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Life & Work with Sarah Andoh-Kesson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Andoh-Kesson.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
At a young age, I have had an affinity for entertainment. I would put on performances that ranged from Whitney Houston songs to acting like Cruella De’Ville and make my family watch me. This passion led me to be a lover of music and movies. Growing up, you could find me playing the flute in the school band in grade school as well as acting in theatre and cheerleading in high school. As a college student, I double majored in Theatre and Social Work and after receiving my Masters of Social Work degree in 2016, I moved to California to pursue my professional career. During my time in California, I had an “artistic business” awakening. I had made many friends in the industry ranging from professional dancers, actors, and musicians, but I realized many of them, while very talented, we’re not organized or great at business. This was an area I realized I was naturally good at. My desire to truly pursue a career in the music business was solidified after volunteering during Music week at SXSW in 2018, it was there that a fire lit in me to go after this dream.

I decided to take a leap of faith and I jumped from a stressful job in social work and dove headfirst into business while also keeping my eye on the prize of working specifically in the entertainment industry. Shortly after this decision, some personal events took place that ultimately led me back to my home state of Maryland. Once I was there, I was able to secure my first position in project management as a project coordinator working for a high-earning pharmaceutical marketing agency. From that position, I went on to gain experience at a different marketing agency where the clients I helped manage and market for included various Ford dealerships, a casino, marathons, and a gas and oil company. Throughout this time of solidifying my project management skills, I began my journey to earning my MBA in Music Business Management at Middle Tennessee State University online, I currently have about one year left in that pursuit.

Naturally, I wanted to begin working my way up in the entertainment industry and I knew I needed to land a role that would allow me to finally operate in my purpose. As a Christian, I prayed about it first and the Lord led me to leave my current job at the time and begin my own marketing company, Essjay Media LLC. As a solopreneur, I learned many lessons and experienced many different types of clients. I learned what I loved and didn’t love about entrepreneurship, and eventually with prayer again I made the tough decision to dissolve the business last summer and put my full efforts into an already profitable marketing entertainment agency. So I began looking for positions where I could thrive as a project manager somewhere and eventually applied to The Icho Group, which at the time was a full-service entertainment creative agency that also happened to be faith-based. While I applied to the project manager position the CEO offered me a higher position as the Accounts Director due to my experience. I gladly accepted and finally felt like this was my Chapter 1 of my three loves coming together my faith, project management/business acumen, and entertainment! I am currently in this role and I oversee all of our clients and their projects, as well as supervise the wonderful project managers I get to work with. The Icho Group has now merged as a company and we became Doxology Creative and now Insignia.  The Icho Group now stands separately as a Business incubator. Key accounts I have the privilege of working with range from top talent and companies such as Maverick City Music, Tribl, Undivided Entertainment, Lifetime TV, BET, and more. The majority of these clients I get to work with on a weekly basis. I feel like I am truly walking in my purpose.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Some of the struggles along my professional journey was making the hard decision to switch career paths after spending five years earning a degree in social work. However, that experience helped me in my decisions today, it also helps me manage relationships and gave me the opportunity to discover my heart for foster children and desire to foster/adopt one day.

Prior to officially switching career paths, I was dealing with depression and anxiety during my last few months of living in The Valley. This was something I never experienced before, being in survival mode and dealing with mental health issues away from your closest friends and family was very difficult. I learned a lot about myself and mental health during that time.

Another challenge was imposter syndrome that I believe many people fight through when it rears its ugly head, but the more experience I gained in my current field the less I felt that.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am an Projects Director at Insignia and oversee all client projects. Insignia houses faith-based music artists, a creative and marketing agency, an artist management agency, and touring and productions.

We have had our music artists tell us that the messages that come in from fans really speak to the amount of impact all of our work is having. Their fans have responded to creative posts and songs, and let them know it helped with their depression and some who have even mentioned it helped them decide not to commit suicide. On the outside, it may seem like just a great music and marketing business career, but the work we do is much more than that.

I also have to credit this to my faith in God. When I started my project management career at the time I did, I did not seek it out. I was interviewing for a completely different, low-paying job, which was just to help keep me afloat with my bills at the time. The owner I was interviewing with recommended me to her previous employer where I got a job as a project coordinator. Switching gears back to my current position, I am most proud of the dedication I have shown my employer and the caliber of people I get to work with everyday.

Something that sets me apart from others is my drive and my entrepreneurial mindset.

While I may not showcase it as much lately, I am a big dreamer and I think of new business ideas usually every month. I am not afraid of hard work and I believe as a biracial-black woman who is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, I have an innate ability to relate to many different groups of people very easily, which in this industry, and life in general, will only continue to be an asset.

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
As an enneagram 2, I am a natural helper. My desire to ensure people and projects are okay and go well simply just comes natural to me. I want everyone to win. I believe my leadership skills, organization, attention to detail, creativity, and servanthood play a major part in my current success. Lastly, for me, my desire to keep my faith in Jesus as primary in my life is something I believe has and will continue to open doors for me.

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Image Credits
Rebecca McCoy

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