CONTENTS JULY 2020
Tara Thomas 04 Toni Murphy 06 Sasha Stoltz 08 Jennifer Alise 10 Camille Davis 12 Michelle Mackel 14 Anje Collins 16 Cynthia Horner 18 Felicia Fencl 20 Melissamcavoy 22 Raquel Figlo 24 Martie Bowser 26 Marie Driven 28 Maleeka Hollaway 30 Marilyn Reles 32 Sarah Busby 34 Adrienne Allen Promotes 36 Latoya Chambliss 38 Latoya Stegall 40 Brittany Miller 42 Rachel Dares 44
Founder â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Cece Hymes
W.I.B (Where It Begins) is an Independent agency with the aim to always be innovate in each approach taken to projects and making sure excellence is given in a projects execution when it comes to media marketing, branding, networking and management. Founded by the well experienced and ever growing force; D.C native - Cece Hymes, the most important and integral aspect of W.I.B is that branding for both Creatives and Businesses is taken to the next level with each and every project undertaken. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve continued to represent a very diverse and well acclaimed roster of emerging talents in the entertainment, and businesses!
With a determined persistence for continued excellence, our Founder â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Cece Hymes, with a college Degree in Business Management, has also worked within radio and with many companies such as: RDE Entertainment, H.I.G.H Entertainment and Caribbean Gospel Records Ltd.,
Tara Thomas 4
Q. Thanks for Interviewing with us. Tell everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. I am Tara Thomas and I am from Everywhere. I was a Military Brat! Q. How would you explain Public Relations? A. I feel like PR is not the same way that it used to be with social media and all these new ways of communication. I view PR today as being more honest and connecting the brand to a more personal relationship with the public deliberately managing the release of information is not the only job of today’s publicist. Q. Tell us about your company “Tara Thomas Agency” what makes your company different than others? A. What makes my company different from most other companies is in the footprints of what I stated in the other question. We have a personal connection with our clients that allows us to bring the public up close to the brand and the news that we disperse. We managed the largest tours and media for the most legendary artist in the soul R&B, Hip Hop sectors. During a time when real music and branding authenticity has been rare to find we have been front and center with the Best of The Best. Q. What is one of the biggest challenges in the PR world? A. I will have to be honest being a black female would be at the Top of that list. Q. What sorts of work and clients do you find most interesting? A. I find the clients that think they can do the same thing that worked before the huge change in the entertainment industry very interesting.
“ We managed the largest tours and media for the most legendary artist in the soul R&B, Hip Hop sectors. During a time when real music and branding authenticity has
Q. What do you love about being in PR? A. Helping people get their message and creative visions out to the masses. Q. What are some of our other hobbies? A. Singing, producing content for television, writing books, and researching. Q. What projects are you working on right now? A. I am working on Millennium Tour, Freaknik and several indie projects. Q. What do you think is one thing PR does not get enough credit for? A. They do not get enough credit for cleaning up people’s infrastructure. So many think they are ready to go public with a brand concept, but they have to fix certain small things inside their infrastructure. We do this for them most of the time and it is overlooked. Q. Where can the audience follow you? A. Everything is tarathomasagency on Instagram and Facebook our website is Tarathomasagency.com
been rare to find we have been front and center with the Best of The Best.” WIBMAGZ
Toni Murphy 6
Q. Tell Everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. My name is Toni Murphy, I’m a publicist and brand strategist. I’m from Toledo, Ohio.
Q. What made you want to be a Publicist? A. I think my story may be a little different than most publicists. I went to school to study Public Relations, but I became a publicist for a different reason. I realized that trying to build a business or brand from scratch is very hard. It can be even harder when you have no connection, no leads and no money. I wanted to work for a magazine in New York and work on big fashion brand campaigns. I realized that if I did n›t open the door for my dreams no one would, so I started building my brand to help build Top Style Branding and from there I’m now able to open the doors for my clients. Q. In your own words tell us what a PR is? A. Public Relations for me is a form of marketing and executing a brand/ business in a creative way. I take on PR as an innovative way to represent my client’s visions/dreams and give them the skills, tools and exposure to the public. Exposure they need in order to make their brands successfull. Q. What is one of the biggest challenges you have being a PR? A. One of my biggest challenges of being an PR is continuing to fight for your clients after a no, or a no response. I had to realize that no’s doesn’t mean never. Eventually you will break through to people and gain what you need. Q. What is one thing you think Publicist do not get enough credit on? A. As a publicist you are constantly pushing your client’s brand or business to others and when they gain success sometimes people don’t fully understand how they received that spotlight or feature. I had to understand and learn that my client successes are mine when I market them correctly.
Q. What is one fun fact about you that people do not know? A. Something that people may not know about me is that I’m afraid of clowns and hate scary movies.
Being a publicist requires a certain form of dedication and creativity in order to be successful. So, I’m always on my toes and eager for the next big thing!
Q. What are you working on right now and where can everyone follow you? A. I am currently representing 6 clients, so they definitely keep me busy. I’m launching my first book titled My Brand Is Anointed, So I’m really excited for the public to get to know me and my journey a little more. I’ve added my own TSB models to my company which has always been a dream of mine. I’m working on a lot so just pay close attention! You can follow me on Instagram @heytoni__ . https://www.instagram. com/heytoni__/ and my business page @ topstylebranding, https:// www.instagram.com/ topstylebranding/
Q. If you can go anywhere in the world where would you go? A. I would love to go to Egypt and trust me one day I will. I love the architecture and history surrounding Egypt. Q. What are some of your other hobbies? A. Some of my hobbies are writing, reading and I’m a plant mom in which I’ve enjoyed watching my plants grow. Q. What do you love about being in PR? A. I love how fast paced PR can be at times, I love meeting and working with new people.
