Get Some Purpose: A Conversation with The Rebelle Agency’s Founder Dariana Colón-Bibb

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If I had to guess what the number one question was among millennials today, it would be something regarding calling or purpose. With mediums like Instagram and Snapchat allowing people to capture the highlights and very staged moments of their life, it’s easy for many of us to compare our paths to others and wonder if we’re on the right track to success. Is that track looped, crooked, or a mixture of both? Do we stick something out for the paycheck until we figure it out? Lifeline, please!

This month, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dariana Colón-Bibb, Founder and Managing partner of the Rebelle Agency headquartered in New York City. Like many of us, Dariana was faced with these questions during her career but courageously channeled her inner rebel along the way. Here’s what she had to say about the path to finding her niche, and owning her craft:

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Did you always see yourself in Public Relations?

As a freshman in college, I thought I was going to be an investment banker. I always saw myself working in the finance industry until I got my first internship with a bank. I hated it. Let me just say, that’s why I stress the importance of internships to college students. Internships give you a good idea into what you’ll be doing after college.

Got it! So, when did you realize that PR was the wave?

Well, one of my Spelman sisters had just finished a PR internship and had reached out for my help in starting a club on campus. I didn’t quite know what PR was at the time, but I can’t say “no” when it comes to trying new things which have been a blessing and a curse. We successfully chartered the Black Public Relations Society on campus and got amazing feedback. Along with the achievement of standing up the chapter, I began to make great strides within the industry as a student, particularly in hosting a weeklong end of school year conference on campus as a BET College Rep. In addition to promoting BET’s shows as an ongoing effort, this conference had workshops and included events geared toward small business, non-profits, entertainment and more. There were so many people in attendance and it came so naturally for me. I found great joy in sharing other’s stories and talents to a larger audience.  

Were you nervous making the switch? I can imagine that finance is every parent’s dream for their child along with fields like being a doctor, engineer, etc.

Listen, some people decide to push through their pain because of pressures from society, friends and especially family – but I am not one of those people. If something isn’t a fit, I don’t just keep my head down pretending that it is. I find my fit. That goes for every facet of my life: events, friendships, relationships. Life is too short to fake the funk.

Life is too short to fake the funk.

What inspired you to branch out as an entrepreneur in the industry? What did that transition look like?

I got the entrepreneur “itch” when I was working on the production team for a clothing line in New York City. I was working 60-hour weeks, getting very little sleep and felt constantly burned out. One day, I asked myself “what is all this for?” I realized that the work kept me busy and paid, but it surely wasn’t purposeful. I also felt uncomfortable with the idea of my financial well-being in the hands of someone else. I needed something of my own. I prayed incessantly for the next thing day and night…and then I got laid off. God’s timing is always perfect. I knew I had to get moving right then.  I worked on projects for free to build my name, did research on how to start a business, formed the LLC and business account and got to work!

I realized that the work kept me busy and paid, but it surely wasn’t purposeful. I also felt uncomfortable with the idea of my financial well-being in the hands of someone else. I needed something of my own.

In PR, I’d imagine that one’s network is everything. What would you say is the key to building successful relationships?

For starters, be authentic! Never go into a room trying to get everyone to like you. Focus on one or two people and try to connect on a personal level. You never want what you’re looking for from that person to drive the conversation. Speak genuinely, never out of urgency.

What advice would you give to a twenty-somethin’ who is trying to figure out their next move?

Have funds prepared before any big decision. Pride comes before the fall; if you must move back in with your parents to help in the meantime – do it. This path is between you and God and there surely isn’t a “quick-fix” to fulfilling your purpose.

This path is between you and God and there surely isn’t a “quick-fix” to fulfilling your purpose.

Lastly, I strongly believe that young women of color should have mentors and sponsors.  There’s a difference! A mentor has excelled in your arena and can help guide you on your path. A sponsor, on the other hand, has a seat at the table and can vouch for you when you can’t vouch for yourself.

Be sure to follow Dariana on Instagram at @DarianaCBibb and visit www.therebelleagency.com to see her firm’s latest press releases, learn about upcoming events and more!

By: Christine K. Pembroke (@ChrissyySunday)