Friday, February 12, 2016

Rosemary Ugboajah, President of Neka Creative



"A brand's success is built on authentic connections. Authenticity is achieved by Inclusivity Marketing ™."
- Rosemary Ugboajah, Neka Creative
 
Rosemary Ugboajah is the president and owner of Neka Creative, a brand development agency. The agency's mission is to "reveal the wild brand promise in every organization with progressive authenticity." The company is blazing trails and changing the landscape of the marketing industry while demanding inclusion in the marketing process from start to finish.

Before launching her businesses, Rosemary built an extensive background in both corporate and agency settings in companies and organizations such as Advertising Federation of Minnesota, Concept Group, Yamamoto Moss, Colle McVoy, Target and National Black MBA Twin Cities Chapter. At her alma mater, the University of Minnesota, she studied Journalism and Speech Communications. Rosemary also co-founded and worked for Zydeco Design for four years before launching her sole proprietorship, Neka Creative. 

What does a typical day in your role look like?
A typical day is absolutely random. No two days are alike. Being a business owner and a strategist, you wear a zillion and one hats. I am constantly prospecting, managing teams, managing projects, and milestones, doing back office work, making sure people get paid, and making sure that there are enough people on the team to do the work that is coming up. It is extremely busy. No two days are alike, but there is a huge rush from conquering the day. I get up each day look at my schedule and think 'OK, we are gonna get through this, and we are gonna come out the other side victorious!'.

What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about people and seeing things excel. When you know, someone has given their all and accomplished something, and it does not have to be a mighty feat, that excites me. I am passionate about succeeding and about seeing everyone else on my team and around me succeed. I am also passionate about seeing my clients succeed. That's my passion: seeing people achieve something they might not achieve ordinarily without putting some energy and effort behind it.

What do you find most challenging about your job/career?
Not enough time in the day. That is my biggest challenge. There is always so much I have to do, but there is also so much I want to do. Trying to find the time and the energy to get it all done is an ongoing challenge.  

What do you finding most enriching about your job/career?
The people that I get to meet from all walks of life. I am in the people business, so while a lot of my job has to do with strategy, it is really about connecting with people. That is extremely rewarding. I try not to take things at face value, but dig deeper to find out what really matters to people and just listen. It is such an enriching process. That is what I love about what I do!

How did you find yourself in the career you currently hold?
Well, it is the only thing I have done. It is second nature to me. I deliberately picked going into a creative field. When I was younger, I was told I was more science-oriented, which was because I was a pure science student. I however really loved people's work in the art classes. I could not draw to save my life at the time, and I was continuously told I was not going to be creative. I think that was pretty much it. They gave me a challenge, and I committed to it. 

I took art from a different school because I maxed out my credits where I was. Even as a high school student, I got my work into competitions. I went to art school as an adult and did design. I worked as a designer for a bit in London. I eventually decided that there were better designers than me, but I loved the creative field and stayed in it. It was interesting how in London, everywhere you looked, you got some visual communication, be it on the Underground or around the town. There was an excellent use of language, imagery, humor, just constant entertainment. I wanted to be a part of it, and that is all I have done since then. 

Words of advice for anyone to wants to pursue this career?
If you really, really want it, you've got to sacrifice a bit. Let your hunger for wanting to be in the career be your driving force. It doesn't come easy. There will be a lot of obstacles along the way if you want to have a meaningful position in the industry. It should come from your love for the industry and your love for connecting with people. If you do not have a love of truly connecting with people, you will not make it in the creative industry. If you feel you have the answers, and feel you are just going to talk to people as opposed to with them, it will be tough to have a successful brand campaign. I think just following that drive, being ready to work hard, and being an excellent listener are the essential elements. 

There is something for everyone in this industry. There are so many roles, and we need all types of people and all types of thinkers because the work that we do shapes society. If we wanted to go back and assess any era, we would assess it by what people were talking about and what they were advertising. With everything we touch, we have a tremendous responsibility to make sure that we are telling a good story for this moment in time. We need to take that responsibility seriously. It's not just about selling, it is about being responsible for what we do and how we do it. What will be the adverse effects of let's say perpetuating a stereotype just to get a product sold? It is more about the importance of society and pop culture overall. We are leaving artifacts behind, and we have to be mindful of that! 

To learn more about Rosemary and Neka Creative, click here

Happy Valentine's day and thanks for reading!

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