#BEYOUROWN MEETS KENDALL DEE FISHER
Kendall Dee Fisher is a passionate and avid producer, host, writer and digital strategist. A Los Angeles native, Kendall got her start in entertainment, working with top-tier companies like E! News and SpinMedia. She’s interviewed A-list celebrities in music, sports, and entertainment; she’s hosted red carpet events like the Golden Globes and the MTV Video Music Awards, and she’s even worked one-on-one with celebrities to help build their personal brands and social media platforms.
Kendall’s career took a bit of an unexpected turn in 2018 when she was recruited into tech by Oracle NetSuite—one of the best plot twists of her life thus far. Here, she created a digital series called The Grow Wire Show, which she also hosts and produces, telling the inspirational stories of entrepreneurs and companies across the globe.
When she’s not working, Kendall is busy finding therapeutic release in a boxing class, decompressing in a self-help book, enjoying a glass or three of red wine and indulging in animal-style French fries from her go-to, In-N-Out. She also maintains her personal blog, TwentySomethingKendall.com, and continues striving to be the best version of herself—after all, one of her favorite quotes is, “Don’t try to be different. Just be good. To be good is different enough” (Arthur Freed).
Hey Kendall, can you introduce yourself to us?
Hey, girl, hey! My name is Kendall Dee Fisher. I’m a Los Angeles native, born and raised. I’m a writer at heart, a believer in self-help books, a red wine enthusiast and a lover of both SoulCyle and French fries. I love telling stories. I believe there is a story in everything and everyone—that’s how I discovered my true passion in interviewing people. I currently host and produce a show I created called The Grow Wire Show for which I travel all over the world interviewing entrepreneurs and business leaders about taking the seed of a big idea and growing it into a successful company (and I’m extremely grateful to be doing it).
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
I grew up in a little town an hour outside of Los Angeles called Moorpark, CA. I attended the University of Southern California to study journalism, Spanish and Latin American studies. Upon graduating, I joined Teach for America and taught fifth grade in Compton, CA.
I quit only a few months into the position, feeling like I could not possibly give the children the proper education they deserved. It is still my biggest failure. However, another quote I believe in fully is one by Winston Churchill: “Success is never final, and failure is never fatal; It’s courage that counts.”
I picked myself up and swore I would still help make a difference in the world in some way. A few months later, I took on a role as a celebrity ghost blogger, which I could tell a million stories about, but I’ll save that for another time. The biggest story from that job, however, was that I got laid off less than a year into the role—a moment I marked as one more failure in my book.
Another few months of ‘funemployment’ came and went, and I landed a role as a social media manager at SpinMedia for their pop culture website, Celebuzz. I didn’t necessarily want to manage social media handles, but I needed a job. I embraced the opportunity as a stepping stone, and that’s exactly what it was. When the opportunity arose, I asked for a shot at hosting one of their digital series, and to my surprise, they gave me the chance to prove myself. I eventually took on a full-time role as a fashion writer and host before being recruited to what I thought was my ultimate dream job: an editor at E! News.
Don’t get me wrong: E! was a dream job. I wrote for one of the most well-known entertainment publications out there, worked with some of the most incredible people and took on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. My writing position eventually turned into an awesome producing role in which I was able to curate viral content with total creative autonomy.
But after three years, I realised entertainment just wasn’t my calling. As I took on the job search for something that better suited my desires, I worked on manifesting my dream career: The opportunity to interview amazing people and tell their unique stories while simultaneously making a difference. Oh, and a bit of travel wouldn’t hurt either!
Fast forward a few months, and a recruiting message from Oracle NetSuite appeared in my LinkedIn inbox. Fast forward ten interviews, a trip up to San Francisco and another few months beyond that, and I landed the job, finding myself tasked with creating a show to help tell the company’s customer stories from all around the world.
I look back and see so clearly now how every wall I hit from “failure” was actually a stepping stone. And through hard work during each of those stepping stones, a bit of manifestation and a lot of belief, I was able to grow into a career that fills my soul like never before.
“Walls turned sideways are bridges” – Angela Davis.
What is a day in the life of you like?
When I’m not traveling for work, I typically wake up around 5:20 A.M. to start the day with a workout—my go-to classes are boxing, Pilates, and spin. I always eat a big breakfast, and I have to hit the road early to make my one-hour commute from the valley to Santa Monica (if you’re an L.A. native, you know the struggle is real).
Once I get to work, my days are always different. Sometimes I’m caught up in post-production deadlines, sometimes I’m stuck in meetings and brainstorms all day, sometimes I’m busy hosting or producing a podcast, and sometimes I’m simply trying to get caught up checking off my to-do list.
When I’m traveling, it’s typically to shoot a new episode for the show. Our call time is always early—sometimes 6 A.M. local time—so working out isn’t always an option. I prepare for the day with a bigger breakfast than usual and a strong coffee. I’ll take a soy latte, please! The shoots involve multiple locations, interviews, and the occasional outfit change—especially if some kind of activity is involved. For example, I once took a 77-foot high zip-line across Downtown Las Vegas (and just about peed my pants). After filming b-roll and stand-ups, we’ll usually wrap the shoot between 5 and 6 P.M., and I always celebrate with a good dinner and a glass of wine.
