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Meet Trailblazer Candace Hall

Today we’d like to introduce you to Candace Hall.

Candace, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born & raised in St. Louis, MO before moving to Atlanta when I was 24. I went to undergrad at UM-St. Louis, losing my mom to cancer during my first semester. That was rough. Really rough. Pushing down grief carried me through undergrad and part of grad school, so as much as it was painful, I am grateful. “The psyche has a way of protecting itself, they say.”

When I got to Atlanta, I was working in an advertising agency as a seemingly lowly proofreader that nobody knew could write. My friend helped me get that job. At another agency, I found myself being promoted to copywriter and then senior copywriter, where I am now. Talk about trying to break glass ceilings. Advertising is still a boy’s club in the creative department.

In my spare time, while I was learning the ropes and paying my dues, I picked up rugby after seeing it on TV. Lo and behold, Atlanta had a team, so I met up w/ those crazies and played rugby for about 10 years (for a couple, the only black person on the team). Only a short list of injuries, which I’m sure my father is super grateful for.

Knock on wood, hopefully it stays that way with no major injuries.  Rugby is rough! That aside, have things been pretty smooth for you? What were some of the struggles along the way?
Nah. It has not been a super smooth road. As a kid, we were homeless for a bit (I think my dad thinks I was too young to remember), but it was my mom’s death that really got to me as time went on. Add to that, figuring out my sexuality as somewhat of a “late bloomer” and I definitely had plenty on my plate. I pushed everything down to make sure I got through school, but at some point, those coping mechanisms no longer served me. My mother was my champion in all things, but now I was going to figure out how to champion myself. And it ain’t easy.

If I had any advice for other women, it would be learn to:
– Listen to and trust in yourself as early on as possible. Don’t let anyone convince you that you don’t know what’s best for YOU.
– Put on your own oxygen mask first. THEN take care of others. As a woman from the midwest where you’re taught to help and be of service at all costs, you can’t help anyone else breathe if you’re choking.
– Question everything. You deserve answers.

What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
I specialize in communicating. Whatever it is, whatever media, method, mood. If it needs to be disseminated, I can figure out how to communicate it to your audience. Like a ninja wordsmith, if you will. In my 9–5 life, I’m a senior copywriter for an advertising agency. In my spare time, I do freelance copywriting for brands both large and small. I’ve been the leader of communications for my rugby team (getting about 70 people on the same page is like herding cats), but also a little mini activism in putting together a panel for Atlanta’s rugby community on how to best interact with police, their rights as an individual, and what to do if they’re ever in an escalated situation.

What sets me apart from others? I care. A whole lot. About my people, my tribe, my work. In a world of “meh” and indifference, somebody’s got to GAF and I do, quite a bit.

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
In my industry, advertising remains mostly a boy’s club when it comes to creatives and creative directors. There are people that still believe that women aren’t funny. Aren’t witty. Aren’t downright hilarious. In 2019 with Tiffany Haddish and Amy Poehler running around, people still think women aren’t funny.

I think the whole world underestimates how much decision making women do on a daily basis & tend to not trust women *nearly* enough. Which is funny considering we’re traditionally often trusted with the very things (like house, home food, well-being) for people every single day.

Trust. Women.

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