#NoireVIP: Amber Noble Garland Talks Being Fearless, Part 1
‘Do What You Love’ should be the name of the soundtrack of fab mama and serial entrepreneur Amber Noble Garland’s life. Truly a force to be reckoned with, the Temple University graduate who holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism has a provocative story to share about facing adversity, conquering dreams, and taking risks. One minute in her presence and you’ll be drawn to her noble spirit, body of wisdom and fearless swag– it’s almost impossible not to feel the power of this brand leader.
In this intimate series of interviews, Mommynoire captures the magnetic pulse of Noble Garland. She confidently discusses her diverse career portfolio, her industry trials, and most importantly, how having a two-year-old daughter named Leah put her hustles all in perspective.
Give us some insight into how your career began?
After working multiple internships starting at the age of 15, I negotiated my way into my first paying job as a promotion assistant at one of the biggest R&B radio stations in the country. From there I gained enough wisdom to secure my very first client ever, Egypt Sherrod, who I met in one of our TV production classes back in 1996 at Temple University. We worked together at our college jazz and classical radio station. While I was still a junior in college, media icon Cathy Hughes’ company, Radio One, decided to purchase a radio station in the Philadelphia market. Her senior management team recruited me to be part of the management team at that. I had to go through a competitive and rigorous interview process before they told me I actually got the job. While holding down two separate radio jobs full-time and feverishly trying to complete my undergrad degree, I was also working at the crack of dawn as an production associate for two ABC network TV shows at the local station affiliate.
We know that you worked in the music industry. What was that experience like?
During my decade working in R&B and Hip Hop radio stations, I worked first-hand with just about every major recording artist you can imagine. Artists like Jay-Z, Eve, Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, 112, Dru Hill and countless others all passed through the stations that I’ve worked for at the beginning of their careers during my time in radio. So as the person whose job it was to “run the point” on planning major concerts and special events for those radio stations, I continued to develop and maintain relationships with several artists, talent managers and record company executives over the years. In 1999 I decided that I had hit a “ceiling” and I needed a change of scenery. So in 2000 I resigned from my job at Philly 103.9 as director of marketing & promotion, and I decided to take a corporate sales job at a telecommunications company. But after only three months on the job, I realized that I hated it!Amber Noble Garland and her dad.
So the corporate gig wasn’t for you…how did you get your career back on a more creative track?
To balance out my life a bit, I continued with my side hustle jobs, like working in nightclub marketing, event planning and a touch of publicity. While trying to figure out my next move, out of the blue I received a call from the Mary Catherine Sneed, the former COO of Radio One. She asked me to strongly consider returning to work for the company again, but this time she would be creating a national publicity/marketing/promotion/production position for me that I would be able to customize to a great extent. She and Russ Parr, the company’s top syndicated morning show host, pursued me aggressively and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Soon thereafter I relocated to DC, really did my thing in that role and had that job sewed up. Then as my first year anniversary back with Radio One was approaching in 2001 Kevin Liles, former President & CEO of the biggest record company in the world, Def Jam Records, offered me the opportunity of a lifetime; a job as his right hand Executive Assistant.
Were you hesitant to go from a job created just for you to an Executive Assistant position?
It took a little while for me to get comfortable with the idea of taking a step back in terms of my job title, but once I realized how much influence I’d have within the organization and it became clear that my salary was actually going to be double of what it was in radio, there wasn’t much else for me to think about. My next question was, “So where do I sign?” I kept my eyes on the prize though because my intention was always to move into the marketing position that was really up my alley. A year and a half into the job, Kevin promoted me to product manager/director of marketing and the rest was history. I went on to have integral roles in the marketing of artists such as LL Cool J, Cam’ron, Juelz Santana, Patti LaBelle, Lionel Richie, The Isley Brothers and Chrisette Michele, plus coincidentally Jay-Z, 112 and Patti LaBelle, all of whom were artists I had already know years before I ever began working at the record company.
We can’t wait to hear more! What will you cover in your column here at Mommynoire.com ?
My column is called “Do What You Love” and is devoted to two types of women…
A. That woman who is already mommy, but has been led to believe she has to bury her professional ambition and defer her career goals simply because she’s become a mom.
B. That young woman who (like me several years ago) fears losing her job or is afraid of committing career advancement suicide should she decide to have a baby and start a family.
I just want ALL women to feel fearless, and be assured that they can step into new and unfamiliar territory in their lives with confidence!
Check back with us Monday for part 2 of this four part series where Amber talks about leaving her big-money gig to pursue her passions.
“Do What You Love” is designed to give a balance of “tough love” and “real talk” advice, along with offering solutions and showing success stories of other women who have refused to just settle for less than the fulfilling life they know they deserve. The really exciting part is that my “Do What You Love” column for Mommynoire is actually the warm up for my forthcoming blog, Love What You Do For A Living, a hub of inspiring stories of people who have made career moves that have connected the dots between their passion and their profession.