We are thrilled to introduce to you Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq, attorney and CEO.
« My name is Karima Mariama-Arthur. I am a corporate attorney and CEO of WordSmithRapport (www.wordsmithrapport.com), a boutique consulting firm specializing in leadership development and organizational performance management. I’m also the author of ‘Poised For Excellence: Fundamental Principles of Effective Leadership in the Boardroom and Beyond’(Palgrave Macmillan), which launched at the United States Military Academy at West Point earlier this year.
I’ve always had an “entrepreneurial itch,” but never gave it serious consideration until after the birth of my son, Khalil. He inspired me to ‘eliminate the box.’ Interestingly enough, I approached my journey by suspending the idea that only law could be a career option. As an important detour of sorts, I began to delve deeply into the wine industry—exclusively—for several years before realizing that expanding the notion of “career possibilities “ was necessary. During this time, I worked as a Wine Educator for Paradise Springs Winery, wrote for Zane Lamprey and earned several professional certifications from the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Wine and Spirits Educational Trust (WSET).
Eventually, though, I began to examine the universe of possibilities by closely dialing into the diversity of my knowledge , skills and experience, noticing any areas that conjured up genuine excitement. While I knew that the mastery of wine would still represent an incredibly important aspect of my professional wheelhouse, I also realized that leveraging my legal, academic and business acumen could prove to be a powerful foundation for establishing a successful professional development and advisory firm. After pinpointing my focus and mustering the courage to move forward, WordSmithRapport was born.
After I gave life to my idea, however, there was still more work to do. A ton more work. I had to develop a credible, compelling and competitive brand. That brand also needed to be highly visible. Part of that work had everything to do with PR and marketing. The rest of the process had everything to do with showcasing my expertise, which meant years of writing endless expert articles, securing media interviews, speaking nationally and internally, engaging in high-touch networking and facilitating measurable results that made the firm’s expertise sought after. I also had to obtain clients. Paying clients. Repeat paying clients. New clients. I had to stop and re-consider whether this was really what I wanted.
I quickly learned that working for myself wasn’t easy: It was time-consuming, labor-intensive and stressful. Even with the enormous amount of work that I was putting in, I often felt I was doing so in vain. Successes were trickling in…but success was taking too long. Even still, I refused to let quitting become an option. My self-talk confirmed that I’d worked too hard to give up so easily. I also knew that I was probably on the cusp of something pretty great—any day. Against the backdrop of a waxing and waning ego, I decided to shift my mindset and dig deep for the long haul. Choosing to bet on myself was a critical turning point in my journey that helped me to see myself and my contributions differently. Coincidentally, it was also buttressed by the phenomenal support of a core group of business women and friends who helped me find the strength, courage and resources to push forward relentlessly.
One of the charitable causes that I am entirely committed to is empowering young people to believe in themselves and develop the skill sets (both technical and soft) that ensure immeasurable success in every single aspect of their lives. I had a great deal of community support when I was growing up, and it’s had a profound impact on my life. I think it’s important to do the same for others.
What’s a compelling message that resonates strongly and that I’d like to share with others?: “Life is so precious, but it’s also incredibly short. Don’t get bogged down in the muck and mire of endless striving, perfectionism and other people’s opinions. Pause often. Do what you love to make a profound difference in the lives of others. Love yourself (and others) in earnest, travel with wild abandon and try your level best to enjoy every damn minute you’ve been gifted. You’ll not get any back.”