Tell us a little bit about yourself and your brand?
Hi! My name is Sarah Vella-Labrador and by day I work at Facebook and Instagram as a Creative Strategist in New York. In my spare time or a late night I work on Diverse 'n Determined. DND is a career resource for BIPOC+ and first-gen college students. The goal is to create informative content around all the hurdles we climb as we leave college and enter the work world from those two lenses.
In my spare spareee time I am a content creator, new dog mom, and a city girl obsessed with walking as much of New York as I can!
How has your culture and heritage influenced your journey as a Jefa Entrepreneur?
Growing up I split my time between two areas in California, Sonoma County and the Bay area (the Bay being much more diverse than Sonoma). Seeing this contrast at a young age and growing up around folks I didn't identify with made me crave spaces for folks who looked like me to thrive and share their stories. As I continued to advance in the work world I looked even more so for leaders who had a similar background and barely found any. This definitely inspires me to help re-write this narrative and empower others working to do the same thing.
What is the inspiration behind @diversendetermined and doing what you love?
For me it's exactly what I mentioned above. This desire to see and empower more BIPOC+ and first-gen college students in amazing roles is a big driver for me. A lot of DND content aims to ease the next gen's burdens as they transition into the work world. I'm hoping they will have an easier way in and someone holding the door for them.
How do you nurture your creative spirit and mind when you're facing creative blocks?
This can look a bit different to me each day depending on where I'm at and what's captivating my interests in that moment. Some days when I'm feeling blocked since I work in social and do social on the side I have to just disconnect. I love walking my pup and putting away my phone for a few hours while I do it. Seeing the simple joys my dog gets from just walking down a block reminds me of all the simple human joys we have as well. Aside from that I love to workout because it helps pull me out of my overthinking head and grounds me in gratitude for all my body can do. I also love diving down a Youtube hole when I am back on screen or meditating on Insight Timer. Literally the best free meditation app ever! I highly recommend it!
What do you love the most about the work you do?
DND work is always a blast because since it's my own brand I get to follow and set the brand guidelines. I've always worked a 9-5 following other brand guidelines but I love having the creative freedom to take all my work experience and lessons to craft my own version of what I think an authentic brand should look like in 2021. I also love DND work because I get to connect with incredible and inspiring individuals who have the same interests and are doing purpose driven work. We feature folks from all different industries and backgrounds as part of our content because we believe it's very important for folks to see people who look like them in their industries to realize it's possible and to find genuine mentorship and connection. If you want to share your story and be featured hit me up! I'm a dm away :) (@sarahv_l) This is endlessly inspiring and I've made some fab new friends from it.
What can we expect to see from your brand this new year?
Tons of content and perhaps maybeeee a podcast shhh!
How do you manage your full-time job and your entrepreneurial journey?
GIRL it's SO HARD! I'm not going to deny that. I really am working every day to find a solution or to balance productivity and mental health. It's stressful for sure. I haven't found a formula that works for me just yet but I have found that when I'm feeling depleted I go back to my why and who. Why I'm doing this and who I'm hoping to help, that gives me all the energy I need. I also have found giving myself grace to take a few hours off or skip a day is way better than forcing myself to stay awake, a break also is the breeding ground for fresh creativity.
What are some amazing tools that have helped succeed in your venture?
Canva! I'm creative but definitely not a designer, Canva has been my go-to for designing social posts and creating a consistent branding look to all of our content.
What does being a Jefa mean to you?
To me being a Jefa means being a kind, boss bish! One who shows up for herself, her community and other Jefas.