Being Present, Not Perfect

Imagine: your to-do list is never ending, you’re exhausted, and you swear you haven’t had a human interaction in days. For many of us, we didn’t have to try too hard to imagine because this is an oh-so-familiar feeling. We all work tirelessly to check those boxes, send those emails, and come up with the best business strategy. However, in the process, we forget to take care of ourselves. The irony in this is we do the best work when we are relaxed, rested, and enjoying others. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by work, but here at DFS Creative Concepts we try to keep in mind that we are people first and #Girlbosses second by living by these words of wisdom:


  1. Too Much Yes Leads to No

We all love to be helpful, responsible, and dependable. We all want to be the “go-to-girl” for solving problems, taking on tasks and projects of all kinds. However, after saying yes too many times, you might find yourself in an Alice in Wonderland sized hole of work. Then, when you are working to dig yourself out of your hole, you have to say no to all the fun things in life: dinner with family or friends, coffee breaks with your favorite coworkers, and even maybe the one project you’ve been wanting to be a part of! So yes can be good, but too much yes leads to no. So, say yes to what makes you happy and helps you grow, not to the busy work or the mindless task just to prove you are a responsible person. For us at DFSCC, this means we take on the projects that make us smile, challenge us to think differently, and fall in line with our values as a business.  “Yes” is for what builds you up. “No” is for what drains us.


  1. Rest & Relaxation

Now, you may read this and think, “She’s crazy, that’s what coffee is for!” Make no mistake; I love a mug of coffee just as much as the next girl, but I can’t deny the importance of sleep! While we all know that the recommended eight hours per night is a little unattainable, we can certainly strive for it. None of us wants to be the girl at her desk sipping on her fifth cup of coffee, jittery and unable to keep her eyes open. We want to be the girl who comes into the office looking like she has it all together and is ready to face whatever the day brings. Another important part of learning to be put together instead of caffeine dependent is being able to relax. In a world where we are constantly going, going, going, we forget to slow down to enjoy some peace and quiet. At DFSCC, we are constantly filling each other in on ways to relax: recommending good reads, laughing about a funny movie, or talking about a weekend bike ride. We do love to work hard, but understand how important it is to enjoy our down time. Whatever relaxation looks like for you (reading, exercising, retail therapy), don’t forget to pencil it in!


  1. Look Around, Not at the Screen!

In today’s workplace, we are constantly being bombarded with phone calls and emails that are “urgent.” It is way too easy to get caught up in the technology that shapes the way we communicate professionally. Don’t forget the to interact with people around you. While emails are effective, meetings and quick conversations in person usually are more clarifying and immediate. Don’t shy away from walking over to a coworker’s desk to ask about the social media strategy or even about their weekend. We work hard to cultivate a culture of communication here at DFS Creative Concepts with regular check-ins to update each other where we are on our projects. Communication makes the world go ‘round, but remember that a chat over coffee or lunch beats an email any day.

When life gets going too quickly for you to keep up, remember that in order to be a #GirlBoss, sometimes you have to put the to-do list down and take a breather.

becca gbb

The Worth of an Associate

Coffee runs, thousands of copies, and busy work. These are only a few words that do NOT describe the life of an associate here at DFS Creative Concepts. I watched a webinar recently by ‘People Matters’ and Oracle entitled “Engaged Leadership Furthers Your Business.” One of the quotes used in the video said “The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers,” by Richard Branson. It got me thinking about how lucky I am to have one of my first professional experiences with DFS Creative Concepts, a place where I walk in every day knowing that my worth is recognized, my skills are utilized, and I am valued.

Honestly, being an associate is like being friends with benefits. Everyone outside of the company sees you as an intern, but inside the exposed brick and pink painted walls, is a marvelous world of work that normal interns can only dream about doing, from day one. All the benefits of being an associate, but the outside still considers you an intern.

I was pleasantly surprised to come to my first week of work at DFSCC and instead of being handed thousands of papers to file or making me memorize everyone’s Starbucks orders, Dorothy asked me what I am good at, what I’m passionate about and most importantly what I want to do. At DFSCC I am treated like I have value and like the work I do matters; and I believe that Richard Branson would smile upon DFSCC when knowing how we operate here. At DFSCC it is a known fact that investing in your business and your brand means investing in and engaging with your people. In turn, your business is more productive, because your company is quite literally an organization that wears its heart on its sleeve. When cogs are turning, and passion is flowing throughout your company, you will inevitably produce good things and give off good vibes.

