Vanessa James is a vibrant and vivacious female powerhouse. A visit to her website www.vanessajamesmedia.com and you immediately get an idea about her passion - travel, music, lifestyle and culture.
James, a Miami-based voiceover actor, started from humble beginnings from the south of Trinidad and through the will of her parents seeking a better life, she championed and conquered many feats throughout her career, still she never forgot her roots and embraces them every day.
She currently owns Vanessa James Media and possesses a wealth of experience in media, radio, television and entrepreneurship. James is also a creator; a visionary who believes in heading down the road less travelled and paving new paths not just for herself but her community.
James’s debut in the media was that of a college sportscaster. It wasn’t too long after that she realised the job had no future.
“One of my mentors, Gene Deckerhoff, told me that I was a bit too short for TV, but that I should give radio a try,” she told one online magazine.
“I was devastated, as you can imagine, but he was right! You could barely see me on the screen interviewing 6-foot-5 football players! So I took his advice, ventured into the direction of radio and never looked back.”
She worked as a programme director in Tallahassee at a radio station for Clear Channel and worked her way to Miami as a popular midday host for the top urband station.
“I really gained an appreciation for being able to captivate an audience with my voice. I took that step in 2010 to create my own company Vanessa James Media, which now proudly houses all of my talents under one umbrella. It includes voiceover, on-camera work, social media, brand synergies, marketing and most recently producing. I now also proudly collaborate with brand like JetBlue, Barbados Tourism Board, IHeartMedia, Cox Media Group, BET and more.”
James believes that she was able to make the transition to businesswoman because she never lost her vision. She encourages women to always have a plan.
“Lock in on that plan and don’t let go. It’s really easy to get off course, really easy to believe in the naysayers and the doubters who don’t believe in you. But if you can be steadfast in your vision and your mission you will accomplish it.”
Of course everyone has had disappointments. James is no exeption.
“I think for me disappointment career wise was when my radio station flipped formats in 2010. I had a choice to move to San Francisco or Chicago for another job opportunity; but I took a leap of faith and started my own company. To this date that has been my biggest accomplishment.
“I now work with incredible brands like General Motors, Cadillac, and JetBlue and voice over for 25 radio stations globally.
“My path has definitely been steered by my family and my community. As I mentioned, my parents came from very humble beginnings in Trinidad. They worked incredibly hard to provide a life for me that both they and I could be proud of. My mother in particular made it very clear early on that I was going to make the most out of this life. I think I can safely say that I’ve made her proud thus far.”
James recently moved closer to the ocean and said she definitely draws inspiration from it daily. It is there she finds time to spiritually connect to God. Last year, James went to Oprah Winfrey’s “Life you want tour” in Miami and she was enriched by the nuggets passed down by the billionaire.
“At the end of the day people just want to know that they matter”. That was my AHA! moment and I realised that my brand, my business should always strive to make people feel like they matter. It’s important to make people feel like they count and that their contributions how be it small, are counted. I now live by that mantra and practise it daily by showing gratitude and appreciation to everyone that comes in my path.”