We had the good fortune of connecting with Krista Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Krista, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
I have worked in a variety of different environments, verticals, and companies! That means I have had access to talented, tuned-in leaders who’ve shared solid advice that was meant to empower me and help elevate my performance. This also means I have had my fair share of bad advice along the way. I believe we can learn just as much from the bad advice as we can the good. Here is what has stood out to me! 1. The space is too crowded or there are already so many marketing agencies. Do something different. This is just simply not true! Not true with marketing agencies, not true with any business. I believe with every business, in every vertical, there is room for all of us. Why? Your target audience needs you and needs how you uniquely solve problems. Figure out what makes you come alive, and do more of that. Because that is what the world needs. People who are tuned into what others need. People who are passionate, alive, and awake! Yes, there are a LOT of agencies out there. Especially in Dallas. However, when I Co-Founded Luminary 2 a few years ago, we set out to be more than just a creative and marketing agency. We set out to be our client’s modern marketing partner…an extension of their company, their brand, and their core team. We worked hard to show up for clients and interact with them in a way that placed them at the center of our universe and treated them like a friend from day one. We knew marketing, especially digital marketing, can be scary and confusing for people who aren’t in the bizz, so we worked hard to break it down, make it easy-to-understand, and quite simply…deliver the results we promised. 2. Don’t speak up around senior executives. Just listen and don’t draw too much attention to yourself. When I first started my career in corporate America, a female peer advised against giving my opinion in a cross-functional meeting with senior leaders. I know she had good intentions and was trying to help, but my later experiences showed me it was the wrong advice. I believe if you see something, say something. I believe if you are passionate about something, and have an idea, share it! And that’s regardless of gender or position. You can and should share your voice and opinion with any superior, male or female, when delivered in the right tone and timing. When speaking up in any setting, it’s best to speak with authenticity and honesty. And leverage proven EQ (emotional intelligence) principles that help lead to maximum emotional agility and help your messand land with the audience exactly how you intend it to. Today with my team and mentees, I encourage getting comfortable and confident with sharing feedback and speaking with candor. Read business or leadership books if you want to be a good leader. I am just going to say it: the majority of business books out there are written by men, and the latest research shows that men and women lead differently. Above all, women who lead like women do better than women who try to lead like men. This is not surprising. Because people who are authentic at work and at play, will show up in ways that people can relate to. When people can relate to you, they are more likely to listen to you and are open to being led by you. Good leaders are, above everything else, their true selves. If you cannot be your true self, then no book will make you a good leader. Also, it’s important to know the skills you already possess and the skills you need to be a good business person or leader. Ask your team or leadership for feedback on your performance, so you know how others experience you. Spend time working with a peer mentor or leader who is your senior, filling in your own knowledge gaps. If you do want support from authors who share valuable information that can be foundational in a woman’s leadership journey, I highly recommend “Fierce Conversations” by Susan Scott and Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Seek real-world experiences, supported by business or leadership books, to create a well-rounded professional development plan. 3. Wait till you have it figured out before you start that business, apply for that job, leave your company, etc. Here is the cold, hard, honest truth: If you wait for the perfect time, it will never come! You will be waiting forever. Fear of the unknown or uncertainty around change and growth is not a weakness….it’s a catalyst. No one knows what they are doing either! So don’t worry about having it all figured out. If you avoid fear, you give away your power. And the truth is, if you want a big, brave life, fear is not only part of it, it’s the secret ingredient. Showing up takes insane courage. I am scared ALL the time. Scared of failure in business, scared of not being my best, and at one point I was scared to be alone so I stayed in a relationship that threatened my mental health and physical safety. Fearlessness doesn’t exist…courage is feeling the fear and taking that step anyway. I am reminded of a Naeem Calloway quote: sometimes the smallest step in the right direction can be the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take a step!

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I’m an entrepreneur, brand and visibility strategist, and people developer who helps businesses and individuals tell impactful stories to captivate the attention of their target audience and convert that audience to action. To date I’ve had the opportunity to craft powerful and profitable brands for successful, multi-million dollar companies while simultaneously guiding individuals in their personal brand journeys, activating the same processes and techniques used by fortune 500 companies. Most recently I Co-Founded Luminary 2, a Dallas-based creative and marketing agency. After a few years of building a successful startup and leading a talented team that offered a wide variety of services to various verticals, at the beginning of September I shifted focus to my next project. Sneak peek: a firm that focuses on developing women, building brands, and creating content for women-owned, women-led, and mission-driven businesses. Launching this winter! I’ve had many challenges, wins, and lessons over the last decade in my career. I could go on and on and on! However, I will share one lesson that feels really relevant for me and I am sure for many others right now. Personal growth and personal improvement are important. Being committed to your own growth is a critical component of success. With that being said: changing or shrinking smaller so we can fit someone else’s ideas of what we should be, say or do, is just simply not productive. Self-abandonment should never be an option. Why? We are all powerful forces, with unique talents, who are walking this earth for a reason. And the world needs those gifts and talents now more than ever. Being open to growth and change, while showing up authentically, means having the courage to bring forth your talents and your voice. It means having the courage to be in environments, jobs, and even in relationships, that celebrate who we are and what we have to offer the world. Good ol’ Dr. Seuss said: “No one else is you-er than you.” And I would like to add one more thing to that quote. “No one else is you-er than you, and that is your power.” Don’t forget it!

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Although I recently transitioned of my industrial, downtown Dallas loft and moved into a house in the burbs (dun, dun, dun), I still like to think of myself as a hip, Downtown Dallas gal! The perfect day with friends would start with a quick walk to Weekend Coffee to grab a yummy cold brew and mouth-watering breakfast burrito. Maybe later we would enjoy yoga next to the eyeball on the eyelawn near The Joule. We’d grab a scooter and bebop over to the Farmer’s Market and do a little local vendor shopping. Next, we’d chill at the pool and get a quick dose of Vitamin D before heading back to the loft to get ready for the night. Dinner at The Woolworth or Bullion would be followed up by drinks on a rooftop: preferably Waterproof or Sky Blossom. Doesn’t that sound perfect? I’m ready to go now!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to shoutout all the women mentors I have had along the way! I’m lucky to have had a few, strong female mentors both inside companies I have worked for and outside. I’m also active in a mentorship circle to this day and get valuable advice and learnings from my peers.

Instagram: kristaraejohnson_
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristaraejohnson/
Other: Here are some links to things I have been featured in lately where people can hear more of my work! Interview: CW33 – The Morning After – Mentorship https://cw33.com/video/why-women-need-mentors/5820565/ Podcast: Talking Nonsense https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/talking-nonsense/id1488684314?i=1000489130078 Article/Interview: Leading Remote Teams https://courtneyramseyspeaks.com/leading-a-remote-team-from-behind-the-screens/

Image Credits
Danni Maibum

Nominate someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.