I was told a few years ago that “being intentional goes a long way,” in the sense of making friends in high school and college. This advice has only proven to become more true and relevant as my life goes on and I grow older and wiser and tackle new experiences. I believe this can apply to everyone in the work place: Because a boss that is intentional about investing in their employees will go a long way when inspiring employees to do their work with passion. Employees who intentionally do their work to the best of their ability and with passion and excitement will take the company further than the boss ever could.

To all the associates reading, look for a boss who invests in you and sees your work, and work hard for them. To all the bosses out there, be intentional in valuing your associates and the work they produce, no matter how small.

DFS FALL 17ccccccc

Let’s Get Personal: Branding on Instagram

Instagram. This wonder of an app has totally changed how we share and post photos – more specifically, it’s changed our standards on what is worth a “like” or not. However, an aspect of Instagram that we tend to forget about (just like we forget how we got to scrolling through your friend’s cousin’s girlfriend’s insta feed) is personal branding. Instagram is an app all about personal branding. What you post, the frequency of your posts and youre post’s content all contribute to how your followers and potential clients perceive you and your business.

So, next time you decide to whimsically post that “risqué” photo onto Instagram – think. Is this post contributing to my personal brand in a way that reflects how I want to be perceived?

First, think about your brand’s aesthetic. What comes to mind? Is the photo you want to post going to contribute to that aesthetic or picture in your mind? If you are unsure of your brand’s essence, your followers will be unsure too. Make sure you know #whoyouare before clicking post.

Going off of that hashtag, use them! Hashtags can help your posts reach a whole new demographic of followers if you know how to do it properly. Make sure all your hashtags are #relevant and #concise to your business. And don’t overdo it. Sometimes less is more.

Next, know your voice. When posting for your business, change your personal voice (just a tad!). I’m not saying to lose you completely, but clean yourself up. Make sure your language is professional, appropriate and represents your brand standards. #Imperative

Finally, be active. Post frequently (3-5x per week) to keep your followers engaged and seeing continuous content from your business. Also the more you post, the more you can practice your hashtags and refining your voice. #PracticeMakesPerfect #AmIRight

Being a new social media strategist here at DFSCC, I was excited when Dorothy gave me the task of taking over social media account strategy (though we all present and weigh in, and aren’t on an island). It was on me to present to our team my knowledge of best practices can be put to good use for the benefit of those we serve. However, after lots of industry and company specific research, teamwork, developing the company’s voice, understanding their audience and knowing their personal brand #goals, I have come to truly love putting these puzzle pieces together and seeing the metrics and analytics to prove the success.

DFS Lauren 1 edited

Navigating Leadership

The idea of sharing common space with so many likeminded leaders came to me when I was at my desk staring up at the baby pink wall. As I sat there I realized that this space, in which I have become so comfortable, with was once another associates’ area. Under the guidance of Dorothy, I have seen my leadership skills grow and change as I have gained new skills and redefined those of others. I am constantly pushing myself to see what else I can learn, but I realize that I am lucky to have such strong leaders around me from whom I can learn.

Leaders are individuals who go above and beyond for their causes. They know their strengths, build others up and are constantly seeking improvement. So for this entry I am going to spotlight some of our DFSCC tribe to showcase how they have perpetuated these ideals.

To start us off here today is a fan favorite: Megan.


She has been featured here on the blog many times, but having worked so closely with Dorothy for so long it is only appropriate to hear how her training has helped her break stereotypes as a professional woman. As a leader, Megan is someone that everyone in the office can rely on. She has become our rock, exemplifying traits of presentation, poise and professionalism while always adding flare to her own work. When asked about how DFSCC has helped her navigate not only work, but also her personal life, she responds, “I have learned that happiness is the key to success. We wouldn’t be here if this team/work didn’t make us happy! The thrill of events and the satisfaction of our clients keeps us going. I’ve learned how to make the best of situations and be open to new ideas. Instead of acting on impulse, I try taking that extra second to think about the outcome. It is better to approach things after taking a second look at them. From this, I have learned the importance of communication, collaboration and efficiency with a team. Two is better than one and I love learning from team members and our founder!” Megan we would be lost without you, thank you for keeping us afloat, yet always keeping us in line!

Next is our feisty and fun Gigi.