“ Exposure they need in order to make their brands successfull ” WIBMAGZ
“ I love the “pace” I guess that’s why it never seems overwhelming. I love working the Red Carpets. It’s very fast paced, and you have to be able to navigate your client towards the right interviews and ready for the next. ”
Sasha Stoltz 8
Q. Tell everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. My name is Sasha Stoltz. I’m from Toronto and I started Sasha Stoltz Publicity over 12 years ago. Q. What made you want to be a Publicist? A. It sort of snuck up on me. I always worked in my family’s businesses. Then, I began working for The Reel World Film Festival and Tonya Lee Williams. I started from the bottom as they say and worked my way into more responsibilities under the wing of Tonya. Working long hours at whatever was asked of me over the years, from setting up for events, to handling media, directors, showing their films in the best light, I got my stride and the rest is history. Having a family that instilled a strong work ethic was also a blessing. Q. In your own words tell us what a Publicist is? A. A publicist by definition, is the person that brings media attention to their client. But for me, it’s a lot more. The duties of a publicist are many and vary with each client. I do my research first and make sure I know my client. We have a meeting sometimes a few and talk about their expectations. Unless it’s something unrealistic I don’t put up roadblocks, most importantly, I listen. They usually know my track record before we meet, so, this is about their vision. I’m there to offer guidance, but at the end of the day, this is their show. I am very serious when it comes to my clients and work hard at making their public life free as I can from drama. Q. What is one of the biggest challenges you have being a Publicist? A. When representing a client that is new to the media, obviously excited about their project and anxious for results, you have to make them aware that it takes time. You have to be able to keep their confidence up. They are obviously close to their work and take it very personally. My job is to get their name out there as quickly as I can. That’s where a publicist’s reputation is important. Over the years you build up relationships with platforms and people that work with you and your clients. Q. What is one thing you think Publicist do not get enough credit on? A. Good question, but I really don’t think on those terms. Don’t get me wrong, we all have days where we feel a little underappreciated, but I
don’t get weighed down by that. There is no time in my job to feel sorry for yourself. The job is not about you. I deal with the details, they concentrate on their current poject & their future ones. My reputation is, “that I stay calm in the storm.” I’ve been very blessed with clients who know, I am always there for them and they count on that. Q. What is one fun fact about you that people do not know? A. Hmmm. Well, as much as I’m usually on the go, I love to plan “spur of the moment” get together with my closest friends. I enjoy thinking of ideas for the table setting & menu. I have had the same close friends for many years, and I think it’s important to keep each other close. To let them know how important they are to you. Especially with the times as they are, being in quarantine, I check in with all of them at least once a week to make sure they are OK. Q. If you can go anywhere in the world where would you go? A. LA. It has been my home away from home since I was born. Q. What are some of your other hobbies? A. I often read late at night to relax, but I don’t really have time for hobbies. My work takes up most of my days. I am also an executive producer at our family company, Have Faith Productions. We completed the movie, “Sons 2 The Grave” and have a series, “Hudson” and three movies on our slate. My mother is author, screen writer & producer Lynne Stoltz. We make a great team. And a busy one. Q. What do you love about being a Publicist? A. I love the “pace” I guess that’s why it never seems overwhelming. I love working the Red Carpets. It’s very fast paced, and you have to be able to navigate your client towards the right interviews and ready for the next. It’s a little different if your client isn’t as well known in the media world as some
of your clients. In this case you have to maneuver the carpet and be alert as it moves fast. It helps having a repour with the media. Being aggressive is a must but always respectful. It’s a fine line. Remember, you got your client on the Red Carpet, not always easy, now make the most of it. With more notable, seasoned clients, it’s important to remember to stay back and let the media have their time. I have the trust of my clients and know when to gently move them down the carpet. Again, it’s about you being the calming factor for your client. I always hope that comes across. Maybe one of the most humbling moments for myself, was being approached by a representative for a major actor, asking if I would return to the start after I was finished with my client and walk theirs down. Of course, I acknowledged the complement but declined and returned my full attention to my client. It all happened within a minute’s time, but it made me think, I must be doing something right, in the job I love.” There are parties and events after every Red Carpet, you will know which ones your client wants to attend and the ones they have to make an appearance at. A publicist is on duty 24/7. My clients know that of me.
Q. What are you working on right now? A. My schedule is constantly changing. I have a roster of clients on the go at the moment in various genres. With everyone being off performing and “shut in” during the pandemic, we had to get creative. Many of my clients have new music coming out. It’s a busy time right now. Have Faith Productions has a couple of projects related to “the times we live in” that are coming to fruition that we are very excited about. I am blessed…
Q. What projects are you working on right now? A. I cannot speak on too many. However, I am working with a few clients for BET TV shows that are coming out. I am finishing up my second e-book and expanding my brand Q. What do you think is one thing Publicist do not get enough credit for? A. Our work! We can see it, but the public sometimes cannot. Q. Where can the audience follow you? A. Just started another IG: Instagram- JenThePublicist and STS MEDIA and PUBLISHING.My website is www.stsprbm.com
Q. Thanks for Interviewing with us. Tell everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. I was born and raised in Charleston, SC where I currently reside. I am a true Geechee Girl. Q. How would you explain Public Relations? A. You have a story or product or even service and we get it to the public. Without us (Publicist) the world would be boring. We create buzz and news.
you cannot make them famous overnight. PR takes time and patience. You have to make sure you tell the story the correct way. Q. What sorts of work and clients do you find most interesting? A. I love working with small businesses that are considered the underdogs. Once I get them to a certain level the sales and notoriety starts to come in and you can see the results.
“ I love being a PUBLICIST because I am able to see my work firsthand and participate in the success of my clients.“
Q. What do you love about being a Q. Tell us about your company Publicist? “STS PR Branding & A. I love being a PUBLICIST because Marketing”? I am able to see my work firsthand A. STS Branding and Marketing and participate in the success of specializes in celebrity brands, my clients. small business, and luxury services. We have 3 magazines Q. What are some of our other that we self-published on a monthly hobbies? basis. A. I love being a family historian and love researching “old money Q. What is one of the biggest families” to see how they gained challenges in the PR world? their wealth. A. Letting your clients know that
â&#x20AC;&#x153; I am proud to be a Mompreneur. Before I thought I was a Mompreneur, simply because I was a Mother and an Entrepreneur.â&#x20AC;?