Can you tell us more about your personal brand DNA and ethos?
I strive to be the best version of myself no matter what I do, be it in work, relationships, self-care and beyond. I allow vulnerability, empathy, authenticity, and love to drive me, and I’m focused on expressing my most authentic self through every branch of my life.
Can you tell us how your degree in journalism is supporting your career and what you took away from the experience?
Well, for one, I’m actually utilising my degree! So many people encouraged me to switch majors while I was studying journalism at USC: “You’re not going to make any money. Journalism is dead. You’re never going to use your degree.” Fortunately, I’ve always known my calling is to tell stories, and I ignored them.
I learned the most from working with our USC news station (Annenberg TV News), and my classes thoroughly prepared me for the career path I’ve taken since graduating (especially when it comes to video production and post-production).
What tools of the trade do you typically use the most?
Writing. I honestly believe my writing is a big force behind my success. Good writing turns a cover letter into an interview. It turns a written test into a job. It turns employees into managers and managers into executives, and it turns entrepreneurs into CEOs.
Can you highlight 3 key tips for those looking to establish a career in journalism?
- Don’t Stop Learning: I think one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that even the best journalists keep learning. This could mean learning a different skill (like video editing), reading more to enhance your writing or practicing speaking in front of a camera so your delivery is more authentic. The key is to continue to develop your expertise!
- Find the Story: Again, there’s a story in everyone and everything. It’s your job as a journalist to find it.
- Don’t Stop Until You Hit Your Sweet Spot: This is not sexual. Get your head out of the gutter! You need to keep searching for the stuff that really makes your creative juices flow. Do you like telling stories about people? Places? News? Fashion? Tech? Entertainment? Keep testing different areas of journalism until you find your true and authentic passion. Never in a million years did I think I would be interviewing entrepreneurs about their companies, but here I am, enjoying the best job I’ve ever had!
- BONUS – Don’t Be Afraid to Ask: Ask about taking on a bigger role. Ask about another opportunity within a company. Ask about a job opening. Ask a friend or a mentor or a family member to help you out. Just ask. It won’t hurt.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
I really want to build out The Grow Wire Show and turn it into the best possible series it can be. I’d like to take on more leadership opportunities within my company and my community, and I’d like to help empower people with my personal story of growth and by telling others’ stories of growth. I also plan to continue writing more. There are some book ideas scribbled in notebooks that I want to execute. More than anything, I hope to continue bettering myself.
What strategies do you have in place when looking at the expansion of your career?
My strategy goes hand-in-hand with my brand ethos: Work as hard as I can during each step of my career, be the best version of myself, and let authenticity drive me.
However, I also believe in courage. I try not to get too comfortable, and when I do, I seek out a new challenge that will help me grow. It takes courage to overcome the fear of trying something new.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
I struggle so hard with taking things personally. If someone is short on an email or someone comes into the office and gives me an odd look, I go into overdrive wondering what I did wrong. It’s actually really selfish “how self-centered am I thinking those actions have anything to do with me?!” And while that’s been a tool I use to remind myself that everyone’s actions are merely a reflection of their own inner thoughts, it still stings. I’ve been working hard on overcoming this over the past several years, and although I’m better, it will be a lengthy pursuit. In fact, it may always be something I need to practice.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so, how has this benefitted you to grow?
I’ve had several mentors. There are two women, in particular, I worked with at E! News (Romina Rosado and Lily Harrison) who come to mind. I continuously met with them and talked to them about my personal dreams and goals. Both of them played a huge role in helping me become a better writer, producer, employee and, most of all, a better person.
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
Every encounter you have with someone is the opportunity to expand your network. In fact, I landed the job at E! News because the recruiter who hired me was in one of my Spanish classes at USC. She told me, aside from my resume, “You were always so nice to me.” You never know who’s going to play a role in your life, personally or professionally, and while I hate saying it’s a reason to be nice, it is a good example. So be nice, people!
What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?
Stop blaming millennials for all the change that’s happened over the past decade, and start embracing it—because this train ain’t turning around anytime soon. And if you think we’re bad, just wait until Gen-Z comes your way…
But in all seriousness, the only constant is change, and I hope older generations are able to take a step back and look at the positive changes the millennial workforce is bringing—like more empathy, more vulnerability, more openness, more right-brain thinkers, more technology, higher standards, more work-life balance and so on and so forth.
However, as a millennial I will say: Millennials, you are not entitled to anything, so stop acting like it. Learn from the generations before us and teach the generations to come that hard work will always reign supreme.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
Don’t take anything personally. This came from ‘The Four Agreements’ by Miguel Ruiz but was reinforced by my boss at E! News, Lily Harrison (who I mentioned earlier). I will never forget when she sat me down in a conference room and very bluntly (in the best way) told me I needed to stop reading into her emails and just fix whatever mistake needed correcting or headline needed fixing. She explained that her short emails were almost always due to urgency or lack of time, but they had absolutely nothing to do with me, my work or my worth as an employee.
