Deienna Hamilton, of Acworth Georgia, is currently a marketing and communications coordinator at Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities as well as a wedding planner (on the side, of course). Hamilton grew up thinking she was going to follow in her mother’s footsteps and join her in the marketing world, which she did with her mother’s help, guidance and support along the way.
This is her story:
Honestly growing up, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I actually have the notebook of these terrible designs that I try to draw and sketch and I really thought I was going to be a fashion designer, which actually transitioned into me not wanting to design, but wanting to open my own clothing store for difficult body types. I didn’t like that there were a lot of clothing lines that just fit one type of body.
So I knew I loved fashion, but I also knew I was not the best at designing, so I thought about opening a business That’s actually when I decided to major in business marketing, because I spoke with my mom and dad and they also thought that the best thing would be to learn about the ins and out of business while also promoting it.
After my first year and a half, I was like, yeah, this is not for me. I knew I needed to figure something else out, because my parents were very big into telling me “whatever you do, you don’t want it to feel like a job, so you won’t dread getting up in the morning.” So that was what I originally wanted to do, but it’s not what I ended up doing.
After I decided business marketing wasn’t for me, I realized there were certain aspects of marketing that I really enjoyed and that’s when I transitioned into being a mass communication major.
My mom was in marketing all of her life and I want to work with her so much. So marketing was, kind of, the only thing I really knew. I saw aspects of her job that I really enjoyed, which were more on the human interaction and branding side. That’s when she told me more about the marketing field.
After I met with my first ever mass communication professor, he was also my broadcast journalism teacher, he told me that I have a gift for displaying messages effectively. He was probably the first person that made me realize my love for the art of communication. His name is Dr. Schiffman. He probably doesn’t even know, but he’s the reason I’m in the field I’m in now.
So I thought after I didn’t want to open my own fashion business, I wanted to become the next Oprah. In all my classes, that’s what I said. In my mind I was like, watch out like I’m going to have my own network and everything.
I actually pursued that path very strongly and I decided to be the anchor for our news station and I wanted to produce it, so I could have a super-heavy resume to submit to all the new stations around. I just had this easy formula and I thought it was going to work out, but once I was actually in it, I found out that it was not what I wanted to do at all.
I was even speaking to people at CNN or Channel 2 Action News, which is a very big station in Atlanta and I still didn’t have that passion and I felt like there was a roadblock.
I didn’t know what it was but I knew something was missing. My mom told me “why don’t you just take a break and do some self-reflection on what you think it is you’re good at and what part of the communication field you really can see yourself.”
And once I focused more on PR [public relations], social media and basically everything except for being in front of the camera, that’s when I was like, okay, I think I can really do this.
I looked online and saw an internship at the Ronald McDonald House in Atlanta, and I had so many personal things going on at that time. It was like family stuff, like relationships ending, all of that kind of, you know, that stuff.
I was very discouraged because of personal things plus thinking my education was not going to work out for me, but as soon as I walked through those doors at the Ronald McDonald House, everything that I was like super worried about literally evaporated.
It was just so big for me and so important. It showed me that my problems don’t matter. It’s funny that God just showed me the Ronald McDonald House at the right time. Ever since I walked through those doors, I knew I wanted to work there. I thought from the beginning, I don’t know how I’m going to make it happen, but I’m going to get this internship and I’m going to work here. So it was a long road, but I got there.
Just knowing that you have a job that’s impacting families in serious need, you can’t even really be in a bad mood. It shows you that your problems really aren’t problems. You’re not battling for your life at the moment. You’re just upset because you got broke up with. You know, it puts your problems in a different light. So as soon as I was able to see that firsthand, I just knew and it clicked like nothing else before.
Basically, during those hard times, my mom became my therapist. I always tell people I’m like a mini version of my mom, but she’s way better than I am. My mom’s my best friend. I always tell people the best thing you can do is take care of you. So a lot of that means having alone time, reading, working out, finding a new hobby. Whatever self-care it is, it’s going to help get you through those hard times.
So my thing was volunteering. Helping other people helps me internally. Volunteering was a self-care thing that I did, and I think that also showed me my passion for volunteerism and nonprofits, which trickled into a career for me. So it’s funny how when you take care of yourself, all these answers come up.
For me, success is having peace within everything you do and going towards something that has a bigger meaning each day. I think I’ve reached that. I’m at the point now where I’m just trying to have fun while living my life. I actually ended up taking on a second job being a wedding coordinator. I love weddings and I always wanted to know the ins and outs.
I feel like I’m at that point in my life where I’m not trying to obtain this huge goal of trying impress other people, I’m just trying to live my life for me and these things, like becoming a wedding coordinator, just end up coming to me. But like I said, I’m doing what I love.
Enjoy the ride and you don’t have to have it all figured out. I think so many people think as soon as they graduate college, they have to have this super good job at a Fortune 500 company making six figures living in this amazing apartment with a Range Rover, and that’s just so not true.
Enjoy the process, soak up everything you learn and while you’re doing that- learn more about yourself, so you can get to that high place that you want and it’ll just happen naturally.
Want to learn more about Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, current internship opportunities or have any questions about trying to figure out if marketing (or your current major) is right for you? Let us know your thoughts, and we can shoot over some information!