Today we’d like to introduce you to Carissa Stephens.
Carissa, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am a born and raised Houstonian with a passion for travel, beauty/style, business development, and community empowerment. I earned my Bachelor’s in Management and Marketing from Sam Houston State University and am certified in Accountancy and Taxation from the University of Houston. After completing my post graduate work while simultaneously helping to grow a mid-size CPA firm, I landed a roll with a Fortune 100 energy company and spent time sharpening my skill set in corporate America where I worked as an Operations Analyst for the Global Tax and Accounting Department. During this time, I also got married, co-managed an existing beauty brand and along with my husband, built two other professional/service-based businesses.
After a couple of years, extreme multi-tasking and some solid professional growth in corporate America, I gained the confidence and self-awareness to boldly pursue my passions as an all-in entrepreneur. I realized I was unfulfilled in a career that seemed “safe.” It didn’t help that the industry I worked in grew volatile and my work environment changed drastically due to everyone’s fear. I realized early on in my career that my calling was outside of my corporate job.
I wanted to be more directly impactful in my community as well as dedicate more time to motivating and inspiring girls and women to embrace their natural beauty and live their best lives as I had done for years with an existing brand. Plus, I wanted to travel whenever I felt moved to without needing to request time off. Ultimately, I was determined to design the life of my dreams. I took every bit of my existing work experience and education and carried it forward into a total career shift.
I’m the Founder and CEO of ShesChaRISSmatic.com, an inspirational lifestyle blog, and store dedicated to inspiring the charismatic person in us all and am Co-Founder of NaturallyGG, a natural hair/health brand with over 80,000 subscribers. I’m also the Director of Client Relations for Stephens PLLC, my family owned a commercial law firm with a niche in construction and real estate law.
I recently became a new mom to a sweet baby girl and my focus is being the best mom while progressing my brands and continuing to inspire those who look to me for beauty, travel, entrepreneurship and now mommy inspiration.
Has it been a smooth road?
No, the road has not always been smooth, it’s been full of twists and turns! Some struggles have included self-doubt, like what if I’m making a mistake by re-routing my career path? I had to overcome my fears and toss the security blanket to really get to a place of total fulfillment in my day to day life. I had all the tools to be a successful entrepreneur, I just had to trust myself with them.
I also had to learn patience, not only in business but also in my personal life. I had to understand that everything has its season and operate wholly in the present with each passing season.
My advice for young women who are just starting their journey is to always keep the faith and be encouraged to re-evaluate then change your plan if you don’t feel like you’re walking in your purpose. We must be sure that 10, 20, 50 years from now, we can look back on our lives and say we chose the life we live, we didn’t merely settle for it.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
Following my passion for beauty, blogging has allowed me to work closely with national companies such as Curls, Design Essentials, Dark and Lovely, Shea Moisture, Carol’s Daughter, L’Oréal Paris USA, Sally’s Beauty and more. I’m also known for hosting and presenting on stages for great events such as the ESSENCE Festival for Beauty & Style. I’m currently enjoying the opportunity to be a reoccurring guest on Houston Life TV as I share fashion and beauty tips with Ch. 2 KPRC viewership. I am proud of my work as a beauty influencer and am looking forward to continuing my work in this area long-term.
As a business developer at my family owned law firm, my role is client facing and usually very visible. Our principal office is in Houston but we serve clients in all major cities throughout Texas and represent a diverse group of companies ranging from small businesses up to the Fortune 500. As a representative of Stephens PLLC, I serve on several committees with the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council and am Co-Chair for their Construction Industry Group. I’m a member of the National Association of Women in Construction and was appointed Legal Industry Champion for the Greater Black Houston Chamber of Commerce. Our firm recently received and E-10 award, recognizing minority-owned companies who have emerged successful after overcoming hurdles while setting innovative trends, excelling in customer service and contributing to the community’s economic and civic base. The firm was also recently featured in Black Enterprise for growing revenues by over 200% in one year with the utilization of social media; specifically LinkedIn.
Walking in purpose and living on purpose has allowed me to further reach my target audience and potential clients by being featured for my work as both a beauty blogger and as a business developer in publications such as Who’s Who in Black Houston, Woman of Houston and more. What means the most to me at the end of the day is being able to have a positive impact on my community and beyond. That’s what it’s about.
There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that a lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
I am a mentor to a few young ladies. What really impressed me was a well-generated email after meeting someone who was interested in becoming my mentee. I think this is an effective strategy. Find a way to meet the person you’d like to become your mentor face-to-face if you don’t already have an existing relationship, then send a well-written email about why you’d like for them to become mentor you and what you hope to learn from them. Schedule regular touch points while also being mindful and considerate of their schedule.
When it comes to networking… just do it. Get out to industry events. Shake hands and stay connected. Effective networking is not as much about meeting a ton of new people, but more so who you are meeting and building/maintaining a relationship.
- Website: www.shescharissmatic.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/carissastephens
- Facebook: facebook.com/shescharissmatic