Q. Thanks for Interviewing with us. Tell everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. My name is Camille Davis and I’m from Washington, D.C. Q. What made you want to be in Public Relations? A. Coincidentally, While participating in The College of Communications “Multicultural Journalism” Workshop at The Pennsylvania State University the summer before my senior year in High School; I developed my love for Public Relations. While my writing skills were strong; I found Public Relations encompassed all aspects of Communications, and I could exercise all of my talents. I decided that it would be my major, early on. Q. Can you tell me in your own terms what does a Publicist do? A. Essentially a Publicist or Public Relations Professional maximizes visibility for a company or public figure through disseminating its messages/beliefs to its target audiences. We create strategic opportunities and placements to build awareness, loyalty and retention. Q. Tell us about your company “MontagePR” and some of the challenges you had growing your business? A. MontagePR is an award-wining, boutique public relations agency, catering to Small, Black-Owned, and Women-Owned businesses. I have a passion for helping others build their brand and
outreach efforts; particularly small businesses, as they make our communities thrive. One obvious challenge was being hit by the pandemic. How could anyone have been prepared for the financial effects of COVID-19, let alone health, mental and more. My client list literally dropped to one. Unfortunately, when my clients began seeing loss, Public Relations was first to go. While I’m still rebuilding, I am thankful I had other skill sets to rely on, such as my Journalism background which allowed me to obtain freelance writing gigs. Q. What is one thing you love and one thing you dislike about being a PR? A. I love seeing my client’s name in print or on the news. Even subliminal placements that I was able to craft emotion-provoking messages that resonated enough to position them directly in the public eye. Amplifying their voice. That’s gratifying. I realized just this year from an advisor of mine, I cannot want it more than the client. I may believe in someone, their brand or product so much, but sometimes people just aren’t ready or even cut out to do the work, invest in themselves or put in the effort it takes to build success. Q. What is one of your proudest moments being in PR? A. I am proud to be a Mompreneur. Before I thought I was a Mompreneur, simply because I was a Mother and an Entrepreneur. It wasn’t until moments like taking my son with me to a client interview at 93.9 WKYS – FM, where I had to prep the client then listen to the interview with the door cracked as my two-tear old (at the time) uses my thumbs to flip in the hallway. So carefree… unknowing even how big of a deal it was that he was at our local radio station and how serious Mommy’s work was. It was in that moment that I saw no judgment. No side eyes. I was mastering it all. Q. Tell us about some of your other hobbies? A. I enjoy cooking and eating... I am a super foodie! I foresee culinary
school in my future (years down the line). I spend most of my “downtime” interviewing members of the Media at Meet The Media on Instagram, as well as Editing/ Writing Content, and Hosting digital sessions and podcasts for Womenfortheculture.com. Changing and controlling the narrative is important to me, as it pertains to Representation and Positive Black Stories in the Media. I’m all about leaving my impact right now and using my voice to spark change! Q. What are some things you’re working on for 2020? A. My top priority is identifying funding for Small Businesses to afford Public Relations services, which I believe is key for business longevity. I am also working on branding and investing in myself, Camille Davis, the woman behind the brand. If not, I would not have opportunities such as these to share my story with WIB. Q. Tell us one thing you want to change in the PR world? A. The way we’re perceived. I hope that now, Public Relations is viewed as essential for Best Business Practices. Q. Where can the fans follow you? A. @MontagePR across all social media platforms.
Michelle Mackel 14
Q. Thanks for Interviewing with us. Tell everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. My name is Michelle Mackel, and I’m the CEO of Plugstar Entertainment, which is headquartered in my hometown of Lawton, OK. I’m also a mother and a proud military veteran. Q. What made you want to work in the field of public relations? A. I had dreams of working in the music industry when I was young, but motherhood and the Army took me down different paths. Upon realizing that it was likely too late for me to become a successful artist, I decided to be a part of the business in a different way: by helping others. What appealed to me about public relations work is that it entails shaping a client’s story and using the media to provide them with pathways for growth. Q. Can you tell me in your own words what a publicist does? A. The job involves seeking opportunities to promote clients, their brands, their talents, and their projects. However, at Plugstar, we believe that it’s important to first educate our clients about the way in which the entertainment industry works. In doing so, we can help them reach their maximum potential and avoid some of the pitfalls. Q. What else can you tell me about your company? A. At Plugstar Entertainment, we represent music artists, actors, authors, models and more, “plugging them in” to opportunities like interviews, magazine features, television appearances, modeling contests, social media campaigns, public appearances and radio play. We also coach our clients on developing a business plan that includes identifying a personal brand, trademarking it, and both marketable and financially sound. Q. Tell us about some of the challenges you’ve had growing your business in PR? A. Sadly, there are a lot of scam artists in the world, and those trying to break into the entertainment industry often fall prey to them. Understandably, they become wary of again hitching
their wagon to the wrong horse. So, the challenge has been finding clients that are willing to let me earn their trust and do right by them. I accomplish that by explaining how what Plugstar does is different so that they’ll understand both the value of it and our worth.
Q. What is one thing you love and one thing you dislike about being in PR? A. I enjoy seeing my clients grow and have their dreams come true as a result of an opportunity that I orchestrated. The excitement and the look of pride and accomplishment on their faces is everything! One of the more difficult aspects of the career is when clients mistakenly expect instant results. Some don’t understand that building a brand is a process — it takes time. I would add that as is the case for many professions, there are also additional hurdles to overcome as a woman in the field. I constantly have to prove my credibility. Q. What is one of your proudest moments being in PR? A. I’ve been able to get free nationwide exposure for artists with no budget and no name recognition via the BET network. I count that as an accomplishment because I believe that you’re never truly successful until you give back and bless others. Q. Tell us about some of your other hobbies? A. Another way that I like to give back is via involvement with nonprofit organizations like Creative Imaginationz [Editor: Please link to: https://www.facebook. com/Creative-Imaginatio nz-1022549447807581/], the tutoring, arts and counseling program for students for which I serve as Former Vice President. I also support my community by volunteering at food banks, and I’ve been PTA president of my children’s school. When not working, I can frequently be found shopping (it’s an addiction that I’m not likely to overcome) and traveling to explore random places with my family. I believe that life is short, so you’ve got to make it your own and see what you can, while you can! Q. What are some things you’re working on for 2020? A. We will be launching a new streaming branch called Plugstar TV that will focus on music from every genre, music education and the latest in entertainment news.
We’re also working to add additional corporate affiliations and new PR services that will further our artists’ development.