Everyone’s actions are a reflection of their own feelings, experiences, and beliefs at any given moment, especially at work. Don’t take it personally.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
Don’t take anything personally. Seriously, when you’re incredibly passionate about your work and you work feverishly to make it as great as possible, it can be difficult to brush things off. However, it can also hold you back from being your best self.
Let it go!
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
Time management and self-discipline are so crucial. If I have to wake up a little early to get that workout in, or if I have to use my lunch to schedule a therapy session, I will do it. My balance is making sure to find the time to do whatever serves my mental, emotional and physical health every day. Sure, there are busy days where I’m stuck in the office later than I’d like, but I make it a point to do something I love outside of work nonetheless, even if it’s as small as pouring myself a well-deserved glass of wine after a 16-hour day.
A seminal point in your career so far?
Taking a risk by leaving a lengthy, comfortable career in entertainment and diving headfirst into the unknown realm of tech.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
Challenging myself with new opportunities. As I’ve expressed throughout this entire feature, I don’t believe in getting too comfortable. As long as I continue learning and continue testing my courage, I continue succeeding.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of your career?
I want to talk about a challenge that affects every woman. It is the mere trait of being a woman.
Personally, I’ve never considered my sex in my career. Maybe it’s the path I’ve taken thus far or the industries I’ve worked in up to this point or maybe it’s the way I was raised (with two working parents), but I’ve never thought to myself, “I think I will or won’t get this job or this raise or this promotion because I’m a woman.”
Instead, I focus on my quality as an employee overall. What do I bring to the table over everyone else—both male and female? Why am I the best candidate? How do I prove myself in my role, no matter who’s sitting at the table with me?
There’s no doubt about it: Women aren’t given equal opportunities. Period. And we need to continue the fight to improve that. But I do believe that we, as women, can look in the mirror every day and say: “I’m going to be the best in my role, and nothing can stop me.”
Again, this goes back to being the best version of yourself, always. Even when you earn 80-cents to every dollar a man makes, you keep fighting. You keep believing. You keep manifesting. You keep proving yourself.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
Evan Goldberg. Full disclosure: He’s the founder of my company, NetSuite. However, he’s one of the most brilliant, down-to-earth, empathetic and generous people I’ve ever met. In fact, he was the cherry on top of a sundae full of reasons I love working for NetSuite. Without getting into too much nerdy detail, he founded NetSuite to help entrepreneurs fulfil their dreams by growing their big ideas into successful, lucrative businesses. Not to mention, at the core of the company is Evan’s drive to give back—to entrepreneurs, to communities and especially to nonprofits. He’s not only a game-changer but an inspiration.
Kara Goldin, while pregnant with her fourth child, she stepped away from a comfortable executive role at AOL to start a business aimed at solving a problem the beverage industry lacked at the time: healthy, flavoured water without sugar or additives. That company is now known as Hint, Inc., one of the largest, independent non-alcoholic beverage distribution companies in the nation. Badass.
Thirdly Jen Sincero. Her book, ‘You Are A Bad Ass’, really helped me at an important time in my life. (If you haven’t read it yet, you need to). She’s a game-changer. Lastly, Oprah, do I really need to explain?
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
‘Rising Strong’ by Brené Brown. And although I’ve read these over the past decade (sometimes more than once, heck, sometimes more than twice), I need to share my bibles, if you will: ‘The Four Agreements’ by Miguel Ruiz, ‘You Are A Badass’ by Jen Sincero and ‘The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success’ by Deepak Chopra.
Top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
- ‘Super Soul Podcast’ with Oprah.
- ‘Love In Limboland.’
- ‘The Grow Wire Podcast’ (Yes, I just plugged my own podcast. It’s called passion, people!).
How do you define success?
Success is having the courage to take a risk without knowing the outcome. Even if it doesn’t work out the way you expected, you succeeded in something most people never do: Stepping out of your comfort zone.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
To me, #BEYOUROWN means that you—and only you—can write your story. You are the author. You decide all the little things like whether you’ll dye your hair pink or buy the shoes. You decide if you’re going to wake up earlier, if you’re going to dedicate more time to something you love, or if you’re going to call that therapist your bestie recommended months ago.
But you also make those big decisions. You decide if you’re going to be happy if you’re going to work hard if you’re going to choose courage over comfort if you’re going to fulfil your life’s purpose and live as your most authentic self. Your boss can’t decide that. Your friends can’t decide that. Not even your parents can decide that. You make the decision.
So, what’s your story going to be?
Finally, what can we expect from you next throughout 2019?
You can expect to see more episodes of The Grow Wire Show and more writing on my blog and Instagram account. But my big goal for 2019 is to start the podcast (a personal one) that I’ve been conjuring up in my daydreams over the past couple of years. I’ll keep you posted on that!