January Bel Ti Fi of the Month (My Interview)

I have posted the interview that I did with Bel Ti Fi for you guys who haven’t had the chance to read it. At their luncheon over the weekend I received and award for being a Bel Ti Fi (Pretty Young Girl) . You can check out their site to learn more about this organization and what they do.
Happy Flying
~Solo Dove~
Posted at 02:35 PM on January 09, 2010  

The BELTIFI OF THE MONTH was created to showcase the accomplishments and merits of young Haitian-American woman. Established to create a unity in the Haitian community, our mission is help develop new leaders in our era. For the month of January, we introduce to you Publicist Sandra Florent, a BelTiFi that embodies sophistication, elegance, and grace.

1.  How would you define what makes a Haitian woman a BelTiFi?

I think its her endurance. A Haitian woman has to battle some many different obstacles but yet she finds a way to hold on to something powerful and hopeful on the inside that allows her outer beauty to shine no matter what. A Haitian woman has something unique about her.

2.  What first garnered your interest in public relations? Did you experience any hardships from your family because of your professional choice?

Well, I can say from a young age I was always a talker and planner and I wanted a career that would let me do just that. I never actually knew what Public Relation was until I was in high school and from the various mentoring programs and activities that I attended people would say ” you should do PR” and from there I tried to learn as much about it as possible. I was so interested and fascinated by it but I never thought it would be a career.  As far as my family, they don’t understand exactly what PR is so they were and still are kind of reluctant that I chose it as a career path. They would rather I did a typical Haitian career choice Doctor, Lawyer, Nurse, Engineer. They tell me how everyone else child is a nurse and is making more money or who is getting their masters in business. I know that they may mean well but I won’t change my career choice just because they don’t understand it or disagree with it. 

3.  What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? Where does the name Solo Dove derive from?

I think I have the entrepreneur spirit. I always thought to myself “Mwen ka fe sa” (I can do this). So when graduation came in December 2008. I was freelancing by January 2009. I just knew that I was responsible for the path that my life would take so I had to make a way where there was no way. Solo Dove is a combination of a few things. One being my sorority affiliation (Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc Beta Nu Chapter) the year that I become a member in 2005 I was the only one at my school hence “Solo”and the Dove is a symbol used within our organization. The second being that since I do freelance PR work I am considered a “solo” professional since I don’t work for a PR firm. I also chose Dove because being a freelancer was a leap of faith I had to spread my wings and take this flight. Plus I am my mother’s only child so I have been a solo most of my life. It all just fit together and I thought it was something that would help me to stand out from the other publicist out there.

4.  Do you believe that there is a “Haitian” standard of beauty? If so, have you had any rememberable experiences regarding this subject? 

Yes, I do believe there is a standard of beauty. I think that the standard would be a thicker build. Haitian people tend to like nice proportions not to skinny not to fat. Smooth clear skin is another thing that is essential in regards to Haitian beauty. Just the other day while visiting my cousins wife she was inspecting my younger cousin and I. She was telling my cousin that she had gotten too skinny and you can see her collar bone and her hands looking frail. Basically telling her she need to thicken up. While with me she was saying my size was ok and don’t try to get all skinny because then I wouldn’t be proportioned right. Beauty/weight is a constant in my household there is always talk of  how to improve your appearance.

5.  What was your resolution for the New Year? What are major goals that you have set to attain this year?

I wouldn’t say I made any resolutions for the new year more so planning for the month which I do for every month. I set goals that I want to accomplish for each month and see what didn’t work from last month. Major goals that I want to accomplish this year is to have a steady portfolio of clients, have a good financial base, and to get my clients some major exposure for their endeavors.


6.  Has your culture and you being of Haitian descent been a positive or negative experience during your career?

I would say it has been a positive one. Because it allows greater reach of my work. If I have an American client I can send information out to the Haitian outlets and speak with them. If I have a Haitian client they feel that they maybe able to trust me more because I speak their language and I know where they are coming from. Furthermore since I am fluent it helps when I have to speak to an audience that only speaks creole as well when it comes to writing media releases.


7.   What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

This is a tough one but I would say it is graduating from college and having my mother there at my graduation. I am her only child so for her to see me doing something that she never dreamed of doing was a great feeling. It’s like she lived through me that day. My mom didn’t have the chance to get a formal education while in Haiti (like most Haitian women) so because of that education was a big thing in our household. So she pushed me to get the best possible education and to take every opportunity.  

8.  What do you connect most with the Haitian Culture?

I would say the flair that Haitian people possess. Be it the clothing, art, the food or the music. There is just something so lively about them. Haitian people just have a vibe to them that is quite infectious you can’t help but have a good time when you are around them.


9.  Why do you think BelTiFi is needed? Do you see BelTiFi making an impact on young Haitian-American women?

BelTiFi is needed because it is filling a void in the community. There isn’t an organization that is specially catered to the Haitian-American girl/woman. I do see it making an impact on young girls because they will be able to see someone like them that has made it.  Haitian-American or even Haitian role models are far in between so to have a collective place for young girls to see and say “hey she’s a publicist, I never knew you could do that” or “hmm maybe I can start my own business too”. BelTiFi will offer the opportunity to learn more and to think outside of their little corner and work towards achieving something greater. 

10.  Who have you looked up to for guidance and mentorship?

Wow.. I can say for different parts of my life I have looked up to a few different people. While in high school it would have to be Rita Owen (mother of Queen Latifiah).  She had a group (UYC) which played a part in helping me to think that there was more to life and to learn about different things. She was a good person to talk to and bounce ideas off of.  Also there is Catherine Sauls who runs Irvington Ambassadors which is a mentoring program for young girls in high school that really helped with my professional development and thinking. I still go back and mentor the girls till this day. Others would have to be my mom for her entrepreneurial spirit and can do attitude as well as my pastor, Pastor Himrod Ambroise.  He offers that spiritual guidance to make sure that whatever you are doing is in tune with God’s plan for your life. Constant guidance comes from my friends and mentoring comes from the friends that I surround myself with who are also trying to better their lives.

11.  What advice do you have for young Haitian-American women who are interested in breaking into the professional mold?

My advice would be to immerse yourself in whatever profession it is that you want. Learn as much about it as possible. Whatever natural skill that you have work to make it better. If you see a void in a particular industry see how you may be able to fill it.  By doing these things, you are better prepared for whatever your chosen field might bring your way. You have to find a way to make yourself stand out from all the others out there.


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