Exclusive Interview of Kaiya Williams of KAW Management Group. Edited by Powered Magazine
Tell us about yourself and your business
Hi, I’m Kaiya. I am the CEO and Executive Director of KAW Management Group where we work with thought leaders and high achievers across all industries. Architecting and guiding Gravitational Brands to increase their influence and income. While I wear many hats, my favorite is visionary. I started this agency with the goal of creating a better, more honest, and more profitable representation space for incredible individuals. I am thrilled to be able to say this is exactly what we’ve done.
What were your biggest challenges when starting your business?
Not thinking big enough! I find it is incredibly difficult to be what you cannot see, for me there was no example of what success could look like for a person like me in this industry. I am now thrilled to look to my left and right and see some incredible women in this field absolutely dominating (hey Nicole Lynn!) but I truly believe that the lack of representation led to me not knowing what was “realistic” so I limited myself unnecessarily in the beginning.
How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career?
Honestly, in the beginning of this journey my answer would have been very different than it is now. When I first got started I was constantly on the defensive, convinced that every challenge I faced was meant to destroy me and there really was no handling at that point I instead opted not to feel at all. So I didn’t celebrate any of the successes beyond a quick high five with the team, an excited call to the client and then I got back to work. This allowed me to stay in a constant state of numbness so when the failures came I didn’t have anywhere to fall from. However now, as I’ve gotten older I reflect a bit more and have much healthier ways of managing the ebbs and flows;
My mentor and perpetual life guide has said for many years to “never get too high on the highs and never get too low on the lows, do your best to remain somewhere in the middle and you’ll be okay.” As difficult as this is, reminding myself of this philosophy has been an absolute lifesaver in my personal and professional life.
What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market?
I wish I had a more exciting or mystical answer to this question but honestly, I just lead with authenticity and transparency. I make sure that our clients know we will fight for you to the tiniest of details through and through. In addition to that we never do exclusively what is promised, my team and I strive to go above and beyond in every area we can to ensure our clients receive the best possible experience with us.
What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity?
The idea that I can one day be the person I wish I had as a teen, I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur but the only successful women in business that I recall seeing were Arianna Huffington, (later Moira Forbes), and Anna Wintour. All of these women were in journalism, and none of them are women of color. Going back to my earlier point it can be incredibly difficult to be what you cannot see. I want the incredible young black women excited to become entrepreneurs to be able to look at me and know if she did it I can absolutely do it. This coupled with my passion for giving back and leaving my corner of the world better than I found it is what keeps me going.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field?
I love this question; I would say you CAN do it, but it will not be easy. Know that there may be times when the only person who understands why you are working the way you are, or sacrificing what you are sacrificing is you; and learn to be okay with that. You can learn something from EVERYONE, so never miss an opportunity to do so. Lastly, always remember that if what you are asking for doesn’t scare you then you are not asking for enough.
What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development?
It’s been intriguing to see the rise of UGC creators bringing a new authenticity to the branding/advertising space so when looking to the future of strategic ambassador style partnerships it will be interesting to see how this alters the look and feel of these partnerships.
What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career or business path?
The most rewarding thus far have been the conversations with young women of color working to get into this field and looking for guidance/perspective.
Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field?
Absolutely, the first that comes to mind is the ability to handle the no’s there are so so many constantly. So truly being emotionally unphased by them and learning how to take every no and evolve from it is an absolute must. Creativity is also invaluable in this field, you truly have know idea how far a creative idea or solution can get you.
Who does KAW Management Group represent, and how can someone work with you?
We represent thought leaders and high achievers across all industries. There are many verticals in which we could work together all depending on what you are looking for, here is a quick snapshot of our zones of genius; Talent Management, Framework Management, Gravitational; The Branding Intensive, Social Media Management, Contract Negotiation, Content Creation, and event production.