SOMA Spotlight: Branding & Multicultural Marketing Consultant Trenesa Stanford-Danuser

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Village Green presents a series called Spotlight, which gives you a chance to get to know your neighbors better. We ask questions. Our Spotlight personality does the rest.

We continue Spotlight with a profile of branding, outreach and multicultural marketing consultant and Maplewood resident, Trenesa Stanford-Danuser.



Trenesa Stanford-Danuser (My friends call me Tre – pronounced TREE)

How long have you been part of the SOMA community?

Here since June 14, 2014, oh my God has it been that long?

SOMA or MapSO?

SOMA, because it sounds like delicious wine country. Once on a trip to a pinot noir festival in Oregon I referred to rolling hills of grapevines as “wine bushes”, now that’s the only way my husband and I refer to them.

What do you do?

I have a couple of gigs. I head strategic communications, branding and outreach at the The Hudson’s Bay Company (parent company of Saks Fifth Avenue) and I have my own multicultural marketing consultancy side hustle called Trenesa Consulting. We all need a side hustle that stokes our passions.  I care very deeply about partnering with general market/Fortune 100 brands to craft an authentic marketing comms platform to engage people of color, Black people in particular.  So, when they’ve gotten it wrong and they often do, they’ve called upon me to help them to course correct.

Why do you live here?

Wanted to be close enough to the city, get more bang for our real estate buck and to spread out a bit. We left a gorgeous brownstone in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, but we really couldn’t afford to maintain that money pit; it was nearly 150 years old. With two kids, a husband and two cats at the time, where do you go in the City when you’ve enjoyed 4+ floors of brownstone living, you go to the urban ‘burbs. It was soul-crushing for me to leave the City. I immediately had buyers’ remorse. I’ve since come to love the community and my friends here, but trust me I was salty about the severe pangs of FOMO and city-turned bridge and tunnel identity crisis being out here.

Which book have you been meaning to read? 

Honestly, any book. I’m challenged with this frustrating “of a certain age” eyesight. I’m relegated to electronic books because you can control the font size, but I prefer to feel the print in my hand. Yep, that’s an excuse. I want to read more, I’m envious of people who read like their lives depend in it. For my birthday an author friend gave me a book called Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, edited by Camille T. Dungy.  Nope, haven’t read it yet, just the cover. I’ll do better I promise…is simply not reading a form of illiteracy?…asking for a friend.

If you could say one nice thing to the residents of SOMA, what would it be?

This community prides itself in being progressive. Have you looked at all our damn lawn signs? However, as we’ve learned given today’s social unrest, it simply isn’t enough just to say you’re progressive with a lawn sign. Progressive is officially a verb. Can I get an Amen? Oh by the way, whoever stole our “Any Functioning Adult” lawn sign, we’d like it back, no questions asked…

Is there anything about our towns that bugs you? 

Lots, but one thing we can work on is the idea of touting our diverse community. Yes, we are diverse but pre-pandemic, who have you last invited into your home for a dinner party or for a playdate with your kids? Diversity is everyone is invited to the party and inclusion is we all get on the dance floor together. How about that multi-cultural Electric Slide?

If SOMA was a car or flavor of ice cream, what kind would it be?

I hate driving and I’m always on some no dessert deprivation diet.

How do you contribute to your community?

Does paying real estate taxes count? — ouch and I serve on the Maplewood Planning Board with Mayor Frank McGehee. I’m also the co-chair of the newly created Racial/Social Justice Committee for Maplewood Middle School. In times like these we certainly need some intentional efforts for racial and social justice.

What’s your favorite dessert in SOMA? 

I LOVE Palmers Bakery’s rice crispy treat. It’s buttery and gooey. Lord, I hope their business survives the pandemic. Prayers for Palmers…

What’s your favorite thing about living here? 

I love that I can fool myself into maintaining some my urban City edge even though I’m in the ‘burbs. I guess being around other reluctant suburbanites makes it a bit better. I’d much rather say I live in Maplewood. I still gulp air when I say New Jersey. We moved to this region to live in NYC, so not being there still makes me feel some kind of way.

What’s your favorite place to go on Saturday morning? 

I’m all about BRWL zen-boxing. It’s an amazing boxing and yoga studio in the Valley Arts District. Since the pandemic they’ve been hosting outdoor classes on the basketball and tennis courts in Maplewood.  The co-founders Michelle Swittenberg and Martesse Gilliam are local residents with a fantastic fitness boutique platform. And after all that hard work, I have been known to mosey on over to The Able Baker for some thigh-thickening blueberry crumb cake.

What is your favorite place to find a parking space in Maplewood and South Orange Village?

And why would I tell the whole town so they can take my favorite spot?! Fuggetaboutit!

What superpower would you like to have? And would you use it to get a parking spot?

My husband says he always gets a spot because he’s a transcendental meditator. Whatever, since I hate driving I’m usually the passenger so I win either way. Oh and my superpower is getting away with being brutally honest.

Have you ever seen the SOMA fox? Is it scary or awesome? Was it wearing a mask?

Yes, I saw that rabid fox and it scared the bejeezus out of me. Speaking of masks, I have had a gangster raccoon in my backyard and he scared the bejeezus out of me, too. Raccoons are just weird with their all too dexterous people hands,  eeewwww.

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