After graduating from Howard University, Charmion Kinder worked her way to a position in the Press Office for First Lady Michelle Obama and now serves as a communications strategist for Walt Disney Company based in Los Angeles. See how she found her passion and her habits for success.

Name:  Charmion N. Kinder

Age:  34

Title: Corporate Citizenship Communications Strategist, The Walt Disney Company

Location: Burbank, Calif. 

Hometown: New Haven, Conn.

Twitter:  @charmionkinder

Instagram: @charmionkinder

The gig: I am a corporate citizenship and social responsibility strategist for The Walt Disney Company. Currently, I specialize in communicating our philanthropic efforts. I love giving back! Empowering both international and domestic communities is a life calling for me, specifically providing access to youth. Young people are not only the leaders of tomorrow – they are the innovators of today. To produce solutions for the world’s most pressing challenges their 21st century leadership and ingenuity are vital.

The journey: While working at the White House within the Press Office of the First Lady, I was inspired to think about my personal mission in life and what organizations aligned with my goals. I began researching companies who are leading the way in the social impact and checked out I applied for this position and was offered the opportunity to move from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles, California! It was a very exciting day in my career.  

Memories of Working with FLOTUS: The White House is a very special, exciting and magnetic place! I have nothing but outstanding memories about the time I spent serving the Obama Administration. The most magical moment I recall is traveling, in a swift moving motorcade, to surprise D.C. middle school kids with a visit from the First Lady. The occasion?  A flash “Move Your Body” workout – song complements of Beyoncé – in support of Let’s Move! The joy and enthusiasm beaming from the students that we surprised brought my job and life calling full circle.

Her top tip for women: Queens, young and successfully seasoned, maintain at your core all things that keep you motivated, compassionate, empathetic and brilliant! Read everything. Raise your hand for projects that connect with your areas of passion. Plan well, habitually execute, if you don’t know an answer, find it, and don’t be afraid to fail. Stay connected to your source, my source has been God, and know that there is a plan, destiny and awesome calling over your life.

Her lesson learned: I realized mid-career that taking pay cuts to follow your passion is not the most strategic thing to do. I’ve endured nearly five pay cuts over the course of my career – chasing a calling that I am very proud of – however, that reality had a real impact on my life. Before experimenting with different professions, sit down and take the time to truly understand what makes you tick and why. Once I took the time to write my vision down and clarify it for myself and others, empowering opportunities started to present themselves. That is how I began to recover. Suze Orman also helped a great deal.

Her best advice: You are the CEO of your own brand and your own company, no matter where you may be employed. Your reputation, your relationships, your work product, and ultimately your professional worth, are all a culmination of how you manage your brand daily. Protect your name and your well-being with all that you have to offer in life. Your name and your personal brand will always far precede you. 

Her downtime: I love to dance! Dancing is exercise for me and more importantly it’s a guaranteed way to ensure that I’m smiling from the inside daily. I’m also adamant about eating well and include lots of vegetables. Also, prayer and meditation are vital for me.

Her beauty bag: Aveda Brilliant Finishing Gloss, Joe Malone Pomegranate Noir/Nectarine Blossom & Honey blend and Mac Studio Finish concealer

Her power style accessory: Eyewear is key. A  stylish pair of glasses, prescription or sun, will never steer your inner fashion diva wrong. 

Her theme song: “Be Optimistic” by the Sounds of Blackness