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My Story ...

When I was 3-years old, my single mother packed up her three girls and moved the family from Huntington, West Virginia to S.E., Washington, D.C. My adolescent years were tough. As an extremely shy introvert living just above the poverty-line, I was the victim of relentless bullying and petty theft of the 50 cents my mother gave me for the school snack truck. Those horrific schoolyard experiences drove me deeper and deeper into my protective shell. But those experiences also began to shape the adult and the professional I would later become: Someone who values hard work, lifts while rising, and gives back, especially to those who strive to thrive.

After graduating from Emerson College in Boston, an education I funded with student loans, grants, scholarships, and part-time jobs, I landed my first real job: Television news reporter in Columbus, GA. I majored in Broadcast Journalism, so this was my DREAM job!  But I soon realized that although I enjoyed being a TV reporter, I didn't feel passionately about it - probably because I wasn't very good at it. A few  years later, I left television in search of passion and fulfillment. And I found it, behind the scenes, in public relations, communications, and brand management.

My first corporate job was at Reebok International. I was hired for the entry level role of media relations specialist. During the next 17 years. I was promoted to the roles of manager, director, vice president, and then the C-suite role of Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, reporting directly to the company Chairman and CEO. My lengthy and unique Reebok experience included working directly with A-list celebrities Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Diddy, Pharrell, Venus Williams, Scarlett Johansson, Allen Iverson, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, and many others.

Denise with Diddy
Denise with Pharrell
Denise with Allen Iverson

Rockport, adidas Group, Nintendo, 38 Studios, and Boston Scientific rounded out my in-house management experience. Through these incredible opportunities, I was able to define my brand and craft my story, all while raising two children.

Danielle and Joey Kaigler

Joey, Denise and Danielle Kaigler
But like for so many others, especially now, the chapters in my story didn't always have a fairy tale ending. However, as the saying goes, "everything happens for a reason."  It's not about falling down, everyone does at some point. It's about having the guts and determination to stand back up. This enlightenment led to my having the confidence to identify and take control of my next: A business owner dedicated to helping others do the same.
As the founder of MDK Brand Management and an award-winning certified digital marketer, I help clients define and market their business or personal brand. I am committed to crafting compelling stories in ways that help careerists break through the glass ceiling and achieve their professional or business goals.
My book, Forty Dollars and a Brand: How to Overcome Challenges, Defy the Odds and Live Your Awesomenessrecounts my personal and professional highs and lows and includes numerous brand-building activities and exercises for readers. My book, which includes a journal so readers can document their own build-building journey, also highlights my first-hand experiences with many of the celebrities and other influencers who positively impacted my life and career. 
Begin Your Mainstream to Top Tier Journey