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Influence, Obstacles, and Motivation: Is There A Balance?


A few months ago, I interviewed for a profile story on business and life so I decided to share my responses here:


Ursula James is a multimedia journalist and fashion expert. She has over a decade of experience addressing topical issues concerning education, diversity, economic impact, minority culture, entertainment, and philanthropy. Ursula is committed to bringing the spotlight to brand initiatives. In 2013, she received her first congressional recognition for her philanthropic work in the Central Florida community. She is the owner of Couture Public Relations & Image Consulting and e-commerce brand Pretty Couture, a clothing store for women. Her clients range from authors, athletes and community organizations. Ursula’s work in public relations has been seen in the Orlando Sentinel, Florida Courier, WFTV Channel 9 News, WESH Channel 2, HBO, and Jet Magazine, to name a few. In her free time, Ursula enjoys shopping, spending time with friends and family, serving at church, helping others, and traveling. 1. Share an anecdote showing you "in action." Pretty Couture is a little over one year old this past January. An interesting would have to be one of my buying trips to Atlanta in July 2019. I flew to Atlanta for one day by myself, searching for new inventory before Pretty Couture launched. I had never flown and ventured around a city by myself, but I was determined to figure out where the quality vendors were located. I booked my flight the week before, told my parents two days earlier, googled where the fashion district was located, parked my car at the airport (because my flight was at 6 am (I wanted to maximize my time while I was there), and took an Uber to Downtown Atlanta. Long story short, I spent several hours in and out of stores across six levels to find NOTHING appealing. In the end, I did meet up with a friend for dinner to express the non-excitement from the shopping trip and then made my way back to Orlando that night.

2. Tell me about your parents: what they did, how they influenced you, and the lessons you learned from them. Wow, my parents! When your teachers asked who your role model was, I would answer with my mom or dad in grade school. Not a singer, actress, or athlete. They are my example! They are both retired educators, my dad a retired elementary and middle school principal, and my mom a retired ninth-grade health and wellness teacher. I am proud to carry the Hamilton-James name. They supported all of our goals, talents and exposed us to various activities, environments, and diversity growing up. We participated in many community organizations and served in church my entire adolescence. My father was very involved in the community, which taught us the importance of philanthropy and utilizing your voice. Without dragging out my whole upbringing, in short, my parents exposed us to several opportunities that nurtured me into who I am today. They provided structure, which all youth need to be successful long term. They taught us about financial literacy at a young age…whether we took heed or not lol. I still learn from them until this day. 3. Describe your biggest obstacles in life and how you have mastered them. Let’s start with, THE FEAR OF SUCCESS CAN BE OVERWHELMING. Does that answer your question? Seriously, because I am majority optimistic about life, I don’t have one obstacle. I have had scenarios of challenges, and in those challenges, I look for the silver lining. I was taught by one of my mentors always to consider the solution. Great leaders consume themselves with solutions, not problems. I guess that is what I have mastered, being solution-oriented.

4. Share your biggest epiphanies: the moments of life-defining change that shaped them into the person you are today. My greatest epiphany is simple; there is only one Ursula. I was created uniquely with my own talents and gifts. Skills I’ve learned that only I can do the way I do them with efficiency. Once I had that moment of realization, the sky was no longer my limit. I think I was turning 24 when I finally came to that understanding. I stopped comparing myself to my siblings and where I was in my career and “establishment” when they were my age. I’m the youngest of two older amazing sisters. I felt like I should have been further in my career, more accomplishments, and the know-how to do certain things. However, when I stopped comparing, I indeed rested in who I was becoming and how what I did know, and how I was accomplishing goals and dreams made me who I am in this moment. That was my greatest epiphany. 5. Tell me about your philosophy. My philosophy is based on scripture Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Ever since I can remember as a teenager, I carried a journal with this scripture, and I wear jewelry with this scripture on it. It’s on the wall in my home, and I have this reminder wherever I go. I live by this, knowing that whatever I am seeking, if it’s in God’s plan he will honor it. And if something happens indifferent, there is always a lesson. I did not always understand this as a young person because I wanted things to go my way, but as I grew and experienced more of life, I started to understand that life has its ebbs and flows, but as long as we honor His plan for us, we will receive our hearts desires. b. Where does it come from? I think my philosophy came from my upbringing. My parents would have conversations with me about my dreams and goals, how to execute them, and what it took to be successf