Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Tasha McCaskiel knew that she was destined for the media industry. After furthering her education and noticing a lack of opportunities in her hometown, Tasha moved to Los Angeles to establish a dream that she could not ignore. Since taking the leap of faith, Tasha has become a self-employed PR Consultant and started her own clothing brand, Shop TashJMackk.
Eventually, she realized she lacked a group of like-minded women to connect with which prompted her to create Black Girls In Media, a community of Black women from all over the world in the media space. With the platform accumulating over 15,000 members and continuing to grow, Tasha has made it her mission to alter the media landscape, one Black girl at a time.
We recently had the chance to catch up with Tasha about her journey as a businesswoman, believing in your vision, and the importance of diversity in the media industry.
Her Agenda: When chasing a dream, we often sacrifice so much including being across the country from our families and embracing uncomfortably to survive. What has kept you sane as you maneuver through these periods of time?
Tasha McCaskiel: I try to stick to a routine. In times of uncertainty or uncomfortability, I find that I grow the most when I am uncomfortable and try to embrace it. I try to stay focused and realize that something good is going to come out of it. Most importantly, I just continue to do the work.
In times of uncertainty or uncomfortability, I find that I grow the most when I am uncomfortable and try to embrace it. I try to stay focused and realize that something good is going to come out of it. Most importantly, I just continue to do the work.
Her Agenda: Your platform Black Girls In Media is an organization dedicated to helping Black women unite and work towards careers in the industry. What have you learned about the media industry that you think all Black women should know?
Tasha McCaskiel: I’ve learned, number one, that networking is key. I believe that it is about who you know, not what you know. At the same time, you need to be knowledgeable and continue to learn, but knowing people and growing your network will put you over the edge. The media industry is all about networking, maneuvering through those doors, and maintaining those relationships.
Her Agenda: From being CEO of BGIM, a PR professional, to owning your own fashion brand, how do you manage your responsibilities?
Tasha McCaskiel: I try to dedicate my week to every task that I need to do. On a Sunday, I will plan out my week ahead, as on Monday I need to focus on PR, on Tuesday I need to focus on this at this time, and so on. I try to find a schedule that works for me and I also jot down everything as they come so that I do not forget my ideas. I also like to write down my goals and important things. I am a Virgo too, and Virgo’s often have a type-A personality. We are very good at staying organized and creating systems which is key when you have multiple wheels turning at once.
I am a Virgo too, and Virgo’s often have a type-A personality. We are very good at staying organized and creating systems which is key when you have multiple wheels turning at once.
Her Agenda: Though countless companies preach about diversity, Black women are still underrepresented on all professional levels. What do you think companies need to do to connect to our demographic?
Tasha McCaskiel: During this time, with all that’s going on, I feel that companies are realizing the importance of having us in those boardrooms and conversations. Black women especially are moving the needle and influencing culture. So, it is important for companies to contact organizations like Black Girls In Media where there is already an organized system of talented women. Once they do this, they will be able to show their numbers of how many people of color are in their boardrooms and hold those leadership positions. And hopefully, we are approaching a time where that is not going to be rare, it will be the new ‘norm’ and a necessity. I created Black Girls In Media so we can get those opportunities that we are often [looked over for]. Now, we are getting a lot more support, but for years I have been trying to get everyone to see our importance. But, better late than never.
I created Black Girls In Media so we can get those opportunities that we are often looked over for.
Her Agenda: In Black households, it’s common to hear how we have to be 10 times as good just to be considered. With your credentials, from having a master’s degree, Harvard certificate, and several business ventures, do you still feel overlooked in certain spaces? How do you overcome such obstacles?
Tasha McCaskiel: I did these things so that I could get an advantage when it came to opportunities, but once I graduated from graduate school, people still wanted more. Although I had a master’s degree, they wanted me to have work experience, which I did not have as I was pursuing my degree and only had internships. I realized then that I had to continue to push and learn. I feel that anything that you accomplish, like degrees and certificates, should be for you to grow personally. You should not do it for validation because what is for you will happen. As long as you are doing the work, you will get those opportunities. I don’t think you have to necessarily work harder than anyone else, but everything you do should align with your goals and who you are. Your work will show for itself whether you went to school or not. They say ‘hard work beats talent’ and I really believe that.
Her Agenda: What is the biggest lesson that you have learned about being a boss?
Tasha McCaskiel: The biggest lesson that I have learned is that being a boss is hard. It is hard doing something that only you can see. Whenever you have a vision, you may try to explain it to people, and they may nod, lie, and say that it sounds good. However, they do not understand it. It is a lonely journey, which is why doing inner work and knowing who you are is important. Stay on your path, do not let social media throw you off course. Know that no matter what, people are watching. I started with blog writing and I post YouTube videos, and whenever you are a boss you may feel like no one watches your videos or reads that blog post. Just know that someone is reading, even if it is just one person, and you are making a difference. Know that the road is lonely but it is worth it in the end. You just can’t quit.
Whenever you have a vision, you may try to explain it to people, and they may nod, lie, and say that it sounds good. However, they do not understand it.
Her Agenda: Do you have a motto that you live by or allow to guide you through difficult moments?
Tasha McCaskiel: I will do a Bible verse and a motto. Phillipians 4:13 – I can do all things through God who strengthens me. I like it because it reminds me that I can do anything, times are going to get hard, and you are going to experience dark days but God is always with you and you are never alone. For a motto, ‘He who jumps a void owes no explanation to those who do not.’ To me, that means you are going to have your critics but you have to ignore it. Those who do the most in life are going to get criticized the most and the ones who are standing on the sideline have the time to criticize.
[Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]