Q. Tell us one thing you think needs to change in the PR world? A. I look at PR like I look at everything: Teamwork makes the dreamwork! We are stronger together than we are apart. To that end, I’d like to see PR reps interact more so that we can decrease the competition and instead achieve the common goal of helping our respective clients. We might accomplish that by building camaraderie via empowerment retreats and networking events. Q. Where can the fans follow you? A. Instagram: plugstar_socialclub Facebook: plugstar socialclub Business inquires: firstname.lastname@example.org
“ I had dreams of working in the music industry when I was young, but motherhood and the Army took me down different paths. ” WIBMAGZ
Anje Collins 16
Q. Thanks for Interviewing with us. Tell everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. My Name is Anje Collins and I am from San Francisco, CA (Bay Area)! Q. What made you want to be in Public Relations? A. I have always had a gift for the gab, so I went to school to be a publicist. After graduating I became a MC Hammer Dancer and was on tour for five years and was able to learn a lot about the entertainment industry. Q. Can you tell me in your own terms what does a PR do? A. First, we are not PR’s, PR is something that you do. A publicist is what we are. A publicist role is to bring awareness to a person, product or brand. Q. Tell us about your company “Women In PR”? A. I started Women in PR in 2011 with a friend of mine Tammy Atmore (who passed away with cancer in 2014), we started it because the interns or employees we were getting wasn’t learning real world PR in school. So, we started the organization with doing in person workshops all over the country, which morphed into full fledge conferences, resources and webinars. Q. What is one thing you love and one thing you dislike about being a Publicist? A. I am retired from being a publicist after 34+ years. But I love when I use to have the client no one would think was going to succeed turn into full fledge stars. And what I dislike about it is that there is NO loyalty.
“ I started Women in PR in 2011 with a friend of mine Tammy Atmore (who passed away with cancer in 2014), we started it because the interns or employees we were getting wasn’t learning real world PR in school.”
Q. What is one of your proudest moments being in PR? A. When I see a young man or woman who I have mentor or use to work for me bloom into their own and have their own clients and agency. Q. Tell us about some of your other hobbies? A. I live in Las Vegas, so I love to gamble lol! Q. What are some things you’re working on for 2020? A. Since the George Floyd murder and all of these brands are dedicating to change,I created a platform for publicists of color (Publicists for The Culture) We will have a town hall summit on 7/11 to discuss diversity with the larger white PR firms that don’t hire people of color as well as brands that do not hire people of color. I am also releasing my second book this month! The title “Don’t Be That Microwave Publicist” (A microwave publicist is a fake it to you make it type of publicist). Q. What is one thing you think needs to change in the PR world? A. I wish there were not social media. Here is why, it has a lot of people thinking they are a publicist and they are not, and they offer cheap prices that makes it hard for real publicists to get a proper retainer. Q. Where can the fans follow you? A. IG/Twitter/FB @womeninpr1 or @anjemiami
Cynthia Horner Q. Thanks for Interviewing with us. Tell everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. Hello, I’m Cynthia Horner, the CEO/ President of Cinnamon CHIPS Public Relations which is a boutique agency in NYC. I’ve had the firm for about 15 years and handle events, non-profit public relations and music clients. We have done a little bit of everything, from working with small clients who are taking baby steps to working with established celebrities who were interested in rebuilding their brand. I love all projects, large and small, so for me, it’s just a lot of fun. Of course, all projects have challenges, but having a creative, never-give-up spirit certainly helps. Q. What made you want to be in Public Relations? A. A lot of my friends are publicists and I always observed what they were doing and tried to emulate the good things that they were doing. I would look at press releases, pitches and observe the manner in which they would plan and handle events, and one day I said to myself, “I can do this.” At the time I was the Editorial Director of a music magazine, Black Beat and the Editorial Director of the iconic entertainment magazine, Right On! My employers at the time decided to launch a magazine for African-American females called Sisters In Style and we needed some PR. Although I was the Editorial Director of Sisters in Style, I decided to handle the PR myself and I contacted USA Today about getting a write-up on this new magazine, which incidentally featured supermodel Tyra Banks on the cover. To my surprise and amazement, we got featured and after that, I was hooked on PR. I let my industry friends know that I was available for freelance work and formed some long-standing relationship handling projects on some teen acts for Loud Records and the Universal Music Group. Eventually I felt that I had learned enough to have my own company, so I temporarily left entertainment journalism full time to launch Cinnamon CHIPS. By the way, CHIPS stands for Cynthia Horner’s
Independent Production Services! I have since worked on campaigns for noted author Terrie Williams, who had released a ground-breaking book, “Black Pain,” which tackled mental health in the AfricanAmerican community, I worked on a fragrance launch of pop star Jeannie Ortega’s cologne and I have even worked with iconic bands like Tower of Power and Switch. One of my favorite projects was working with the now deceased broadcast legend Hal Jackson on his 50th and 60th years in broadcast galas where I secured press and A-list celebrities to lend their names to the events. I also spearhead publicity efforts for his pet project Hal Jackson’s Talented Teens Scholarship Competition, which assisted many young teens with much-needed financial assistance and exposure. I still help his widow, Mrs. Debi Jackson, with anything she would like to do with young people. Q. Can you tell me in your own terms what does a Publicist do? A. A publicist needs to be able to do a lot of things, which include the following: Manage and secure press opportunities for clients, guide them on the way in which they need to navigate in the business, send press releases, perhaps assist with the creation of bios and press kits. It really depends on the clients’ needs and budgets. Some clients are looking for visibility through social media and others just want to share the platform with appropriate audiences. Q. Tell us about your company “Right On! Digital? A. Right On! Digital is a fairly new company which was formed by my relatives, which consist of my husband, Ken Harris, cousin Derrick Horner and sister Kymberly Rose Horner. Our site, www.rightondigital. com, features articles on social justice, entertainment, fashion, style, sports and trends. Our site includes games and fast-breaking news as well and is for a family friendly audience as well as the former readers of the iconic magazine,
Right On!, which is one of the first publications geared to an AfricanAmerican audience who wanted the latest news on The Jackson Five, Soul Train Dancers and other popular celebrities. The magazine has been featured on numerous prominent TV series, including 20/20, BET, American Soul, TV One, Hulu, MTV and others. Through the digital platform, we intend to continue to be positive leaders in our field. Q. What is one thing you love and one thing you dislike about being in PR? A. What I love about PR is getting “hits” (placements). It doesn’t have to be anything really huge to make me happy. When I land placements, I literally jump up in the air! Iscream, cheer and email! What I don’t like is the fact that I feel that publicists are underrated. It’s a difficult job as there are so many clients who are looking for exposure. Naturally, most of the exposure goes to A-list clients or to those who have a direct relationship with current news topics. Many publicists have been in situations where clients have been dissatisfied with the level of progress. Campaigns take time and it’s up to the client to work just as hard as the publicist.I see publicity as a partnership