Fun Fact: Gigi and I actually shared that baby pink wall that I talked about earlier. A self proclaimed Type-A personality, she is our go-to for a witty social media caption and our resident thesaurus. Seriously, she loves words and grammar. Speaking from experience, a Type-A leader values attention to detail, making sure that nothing is overlooked, and always delivers work on time. Yet, as we have all experienced, sometimes everything works out and other times nothing goes according to the original plan. Gigi remarks that expecting perfection is something that we should strive for, but not expect. We have to be adaptable in any situation. And to any aspiring associate or DFSCC team member, she leaves you with this advice: “Bring your laptop to work everyday. That’s major. Also challenge yourself, because you can do more than you believe yourself capable of. I have always been artistic but have been challenged by Dorothy to create graphics. Knowing that I can create aesthetic images on the computer vs by hand has been super rewarding.”

Our next Leader is pretty special. Aneesh Borah is the first (of many) DFSCC male members.


He has learned to navigate the waters with all of our #GirlBosses, seamlessly becoming an essential part of our team. During his time here at DFSCC, Aneesh jumped in fearlessly on a multitude of projects helping and teaching us all something new during the process. While reflecting on his time so far, I asked him something new he learned. His answer? Setting priorities. Let me elaborate more. He states, “As an artist, it is easy to get excited, distracted and overcommit yourself to a particular project. But Dorothy showed and taught me how to prioritize my projects and tasks at hand in a way that creates a connection not only on a professional level but also on a personal one. This has helped me meet deadlines more efficiently. As a graphic designer, this is the only way that I can really produce the best quality for the client.” Perfectly stated!

To end my post today we have the founder of our blog, Miss Caroline Tucker.


No doubt you can spot her wearing a killer outfit, for as she says, “You must take your appearance as serious as your abilities.” If you have a problem, she is your girl. She is a strong believer that if you are going to pose a problem, you better make sure you also pose a solution. When asked about her initial impressions of DFSCC and her role within the company, this is what she had to say: “I thought I would be the classic intern picking up coffee, taking out the trash, and making copies. But I was so wrong. On my first day, I was thrown into projects I could have only dreamed of. Dorothy has helped me recognize and own my talents and has given me opportunities to display them. I have learned that execution is the key to seeing something come to fruition. For example, I am now published in a lifestyle magazine with over 80,000 readers and saw the #GirlBossBlog come to life. The confidence Dorothy instills in me follows me everywhere I go, from new work environments to new cities. Not only does Dorothy refuse to call me an intern (instead, “Associate”), she does not treat me like one either. I feel valued and useful.” Spoken like a true #girlboss.

So to when it comes to being a fearless leader, and how to navigate being your own #girlboss:

• Keep it positive, yet keep it efficient
• Strive for adaptability not perfection
• Prioritize
• Execution = Reality
• Bonus – my personal favorite – reflect always: before, during, and even after tasks

We here at DFSCC are successful because we are constantly challenged and pushed not only by our mentor, but by some of the greatest leaders. Each other.

gigi dfs blog 1 edit

Be a Leader. Be Yourself.

A woman can always tell the difference between a knock-off Coach purse and an authentic one.  Whether it’s the slight sheen of the faux-leather, the minor enlargement of the checkered-pattern, or the one-shade-off color brown of the bag, a girl always knows.  Similarly, an employer can always tell when their boss is putting on a show or being inauthentic.  

In today’s workplace, being a good leader means being genuine, dependable, and engaging.  It means being authentic.  What does that mean, exactly?  To put it simply, a leader should be someone whose actions align with the values they promote.  For instance, if you tell your friends that wearing deodorant is highly overrated, then you shouldn’t wear deodorant — okay, bad example.  Please wear deodorant, it’s a total necessity and not at all overrated.

Anyways, as a boss, following your own belief-system leads to a better staff retention, improved employee performance, and more united team.

Unfortunately, to be a good leader, you can’t just “be yourself.”  It requires a little more effort than that (sigh, why can’t life be simple?). But here are the steps to take to become a stand-up leader.

1. Communicate.  Some days, you might have to send an email to your staff at 1am even though you told them to grab a cocktail when 5 o’ clock hits cause they’re off the clock.  Point being, why are you sending a mass email when you told your employees they were off for the night?  Why is your behavior conflicting with your spoken message?  Communicate — EXPLAIN —  to your employees that the reason for your behavior is circumstantial and outside of your control.
2. Don’t be a saint (and by that I mean this: try not to be ‘holier than thou.’)  Show your flaws, make mistakes, be human.  Set a good example, but don’t make your employees feel like you are made of marble.  You weren’t crafted by Michaelangelo himself, so don’t act like it!
3.  Understand your audience.  Pretend you are Jimmy Fallon on the Late Night talkshow — what kind of joke would you tell?  Probably not the same joke that you’d tell to your 80 year old Southern Baptist grandma (or at least, I hope not…). Anyways, what do your employees value?  How do they think?  And how can you convince them that your actions truly do match your words?

