Shanti Das spent 20 years as an executive in the music industry working with such artists as Outkast, TLC, Erykah Badu and Vivian Green. Having learned the business by working with such successful industry trendsetters as Antonio “L.A” Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Das put it all on paper in 2010 when she wrote the now best-seller “The Hip-Hop Professional: A Woman’s Guide to Climbing the Ladder of Success in the Entertainment Business.”
The book is a guide for women who are climbing the success ladder in a male-driven industry and Das re-released it during the fourth quarter of 2013, with a 2.0 version. The new edition features seven new chapters that focus on such issues as life-work balance, accountability and community involvement.
“I decided to re-release “The Hip-Hop Professional” because I felt that I did not properly promote the book and young adults that had read the book kept writing or telling me how much the book had changed their lives. So I felt that it was important for me to share my journey with as many people as possible,” says Das, who has embarked on a college speaking tour.
According to Das, the new version will attract a new audience. “I wanted to update my readers and the public on what I was doing since I left my executive position at Universal Motown and moved back to Atlanta. I have grown as an entrepreneur, philanthropist and thought leader,” says Das.
The emphasis remains on women in the corporate world. “I chose to place an emphasis on women because I did not have as many female role models while I was working in the entertainment industry and I wanted to share my journey in the hopes of inspiring other women and helping them navigate some of the politics we face in the workplace,” she says.
So what does Das think of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” theory for professional women? “I agree with the ‘Lean In’ concept of women focusing on what we can do as opposed to what we can’t do! It is important for women to work together,” she answers. “We can accomplish so much more in numbers. Unfortunately, I dealt with women not supporting one another throughout my career and I vowed to be a part of the solution and not the problem.”
Das has been busy on many levels since the book was first published in 2010. “Since I first launched the book in 2010, I started my own company, Press Reset Entertainment. I specialize in talent booking for private events, brand influencer marketing and music strategy/marketing. I also started a successful live music event called ATL Live on the Park, which is headed into Season 5,” she says. “I have spoken on numerous panels at colleges across the country but the most important endeavor has been my charitable efforts. I started an initiative called No Reservations Needed, feeding the homeless in Atlanta and I also work with lots of other local organizations catering to homeless mothers, back-to-school drives, reading programs and more.”
Her focus for 2014, however, will be on the re-published book. “My mission statement as ‘The Hip-Hop Professional’ is to become a global thought leader inspiring the professional development of young adults with an emphasis on women. I am launching my college tour in the fall and hope to speak to young adults around the world; sharing my insight and guidance,” she says. “[I want people to takeaway from the book] nuggets of wisdom, inspiration, determination, and a feeling of ambition for them to conquer the world!”
Das’s own best business lesson learned? “Understanding the importance of follow-through and organization,” she shares. “As an entrepreneur, if you do not follow-up on potential business opportunities, it is likely that you will not land that new business. It is up to you to get out there, pound the pavement and close the deal!”