to The White House while President Barack Obama was in office. My husband, Ken Harris, was the official photographer and was able to get great shots of the group with the celebrities who were there for the Easter Egg Roll. Q. What is one fun fact about yourself? A. There are many fun facts because celebrities find me to be a really funny person, Kevin Hart, Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy are three comedians who feel that I have quick comebacks (LOL). And my unusual voice is my calling card. I never have to identify myself; once someone has heard, it, they remember it. Q. What are some things you’re working on for 2020? A. We will be publishing a limited edition of Right On! Magazine for our die-hard fans, we are getting more into the tech field and we just launched an App on KaiOS. And of course, we plan to continue working with appropriate clients who deserve an opportunity to be seen and heard. Q. What is one thing you think needs to change in the PR world? A. A lot of people do not understand the magnitude of public relations. It’s not just about attending fantastic parties and being seen on the scene with famous faces; there is work involved. It’s not fun and games, it’s a client’s livelihood at stake. We need clients to take our profession seriously. between the client and the publicist and sometimes the publicist doesn’t have the resources to get the client nationwide exposure right away. The client has to have a story to tell, a good project and the patience to work with a professional. Q. What is one of your proudest moments being in PR? A. I have had some great moments in PR. I was working on an event for a magazine, Women Doing It Big, and through a relationship I had with a producer at VH1, The Black Ink Crew was able to cover the event and show a segment featuring one of the reality stars, Dutchess. I was seen on there, too. Another great moment was being able to get photo opps with a teen boy band, The Biv-
10 Pee Wee All Stars with the late Coretta Scott King. People were nervous about approaching someone of Mrs. King’s stature, but I introduced myself and explained that this teen group needed to know a first-hand anecdote about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The next thing I knew, she grabbed some of the younger members of the group, placed them on her lap and explained to them who Dr. King was and how he fought for our basic rights. Tears streamed down my face. Another proud moment was being able to accompany a teen act, Mindless Behavior,
Q. Where can the fans follow you? A. Twitter @cynthiahorner Facebook @cynthiahorner.71 or Facebook @rightondigital and www. rightondigital.com
FELICIA FENCL “ The biggest challenge that I see in the public relations world is that there is a misunderstanding of what public relations actually is. ” Q. Thanks for Interviewing with me. Tell everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. My name is Felicia Fencl, I am the CoFounder and Senior Publicist at The Collective Shine Agency. I am originally from Norfolk, VA and currently reside in the Atlanta Metro area. Q. How would you explain Public Relations? A. Public relations is the vessel that connects an entity, whether that be a person or organization, and their product or service to the public. The components that make up the public relations discipline are necessary in helping those said entities build and maintain their brand awareness. Q. Tell us about your company “The Collective Shine Agency”? A. The Collective Shine Agency is a full service, boutique public relations and event management firm. We specialize in representing talent and organizations in the beauty, entertainment, sports and lifestyle industries. We operate two offices, one in the Atlanta Metropolitan area, and the other right outside of Phoenix Arizona. Q. What is one of the biggest challenges in the PR world? A. The biggest challenge that I see in the public relations world is that there is a misunderstanding of what public relations actually is. As publicists, we get lumped in with other professionals who also provide an array of business services, such as marketing, branding and strategy. Although many publicists wear different hats and are talented enough to provide those services, we want to be recognized as core public relations professionals, because that is who we are. And that carries weight.
Q. What sorts of work and clients do you find most interesting? A. I enjoy working with the media. I know how important media relations is, so I always seek out opportunities where I am able to connect with the media. Working to secure sponsorships for my clients is another aspect of my work that I enjoy. We built our company around the premise of servicing the beauty, entertainment, sports and lifestyle industries. Our client base is representative of those industries. It is always a joy to work in those spaces with the ultimate goal of making our clients shine. Q. What do you love about being a Publicist? A. As a publicist, I love being able to build relationships with the media. I take great pride in knowing that I strive to create partnerships that are mutually beneficial with journalists, radio personalities and other influencers. Forging those relationships has made it easier when pitching my cliets..... Overall, I love simply seeing my clients’ hard work recognized and highlighted. Q. What are some of your other hobbies? A. I am an avid traveler! I enjoy long weekends at the beach, especially in the Caribbean. My favorite places to visit are countries in the Middle East. I mostly spend my downtime resting and reading. I love a good book! Hiking and walking are also at the top of my list when it comes to relaxation and recharging. Q. What projects are you working on right now? A. Wow, so many things are brewing at The Collective Shine Agency. The pandemic slowed us down a bit, but we used that time to plan and strategize. Now it is time
for execution. I am developing campaigns, pitching and working on solidifying sponsorship opportunities for my clients who will be executing events later this year and into 2021. I am collaborating across industries and am excited about what is to come. Stay tuned! Q. What do you think is one thing Publicist do not get enough credit for? A. We are not valued as much as we should be. We offer an invaluable service and sometimes the work we perform is not recognized or thought to be important. That is a totally false assumption! Publicists are needed on every team that is being formed. We work hard to connect our clients with the public sector. We are creative by nature and serve as the liaison between our clients and the demographic they hope to reach. Q. Where can the audience follow you? A. I welcome the audience to follow me on Instagram at @mahagony_ joy and/or on Facebook at mahagony.joy. I can also be reached through our website at www.thecollectiveshine.com. Just hit the contact button and you’ll be able to send me a direct message.
Melissa McAvoy 22
Q. Thanks for Interviewing with us. Tell everyone where you’re from? A. Hello, I live and work in Los Angeles, CA. Q. What made you want to be in Public Relations? A. I love working with media and brands to broaden their awareness. I always knew that I wanted to have a career in Public Relations, even in college. I had the great opportunity to work with great PR Firms prior to launching my own company Luxury Experience & Co ten years ago. Q. Can you tell me in your own terms what does a Publicist do? A. We work in the basic Public Relations format with media but have a unique niche in incorporating Business Development and partnered brand events. Q. Tell us about some of the challenges you had growing your business in PR? A. As we all know PR has changed over the years and I learned that we need to bring more to the table than just media pitching. We needed to broaden our deliverables for our clients by integrating Business Development to help grow the brand and Sales. Q. What is one thing you love and one thing you dislike about being in PR? A. Our business has always been about looking outside the box and giving brands more than just an event. We work with each brand before and after each event to grow their brand in both a B2B and B2C awareness and like-minded partnerships. Q. What is one of your proudest moments being in PR? A. I have worked with such brands as Rolls-Royce, Bloomingdale & Piaget to name a few. With that we built relationships with their celebrity clients and wanted to bring a higher level in connecting their clients with multiple brands in an exclusive setting. With many gifting lounges and events out there, LE & Co has a unique niche to bring in and blend many different brands with a special experience.
