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Story by: Rosalind Rolls
Kiersten Kindred: Driven. Determined. Putting In The Work.
In just five years after graduating from college, Kiersten Kindred has worked in production, had her own newspaper column, been a freelance reporter, started her own communications firm, self-published two books and produced a conference for business leaders and entrepreneurs. Just thinking about all of that is exhausting, right? Kiersten’s achievements are definitely impressive but it is important to understand that her success is the direct result of her drive, determination and willingness to put in the work.
Although Kiersten has had the skill and savvy to leverage one opportunity into another, her career had a rocky start. Kiersten shares, “When I first graduated from college, I had a hard time finding a job. Mind you, I graduated at the top of my class, top ten percent. I had many internships during college but it was hard to find a professional position after college. So, I went to volunteer at a local television station.”
Deciding to volunteer was the spark that set her career on fire. On her first day, Kiersten met an Executive Producer who asked to see her resume. After reviewing Kiersten’s resume she said she would forward it to some of her friends. Kiersten explains, “I did not know that one of her friends was someone at one of the top production companies in Houston. On my first day of volunteering, I got a job! I wore many hats at that company. I was a Media Coordinator, Assistant Producer for a couple of television commercials, the Social Media Coordinator and also the Post-Production Assistant. I got a lot of experience.”
After securing the position at the production company, Kiersten made a decision that proves her determination. She explains, “I had about $20,000 in loans, not that much, so I decided I was going to work to pay them off and not have it looming over me. At the same time that I had the production company job, I went on to work at Houston Press as a Promotions Assistant, I had an online job and I was working for Living Social. At that time, I had four jobs. I was working nonstop. I had no break but I can successfully say I paid off my student loans in a year.”
After that year, Kiersten had the chance to pursue her dream. She shares, “When I went to college, I really wanted to be an entertainment reporter and I had the opportunity to pursue that. I left the production company and went on to be a newspaper reporter and I had my own column in the Fort Bend Herald. I also became a freelance entertainment reporter for InTouch, Life & Style Magazine and Cosmopolitan.”
As a reporter for the Fort Bend Herald, Kiersten would often report on small businesses in the area. Due her expertise, she made some keen observations. The businesses did not have any branding and there was not any communications. When she explained the importance a marketing plan, they had no idea what she was talking about. These conversations led Kiersten down the path of entrepreneurship. In the summer of 2013, she took on her first client and launched Kindred Communications while continuing to work at the Fort Bend Herald. Through word-of-mouth referrals, the business really began to blossom and Kiersten quit her job at the newspaper.
As a communications strategist, Kiersten spent a lot of time talking to business owners and developing marketing plans to help them grow their businesses. These business owners had something in common. As Kiersten explains, “They would get the components confused. They didn’t know the difference between marketing, advertising, sales and communications. They thought everything was the same”. This led Kiersten to a project she had not planned. She shares, “If someone would have told me, after college, I was going to write a book, I would have told them they were lying but, it was in my heart, to do a book called Five Steps of Marketing Success: A Small Business Guide”. She indeed wrote the book, self-published it and, in March 2015, it was released.
By January 2016, Kiersten wrote, self-published and released a second book. She says, “I love planners and I love to-do lists. It can be disproportionate with planners just focusing on work. What about the rest of you? What about your spiritual being? Are you working out? Are you planning projects to keep yourself busy? It’s called Be the CEO of Your Life because I really break down every aspect of your life, whether it’s spiritual, work, family, friends, recreation. It really breaks down how you’re doing in your personal life, your health, mentally and physically. There are fun ways to break down projects and doodling space. It’s a different type of planner.”
Kiersten is very proud to have published the two books and even interviewed celebrities at red carpet events, incredible milestones in her career, but she says her biggest accomplishment to date is successfully producing her first Business Advancement Conference. Kiersten shares, “It was put on my heart to help business know their resources. There are so many things you need for a business. That’s the entire concept of the Business Advancement Conference. It goes in the flow of a business: strategic business planning, branding, public relations, networking, saying “yes” to your company, a CPA, a lawyer, SEO essentials. That was everything I needed for my business and wish I had when I started.”
Kiersten describes the conference as a “one-woman show”. She secured the sponsors, venue and speakers all on her own. She spent five months networking and promoting the event. Nearly tripling her goal of 50 attendees, by all accounts, the conference was a smashing success. However, as Kiersten went through the planning process, she definitely had some obstacles to overcome. She says, “I had so many naysayers. People asked what qualifies me to put on a conference like this. There were racist comments. People were rude to me because of my age, because of my color, because I’m a woman. I had so much push back. So, the fact that I did it without their help and sold it out is amazing.”
Knowing her purpose gives Kiersten the strength she needs to overcome barriers. Kiersten says, “I feel like God put me on this earth to help others. I wholeheartedly believe what I do and what I create helps others”. Committed to walk in her purpose, Kiersten will not slow down anytime soon. She continues to focus on her clients, growing her firm and creating programs and services people need. With her drive, determination and work ethic, the sky is the limit for Kiersten!