Remember that authenticity achieves positive results.

And it might be worth it to buy the real Coach purse — it’s better quality.

becca and syd gbb

Two Peas in a DFSCC Pod

Part of being an associate at DFS Creative Concepts involves a lot of introspection throughout the process. It’s not just about the deliverables, it’s about the process. Each new addition is tasked with reflecting upon their first week (or so) with our company so that they can continue to grow not just as producers of excellent quality products, but as people. Because at the end of the day (I really need to get a new catch phrase), we care just as much (if not more) about what goes on inside our people than the great accomplishments they bring to the table.

Proud to bring to you Sydney and Becca. They’ll begin contributing to the #GirlBossBlog regularly, but for their intros. . . And to get to know them. . . Read below. And enjoy.

syd gbb

Sydney’s Reflection: First Week Wisdom

When I think of the word “intern,” I think of a coffee grabbing, errand running, copy-making guru who’s only purpose in the office is to do the busy-work of the higher ups. For a visual reference of what I’m talking about, watch “The Devil Wears Prada.”

So, when my lovely and amazing boss asked me to write a blog post about some things I learned during my first week as an intern, I was hesitant. All I could think was, “What could I possibly write about that anyone (other than my parents and grandparents) would willingly read or care about?”

But as soon as I stopped internally freaking out about what I was going to write about and actually began to listen, I realized that Dorothy is not only a source for fashion inspiration but also an outlet for receiving some insanely wise #girlboss wisdom.

So, between the wise musings of Dorothy Self and my own first week trial-and-error experiences, here are some little “tidbits” of advice for all of you aspiring interns out there:

1. Bring. A. Charger.
No seriously, bring one! Actually, bring two: One for your phone and one for your laptop. On my first day, I was on my phone pretty much all day researching our clients, looking at their Instagram’s, and becoming familiar with how we represent them on social media outlets. By 2:30p, my phone was surviving on 11% and had to somehow make it to 4:00…#yikes

Going off of #1…

1.5. Know who you’re working for:
This should be common sense…but I’ve included it as a ½ piece of advice, just in case! Research your clients. Research your employer. Research their old posts, blogs, articles, events…everything! Channel your inner Nancy Drew and just research away. The best way to impress your employer (and clients) is to be familiar with and know their brand.

2. Roll with the punches:
The night before my first day at DFS, my computer pulled a 2007 Britney Spears and had a complete meltdown. Needless to say, I had to take it to the Apple Store and get it repaired which left me stranded (without a computer) at an internship that relies almost entirely on having the technology to communicate, write and post updates for clients (talk about a great first impression…) But do you remember that “lovely and amazing” boss I mentioned earlier? She was nothing but understanding and accommodating for my lack of having the bare essentials. So, while things don’t always go your way (and rarely will they ever), the only thing that really matters at the end of the day is how you choose to handle those setbacks. Sometimes, the best reaction is no reaction at all. So, take a second. Pause. Breathe. And then get back to #werk.

3. It’s okay to be nervous:
Y’all…walking into the doors of DFS on my first day was single-handedly one of the scariest moments of my young life, so far. To describe it would be similar to the feeling you get right before you go down a roller-coaster. There is something so surreal and nerve-wracking about starting a new journey and steadily walking into the great unknown blindfolded (which is what I felt like I was doing). But this is normal – I promise! If you aren’t nervous, then it means you’re either not excited or passionate about it or have a lot more nerve than I do (in which case…please teach me your ways).

4. An internship is more than just a resume builder…
…it’s actually a learning opportunity! One thing Dorothy told me on my first day was: “I want you to grow as a person and I want you to have a voice.” And since that day, she has done just that and has given me countless opportunities to find my voice. In every task she assigns me, Dorothy explains why it needs to be done and how it’s helping our client. No social media strategy is just about a series of posts, but something that genuinely has an impact on the business’ overall messaging and brand. She also told me, “You’ve got to learn the foundations before you can learn how to construct the roof.” In other words, you have to learn how to walk before you can run. Not all internships are glamorous (however, in my case, I did luck out with interning at DFS Creative Concepts) but they do hold the potential for growth if you allow them to. Be open to the experience and seek wisdom from those who are already doing exactly what it is that you want to be doing.