Q. Tell us about some of your other hobbies? A. I love finding fun activities to do with my son’s. I love sports, anything athletic and being outdoors. Q. What are some things you working on for 2020? A. One client that we’ve taken on is UV Concepts. UV Concepts is the first and only ecosystem solution designed to improve the manual cleaning and disinfection process for non-critical portable medical equipment. We’re excited to partner and have them at our Celebrity & Athlete Gifting Lounge at the upcoming 2021 Super Bowl. We’re excited to not only take the current COVID-19 situation on and through our events, introduce and show how the NFL for example can learn and experience how they can keep their players safe on and off the field. This will set the stage while blending this innovative brand with all our other amazing brands from trips, wellness packages, apparel, luxury automobiles and many more exciting brands that are gifted to talent we have selectively chosen to attend. Q. Tell us one thing you think needs to change in the PR world? A. Being a woman owned business, I have found I’ve grown in looking outside the box as I work with such a broad base of clients. I honestly find the excitement in learning about our clients and helping them find new ways to bring brand awareness to their products and services. I take great pride in working with young people and walking them through our process. Many companies think just to bring on interns, give them basic tasks, but what I think is important is that young people understand and be aggressive in asking to be a part of the process. Ask many questions, ask to be more involved and always think outside of the box in what they can bring to a project. Also, connections start now! The more you can connect, reach out and ask questions and learn about companies is a powerful tool. Having a strong database is key too jumping out as a young Entrepreneur.
Q. Where can the fans follow you? A. Instagram https://www.instagram.com/luxuryexperiencecollc/ LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissamcavoy/ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LuxuryExperienceCo/
“ As we all know PR has changed over the years and I learned that we need to bring more to the table than just media pitching. ”
â&#x20AC;&#x153; I love talking about the here and now and people would listen. I would promote events and non-profits and bring people to a party. â&#x20AC;?
Raquel Figlo 24
Q. Thanks for Interviewing with us. Tell everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. My name is Raquel Figlo, and I am the owner of Raquel Figlo Public Relations out of Orange County, CA. My passion is creating brand awareness and customer loyalty for my clients. I work with a wide array of clientele from fashion lines and nightclubs, to musicians and comedians. Over the years, I have received many testimonials that praise my professionalism, creativity, and forward-thinking concepts. I feel my upbeat enthusiasm and genuine, caring nature raise the bar in customer satisfaction. I weave together strategic publicity campaigns, influencer outreach, media pitching, and popular social events to fashion a brand’s golden reputation. Q. What made you want to be in Public Relations? A. I knew I wanted to be a publicist ever since I was in high school. I took a career test, and it literally said “public relations” would be the career path for me. All my life, I have always been very curious about the latest trends in fashion, celebrities, and entertainment. I am also very social and outgoing. Even back in high school, if there was a party, I would know about it and know who was going to be there. I was the opposite of shy, to say the least. This was a great fit for me, and I am so happy I made a lifelong career out of it! Q. Can you tell me in your own terms what does a Publicist do? A. The purpose of a Publicist is to create visibility and credibility for your brand. Public relations is earned media, not paid media, and with my established media connections, I am confident in my abilities to get any rand noticed, especially brands in music and entertainment! Advertising has its place, but my goal is to make companies look so good they don’t need it. Q. Tell us about some of the challenges you had growing your business in PR? A. Being a publicist and entrepreneur is a constant hustle that I love. You have to enjoy putting yourself out there, not only for your client, but for yourself, as well. If you don’t promote the small wins as much as the big wins, who is going to know the awesome PR work that
you do? The great thing about social media is, it is free, and it is a platform that allows for and embraces self-promotion. The challenge sometimes comes from within because you don’t always feel confident enough to talk about yourself and promote yourself. That is why I love social media so much; it is a free platform that reaches a lot of people if you network right and use it the right way. This is how I grew my business. Every time I landed a new client or got them a placement, no matter how big or small, my social networks knew about it. Soon enough, businesses started calling me, and I didn’t have to go look for clients. They were coming to me from Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Instagram. Q. What is one thing you love and one thing you dislike about being in PR? A. I love PR because it takes a lot of creativity to pitch your clients to different types of media for maximum exposure. I have to work both the left side and right side of the brain! PR is a challenging industry. It is a challenge to get journalists attention, but I am up for the challenge, and I have a pretty good track record. Q. What is one of your proudest moments being in PR? A. One of my post proudest moments as a publicist was my recent, red carpet event for fashion Icon Sue Wong. I was in charge of publicity and the red carpet. I was hired later on in the process, so I only had one month to get as much media placement and coverage as possible for the event. I succeeded, but not alone. I am happy to say when I need help, I have an amazing network of fellow publicists that I hired to help me put this event off! We had around 40 different media outlets taking photos and covering the event. Fox 11 and Channel 7 News were some of them. When you need help, it is ok to ask for it, as long as you get the job done and the client is happy. I handled the red carpet for 400 guests, and it was one of my proudest moments. Cristine Devine from Fox 11 was honored with an award at the event for Broadcast Icon. I knew her from previous events I have coordinated, and on the red carpet and she said on camera how proud she is of me and how far along I have come. It’s up on my website if you would like to see. https://youtu.be/ SLXVPnasLrU
Q. Tell us about some of your other hobbies? A. I am really into heavy metal and rock ‘n’ roll, which is funny because no one in my professional networking groups believe it. Maybe because I am such a girly girl, who knows, but I love bands like Slayer, Megadeth and Rob Zombie, and I love going to see bands like that live. I also love playing the guitar and piano. Q. What are some things you are working on for 2020? A. I am working with some more holistic clients, herbal companies, and loving it. With everything going on in the world today, I am picking up more clients that have a sense of community or wanting to better change the world in a positive way One of my most interesting clients is Sacred Lotus Yoni Steam; check them out! https://www.sacredlotusyonisteam. com/ I am also excited to share that I am working with some major CBD companies, and if things open up in the near future, I will be coordinating some big launch parties before the end of the year. Q. Tell us one thing you think needs to change in the PR world? A. I feel more companies need to really understand the value PR has and how greatly it can affect their business. When times get tough, PR and marketing budgets are the first to be cut. Being a publicist is hard work, and I feel more credit needs to be given, but I love it and will always be there for my clients who do value me and my work. Q. Where can the fans follow you? A. Instagram @raquelmaiden and my website, raquelfiglo.com
Martie Bowser 26
Q. Tell Everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. Hello! My name is Martie Bowser, I am the owner of Role Model Publicity, LLC located in Charlotte, NC. Q. What made you want to be in PR? A. Actually, getting into PR was an accident for me. I went to school for sports marketing and management, I wanted to be a sports agent. I would make money on the side writing small articles and papers for people. I was introduced to a gentleman who was active in the indie music scene in Charlotte and he suggested that I merge my story telling/writing abilities with my ability to speak to people. I wasn’t completely sure what PR was at the time and what it looked like, but I did some research and decided to give it a try. It’s certainly evolved from what I thought it was and even from what it was when I started but it’s been a great experience so far. Q. In your own words tell us what a Publicist is? A. A publicist is a professional storyteller. We can take a small brand or a relatively unknown person and with the right angle put them in front of major audiences. Our job is to provide exposure for our clients through press/media, partnerships, appearances or any way to project their image and story to the public. Q. What is one of the biggest challenges you have being a Publicist? A. Establishing and building real relationships. As a publicist our relationships are our net worth. Building honest relationships with other publicists, the press/media, brands, or anything else that can help our client. Those are the biggest challenges but make the job worth it when it comes to fruition.
