This week, Dear Diary invites The Chroma Network to The Advice Column by Dear Diary. Grab a pen and paper because you are about to learn a thing or two from the platform's fearless leader and founder, Daneshé Henry.
Have you ever stumbled upon a concept and asked yourself, how the hell has this not taken over social media yet? Or better yet, how has this not taken over the world yet? That is exactly how I felt when I first connected with @chromanetwork on Instagram. Yes, I was immediately drawn in by the account's beautiful branding, but it is the message and the lessons behind the beauty that highlights the importance and depth of this platform. The Chroma Network “is a WOC owned and operated platform pushing young women to develop from the inside-out in the areas of career, mindset, and style through a host of accessible online resources.” Yup, I just took that straight from the website because quite frankly I couldn't have said it better myself. The founder of The Chroma Network @neeshtyler has some major post-grad advice to give and even further a mission to elevate experiences for post-grads, specifically WOC. So, get ready to learn more about this phenomenal platform and founder who will undoubtedly be on a Forbes list (or two) within my lifetime.
DD: Introduce yourself, what you studied in college, and what you do now for our Dear Diary readers.
DH: “Hi! I’m Daneshé (duh NEE shay). I’m 23 and recently graduated from The Wharton School of Business at Penn, where I studied Marketing. I’m currently an Associate Product Marketing Manager at Google!”
DD: What has your post-grad journey been like for you?
DH: “A lot different than I anticipated. Ms. Corona does not play fair! I anticipated having a life out on the west coast, in San Francisco for work, and I’m currently at home in Brooklyn. Opposite ends of the country and a 180 experience. After graduation, life has been about finding balance and learning more about myself: what do I like? What do I dislike? I’ve been spending a lot of time figuring out what makes me, me outside of the things that people tend to use as identifiers like your employer, alma mater, or other achievements.”
DD: What inspired you to create @chromanetwork?
DH: “The idea for The Chroma Network came to me in my junior fall of college. I have always been hyperaware of the disparities in race, social class, and education based on my own experiences transitioning from public school to prep school in NYC. I began to think about my interests in fashion and entertainment and how I wasn’t always sure about how I could turn it into a career path even though Wharton had tons of resources to help me do so. There were clubs and industry exploration trips, both domestic and international, that I took advantage of. I also began to think of all of the steps that it took to get me to the place in life that I’d reached; all of the scholarship programs, mock interviews, and professional development seminars. I had learned so many valuable hard and soft skills that are required to succeed in the workplace! But I knew for sure that there were women of color just as intelligent and qualified as I was, if not more, who just didn’t have the same level of access to and awareness of these same resources in their college years. However, I did know that most college women have access to the internet and thus began my journey to sharing and democratizing the information about wellbeing and professional development online.”
DD: Your platform is centered around “personal & professional development for the dynamic young woman.” What is the best piece of personal advice you would like to share with post-grads?
DH: “I like to emphasize the importance of being dynamic and multi-faceted. There is no one way to be 'professional' in this day and age. You can build a career around whatever you have an interest in as long as you have a strategy and sense of balance in your personal life. I’d like to think that The Chroma Network is an inviting platform where WOC can feel reflected no matter their interests. You don’t have to conform to be successful! Find your passion and follow it. Even if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for at first, being aware of what you want makes the journey so much easier and more intentional.”
DD: What is your best piece of professional development advice you would like to share with post-grads?
DH: “Be mindful of your brand. You don’t need to spend your entire day online if that’s not what you’re into (we all need to be conscious of our screen time), but make sure that the things you publish reflect your best self! In the age of digital transparency, it’s easy to post things without judgment forgetting about the impact a poor digital footprint can have. Do an audit of your social media profiles from time to time. When going after opportunities, you want to put your best foot forward!”
DD: I love the Chroma Network website, what has been your favorite project or published piece thus far?
DH: “I’ve had a lot of fun recording our podcast episodes - I’ve met some incredible women across so many fields (luxury beauty, Diversity & inclusion, journalism, law, etc.). They’ve all taught me a different lesson about what it means to go after your dreams unapologetically and what it takes to take your career to the next level. I particularly enjoyed writing How to Network Online: A Beginner’s Guide to Building Connections from Home. Though we’re all working from home for a while, I realize how important it is to build connections and maintain a social life. Remote work and online classes can feel pretty lonely, so I loved sharing these tips!”
DD: What is the best advice you would share with any young entrepreneur wanting to expand their brand on social media?
DH: “Be yourself, and don’t compare your beginning to anyone else’s middle! It can be so easy to get caught up with what is happening in your niche. It seems like everyone is growing much faster than you are or doing that thing you wish you could do. The way I deal with this is by simply cutting the noise. I mute accounts that make me feel doubtful of myself to focus on the next step of my journey. I used to wish that Chroma would blow up overnight, but the truth is, I am not mentally prepared for that to happen! Now that I understand that, I’m enjoying each incremental stage of growth and the knowledge I’m gaining about digital marketing, creating content, and engaging with others online. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help! I knew that with beginning my career, I wouldn’t give my all to Chroma in the way that I wanted. I asked one of my close friends to come on board to help me with Instagram, and it has taken the brand to a new level! Sometimes you need someone to bounce ideas off or pick up in the areas you might lack! Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness but rather a symbol of resourcefulness.”
DD: Now for our final question of each interview, what now?
DH: “Onwards and upwards! I’m focusing on making Chroma the best it can be for my audience and creating valuable content! I’m experimenting with what feels good for me; right now, it’s dabbling with video (YouTube and Reels) and strategy for increasing blog readership. I’m also thinking about how I can expand and what I can do to make the brand experience better in the short term. I’m excited about the journey!”