Capitol Communicator is running “Up Close and Personal” profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this profile, we feature Rian Chandler-Dovis. Photography for the series is by award-winning Cade Martin.  Wardrobe, hair and makeup by Michelle Torres.

Rian, please provide us with a short bio.

I am a brand strategist who blends strong business acumen with creative thinking to uncover deep, actionable insights. I have developed strategies for dozens of the world’s best known brands, including General Motors, American Express, Samsung, PepsiCo, Colgate, Macy’s, World Wildlife Fund and others.

I have also held numerous positions on nonprofit boards and committees, including serving as a founding member of the Valley Chapter of the American Marketing Association of Central Virginia, a marketing chair for the board of Bridge of Hope Harrisonburg-Rockingham, and a capital campaign member for the iExplore More Children’s Museum.

I hold a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and a graduate degree in creative brand management from the VCU Brandcenter, where I now serve as an adjunct professor.

Are you involved in any other organizations?

I have held numerous positions on nonprofit boards and committees, including serving as a founding member of the Valley Chapter of the American Marketing Association of Central Virginia, a marketing chair for the board of Bridge of Hope Harrisonburg-Rockingham, and a capital campaign member for the iExplore More Children’s Museum.  I am also a foster parent for Commonwealth Catholic Charities.  And, as noted, I am an Adjunct Professor at VCU Brandcenter.

What are the things you are most proud of?

My children, hands down. I have five: one step, one adopted, one foster and two biological. They are amazing people and they make our world a better place. Watching them grow is the greatest joy in my life.

Who are your personal role models?

Jane Goodall has been my lifelong role model. When I was a kid, my friends had New Kids on the Block posters all over their walls. I passed on the music posters and covered my walls with National Geographic’s images of Dr. Goodall and the chimpanzees she studied in Gombe. She redefined what it meant to be a woman in science and changed the way industrialized humans related to the world around them. Her groundbreaking work has inspired generations to be better stewards of the earth, myself included!

Did Jane Goodall offer professional advice that helped you in your career?

I haven’t been lucky enough to meet Dr. Goodall, she has inspired me from afar.  However, I’ve had other mentors who offered me career advice. My friend and mentor, Earl Cox, is always reminding me of the importance of self-care and self-advocacy. In our industry, I think his advice is critical. It can be easy to burn out.

What professional advice do you have for others?

Cultural fit is something to take very seriously. When considering a career move, make sure you are headed to a place where you can be YOU. While you should be willing to challenge yourself in the roles you accept, you should also ensure you feel comfortable to be yourself at work. 

It’s easy to follow the most prestigious title, the coolest clients or the biggest paycheck, but if you feel like you have to be someone else to survive at a company, neither you nor your employer are going to get the most out of the relationship.

 What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?

Well, right now a lot of Disney/Frozen songs for the kids… but I love a gigantic range of artists: Prince, Michael Kiwanuka, Seu Jorge, Ben Harper, Miles Davis, The Grateful Dead, Ani DiFranco, Khalid, Willie Nelson, 90’s Hip Hop, Salsa Music and Traditional Blues. Before kids, I attended a lot of live concerts and music festivals.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

Hard question. I absolutely love to eat out and experiment with new foods and flavors. The restaurant I probably frequent the most is SB’s Love Shack in Lakeside, a suburb of Richmond, which is my hood. I’m pretty into our Lakeside community, and supporting our small businesses is something I take quite seriously – especially in the midst of this shutdown.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

While locked in my home, trying to survive my current situation as a defacto homeschooler on top of my other responsibilities, I am taking great pleasure in long walks, my orchids, old travel photos and wine. I hope everyone is staying safe and sane out there!

 

About The Author

The only child of a university art professor and freethinker mother, Cade Martin grew up surrounded by shapes and images. His love of art grew out of summer vacations filled with trips to galleries, museums and art studios. At home he often found himself around the dinner table with an eclectic cast of characters – sculptors, writers and painters. They paraded through his childhood, shaping his art foundation and forming his appreciation for the candid beauty found in people from all walks of life. Cade’s been chasing characters ever since. He seeks out their stories-told through the architecture of their faces or the costumes they wear-whether he’s on a commercial production or setting up an Avedon-like photo booth at Comic Con. They are the heroes in his pictures. His thirst for capturing adventures took its hold while shooting stills on movie sets and then as a photographer for National Geographic covering the railways of India. And it is that sense of adventure that Cade brings to his productions elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary with a cinematic touch. It’s not just a picture. He’s committed to the experience, building beautiful environments and, sometimes for his portraits, simply building trust. A talented storyteller, Cade splits his time between the East and West Coasts creating images for editorial, advertising, fashion, and lifestyle clients

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