Nicholls State University - BS, Nutrition
Louisiana Tech University - MS, Nutrition
If you're a fan of pencil skirts and fierce females with poise, then you already have two big things in common with Shelly Marie Redmond. As the editor-in-chief and founder of College Lifestyles, Shelly is like the wise big sister for college females and ladies of the Greek. Offering advice on professionalism, nutrition, health, etiquette and sorority life, you could say that picking Shelly's brain would be a lot like talking to your favorite magazine.
Shelly launched College Lifestyles when blogging was breaking into the scene. She's since grown the site to a staff of around 40 interns where she takes her love of mentorship to the next level, training her ladies on everything from nutrition to PR and social media. Shelly served for two years as National Vice President of her sorority, Alpha Sigma Tau and is currently a member of the American Dietetic Association. She lives with her husband, her daughter Mireille and two cats, Gizmo and Theodore Roosevelt.
We cannot be everything to everyone. This means saying no to things that do not have a personal, spiritual or career benefit for you and not being afraid to ask for help.
What prompted you to start College Lifestyles?
I was fortunate enough to travel to different universities speaking to college students on health and wellness. When I would finish my presentations, I always wondered, "Did they have questions?" and "Did they get it?" At that time, this phenomenon was going around called "blogging." So I gave it a shot and called the blog College Lifestyles. That was four years ago.
What does your job involve? What are you responsible for, and what types of responsibilities fill your day?
The best part about this job is the variety.
The e-zine. Since College Lifestyles has evolved into an e-zine, it's my responsibility to bring the best in nutrition, style, career, etiquette, professionalism and DIY content to our readers. I review stats on a daily basis and report these finds to our managing editor and social media manager. Next, I track trends: I look at what folks are doing, watching and buying. Based on our stats, trends and forecasting, I work with our staff on developing the best article assignments.
PR. We could have the best articles, but if we don’t PR our site, we're nothing. Emails, calls, visits, speaking engagements -- we do it all.
Interns. We supervise more than 40 interns in a given semester, including writers, campus reps and a social media team.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Many folks see the beauty of magazines (which is great), but there is a downside. For every "yes" in advertising, there are plenty of "no's." To combat those, make sure you can discuss the benefit and reach of your media.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I made it!” What was it?
Well, I prefer to use an OMG moment instead of an "I made it." When you think "I made it," I believe you'll slack. So an OMG moment for me was interviewing the gorgeous Carmindy from "What Not to Wear." Another OMG moment was receiving my first press pass on behalf of College Lifestyles.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
This is sometimes hard, but I try to leave work at work. Many folks don’t realize I'm a mom and married, so I don’t spend 24/7 on my career. Early on in my career, I would think about everything at night, but now I prefer to be in dreamland.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
Not anymore. I think it takes that one over-programmed moment to break us down to, "Wow, I really need to schedule myself" mode. I learned this in college.
One lesson I always teach my team: we cannot be everything to everyone. This means saying no to things that do not have a personal, spiritual, career benefit for you and not being afraid to ask for help. The secret to saying no is to say it using the phrase, "I can't commit to that, but I would be happy to XYZ."
Delegation is the biggest way one can create balance.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Treat your workers/interns like family.
Stick to your mission statement. Never back away from it. Ever.
In business, ask yourself, "Is this a part of my company’s brand?" in everything you do.
Delegation is key.
We make mistakes. Fess up. Learn from them.
Throwing folks under the bus is unattractive.
Saying "no" is OK.
Dress for the job you want.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
Wow. I know folks are surprised to know I didn't graduate in journalism! But I would have to say the following.
1 / Passion
Many folks start a blog or want to be a writer. You have to have passion for the subject you're writing for. Passion does not equal "I'm very funny, so I can write" or "I just love Carrie Bradshaw." You have to have some type of passion or you'll hit writers block quickly.
2 / Organization
Whether you're Type A and have a fabulous planner or have post-its all over your computer, this is a career of deadlines. You have to hit them. If not, well, you lost your story.
3 / Outgoing Nature
You need to talk about your work with friends, family and colleagues. No longer can we write and folks will magically find it. You have to get the word out.
4 / Great Grammar
Some will disagree with me, but I firmly believe you have to follow AP Style in articles. Readers will notice and let you know if you make an error.
5 / Ability to Follow a Brand/Mission
The College Lifestyles brand is the classy co-ed. Our motto is "classy, confident and chic." Our reader is the "upstart career woman." All of our articles can relate. It would be very strange if I posted articles on topics not related to our brand or National Geographic style articles. You have to follow a brand/mission in writing.
What advice do you have for women who aspire to walk in your shoes?
Wow! First, it would be an honor to think folks want to follow in my shoes. I would then say, "See the above answer." My next answers are quite boring, but important nonetheless:
1 / Develop a business and marketing plan.
2 / Attend local small business events.
3 / Save as much money as possible using free or low-cost business services: Vistaprint for business cards, free blog platforms before upgrading your website, Quickbooks for accounting, etc.
4 / Research your readers (or the people you want to be your readers) like crazy.
5 / Be yourself. Folks can read a phony very quickly.
6 / Ask your family and friends for support.
7 / Understand that rejection is a part of process.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I see myself taking College Lifestyles to print and developing College Lifestyles into a full-fledged media group.