We had the good fortune of connecting with Robert Harrell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Robert, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Honestly, the idea came after working for terrible bosses at agencies that didn’t appreciate my work. I learned early on that people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses and I had a terrible boss. I had alot of respect for my boss and in the beginning considered her a mentor but the feeling was not mutual. I envisioned what kind of workplace that would be ideal to me, and said why not create it? Deciding what projects to take on came naturally easy. I looked for gaps or spaces where needs were not being met especially in the Diversity &. Inclusion space (before it was a trending hashtag).I wanted to combine my passion for equity and inclusion coupled with my over 8+ years of experience in traditional, digital, and experimental marketing to help increase brand awareness for potential clients.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What sets me apart is my compassion. I feel every project I take on, because it is personal. Being labeled a Diversity & Inclusion Marketing Expert is a task that I do not take lightly. It is a role, I proudly step in because I wanted to see myself reflected in all aspects of business and entertainment. I don’t mind being a culture disruptor and starting a conversation that will spark change for the greater good of humanity. I am where I am professional because of the support and love of great mentors and friends down through the years. It has not being easy at all. One of the greatest challenges I’ve had to overcome is just being included in the conversation of being invited to sit at the table. So I created my own table and invited others who looked like me to join so that “we” collective could create and change what we wanted to see. Some one I greatly admire is Verna Myer -VP, Inclusion Strategy at Netflix. She says, “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance”. This is one of the most profound statements I ever heard and its still rings true years later after it was first uttered by Verna. She is someone I have great respect for and have been honored to speak directly with her over the phone and love the change she is creating at Netflix along Bozoma Saint-John and Ted Sarandos.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
So many in LA. A great visit to LA to me looks like: Rooftop Brunch at CATCH LA followed by shopping on Rodeo lunch in Malibu at Malibu Farm Pier Cafe Dinner at Granville Morning Iced Coffee at Go Get Em’ Tiger Taco Tuesday at Tocaya Organica Evening Drinks at E.P/L.P then to dinner at Gracias Madre Morning Coffee Run at Madison & Park Coffee followed by a bike ride at Santa Monica Pier Pictures at the Pink Wall on Beverly Blvd followed by dispensary stop at Cookies Dinner at Craig’s Late Night drinks at Mother Lode Dessert at Bottega Louie Soul Food Dinner at Dulan’s on Manchester Stop by Universal Studios Hit the Club at 1Oak followed by The Abbey Friday Mani/Pedi at Color Coat LA then grab some donuts at Street Car and some iced coffee down street at Groundworks A day of shopping at Century City Mall with lunch at RockSugar Asian Kitchen Great Wednesday Wake Me Up Breakfast at Breakfast by Salt’s Cure followed by afternoon hike at Runyon Saturday Brunch at Blue Jam Cafe followed by some shopping on Melrose Haircut on Fairfax followed by lunch at VOMBurger late night dinner at Shaquille’s DTLA before a Laker’s Game at the Staple Center Sunday Spin Class at Sweat Cycle with Tommy Hobson followed by Sunday Brunch at The Henry
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
So many people deserve a shout out in my success. First to God. It sounds cliche but my faith has helped me navigate in times of uncertainty. Also, my mom, Vennice. Being raised by a single parent my mother definitely instilled in my siblings and I the value of education, being independent, and giving back as a community leader. As a marketing executive so many counselors and thought-leaders known and unknown flood my mind. my college psych professor – Professor Chante De’Loach who helped me to understand and articulate my learning disability my career counselor – Professor Destiny Johnson, my spiritual advisors: Pastor John K Jenkins Sr., Pastor Bobby Manning, Bishop Larry Aiken, Pastor Julian Lowe great friends: Sabrina (Bloue), Dee Dee Ford, Shaeideh Prince, Carol Martin, Damone Roberts, Mike & Asha Chubbs, Jenni Korneychuk and Diann Valentine, Ruth Carter, Tia Oso, Melanie Comarcho (my A1’s since Day 1 LOL) my mentors: Bozoma Saint-John. Cassandra Butcher, Anna Fuson, Connie Orlando, Soni Williams, Cynthia Marshall, and Debra Langford Some great books that inspired and encouraged me in my career: I am Number 8 by John Grey, Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, The Pursuit by TC Stallings, The Bait of Satan by John Bevere, The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger (my mentor in my head) and Metamorphosis of a Heart by Greg Wilson.