dismiss our own feelings and lives to be on point for our clients is something that often gets ignored. Q. What is one fun fact about you that people do not know? A. I’m such an introvert. I’m in such a social industry but I’d rather be at home watching Netflix. Q. If you can go anywhere in the world where would you go? A. For play, Egypt. For work, Los Angeles. Q. What are some of your other hobbies? A. I love to read and write. I’m an avid sports fan so watching or attending a sports event. I also love to travel for business and personal, just going somewhere new and adapting to something outside of the norm is fun for me. Q. What do you love about being in PR? A. I have been blessed with the opportunities to meet and work with some amazing people. Everyone from music royalty such as Just Blaze and Christian/Justin Combs to working with Sybrina Fulton and the Black Media Honors. The opportunities are endless if you work hard and believe in yourself. Q. What are you working on right now and where can everyone follow you? A. I’m actually looking to expand my business into other avenues outside of just press/ media and working on opening an online retail space. You can find me on Instagram at @ RoleModelPublicity, Twitter at @RoleModelPR, and my website www.RoleModelPublicity.com
Q. What is one thing you think Publicist do not get enough credit on? A. Besides sometimes working for not enough pay, the fact that we have to sometimes
“ A publicist is a professional storyteller. We can take a small brand or a relatively unknown person and with the right angle put them in front of major audiences. ”
Marie Driven 28
Q. Can you tell me in your own terms what does a Publicist do? A. A publicist main objective is to get their client eyeballs. Weather it’s on television, blogs, social media etc. Q. Tell us about some of the challenges you had growing your business in PR? A. Getting a study team that can be effective. Without having a solid team there is no business. Q. What is one thing you love and one thing you dislike about being in PR? A. I love connecting with people. My dislike is the political aspect of the industry. Q. What is one of your proudest moments being in PR? A. This is a hard one. I will name 3, Dancehall Artist Spice spread I’m the New York Times, Getting music artist Kranium booked for Elle. com Lastly, getting Remy ma her first media looks After coming out from prison. Q. Tell us about some of your other hobbies? A. Nail Tech and TicTok. Q. What are some things you working on for 2020? A. I’m working on sharpening my skill set Ang.
Q. Thanks for Interviewing with us. Tell everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. My name is Marie Driven from Brooklyn, NY.
Q. Tell us one thing you think needs to change in the PR world? A. The way people handle each other in our industry. We are stronger together than working apart. Q. Where can the fans follow you? A. They can follow me @mariedriven
Q. What made you want to be in Public Relations? A. It’s started with me owning my own blog Mariedrivenonthescene. People saw how effective I was with myself, so I decided to slowly transition. Not only that I use to be an account executive for G unit clothing. I thought if I can sell this, I can sell my clients to the media.
“I love connecting with people. My dislike is the political aspect of the industry. ” WIBMAGZ
“ The thing I love about PR is the thrill of the chase. We have to always be “on” and paying attention to the news media cycle...”
Maleeka Hollaway 30
Q. Thanks for Interviewing with us. Tell everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. My name is Maleeka T. Hollaway. I am an award-winning Publicist and PR agency owner. I am from and live in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s not often you meet someone born and raised from here. Natives are rare these days. Q. How would you explain Public Relations? A. I define Public Relations as the management of a person’s, company or brand’s reputation with the public. As a public relations professional, we help our clients connect with their intended audience through thoughtleadership and story-telling. Q. Tell us about your company “The Official Maleeka Group”? A. My agency, The Official Maleeka Group, LLC., is affectionately known as The OMG, is a fullservice public relations and brand communications agency specializing in business lifestyle and entrepreneurship. Our bread and butter are working with CEOs who want to set into the spotlight and stop hiding behind their companies. They have a wealth of knowledge and insight to share; they often don’t have the time to do the work themselves to find and secure opportunities to boost their personal brands. That’s where we come in. Q. What is one of the biggest challenges in the PR world? A. In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges in the PR world is the management of expectations. Many times, those so-called professionals in our industry do not have a robust understanding of all the things we can do to support our clients therefore, there is a lot of overpromising and under-delivering. In addition, with digital marketing and social media marketing on the rise, the public often limits our abilities to being a glorified social media manager. I spent a lot of my time educating on the ins and outs of the industry to demystify what public relations is and the power it can have on a person or business. Q. What sorts of work and clients do you find most interesting? A. I adore working with my small
business owners. Before we take on new clients, we first have to be in love with the person and what they stand for. I have found that successful entrepreneurs have the most engaging personal stories that make me want to help them get the message out to the masses. The clients we work with help make complex business principle simple. Just like what we aim to do with our PR work. We make brand communications simple. Q. What do you love about being in PR? A. The thing I love about PR is the thrill of the chase. We have to always be “on” and paying attention to the news media cycle. We have to strategize constantly. We have to build relationships. Most of the work we do is never publicly seen. People just see the results. While I enjoy getting the results our clients want such as media mentions, quotes, interviews and the like, I really enjoy everything that happens leading up to the win. Q. What are some of your other hobbies? A. Other hobbies?!?! Who has time for hobbies?!? Alongside my business, I’m a mother and a full-time doctoral student. So, hobbies are few. However, when I do unplug from the serious life, I enjoy traveling, wine tasting, laughing with family and friends and spa days. Q. What projects are you working on right now? A. Our agency is growing like crazy
so any project I’m working on is centered around the business. Last year, we launched a membership teaching the public how to do their own PR to build their social proof. When we decided to have a live event, the pandemic hit. Right now, we are shifting the focus to an online event and continuing to push the membership. We have publicists as members, business owners, corporate consultants and more as members. Our job is supporting them in implementing the membership knowledge to get their own results. Oh, and I’m helping my daughter create her own business. Q. What do you think is one thing PR do not get enough credit for? A. Professionals in PR do not get enough credit for wearing multiple hats. We are copy writers, social media strategists, advertising and marketing consultants, crisis management, booking agents and sometimes therapists. We do a lot that the public doesn’t notice. But I’m glad to work with clients who appreciate all of what we do. Q. Where can the audience follow you? A. I would love to connect with you all. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at @ officialmaleeka. Also, learn more about my online community at www. socialproofsuccess.com and www. yournewpublicist.com. (P.S. Find me on LinkedIn too!)
