MEET S. Renee Smith: S. Renee, a former actress and current branding and life coach, is the embodiment of personal branding. Fearlessly and effortlessly embracing diverse career opportunities: corporate marketing, management, entertainment, public relations, and entrepreneurship, she teaches others how to confidently and courageously navigate difficult life and career transitions. An author, workshop presenter and keynote speaker across a wide-range of industries, she is also a popular radio and television show guest, appearing on NBC, CBS, 6ABC, CN8 and PBS. Her clients include Grambling State University, Alabama State University, AmeriCorps, the YMCA of Delaware, Communities in Schools and OIC of America.
MN: What role (and responsibilities) did you fill in the corporate world before you started working as a model and television host alongside entertainers like IMAN, Susan Lucci and Joan Rivers?
SRS: While in corporate America I was a marketing representative. This is a sophisticated term for sales rep. I made cold calls, uncovered the needs of prospects, wrote proposals and demonstrated equipment.
MN: Several celebrity, military and business speakers work through speaker’s bureaus instead of starting their own companies. Why did you decide to launch your own business as a full-time speaker?
SRS: I decided to launch my own business as a full-time speaker versus going through a speaker’s bureau because no one knew who S. Renee, the speaker, was. Despite the fact that I was known as a QVC model and the United Paramount Network television show host–which put me in front of millions of people weekly–I didn’t have a strong enough brand to capture an instant audience as a speaker. I had to build a brand that showed my value in this industry, and for the message that I wanted to build, I knew that being a model wasn’t strong enough.
MN: Passion and focus are two ingredients necessary to succeed in the business world, especially in the public speaking field. Tell us about three to four other qualities necessary to succeed as a full-time public speaker.
SRS: I think you are dead on. Passion and focus are essentials in the public speaking field. I would add commitment and discipline. It is a lot of work to build a respectable and sought after name in the speaking business.
MN: How do you differentiate yourself from other public speakers on the circuit? Also, in addition to public speaking, what other services do you offer clients?
SRS: People have come to expect from me thought-provoking demonstrations that speak to their heart and move their spirit. I’m not the motivational speaker that walks around quoting others. And that’s not a judgment statement of what’s right or wrong or better or worse. My style is just different. It’s what makes me unique. I let the audience own the presentation. It’s their process, their growth, their opportunity to discover who they really are without me telling or trying to convince them of anything. I also have self-development products. For example, my books There IS More Inside and The Bridge to Your Brand. I have additional self-development packages and I provide life and branding coach services. I enjoy working with businesses and people who understand that development and change is a process, not a one day pursuit.