By Jessica Dupree
One of the best pieces of advice Ronda Flynn ever received in business was to “never take it personal.” As a perfectionist, the highly creative professionals life circumstances, a career pivot into entrepreneurship, and becoming a mother left her questioning whether those words of wisdom would ever apply to her.
Flynn is one of Black America’s most sought-after graphic designers. The seasoned brand strategist has designed some of the most culturally relevant and impactful logos and brand assets. With clients like Saks Fifth Avenue, Moet Hennessy, and The American Cancer society having knocked on her doors, Flynn’s detail oriented and highly focused work keeps her in the industry’s most coveted rooms.
Known for leading with love in highly competitive, cut-throat spaces the businesswoman never fails to leave the people she comes into contact with better – whether it’s something that she says or does. Not ashamed to share her faith, Flynn tells Heart & Soul “I have really gone through some real stuff in my life, the average person it would have knock them completely out. I’m a strong woman and I have been able to bounce back from endometriosis, early menopause, and being told I would never have kids just to name a few. God chose me for some of the hardest, most difficult realities but he also built me for it.”
Describing herself as the coolest mom ever, the fun-loving leader sat down with Heart & Soul to discuss her path to entrepreneurship, motherhood, and being one of Black America’s top brand asset creators.
As a seasoned brand strategist and highly sought-after graphic designer, what led you down the path of designing logos, posters and flyers for top brands like Saks Fifth Avenue, Moet Hennesy, and The American Cancer Society?
Initially I was working for KPMG, one of the big 4 accounting firms. I’ve always been creative but initially I started out doing gift baskets. Because I have an eye for creativity and I can see things in a different way, it was a natural progression for me to start down the path of graphic design.
When I decided to step away from KPMG it really was to do the gift baskets because, even though I wanted to be home with my son, I knew that I didn’t want to stay home and bake cookies (laughs). At the time, my son was 3 years old. Time has always been very important to me and I realized that I would miss him growing up if I continued on with those time commitments so I decided that I’d rather be home working and told myself that I would figure something out. Shortly thereafter, a mutual friend of mine suggested that I do down the path of graphic design because she had seen the flyer that I did for my son’s birthday party. She was a graphic designer herself and she encouraged me to move into the graphic design field. I was self-taught so I had to learn new programs like Quark Express, Photo shop, Corel Draw – those were the programs back then.
One of my big breaks was in the very beginning of my career as a graphic designer. I had a friend that owned a pack mail store in Atlanta, GA. He suggested that I made a sign and he put it in his window. About 1 week later he called me and said that a lady named Amina Abdul Rahim is looking for a logo, the sister of NBA player Shareef Abdur-Rahim. During that time Christine Gabin was visiting Atlanta and Christine has been my consistent client for 20 years. She loved my work and she said if you give me good prices I can guarantee you for in Detroit.
You pivoted your career during the pandemic and started your own business SASS Note Cards. Tell us about Sass Noted cards.
Sass Note Cards is a note card, greeting card, stationary company. It is something that God gave me about 10 years ago but again my other business is a thriving business and I did not have time to do something for myself. During the pandemic, at the beginning of March God said its time to launch this Rhonda. Everything about Sass is intentional. I had planned on having an event that was very import to me that did not happen in 2019 but I designed this custom heart for this intentional event but god re-purposed that heart for me. The heart seal is now the seal for the envelope.
You recently released a daily planner. What do you hope people take away from it?
I have a planner and I have a journal. The daily planner, titled “I am built for this” was created to help us get through our stuff. I do so much better when I write and the planner is to help us organize our day. It’s an undated planner because I don’t use the planner every day. The journal is something that I am most proud of. It’s the “Gods plan is perfect – your journey is truth” planner. The significance of that is that it’s another phase that God have me 10 years ago. Gods plan is perfect period. I’ve been tested in areas of my like but even when I didn’t know why these things were happening, when I didn’t understand it, or when I questioned God, I still knew that God’s plan was perfect period.
God is good at being God. With this journal God was really clear to me on what to do, Its divided into 5 sections and here’s a scripture for each section. Gods plan, faith, trust, love, and joy. Scriptures that God specifically told me to write in there. Prompting sentence, phrases, etc. Surrender, prompting words for you to write in your journal. In additional to the physical journal is a weekly devotional. They get a weekly devotional via e-mail. The devotional is amazing and It’s a devotion that I do with me, my sister, and my closest friend. They have been right beside me, walking with me, holding me up, and helping me. It’s real, it’s raw, and it’s good.
What is your message to the next generation of entrepreneurs in the branding and graphic design space.
Graphic design is a recession proof field if you are good and dedicated to your craft. By staying on top of the latest trend you can always work because everything needs to be designed – business cards, traffic signs, etc. A designer has to be committed to their craft and stay on top of developments in the industry.