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Crystal L. Kendrick, President of The Voice of Your Customer, has more than 25 years of global and domestic marketing experience specifically targeting hard-to-reach, underserved, international and niche populations. She holds a BBA in Marketing from Temple University and an MBA in Business Administration from Northern Kentucky University.
The Voice of Your Customer is a marketing firm that assists clients to penetrate niche markets using assessments, focus groups, media campaigns, mystery observations, and survey research. Under her leadership, The Voice of Your Customer was named the NMSDC National Supplier of the Year and the Cincinnati PRSA Small Agency of the Year. For her professional and philanthropic achievements, she has been named Cincinnati Business Courier Forty Under 40, Cincinnati Enquirer Woman of the Year, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio Woman of Distinction and the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati Career Woman of Achievement.
What do you love most about the Cincinnati Region?
Cincinnati boxes above its weight when it comes to quality of life. In addition to our weather, an abundance of natural resources, cost of living, diverse business industries and proximity to two-thirds of the nation’s population, Cincinnati has world-class arts and entertainment, professional and college sports, and one of the best park systems in the country. We are fortunate that the corporate community generously and routinely gives to support the quality of life we have come to enjoy!
Looking at your professional career, outside of family and friends, where have you garnered your support?
There is no shortage of professional development opportunities in Cincinnati. My career path has most certainly been shaped by my experiences with ArtsWave, Leadership Cincinnati, National Minority Supplier Development Council, African American Chamber of Commerce, Urban League and the Business Courier. Leadership programs sponsored by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and The Links, Incorporated have also contributed to my professional and philanthropic successes.
What is your most proud moment in recent history?
In 2016, The Voice of Your Customer launched The Voice of Black Cincinnati, a media company designed to educate, recognize and create opportunities for African Americans in the region. In 2020, our website reached one million page views, and our Facebook page reached 20,000 followers. We also have thousands of newsletter and text subscribers. Not a day passes that someone does not tell us that they were helped by our website – job offer, scholarship, business deal, sold-out event or needed resources. You feel overjoyed when your dreams become your reality!
What legacy do you hope to leave behind?
I hope to leave a legacy of creating opportunities for others to bloom and thrive. Through my work, philanthropy and friendships, I try to help others achieve their goals and reach their dreams. Prayerfully, I will be remembered for encouraging persons to pursue higher education, be a student of life, care for others, use the King’s English and trust God.
How do you define success?
Success is what you do for yourself, so I have been successful in that I defied many odds – child of a widowed Black mother, higher education and a profitable small business. But I am striving for significance, which is making a difference in the lives of others. I dream that my work of giving a voice to marginalized populations and my philanthropy of supporting those who need a helping hand will significantly change the trajectory of those who are, statistically, not supposed to succeed. That is when my work will become significant.
What is your advice for emerging African American leaders?
As you rise in your career, relatability becomes as essential as credibility. While I knew how to perform my work, travel and eat in fine dining establishments, I did not have the experiences that were often discussed during corporate gatherings. I lived in different communities, attended different schools, maintained different beliefs and enjoyed different entertainment. My advice is to incorporate various experiences in your life to ensure you are both credible and relatable.
Additionally, do not be afraid to accept opportunities to work on project teams and remote or international locations. We can sometimes be fearful of the unknown. Still, those special assignments teach you more about the company and industry, allow you to experience diverse cultures and, most importantly, engage with senior leaders. Take a chance on yourself, and watch the opportunities fall from the sky!
What piece of advice have you received along the way in your career or life journey that has stuck with you?
Never be the least educated person in the room. You may be the least experienced person, but never the least educated. Pursue the highest level of education for your field early in life and make continuous education a priority in your career.
Another great piece of advice is to give to get to give. A dear friend, Carl Satterwhite, taught me that by giving to others, God would continue to give to me. Give to get to give is my mantra and a premise of our corporate culture. Thankfully, God continues to give to my companies and me!
Tell us about something that most people do not know about you.
Most people do not know that, early in my career, I worked internationally for three years and traveled to more than 70 countries before living in England for 18 months. That international experience shaped my career and, even after 20 years, continues to influence my beliefs, habits, preferences and vocabulary.
Another thing is that most people do not know I only drink water – bottled water, tap water, warm water and chilly water. Nearly 10 years ago, I decided only to drink water during Lent. I never drank anything more again.
Help us elevate, empower, and support our region’s Black leaders today, tomorrow, and all year long by nominating someone for #MakingBlackHistory.