I literally fell into pr. If you asked me 10 years ago what I’d be doing, I would have told you that I would be a bridal designer, living out my Disney Princess life. I never would have thought that in a million years, I’d be working in PR. What is PR anyway, and who does that kind of job? I never thought that 10 years later, I would be a CEO, a freakin CEO. I am a businesswoman, working with A-list celebrities and multi-million-dollar brands. WHO IS THIS GIRL? Who told me that I can tell someone what they need, execute it and gain notoriety for their brand?
My Journey to PR was not traditional, nor was it easy. Most people know me for one of two things. A) a fashion designer, or B) a Publicist, seldom know me as both. As a true, and proud Virgo, I have a natural knack for organization and people pleasing. I love helping others succeed. So, while I was in design school, I was a part of The Black History Month Committee, which introduced me to the world of event planning. Now, somewhere between design and planning school events, I built the courage and the audacity to convince myself that I can work with celebrities. After all, I attended a few concerts and the poor execution had my Virgo-senses tingling.
I knew then I had to do something.
Fast-forward to a few emails, calls, and Facebook/Myspace stalking (probing), I convinced a few promoters to take me on without monetary pay, but pay in the form of experience. I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS GETTING MYSELF INTO, but somehow managed to fake the flex enough for them to trust me, and I did just that. I figured it out as things happened. It was the scariest, exhilarating, I am forever on BROKE, trying, I want to kill myself, fetal position in the bathroom crying position time of my life. But, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. It taught me a lot, particularly about myself. You see, I’ve always been an extrovert, but have introvert qualities. I have shy moments, and then (still a bit now) lack self-confidence. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I failed. I succeeded and did it all over again at every chance.
After 4 years of finessing in events (before I knew what freelancing was, I took an event management program which really opened my eyes into events, and PR. However, I still didn’t have a full understanding of PR, I just knew I liked it…loved it.., even more than design (GASP)! After I graduated from that program, it was time to get a REAL job. So naturally, the struggle between fashion and PR was so real. So, I applied for both, but somewhere, somehow lacked a few “key” skill sets that either profession needed, so I settled for retail. I hated retail, despised retail, but it paid the bills, and gave me a sense of “adulting” (Which to this day, I dunno who told me that adulting was cool!). None the less, I still applied for jobs in both fields, but still no cheese. So, If I couldn't get them to hire me for real, I was going to finesse my way in. So, I managed to finessed my way into about 8 various PR/Communications internships.
What can I say about internships other than they're GREAT! Don’t let anyone tell you different. They really help you understand how to communicate, and how to work with different personalities. They show you what you’re good at, and what you’re not. They test you at every chance and really help you find your purpose. But please do not be fooled. Some internships are great, and others, not so much. I did great things, like walking celebrities down a red carpet (never done that before). Creating new packaging standards (retail helped with that), being the contact person for media at events, and getting free stuff! But with the highs, comes the lows. I also failed tremendously. I screwed up on orders, completely dropped the ball and even quit a few jobs midway. Overall, interning was a true test of my skills, capabilities, and who I am, and who I want to be. I loved some bosses and hated others. I am sure they felt the same way though. LOL. Overall, I learned a lot. After I completed all these internships, I tried to apply for Jr. Accountant roles, or similar positions as I felt liked I had enough to get me a least an entry-level position. But to my dismay, I still never got the jobs. (WTF!!). I was told by multiple agencies, that that they needed someone with a “journalism or communications degree”. Constantly I was asked, if I was in school for PR? Do you have a journalism background?”- My answer was always NO! I always squeaked out, that i had these great internships in PR though, but it still wasn't enough. – So I was back to the drawing board.
Discouraged much?, I settled for pointless jobs, that held no merit. I tried to grow with a few companies, but just like some of the agencies I worked for, they lacked a certain je ne sais quoi, something was missing. So, at the end of 2015, I decided to go back to school, and enroll myself in a post-grad communications program. I loved it! I met some really great people, learned a whole lot and fine-tuned my skills. Now, I had to have had all the qualifications, and then some. So, fresh out of school, at the age of 28, I just knew I was going to get a stellar job. So eager and with all this knowledge, I applied till couldn't apply any more for jobs. I went on a lot of interviews, but still, no cigar. I was now, OVERQUALIFIED! – Are you kidding me? This has got to be joke? Like seriously, where the camera’s at? – So here I was, 29 and still not working in my field. It was safe to say that panic filled my lungs. and anxiety began to set in.
I felt like I failed. I had nothing to show for all the things I busted my ass for. But I had to humble myself real quickly. I had to be thankful that I was freelancing in PR, and making somewhat major moves. I was interning/volunteering here and there. Contracting, when the project was right. Working in a warehouse, so I can become 30 and debt free (which I achieved in 2018), but still, something was missing. So, I decided since no one wanted me, I would put myself on and employ myself. I really took a HUGE leap of faith, told myself, I was going to trust in whatever I knew and started my agency for real. I started promoting my services, working with start-ups. I produced a very successful beauty event, called Beauty Mark. Re-connected with one of my old agencies, and started contracting for them with films, which has opened a lot of doors for me. I have been blessed to have a great support system of family and friends, who continue to believe in me and push my business. I have the greatest God of all time, as my rock, and I have been blessed with the right contacts and people coming my way. I truly believe that I was blocking my blessings, by fixating my eyes on trying to be what other people, agencies said I should. When I focused on simply being me, things seemed to turn around in a way that even in my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have planned.
So now, at 31, I am still going, still pushing through with The Well Connected. I’m not a millionaire, yet. I still have a lot of work and growing to do. I’m out here selling the dream and executing the reality, you know, doing what I do best. It’s hard. It’s not always easy. I know that in order to eat, I have to work. I work 24/7, 365, because my financial stability is solely my responsibility, and is dependent on how hard I hustle. When I sit back and reflect, I started my agency for a few reasons. 1, I found it hard to work under others, as I felt my creativity, and skills weren’t being used at their maximum potential. I also never felt like I could be my true and authentic self (which is something, one should never sacrifice). And 2, why invest in building someone else’s dream instead of my own? If all those other agencies wouldn’t take a chance on me, don’t I owe it to myself to take my own chance? – So that’s what I did, I just did it.
I want to leave you with this, for all those who aren’t sure if they should or shouldn’t, I encourage you to just do! Lace up those shoes, step both feet out of the door and run straight into your purpose. I promise you’ll thank yourself later.