We live in the era of doing everything yourself. We have a previously unheard of amount of information and access to it, creating for us a digital library wherein something on almost any topic can be found. When you couple that with a rise in entrepreneurship and its popularity, we seem to have seen an increase in people trying things themselves and, in some circles, a movement away from expert aid and opinion. It's sad really. I spent years in the military learning that my greatest asset was not being able to answer every question, but rather knowing who I needed to ask to get the right answer, a subject matter expert.
Lanetra King is an expert, specifically in PR strategy, but to characterize her as solely that would be tragic. Lanetra is warm, a presence that is kind and gentle when you sit next to her. You easily feel welcome amidst her patience and her knowledge. She is a lover of stories and a creative writer, a curious mind and an insatiable intellect. Lanetra is an authentic soul, a person who knows her true self and sticks to that person. One of the first things I saw from Lanetra was a video interview with someone very close to me. As I tuned into the video, I was struck by the fact that there was a theme song playing, a very specific theme song, directly relating to her. It was her song, written and performed by her, reflective of her love of 90's music. It is 100% Lanetra, fun and approachable, authentic and endearing. In a world flooded with personal branding, with cutting edge highlight reel shows, it's nice to hear someone have fun with the whole thing. It's nice to see someone being absolutely true to themselves.
In many ways Lanetra and I have tons of common ground. We have faced some similar struggles, we know some of the same people and we both are passionate about a very similar area, storytelling. Lanetra came to her path via an interesting place as well. When she was younger, she worked for a large retailer, where part of the job was to sell credit cards for said retailer. She was great at it and, honestly, I am not surprised. We buy from people we like and Lanetra is instantly likeable. She was fascinated by how people cultivate influence and build relationships. The sales process started her down a road where she found a place combining storytelling and influencing, public relations. She worked in corporate for years, building a skill set and setting up her own business on the side. Lanetra has recently gone to this work full time, passionately and with vigor. It's incredible to watch her pursue a dream and purpose, to hear her talk about the moment she realized it.
Lanetra tells me about asking people how they knew it was time to go out on their own, and how she became frustrated when they told her they just knew. Then her time came, and she just knew. She reflects that all of our big decisions seem to happen that way, something you learn as you live more.
Lanetra is also fascinated with building relationships. She thinks they are treasures, wondrous things that need to be cultivated and cared for. For Lanetra, public relations is largely about helping people to build relationships and you can see it in her eyes that so much of her passion for her work comes from this place. As she grew up, and because of her circumstances, Lanetra depely values relationships, but she also acknowledges that we don't need to maintain all of them. No matter how much we may want to, some relationships are just bad for us. I tell her that I think of those relationships like allergies. The people who aren't good for us aren't necessarily bad or evil, we just don't do well when we are around them. Still, it's hard to walk away from them sometimes, and we both know that.
I really like Lanetra King, sincerely and deeply. She is just a wonderful person to share a meal and some stories with. I have seen how she tells stories and it is really incredible, full of heart and authenticity, the kind of stories we all long to hear. Perhaps what I love most about her is that same authenticity. With Lanetra you see what you get. She loves songwriting, the 90's and bowling. She is unapologetic in her wonder, brilliant in her own skin and genuinely wonderful. I love to take time to be with people, to learn and share stories. Today I know this was time incredibly well spent.
The world could use a couple more Lanetra Kings.
Favorite Dinosaur: T Rex
Why: it's the only one I can remember from school.