Anide J. Eustache is a marketing and communications professional, certified professional and executive coach, strategist and speaker. Eustache has dedicated her professional career to helping women position themselves for the lives they want to live both personally and professionally.
As principal and founder of Garraud Consulting, she focuses on providing marketing and strategy consultation services to organizations; and works with organizations to provide professional, business and personal development training and coaching that help clients achieve their business and/or professional goals. She spoke to Haitian Times on a wide range of issues including her professional life and her role as the lead conference chairperson of the National Alliance for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals (NAAHP).
You have more than 15 years’ experience in marketing and media relations. What was a pivotal time in your career where you knew that this was what you were meant to do?
I accidentally fell into the marketing field. As anyone who is raised in old school Haitian culture knows, the three career goals were “DEL” doctor, engineer and lawyer. I was a communications major in college, with the end goal of going to law school. Throughout my college years, I was involved in a variety of activities, and I always had a knack for communications, outreach, developing strategy, writing, promotions and planning. I didn’t really think of turning it into a career until I landed my first job during my final semester at Rutgers University, working as a public relations associate at a theater in New Brunswick. There, I met my first professional mentor, Stephanie Clark, and I transitioned from public relations to media relations at the NBA; then I got my MBA and transitioned into marketing. At this point of my career, through my company, Garraud Consulting, I provide strategic marketing, coaching and training services to organizations and individuals.
You’re the lead conference chair for this year’s conference. What does that position look like? What are some of your main responsibilities and how has your marketing background been helpful to your role?
The position of lead chair is a time-consuming, unpaid, full-time job that I learn to juggle within my normal 9 to 5 gig, my business and my family. I have chaired four of the past seven NAAHP conferences, and have worked in some capacity behind the scenes in all the others. The amount of legwork and hours it takes our team to coordinate a conference of this magnitude is tremendous. Each year I tell myself, I am not going to do this again, and each year I come back in some capacity because of a love for my culture and of connecting the Diaspora professional.
In my role as lead chair, I am responsible for overseeing the planning and execution of entire conference. I provide the strategic and project direction for the event in conjunction with key appointed event chairs and other committee leads. My marketing background has been instrumental in this role, because my mind is trained to develop strategy that aligns to an organization’s overall mission or business goal. Therefore, my understanding of key marketing concepts/tactics such as developing a marketing plan, which includes, dissecting the marketing mix (product, price, promotion, place); developing a SWOT analysis; creating a key messaging framework; providing strategic direction for communications and overall outreach; branding; content development; creative development and experience in coordinating other high-profile professional events have been instrumental in helping me to manage the many moving parts of this conference.
How has the conference changed from its inaugural launch in 2012 to now? What do you think is its key success?
Our first conference in 2012 was actually a one-day symposium held at the Newark Museum and we had about 100 or so guest in attendance. Seven years later, we are organizing a three-day conference with multiple coordinated events for 700+ attendees. We have a conference planning team of over 40+ volunteers; 30+ partners and coordinate conference logistics and planning at the city, state and international government levels.
One of the key successes to the NAAHP conference is that it fills a need. There is a need within the Haitian Diaspora for professionals to connect and meet one another. Ours is a growing and powerful audience. It is important that we find ways to connect and create a united cultural voice so that we are able to create opportunities for each other and impact things on a political, economic and social level.
The other key success to this conference, year after year, are the volunteers. Every member of our planning team serves in a volunteer role, so in addition to juggling their regular lives, family obligations and full-time work, they are dedicated to making sure that the NAAHP executes a top-notch professional conference. We are on emails starting at 4am in the morning, on conference calls during our lunch hours and having team meetings at 10pm. The real MVPs of this conference are the volunteers, they are the engine that keeps the conference going year after year. I want to sincerely thank the 2018 planning and organizing volunteer team, they have done a phenomenal job.
This is the 7th edition of the conference. What can attendees expect this year that’s been different in year’s past?
One thing that was very important to me this year was to bring a diversity of thoughts to the table and to touch on topics that had not yet been addressed in previous conferences. Meaning, it was important to me that more women in the Diaspora were highlighted and that we showcased a new crop of Diaspora professionals who are really disrupting and redefining the image of the Diaspora in the workplace. We didn’t meet that goal 100 percent, but I am pleased to see a lot of new faces for this year’s conference and to see a range of new topics that are relevant to the professional needs of this generation being addressed (among them the panel on mental health).
How has your Haitian heritage impacted your life and work?
I love being Haitian. I love the values that my parents and our culture have instilled in me. I appreciate the resiliency, hard work ethic, common sense and faith learned throughout the years that daily impact my personal and work life.
In your opinion, what’s the secret to effective networking?
I believe the secret to effectively networking is to be authentic and to be genuinely interested in people without expecting anything in return. The folks I remember the most are those who were good conversationalist and were just themselves. I tend to be more willing to assist and connect them to folks in my network if their presence made a memorable impact. With that being said, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do your homework, if you want to be intentional about networking, make sure you learn about the person, industry or company that you are seeking to connect with.