What does success look like in 2015? The usual suspects: Bill Gates, Oprah, Warren Buffett, Michael Jordan, LeBron James…and the list goes on.
As baby boomers and their parents are getting older, wiser and more successful, where do millennials carve their niche? Who’s next?
What does millennial success look like in 2015? Karen Civil looks like it. Much has been said about Gen X’ers “living in the moment” and following their dreams rather than working and getting a real job.
Civil has made her mark early on. The world is her oyster, but in her case, the rapid pace of the world wide web is that oyster. As a result, homegirl has turned her fascination with the internet and love for people into a lucrative career. “I like the fact that I have actually found people that I have things in common with who were miles away on the other side of the planet,” Civil told The Source by phone. “You know how you could get a letter every three months from a pen pal in China? Now here we are e-mailing each other and getting much faster responses.”
Rapid results has been Civil’s calling card. Her point of entry in mainstream began as an intern with Funkmaster Flex. Since then, to steal a phrase from MMG’s Meek Mill, she’s been #DREAMCHASING ever since.
Floyd Mayweather may have The Money Team around him, but Civil has been attached to a ton of money squads with much influence: Beats by Dre, Nike and Young Money to name a few. A tastemaker of many sorts, Civil’s blog KarenCivil.com is a hub that aggregates content in news, music releases and solid interviews. She’s a woman doing it too! “The world is not set up for women to have it all,” she said. “But I’m going to do what I need to do and make it work for me.”
Never too busy, Civil caught up with The Source and dropped some pearls of wisdom.
Here’s The SCOOP…
The Source: Karen, do you ever wake up in the morning, walk to the bathroom mirror and say: ‘Damn I’m Karen Civil’
Karen Civil: Maybe I should and I just don’t. I don’t know why, I just don’t. But I should give myself more credit than I do.I just look at myself as Karen and I remember my boyfriend had to remind me: “You’re not just Karen, you’ve gotta remember that. You can’t do certain things the way you want.” But in my mind, I’m just Karen. I’m just a girl who is living in her purpose and having fun with life. But then I realize, so many people who haven’t found that courage and look to me for that courage and find me very inspiring. So, it’s very humbling. It is something that makes me smile because I’m thinking about it now.
The Source: How do you find life balance?
Karen Civil: Time management for me. I have no choice. Once I left Beats and I realized that life was not all about money. I was at my most unhappiest, when I had all of this financial gain and financial income coming in and I didn’t have anything else. I couldn’t share with my friends because I kind of isolated myself from everybody on this island. I was like, ‘I’m not about to do that.’ I’m turning into my dad, which is nothing wrong with that, I just didn’t see that for myself. I have to enjoy my life as I want to because this life is to be enjoyed and I’m going to enjoy it.
The Source: How much do you think being at Beats by Dre in their infancy stages gave you the ability to capitalize on your talent?
Karen Civil: I was already doing what I liked to do and not in the box in marketing. Now, here’s a company that’s allowing me to do what I do on a larger scale with billions of dollars behind it. All these news sources are talking about it and all of these big ideas that I had are being executed on a larger platform. So, it honestly was just incredible. I was just myself, but I could use huge resources that were provided.
The Source: How rare is it to have had so much creative control at Beats for someone your age?
Karen Civil: Honestly, the timing was impeccable because at the time, I was their thirteenth employee. I caught them when they were starting their own marketing department and there were probably six people in marketing. So I caught them when they were stepping away from Monster, so the timing was perfect and who I was and the ideas and it was just immaculate in those close to four years that I was there. I learned so much and got to work with great people.
The Source: What was different about you growing up in comparison to the kids you grew up with?
Karen Civil: Everything that was instilled in me and embodied me growing up was different than most African American’s that I grew up with. The way I talked, the way I dressed, the way I thought. What was cool to them was not cool to me. I roller bladed in high school. Most people were driving their cars were hanging out and partied. I didn’t!
The Source: Who inspires you?
Karen Civil: I find inspiration in a lot of places, while growing up. My mom, I love Ananda Lewis, I love Angie Martinez. I was a huge Carson Daly fan. I love Free from 106 & Park. I just have a plethora of media people and my mom that I love.
The Source: How do you stay focused?
Karen Civil: You have one life, you have one path, you have one journey. You need to take it. You can’t worry about the naysayers and the people who feel as though they have so much more input on your life than you do for yourself. I’m so focused on the road rather than the wall. Think of NASCAR, the driver is focused on that road. Once your eyes shifts over; that wall is the naysayers who say you can’t do it and cast that doubt. [If you don’t focus] you’re going to veer off and take away attention from what you need to be doing. Once you continue to focus on that road you find that it will strengthen you and it’s something that you continue to build each day. It took time for me to build that self love and strength and a mindset of doing what I set forth to achieve for myself.
The Source: What advice would you give young people like yourself and younger who look up to you and want to do what you do?
Karen Civil: There’s so much free information and free data out there and everything is at your fingertips. Before, if you wanted to do something, you had to go to college for it, you had to get a degree. If you had to do something for class, you had to go the library and get that index thing to take out a book. Now, you want to start a career, there’s YouTube tutorials on everything. You can go to YouTube, go to Google, get a book on it. There’s so much free information and everything is so plausible and right at your fingertips. People should take advantage of that.