Brands. She was responsible for leading human capital strategy and culture throughout several private equity merger and acquisition cycles.

Skilled at international manufacturer relations, she has cultivated strong supplier vendor relationships. She has been influential in mentoring designers and developers new to their careers. Delanie has spearheaded innovation and development of many major product categories for small & emerging startups to well-established multinational corporations.”

We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about.
My multi-hyphanate abilities, both business and creativity. My approach to development has been “design or create for X – meaning having an in-depth understanding of the equipment, manufacturing process or the systems I am creating for” We gain greater efficiency when we are creating concepts that can be mass-produced or well-executed. In other words, we are creating ideas that can be done.

How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way.

My consistency in accepting challenges and raising my personal bar. I never perceived being given one more task as a negative thing. It was the opportunity for me to learn and grow well beyond my competency level at that moment in time. I dedicate a lot of time to gaining expertise and leveling-up. Most recently, I was appointed to lead a new Diversity and Inclusion and Belonging initiative for an organization where I’m a board director, I didn’t know anything about DEIB, I’ve taken several certificate courses, and recently enrolled in the 6 part Diversity Inclusion in Human Resources program at Cornell University. My dedication level to learning positions me to learn even more and to share what I’ve learned with others. I wanted to learn more about business and Marketing, and so I am in the middle of earning my MBA at Syrcause’s Whitman school. I took on both of these challenges during the middle of the pandemic.

What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?

” I wanted the name of my company to be a call-to-action to be your best creative self. That was the invitation: Be super creative. It wasn’t just about me. It was about everybody. My moment of clarity was when I was ghost-designing products for Martha Stewart. I had already been designing and developing for 10 years. And I said, wait a minute. I’m creating this product, and she is going to represent this product as something that she’s curated and created. I said to myself, ‘Girl, you need to start developing your own intellectual property!’” – Fast Company

I started my company because as a Black woman, you’re the last hired and the first-to-go. No matter how excellent you are, or how many skills you master, you know you’ll be the first to exit when a business needs to down-size or there are merger and acquisition adjustments. At many stages business leaders cycle out talent trading experienced for lesser experienced and lower costs, so you’d be wise to have a black-up plan. So I started Be Super Creative understanding that my roles would never be secure unless I worked for myself. This obviously leads to an entire discussion that could be it’s own article, on why women, and especially Black Women are represent the highest group founding their own companies in 2021 (Mckinsey & Co)

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would invite them to meet me in Charleston South Carolina (where I grew up as a girl). We’d rent a B&B on Kings street, take walking tours of the city and enjoy shrimp and grits for breakfast and low country Red Rice at some point for a dinner meal. We’d charter a boat for a day out on the water for a little sun and maybe fishing and we’d end it with a tour of some of the most historic storied places of the Gullah culture in the Sea Islands. (Yes, I am multi-lingual I speak Gullah fluently!)

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Sherifa Gayle, mentee and small business entrepreneur of Black and Ugly https://www.instagram.com/black.n.ugly/ She’s single-handedly growing an amazing brand based in Harlem, NYC and we want the world to know it’s important to support women-owned businesses, especially businesses founded by creatives who are often operating behind the scenes for other brands. I celebrate loudly when talented creatives like Sherifa step into the frame to share their vision.

I had been following Sherifa’s brand page for some time as a fan/admirer and was surprised to see her arrive as 2022 Cohort member for a lecture series I was giving at Columbia Business school’s Harlem Local Vendor Program. Let’s celebrate Sherifa and clap loudly for her brand Black and Ugly ( Obviously Notorius B.I.G. inspired )

Website: besupercreative.com

Instagram: @delaniewest @besupercreative

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/delaniewest/

Twitter: @besupercreative @delaniewest

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BeSuperCreative

Other: linktr.ee/DelanieWest

Image Credits
You can use any of the images as you wish. It was not clear in the order and purpose for both image uploads – so please its up to you!

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.