Becoming a Leader – Tiani Hinnant

“I chose to come to Meredith because of the fashion merchandising and design program. The program is ranked third in North Carolina and I wanted to go into a program that I would get the most out of. The faculty-to-student class size ratio and access to professors drew me to Meredith too.

In addition to my major, I also chose to minor in marketing to gain business knowledge. One day, I want to own a fashion brand. Having entrepreneurial, marketing, and branding skills will be helpful to achieve that goal. Through my minor courses, I have grown to enjoy branding and advertising. In the summer of 2022, I even started independently consulting small fashion brands with the knowledge I learned.

The relationships I’ve formed during my time at Meredith are one reason I’m still here. My peers in my major want the best for me, even after graduation. I have realized through these relationships I value representation and authenticity. I have connected with Chasity Johnson, the department head for human environmental sciences, who is a Black woman. She shows me she wants to see me succeed and do great things. Seeing her in that position pushes me to be the representation for other students of color in fashion and areas of leadership.

As an undergraduate, I have held five job titles and over 15 student leadership positions. I am currently a community assistant for The Oaks, an assistant for the Dean of Students, a gift co-chair for the class of 2024, an honor council representative, and the publicity chair for the Meredith Fashion Association.

Having different positions from freshman year to the present has taught me to be adaptable and that I have many interests. In these positions, I have developed skills that I can transfer to jobs post-graduation and have also helped Meredith be a better place than when I found it. I’ve gained a reputation for being a student leader through these roles. I am proud of the leader Meredith has helped me become.

Before college, I had a strong point of view but I was afraid to lead. I have realized I am interested in being an activist/advocate. Becoming an activist takes a lot of work, organization, connections, and heart. I know I have what it takes. I am very intentional in what I align myself with. Anything I support publicly or privately aligns with my values and is something I wholeheartedly support.

I am proud to have overcome self-doubt during my time at Meredith. I used to count myself out and turn down opportunities. I allowed the self-doubt to rob me of great things but I am now on a path of greatness. I try new things even if it doesn’t seem like something I can do. For example, I attempted to charter a chapter of the NAACP on campus. For a variety of reasons, this didn’t end up happening, but just trying to do it showed me that I could do much more than I thought. I ended up joining the Mu Xi chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority at NC State instead and I’ve been doing so many positive things with that community.

After graduating, I would like to work as a technical fashion designer for a sustainable fashion company. Knowing my strengths has allowed me to understand what I want in a job and why I like the complicated aspects of fashion design. One of my strengths is individualization. I care about people’s differences and individuality and I will only work for a company that does the same. I’m also someone who will go to great lengths to ensure I execute anything I agree to do – that’s where my restorative and strategic strengths come into play. I am adaptable and able to develop and execute plans in any given situation. Lastly, I am an achiever and learner. I am open to learning new things and strive to be the best at what I do.”