5. You’re not just an intern:
The biggest piece of advice, in my opinion, that Dorothy gave me on my first day was: “Just because you’re an associate does not mean you are less worthy. You have stuff to bring to the table. If you’re smart, good, and do the right thing…you’re valuable.” In fact, she has never referred to me as an intern, but rather an associate (see above quote). So really, this post shouldn’t be about my first week as an intern, but instead my first week as an associate (*insert hair flip emoji*). So often, people get bogged down in the mundane nature of internships when, in reality, there is so much room for you to learn new things about yourself not only as a person, but as a future employee. To quote Dorothy (again), “Every star is different and shines differently…but every star still gives light, nonetheless.” No one star can light up the sky on its own, it takes a team of stars (a #StarSquad some would say). And no matter if you’re the biggest star in the sky or the smallest one, you still give light. You still have ideas. And you still matter.

6. Embrace every experience:
Take this opportunity to: learn, grow, watch, listen, ask questions, fail, and succeed. But most importantly, take this time to find your passions and to find yourself. Being an intern isn’t just a stepping stone to bigger and better things, but a building block to add to your foundation that allows you to strengthen who you are and where you’re going.

So with that take my ramblings, from one “associate” to another, and start your journey to the top…

…because you’ve totally got this

becca gbb

Becca’s Reflection: The Anatomy of DFS Creative Concepts

You take a deep breath and you walk through the doors, it’s the morning of your very first day. Okay, so for anyone who got my reference: no, your first day of ‘real’ work won’t be like your first day of high school. For anyone who didn’t get my reference, don’t sweat it, Taylor Swift is pretty much off the charts anyway. Now let’s get back to that first day of work thing.

A few weeks ago, I walked in to what many people, myself included, would consider my first “professional” job. What I thought was going to be cubicles and pantsuits turned out to be creativity and passion, and what I thought was going to be stressful and intimidating, has turned out to be the best part of my day.

Over the last few weeks I’ve discovered what it’s like to actually sit at a desk for most of a day, that it is in fact possible for me to consume 6 cups of chai tea during one day in the office, and that no matter how cute the heels are, they still pinch your feet (unfortunately). On top of all those tidbits, I’ve also learned my way around the DFS office specifically (literally and figuratively!), and I have been able to see what makes our ever-growing office press on and produce amazing work. And so, without further ado, I present to you the anatomy of DFSCC.

We’ll start with me, an associate. Hopefully one day I can say “started from the bottom now I’m here” but for now, I’m proud to be taking it in as an associate. There are a few other associates running around, but make no mistake, we aren’t just going on coffee runs and making copies.

Here at DFSCC, associates literally make up the “creative concepts” (CC) part of D F S C C. That’s why one of the skills an associate like us needs to hone in on is our creativity. Some other skills an associate like myself would be nowhere without are passion, and a sense of purpose. Without our passion, our work would be dull. We’d produce only to meet deadlines, and only to reach Fridays faster. Our passion for DFSCC, what we stand for, the media, our clients and effective communication is what fuels our work.

But what fuels our passion, you may ask? Feeling like we serve a purpose at DFSCC and like our work matters is what encourages us to go the extra mile and to give our clients and each other our very best, every day. And finally, what fuels our sense of purpose? Moving up to the top is where we have our biggest fan and our greatest motivator, Dorothy.

Okay okay, I know… every office has a boss. But not every office has a #GIRLBOSS!! Dorothy herself quite literally makes up the DFS part of DFSCC, and is the powerhouse herself. See, the office can sail or sink based off the quality of its leadership, and the presence of qualities such as character, commitment, and humility. Character is important to us at DFSCC because we are committed to truth and integrity within our work, and we believe honesty is the best policy. We are committed to not only our character, but also our work in general. We are determined to get it done, and get it done in style, and with confidence. Through all that confidence, it’s important to us to have a leader who is humble through it all. A great leader is one who is strong and decisive, but knows how to listen and how to recognize the value of others.

Since my first moments of my first day at DFSCC, my value has been recognized and my work has been praised, which has in turn made me work hard and be excited for what I am going to produce during my time here. Hopefully through my eyes you can start to see the cycle of leadership and associate, the qualities each party possesses to make this cycle spin, and the anatomy of the office here at DFSCC!