Welcome to Byrdie's new series, The Hustle. We're profiling BIPOC women and woman-aligned folks in the beauty and wellness industries who are usually behind-the-scenes. From the cosmetic chemists formulating your holy-grail serum to CFOs driving the biggest beauty companies forward, these women are the definition of career goals, and they're getting real about the journeys that led them to where they are—the highs, the lows, and everything in between.
Jayde I. Powell is a powerhouse social media strategist without question. Like most people, her introduction to the industry began with an eye-opening internship. "When I started, I was in college and jumped into my first role as a social media intern at a social media agency," Powell says. "I primarily focused on community management and content creation for small businesses. This role ignited a passion, and I moved on to working for other marketing and advertising agencies and startups."
Over the past eight years, Powell has applied her digital marketing savvy to brands across several industries (ranging from cannabis to airlines), helping them develop dynamic social strategies and engaging content. These days, she's conceptualizing game-changing social media efforts in the wellness space as the head of social & community at Sunwink. There, she has developed brand campaigns that beautifully amplify diverse voices (more on that ahead) and helped the brand grow its social presence across Instagram and Facebook.
Ahead, Powell discusses her day-to-day duties, her mission as a social media executive, and how she practices self-care. Keep scrolling to read everything Jayde Powell had to say.
How did you land at Sunwink?
Believe it or not, I got my role at Sunwink because one of our co-founders slid into my DMs on Instagram! At the time, I worked in the airline industry, and she was looking for someone to support social at Sunwink. I came on board as a freelance consultant. After two months of working with the team, I fell in love with Sunwink and its culture. Several weeks later, I signed on as their Head of Social. It was one of the most unplanned but exciting choices I’ve ever made!
What are your day-to-day responsibilities in your role?
My work involves every aspect of social media management—content creation, copywriting, strategy, working with creators and influencers, analyzing data, and community management. It’s an all-encompassing role that keeps me on my toes and constantly challenges me. I am grateful for it because the more I am challenged, the better of a marketer I become.
What's the most challenging part of your job?
The nature of social media is that it moves quickly—it waits for no one. If you couple that with working at a fast-growth startup, it can be hard to remember to celebrate the small wins or even reflect on the projects that didn’t go the way you wanted to. It’s something I’m trying to get in the habit of doing so I can appreciate the work I’ve done. If you don’t love or learn from the work you create, why do it?
What's the most rewarding part of your job?
I feel safe at work, and that is incredibly important to me. Marketing and advertising is an industry, like most, dominated by white professionals. I have often been the only Black person on my team and/or the only person of color on my team throughout my career. I have seen and experienced how that puts an extra layer of pressure and sometimes uncertainty in how I show up at work.
My team sees me, and I feel confident knowing that I can be my whole self with them. It’s also really refreshing to work at a company that is led and operated by women. There’s a level of empathy and compassion that has been infused into our culture, and it makes me feel safe. I love working on a team of badass women!
What's the project you're most proud of working on in your career?
At Sunwink, we partnered with creators to share their stories. Storytelling is a critical part of content creation, so it was very important for me to bring on real-life, human voices to amplify on our social media channels. Every single creator we worked with came from a community that has been marginalized, and that was an intentional choice I made. Whether it was women, Black, Brown, and/or LGBTQ+ people, I wanted to use our presence to shine a light on these stories. A few creators informed me that they had never had the opportunity to work with brands before, so it was truly an honor to be trusted to bring their voices to the forefront.
What's the most interesting story from your career?
Working in the cannabis business was probably the most fascinating experience of my career. Because of the nature of my work, I would often fly to the growhouses to take pictures and videos of the plants. To this day, I can’t believe I made a living educating people on the benefits of marijuana.
Have you had any mentors or anyone who has helped you get to where you are?
Black women are my mentors. They inspire me every single day. I am so grateful to have a community of Black women in marketing and advertising that I can lean on and learn from. There has not been a time where I’ve called or messaged someone for help or to vent, and someone didn’t answer. Knowing that I have that kind of love and support is priceless.
How do you stay motivated and positive during stressful times at work?
I prioritize my well-being. It’s something that I’ve had to work on over the past few years but I’ve gotten to a place in my life where it feels second-nature to me. When anxiety or stress comes knocking on my door, I immediately pause to figure out what I need—whether it’s a stroll through a garden, a weekend getaway, or a good old-fashioned CBD gummy. That’s honestly something I am thankful to have the space to do at Sunwink. I work for a brand that encourages everyone to focus on their well-being. It’s rare, but it should be the norm.
What advice or words of encouragement do you have for anyone looking to break into your field?
Trust yourself. Social media is a field that is still relatively new, and therefore, leaders in the industry are often unsure what it entails. It can also be hard to explain the work because it evolves what feels like every second. When you’re feeling unsure or doubted, just know that there is no “right way” to do it. Most social media marketers I know, including myself, are just figuring it out as we go along. We’re at the mercy of platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, so the best thing you can do is trust your gut. If not, trust your community. They’ll tell you exactly what they want.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty is confidence, and I feel that’s something that people can see within you, not just external, physical traits. It's light and energy. I know I am beautiful because my joy radiates all around me. It’s not something that someone has to tell me. When you know who you are, beauty becomes you.
What lasting impact do you hope to have on the beauty/wellness industry? What do you want your legacy to represent?
I want everyone to know that wellness can be whatever you want it to be. It doesn’t look one way, and it’s an ever-evolving act that changes based on what we need and desire. It’s a personal experience. Wellness, to me, is a lot of things—traveling, eating, watching my favorite shows, wearing a fly outfit, creating, or simply just minding my business. I hope that my work in this industry inspires people to show up for themselves in the way they want. Media can make you feel like wellness is inaccessible or hard, but the reality is that it’s the complete opposite.
What are some of your favorite beauty products?
Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen ($35): I love the Fenty Skin sunscreen because it’s incredibly hydrating. Many sunscreens or sunblocks feel sticky, but Hydra Vizor feels like butter going onto my skin. I like knowing that it will protect my face from the sun, especially during the summer months when I’m traveling.
Milani Make It Last Setting Spray ($10): I have been using Milani’s setting sprays for a few years. I sweat a lot on my face, and it gets oily when I’m hot. I don’t wear much makeup, but even when I do my go-to makeup routine, I always end it with this setting spray. It keeps my makeup looking fresh for hours, and I don’t feel like my foundation is melting off my face.
NYX Cosmetics Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator (8): The NYX illuminator is a product I love to put on my cheeks after applying my foundation. It gives my face a glowy look and brings out the gold tones in my skin.
Sky Organics Revitalizing Face Scrub ($13): The Sky Organics face scrub is a product I recently began using. I noticed it cleared up a breakout on my forehead, and I haven’t stopped using it since. While it is a scrub, it is very gentle on my face and makes my skin feel very clean and radiant.