Daughter of U.S. Congressman, G.K. Butterfield, Valeisha Butterfield always had a love for the business side of hip-hop. Leaving law school after graduating from Clark Atlanta University, she decided to go in the direction of her heart and against her parent’s wishes for a more traditional approach to her educational and career aspirations. Valeisha knew that this move was only half the battle. She would have to employ strong faith in her own passions and really bring her “A” game to realize her childhood dreams. After interning for various record labels from So So Def to Laface while still a student at Clark Atlanta, that’s exactly what she did. Casting fear aside, Valeisha boldly emailed music mogul Russell Simmons, asking for a position as an unpaid intern. This experience led Valeisha to the role of Executive Director of Simmons’ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. She also saw her own vision come to fruition when she launched the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network or W.E.E.N, which shows that women working in the entertainment industry are not limited to rump shaking or the disrespectful lyrics that is often heard on the airwaves.

If you’re not satisfied about where you are today, maybe it’s time to go a little harder in 2009. Whether a promotion is your number one goal or you want to make a fresh start at a great new company, let 2009 be the year you really hustle for yours.

Here are a few tips to get you farther ahead.

Consider interview coaching. Job loss is rampant across the country. If your goal is to get a promotion this year, you not only have to prove you’re a true asset to those interviewing you, you have to prove why you’re the best one for the position you’re going for and why you’re worth the extra money they will pay you. When the time comes for you to interview for the position you want, you not only want to be ready, you want to stand out among others interviewing for the same position. For some people, it’s harder to interview with those you know than it is for those you don’t know. So consider coaching with a professional so you can put to practice new tips to help you leave a positive and lasting impression.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to talk to the higher-ups. When the opportunity presents itself to talk to the vice president of your department or CEO of your company, take it! Don’t let fear paralyze you. Let them know what ideas you have and set-up a meeting to discuss them further. Also, compliment them on something they were directly involved in regarding the company’s success. Of course this means you will have to do your homework. Know the goals of your company and stay current on company news and events.

Join social networks. Social networks are a very popular and fun way to get to know like-minded individuals. Form meaningful personal and professional relationships and open up doors for potential business opportunities. One very popular social network is Black Business Women Online. Another brilliant network is the Fashion and Beauty Bloggers Network. Do some research on possible networks in your area of interest, sign up and get your virtual mingle on.

Send an email. With nothing to lose and much to be gained, take a chance and send an email to the person you admire and would like to work for. You cannot receive if you don’t ask, so use this opportunity to ask for what you want. Be it an opportunity to learn, offer your assistance, or as Valeisha Butterfield did, ask for a job. Along with remaining professional, try not to sound overly excited. Passion is good, but you don’t want to turn contact off or scare them away because you are overly passionate.

With the element of change in the air for 2009, stepping a bit out of your comfort zone will not only help you step into success and live the life you want to live, it will also help you learn and grow.

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