IT GIRL : TOLA L

TolaSmile

The entertainment industry is full of dynamic and inspiring women. GirlThatsMySong.com wants to celebrate those women because they truly IT Girls. Tola L. is the brains behind a lot of the marketing campaigns you have come to know and love. The way this woman moves throughout the industry is mind-blowing. From owning her own agency to giving life to marketing campaigns for Ciroc & BET, Tola L has done it all. #ItGirlStatus

Get into the compelling interview below:

Job Title/Occupation:
Brand Solutions Manager at BET and Business Development at SixOne7Creative (it’s really my company, I just strongly dislike the “CEO & Founder” title)

What made you want to work in this industry?
My father bought me a pink radio when I was 4 and that was the beginning of my love affair with music. Casey Kasem was my first “best friend in my head” and my favorite song in the world was and will always be George Michaels “Careless Whisper”. In addition to being a music head, I’ve always been a creative, so ideas are plenty round these parts! In college, I was an English Communications major with a minor in Marketing. Music and entertainment have always been a part of my life I just wasn’t sure in what capacity I wanted to pursue so I interned at Jive, Sony/ Epic and MTV while in school. I knew entertainment was where I wanted to be so I figured I’d try a few things until I picked exactly what it was that I wanted to do.

What was your best & worst internship and why?
All of my internships were great! My favorite will always be my first internship at Jive Records because it was my “introduction” to the game. I interned in the Marketing department at Jive under Randy Miller and I had the opportunity to work on Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Usher and R, Kelly projects. I met some pretty amazing people there that I still communicate with today! (What’s up Ron Stew?!) Zomba had an AMAZING roster in 02/03.

Do you ever feel that women don’t get a fair shot?
I do. But I think it’s our job to make sure that people (men) know that we are in the game to win. If we are here for business, that’s what it is, business. Respect us the way that you would your male peers. I think women should adopt the thinking that when we meet adversity and doubt, it’s time to go harder. Nothing feels better than proving someone wrong and showing your worth.

What women in your field do you admire?
Tina Lee, she started the whole “Youth Consumer Marketing”. Myleik Teele, Founder of Curlbox, because she’s fearless and “bout it”. She gets “it” done by any means necessary.

How do you feel about the state of the music industry?
Depends on what day you ask me. With the internet, sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed because of all of the projects that are released daily. I often times feel like we don’t have enough time to sit with a project, listen to it, digest it, dissect it, enjoy it and learn the words, read the credits, know who did what, who produced what and who wrote what. Most times though, I appreciate the direction in which it’s going in. Although there is still a slight disconnect with the digital space, I think Hov and Bey have given us an idea on how to make this music thing and the digital space work. It’s forcing talent and label execs to think outside of the box with their marketing tactics and strategy. That part excites me. I’m here for that!

What is the best thing about your job?
The creativity. The connecting and building relationships with people. I’m a people person so I’m always down to meet, chat and strategize with like-minded people.

What is the worst thing about your job?
There isn’t really a “worst” aspect but it’s a lot of work. Juggling multiple projects, accounts and communicating with a number of agencies and clients at one time is a lot. It’s not bad but its hard work.

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What is the worst part of the industry?
The lack of unity. So much competition amongst those that do similar things instead of teaming up and coming up with larger concepts, activations. There is strength in numbers… not too many people understand that.

Who do you feel is a bad representation of women in the industry?
I couldn’t even tell you. I don’t associate with nor do I pay attention to them lol.

Has there ever been a time when you wanted to just quit?
All the time. But what options do I have besides “keep going”? None. Uncomfortable situations equal growth. If you’re comfy, chances are you aren’t making many moves.

What advice would you give yourself at 21?
Plan strategically, take small steps and remember that there are no emotions in business.

What advice do you have for girls just breaking into the industry?
Have some integrity. Stick to your guns. Get familiar and be WELL versed in the field that you are looking to pursue. GO HARD!

What has been the highlight or favorite moment of your career thus far?
Every day that I can wake up and say that I work for one of the biggest broadcast stations is a moment for me. I’m thankful for being able to step into the building every day and produce great work. I always say “I’m just happy to be here.”

What advice would you give to a newly signed artist?
Make sure those around you have value. Everyone wants to hop on when the ride is about to take off. Like Weezy said, “No sitting at the table if you’re bringing nothing to it.”

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I WILL be a VP of Marketing and Partnerships at a label. I have things to bring to the table. Mark my words. My company will also be one of the “go-to” youth consumer agencies for marketing and branding strategy. I’m just a girl with dreams and won’t stop until I accomplish them all. Just trying to continue to make my mom proud. She’s my biggest fan and my most favorite person in the world.

Where did you see yourself being today 5 years ago?
I think I’m right on track with where I thought I would be. When I do find time to sit and reflect, I smile. I think I’m where I’m supposed to be.