Rhonesha Byng has built an entire media brand - and personal brand - to help empower women, which we think is downright awesome. Her advice: share your goals with your network so they can help support you and get you where you want to be.
Fairygodboss of the Week: Rhonesha Byng
Founder, Her Agenda
New York, NY
FGB: Tell us about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
RB: I am a journalist and entrepreneur. I'm passionate about the media and using the media as a tool for good. I am from New York City, often referred to as the media capital of the world. When I was in high school, I had an aha moment about trying a career in journalism and hit the ground running from that moment on. This led me to meeting a lot of amazing and powerful women who became my mentors and guided me towards some life changing opportunities. This happened very early and very fast and I blogged about every moment of it. I created a motto inspired by an acronym my nickname NESHA (No one Ever Slows Her Agenda).
Along the way, I developed a following around my blog and when a national magazine published my blog information, my page was flooded with questions. I noticed a trend in these questions in terms of the hesitancy, doubt and lack of inspiration my peers experienced versus what I had experienced. I decided at that point that I wanted to create something that would shift the concept of what a role model was from celebrity to everyday women working behind the scenes.
I also saw a need for there to be a change in their perception of opportunity. I wanted them to be aware of all the opportunities out there that they weren't taking advantage of because they were too afraid to ask or felt they weren't qualified because of their age, background or experience level. This eventually all came together to form what is now Her Agenda - a digital media platform bridging the gap between ambition and achievement for millennial women.
FGB: What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
RB: Recently, I received an opportunity to represent millennial women and Her Agenda at the United State of Women Summit. I moderated a panel of change makers and activists about building inclusive movements and creating engaged citizens. The White House chose me to moderate the panel. I was proud of that moment because it's literally proof of what we believe at Her Agenda: If you give a girl an opportunity she will bring others with her and amplify it to benefit and serve others. I brought several Her Agenda team members and even got the chance to pay it forward and invite two of my very early mentors. I wouldn't be here if it were not for them. They showed me the way not by holding my hand but by believing in me and showing me through their life and through their work how far I could go if I worked hard and put my mind to something.
FGB: What do you do when you’re not working?
RB: I like to recharge by spending time with friends. I used to feel guilty about those moments from work until I shifted my thinking. Those moments away from email help me to become a better person, and show up at work refreshed, energized and ready to tackle my to-do list. Otherwise, I feel like an iPhone that’s on 5%, and not useful to anyone. Charge yourself by spending time away from work and doing the things you care about with the people you care about. The goal for me is holistic success which requires me to put in the same amount of effort I put into my professional life into my personal life.
FGB: If you could have dinner with one famous person - dead or alive - who would it be?
RB: Oprah! Oprah has always been the biggest inspiration for me and I would love to sit down with her and see how we can connect to further the goal of bridging the gap between ambition and achievement for millennial women.
FGB: What is your karaoke song?
RB: No Scrubs - TLC
FGB: What is your favorite movie
RB: Anything Disney
FGB: What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
RB: A house
FGB: Who is your Fairygodboss?
RB: My first Human Resources supervisor at my first job at NBC New York. She was incredible and guided me through the politics and expectations in such a loving way. She truly set me up for success within the environment I was in and gave me the confidence to raise my hand, speak up, and show up in a space and place of people who were many levels above me in terms of experience.
FGB: What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
RB: Be clear about what you want and don't be afraid to share your goals with your network. Let people around you know and understand what your goals are and you'll find often they will help fill in the gaps to help you get to where you want to be.
Fairygodboss is all about women helping other women. So each week, we celebrate a woman who makes a difference in other women’s careers. Is there a woman who has made a difference in your career? Celebrate and thank her by nominating her here.