Although I knew her in college, LinkedIn was the beginning of my relationship with Monique Nicole Caston. She starts groups on LinkedIn, joins others, and then takes over in a way that promotes community, communication, and common endeavors. Assured that networking via a social media platform such as LinkedIn will “contribute to my success”, Monique is on the accelerated path to the effective use of social media, and I am watching her footsteps closely.
The owner of Caston Resumes, an avid networker, and a professional agent of community development, Monique intentionally creates spaces and opportunities for social improvement. Currently living in the D.C. metropolitan area, Monique has observed a flaw with the young professional networking scene: often the young people aren’t in the right position professionally to take the networking to the next level. Alternatively, LinkedIn has allowed Monique to make connections across the globe including invites for board membership in different cities.
Her definition of community service is “individually working with residents, businesses, and organizations to get everybody on one accord regarding the needs of their community.” Monique collaborates with residents and community-based organizations to generate ideas on how to improve and increase community- building capacity. With a focus on empowerment, Monique’s message to community members is: You CAN do it yourself.
Early on Monique realized the importance of engaging community interest. Regularly she returns to her elementary school to motivate students and encourage them during their academic obstacles. Monique’s community outreach tactics in urban areas are guerilla style, and include connecting with your alderman or local political representative and meeting community residents in places they frequently visit such as, corner stores, parks, etc. Talking to residents and making sure they understand proposed changes and outcomes of policies are critical to Monique’s social change tactics.
Monique’s future goals include helping organizations and individuals streamline strategies while ensuring that they do not reinvent the wheel. With a background in social work and architecture, Monique uses asset maps to explain opportunities to those that are seeking to enhance their neighborhood.
A wearer of many hats, I asked Monique does she put herself healthily first. Monique said “it can be difficult, but…… I have a need to want to do things for others….Although it satisfies their immediate needs, by sometimes putting others first I am fulfilling my needs, which is essentially putting myself first.”
When faced with challenges, Monique finds a way to rework difficult situations so that they work in her favor. But Monique is also a challenger, and often forces professors, politicians, and naysayers to reconsider their actions and motivations for change.
One change that Monique accepts for the greater good, is letting go of unnecessary stress. This can include letting go of stale relationships because they are “too exhausting”. Monique is mindful that when you let go of relationships, you may have to reorganize certain aspects of your life, but it can be done.
A woman more than willing to share her resources, Monique is committed to networking her way to success while utilizing the relationships needed to change communities.
Monique Nicole Caston’s Success Formula= Leveraging resources + Frequent engagement on LinkedIn/social media + Holding local political leaders accountable
Everyone should get to know their local political leaders and make sure that you have a voice in your community.
Thoughts on starting a new organization
Everybody does not need to start one; Should find ways to partner and assist with what is already going on to further enhance your community.
“At 18 I went to my local alderman and told him that I did not like the direction the community was headed and that although young, I still had a voice.”
To work with/for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In 3.5 years I would like to own a multi-use facility in the South Shore community (Chicago) that embodies multiculturalism, retail, healthy food supplied by local producers, and provides space for performers and authors.