Teaching authenticity in leadership: Teca Cameron

Since incorporating her eponymous business in 2010, Teca Cameron, 39, has gone through a few branding and rebranding periods.

The first happened at 27, three years into her leadership role at a government agency. Cameron was starting to feel restless and unsatisfied at the organisation she had been working in since her time as a management student at York University.

“I really needed to figure out what it is I was sent here to do,” Cameron said. “I really needed to figure out my purpose.”

That insight led to a discovery of the world of image consultancy. Cameron went to George Brown College for an image consultant certificate program and started working in another organization.

In 2010, she incorporated the Teca Cameron Image Management Agency and in 2011 she left the company she was working for to focus solely on her own business. Soon, Teca Cameron Image Management Agency became just Teca Cameron and Cameron was strategizing again.

After taking more courses, including a coaching, speaking and training course at the John Maxwell Team, Cameron said she has evolved from being a corporate image consultant to a professional’s coach, consultant and strategist.

“I help people to get clear about who they are, where they want to be,” she said. “I create an authentic brand around that.”

Through the rebranding, Cameron said her personal story and background are motivating factors.

“I grew up in Jane and Finch [in Toronto],” she said. “I grew up in poverty. I grew up struggling and just being able to say I’m here today makes me feel really accomplished. I feel like I have so much more to accomplish and I’m really adding value to people’s lives.”

The Jamaican-Canadian business owner also said that being a visible minority and being the only brown face in the boardroom at her workplace informed her decision to become a consultant.

“A lot of people like me were struggling to get further ahead because we didn’t understand the social codes,” Cameron said. “I wanted to create opportunities for people who are visible minorities to get to be in leadership, to make changes and live their full potentials.”

Today, Cameron is working toward that by offering tailored corporate, enterprise and individual coaching and training with leadership at the core of her message.

Sometimes those training sessions include a module on personal presentation. Cameron said she has had to question some of the traditional philosophies about personal presentation, including the treatment of black women’s hair.

She said that while she coaches people that their attire should be appropriate to their work environment because there is a need for a degree of conformity, she also believes people should be able to be authentic in their places of work.

Cameron said, “We have to have an open mind and cultural sensitivity when we are talking about what is appropriate versus what is not appropriate.”

Cameron said she knows sometimes clients don’t get to choose their work environment, so one of the messages she teaches is how to design a career instead of just chasing jobs. She said she thinks that career designing will lead to a “job environment that is more supportive of our whole selves.”

Cameron offers tailored coaching and training sessions tailored to her clients. More information about her services can be found on her website.

About the author  ⁄ Cynthia Boyede

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