Women Who Inspire Us: Aaja Corinne Magee
Next up in our "Women Who Inspire Us" series is brand development and strategist, Aaja Corinne. A full-time entrepreneur and owner of Aaja Corinne The Brand LLC, Aaja Corinne helps purpose-driven leaders, experts and entrepreneurs across the country and across industries to package and market themselves more effectively through personal branding. She is frequently hired by corporations, globally-recognized brands, and prestigious colleges and universities to speak about branding, entrepreneurship and style.
What did you want to be growing up? What led you to your current career path?
Interestingly enough, I didn’t really have aspirations toward any career field until my senior year of college. I was studying fashion at Columbia College Chicago, a major that I pursued because of my interest in the performing arts during my pre-teen and teen years. It was time to declare a focus within my program of study, and I had to find an internship. I decided to pursue fashion styling. Since graduation until now, my fashion styling platform has evolved into personal branding. Though a great deal of the work I do now is centered on helping clients to be more effective communicators through their brand messaging, image plays a large role in the idea of shaping perception. I also still offer styling services to select clientele.
What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
“Feedback is a gift.” I received that information from the director of a women’s not-for-profit organization that I interned with after college. The quote has inspired me to be open to constructive criticism throughout the years, which in turn, has contributed a great deal to my personal and professional growth.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
The biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that relationships give you access. The importance of building relationships and not burning bridges is a principle that continuously shows up on my journey.
Word-of-mouth has been my greatest form of marketing as a business owner. It’s also very interesting how people will move around in their careers; someone from 5-6 years ago can show up in another position and be a major key to you securing your next, big opportunity.
Keep your reputation solid and treat people well is some of my best advice for anyone seeking to advance professionally.
Do you have any moments of self-doubt and how do you overcome those?
I do have moments of self-doubt, more than I’d like to admit. I shut off social media, get quiet, read old journal entries where I projected my vision, and pray. Whenever I’m experiencing self-doubt, it’s a signal that I need to get back centered on my why and my gifts. When those things are at the forefront, I exude crazy confidence.
Is there anything you would have done differently knowing what you know now?
There is nothing that I would’ve done differently. I believe that each stop along my journey, even the detours, have added something essential to me. My diverse experiences have added to my competitive advantages in my industry and the marketplace.
Who were your biggest inspirations growing up?
I was always involved in a lot of activities. I was inspired by whatever I was into at that moment and individuals associated with those experiences.
How does it feel to be the one inspiring others and helping them reach their goals?
It feels really good. One thing that I know for sure is that I am not alive for my benefit. It’s important to me that a great deal of what I do adds value to someone else’s life. I am fulfilling the mission that God placed me on this earth for.
What are your greatest accomplishments? What’s your next goal?
Full-time entrepreneurship is my latest and greatest accomplishment. I never imagined this path for myself, and I’m doing better than I’ve ever done professionally. It’s such a faith walk and growing in it is causing me to step outside of my comfort zone. Nonetheless, I really enjoy the work that I do, and I am extremely grateful that my work significantly impacts those that I am blessed to cross paths with.
My next goal is authorship and to build my international speaking platform.
What advice can you give to girls following in your footsteps?
Focus on your gift, and create your own lane. You will never be a leader in your category when you take cues from your peers. Study the journeys of others for the lessons that you can extract and for inspiration, but never for imitation. Even if someone is doing something very similar to you, you can always make it different.
How does a successful woman like you spend her free time?
With my son, Austin. He is my second full-time job! I also really enjoy listening to audiobooks and podcasts as well as catching up with good friends over good food.
Learn more about Aaja and get in touch with her at : https://www.aajacorinnethebrand.com/