1. Tell us about yourself.
I’m an international brand strategist and business coach and the founder of the Brand Atelier at hannafitz.com and Cultured Life Collections. My clients have been award-winning hotels, lawyers, doctors, consultants, celebrity cricketer and actors. I specialise in luxury brand strategy for businesses that want to have a premium positioning in the market.
I’m from the island of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. I’ve always had a love for storytelling particularly in advertising. As a young girl, my family recalls that whenever we travelled, I would be collecting magazines and brochures. There was just something about the aspirational and inspirational quality of how brands told stories that made you feel like all your dreams could come true using words and images with a product. I knew I wanted to use strategy and creativity to sell products that inspire and empower people.
2. What is your fondest memory at Anglia Ruskin University?
At the time that I studied for my BA, the Ashcroft Business School was one of the few institutions offering studies in Corporate Management. This program combined legal studies with a solid foundation in business research, marketing and corporate strategy. This program was perfect for me as it gave me a firm foundation in thinking strategically and being able to understand how to craft winning strategies. The ARU course structure was very practical and the emphasis on building strong research skills was perhaps one of the biggest contributors to me successfully landing my first corporate job as a Marketing Officer: New Product Development and Management for a major financial group of companies in the Eastern Caribbean. I had to prepare a final dissertation to complete my B.A. and chose this company as my case study since they had recently concluded a merger. It was “An Analysis of the Post-Merger Impact on Customer Service.” That got the attention of senior managers and contributed to me securing a role in the company using all the knowledge and skills I learned at ARU.
3. What has been your favourite job?
The work that I’ve been doing over the last 10 years as a consultant and coach has been very fulfilling and rewarding. I never see myself as just developing strategies that build brands, I feel like I am sitting in the front row of my clients' lives, helping them achieve their business goals, and reach more customers who too achieve their goals. Ultimately I play a part in shaping legacies. I’ve always been a believer that it does not matter where your story began, you have the power to write the story you desire to experience this life. I am very passionate about empowering women to create financial independence and so I truly enjoy working with female entrepreneurs.
4. In one word, how would you describe ARU?
5. How did your time at Anglia Ruskin help you?
It provided a very solid foundation through its practical/application based learning experience. The courses on research skills are increasingly relevant in a fast-paced business world. Learning them through the program has been invaluable!
6. What did you love about your chosen course?
Everything. It really prepared me for the business world. I’ve always known that I wanted to be a consultant. At first I thought I might study law but couldn’t completely see myself with a career in law. The degree allowed me to combine legal and business strategy and was very global based in terms of case study references. This allowed me to developed the skills that I still use today to develop strategies for my clients.
7. What advice would you give to current students as they're preparing to graduate?
Your time at ARU will literally prepare you for the business world. Don’t be afraid to pursue your dream career and even though you may have no previous work experience, you can bring a lot of value to the table with the knowledge and skills acquired at ARU. I did not have any previous corporate experience when I graduated and in the job I was assigned to, I was the first person to hold that position in a formal capacity. This meant that as a new graduate I found myself leading projects and teams of people more senior to me, creating reports, innovative resources, and processes that the company found valuable. Feel confident that you are ready and if you are not, you have the toolkit to become ready and own your place as a valued asset.
8. What do you know now that you wish you had known whilst studying?
Whilst studying, there are some course requirements that you question or wish you didn’t have to do, but now I know that foundational work is the basis for success. Every course helps you develop a way of thinking and seeing the world. Embrace every aspect of the journey and it will serve you.
9. Who was the biggest influence on your career?
There are so many great influences; two that stand out are the work of analytical psychologist Dr Carl Jung and the French expert on luxury strategy, Jean Kapferer whose philosophies have influenced my work.
10. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Be bold. You are more than enough.
11. Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
I love cooking and once created a Masterchef-style cooking competition in the Caribbean with San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna.
12. What’s next?
I’m currently working on launching some new projects, including a media/e-commerce platform.