2021 winners

Cheers to our 2021 Rosie Award Winners

Check out the amazing independent marketers below whose stories of work, life, and brave choices had us shaking our pom poms and weeping in our pretzels.

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Jessica Wiedner, North Georgia

the lifestyle award

Jessica Wiedner is truly living her best LIFE(STYLE). Working in digital advertising for over 10 years used to consume her life, which led her to believe that her identity needed to be defined by the work she did and the title she had. When her company told her to choose between them or her side business, Growwn Marketing, which fed her passion for helping local businesses, she chose herself. Freelancing full time has allowed her to reinvent herself in the best way possible. Jessica is now a more engaged and active parent and even found a passion and love for dog training.

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Diamond Hawkins, Brooklyn, NY

the pivot award

If you look in the dictionary under PIVOT, you’ll most likely see Diamond Hawkins’ picture. After noticing that “ideal beauty standards” were geared to white and wealthy people, Diamond became a make-up artist at 16. She sought for better representation and transparency for herself and for her peers in exclusive industries such as beauty, wellness and technology. But when she was ready to make a bigger tech industry impact, Diamond found she couldn’t break in. So she rejected the system that was rejecting her and became a cloud enablement consultant by going independent. She currently holds a freelance role at Microsoft in the Data Global Center.

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Joe Cole, everywhere

the multi-hyphenate award

Joe Cole is a MULTI-HYPHENATE with a whole lot of hyphens. His roles range from being owner of an agency to creative strategist with the Georgia Senate run-off to Editor-In-Residence for The Rosie Report to DEI champion, and he even backfilled a mat leave for the We Are Rosie Talent Team. After losing his job last summer, Joe used part of his severance to travel. #Vanlife! During that time he realized his mission: to make the world a better place. One of Joe’s personal favorite metaphors is jumping out of an airplane and building a parachute on the way down. He’s still building the parachute, but he has no more fear of falling. He knows that he will land safely, eventually, even if he does not know where that will be yet.

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Lakshmia Ferba, Chicago, IL

the survivor award

To say Lakshmia Ferba is a SURVIVOR is an understatement. Before the age of 14, she survived both domestic violence and an eating disorder. She also faced eviction, homelessness, and bankruptcy. One fateful Thursday, Lakshmia got a call about a freelance work opportunity. She had just filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday. She started work a few weeks later and began a new life as a successful freelancer. Lakshmia is a self-taught digital marketing strategist + business coach and leverages both corporate experience and real-life experience to create unique perspectives and plans for clients on both sides. She believes the opportunity to work independently quite literally saved her life.

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Amanda K. Rue, Brooklyn, NY

the liberation award

LIBERATION should be Amanda Rue’s middle name. In addition to being an independent consultant, founder and freelancer, Amanda founded The Shift Work Shop, a human resource consultancy with the mission of completely eradicating harassment of all kinds in the workplace. Amanda is a survivor of workplace sexual harassment. While transitioning into the freelance world, she created her alter ego, Rev.Rucifer which protects her from the stigma associated with sex education, BDSM and sex work. Despite people’s judgment, Amanda continues her work boldy, working to help people connect with pleasure while healing all aspects of their life.

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Jennifer Yepez-Blundell, Dallas Suburbs

freelancer of the year

Freelancer of the Year…of YES! In 2020 Jennifer lost 100% of her clients due to the pandemic and overnight became the primary caregiver of two kids under 4. She decided to push past her fear and in 2021, Jennifer said YES (thanks in part to the book, “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rimes), to everything that scared her. She became a podcast host, co-founder of New American Table, and gained new clients which have led to amazing partnerships with DEI Consultancies. All of this all while overcoming workforce exclusion as a Mexican-American and two bouts of postpartum depression. Whew! By pursuing tracks outside of her comfort zone, Jennifer applies her unique lens as “a literal hyphen – someone that bridges, connects, and ties culture together.”