â&#x20AC;&#x153; I love making people happy. Whenever I successfully get an artist a premiere or a placement in a large publication, I know that it truly makes their day. â&#x20AC;?
Marilyn Reles 32
Q. Tell Everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. My name is Marilyn Reles and I am the Founder of Present PR. I am from so many places. My parents moved me around a lot as a kid, but I spent the majority of my teenage years in Wisconsin. My adult years have been spent in the three largest cities of the United States, Chicago, Los Angeles and NYC. Chicago feels like home, so I have a feeling we’ll end up there long term. Q. What made you want to be in PR? A. It was a wild journey getting here. I have been interested in the entertainment industry ever since I was a kid. I always loved singing, dancing and acting. I acted in musicals from 14-22 and from there, decided to start writing and recording my own music. In retrospect I realize how good I was at booking myself interviews and promoting myself. At the time, I didn’t know that what I was doing was PR. I had no frame of reference; I just instinctively knew what to do. From there, I started managing artists and successfully providing them with opportunities to promote their work. I took a job at a small PR agency back in 2018 as an A&R. I was great at sales so they kept me there; however, I’d watch the publicists do their work and I was like “Hey, I can do that too!”. I ended up taking another job as a publicist at a small PR agency in NYC. I started to realize that I preferred to do things my way, so I launched my own firm in June of 2019! Q. In your own words tell us what PR is? A. PR is many things. It is the professional maintenance of a public image through things like media training. It is creative writing / storytelling. It is brand development and securing promotional opportunities like interviews, reviews and endorsements, etc. I seek out opportunities that are the right fit for my clients. I’m also a bit of a cheerleader :) I believe in all of my clients!
Q. What is one of the biggest challenges you have being a publicist? A. 2020, haha. No but really though, 2020 has offered some very interesting hoops and hurdles to climb through. The environment seems to be changing every day. We’re witnessing so much history this year and it has affected the ways in which we approach press. One good thing that I’ve been pleasantly surprised about is how creative artists have been during quarantine. I’m hearing some of the best music they’ve ever made. The introspective time at home helps but with all of this history in the making... it’s safe to say that there’s a lot to be inspired by right now. Q. What is one thing you think Publicists do not get enough credit on? A. Haha good question. Hmmm probably the thoughtful and delicate care we put into each and every client. In order to be successful at what we do, we have to exhibit a high level of emotional intelligence. We also have to exhibit a unique ability to empathize. In order to best represent each and every client, we have to know how to put ourselves in their shoes in order to deliver the results that they desire and deserve. Q. What is one fun fact about you that people do not know? A. I was a rapper. haha. A lot of people actually know that but, it’s obviously not assumed when they meet me as ‘Publicist Marilyn’ and not ‘Rapper Marilyn’. I wrote a few albums and produced a bunch of music videos. It was a blast and allowed me to gain empathy for artists because I was once an indie artist too. Whenever I work an artist campaign I think “What would I have wanted?” Q. If you can go anywhere in the world where would you go? I want to go to Santorini, Greece so bad! It looks beautiful in the photos - very serene and calming. I’m also vegetarian and I hear it’s very easy to eat vegetarian in Greece. The Mediterranean diet offers a lot of healthy options :)
Q. What are some of your other hobbies? A. I love to work out. Not being able to go to the gym during quarantine has actually been pretty hard on me. Home workouts are just not the same, haha. But obviously I’d rather be safe than sorry so, I’ve been making it a habit to go out for a walk / jog every night after work. It allows me to take a break from my computer and it keeps me healthy :). Q. What do you love about being a publicist? A. I love making people happy. Whenever I successfully get an artist a premiere or a placement in a large publication, I know that it truly makes their day. Being an independent musician is an uphill battle, so if I can offer anything to help them make their dreams come true, I will. Q. What are you working on right now and where can everyone follow you? A. Right now, I’m promoting Layzie Bone’s new album “Wanted Dead or Alive”. Layzie is a legend. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony made such a huge impact on hip hop and working with him has been so incredibly rewarding.
You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/ presentmediapr/
“ Public Relations provides an individual or business with a positive reputation through earned brand visibility and exposure.”
Sarah Busby 34
Q. Thanks for Interviewing with us. Tell everyone who you are and where you from? A. I’m Sarah Busby, an entrepreneur, author, and media personality. I am founder of B the Buzz PR; a public relations firm that specializes in Public Relations, Branding, Marketing, Event Planning, Publicity, and Social Media Management. We are designed to work with brands in Lifestyle, Beauty, Fashion, Community Relations and Entertainment. I was born and raised in Mobile, Al. I attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and graduated with a BA in Broadcast Journalism. Along with B the Buzz PR, I have a podcast called Bee Real with Sarah that streams on all the major platforms. In my free time, you can find me trying out new restaurants, creating experiences and hosting events. Oh, and I can’t live this life without Chipotle! Q. How would you define a Public Relations? A. Public Relations provides an individual or business with a positive reputation through earned brand visibility and exposure. So, when you’re hiring a public relations firm you need to make sure the firm is: responsible for building your business’s reputation through media placement in earned shared, and owned, media communications. A public relations firm’s goal is increasing your exposure in front of your clients, employees and key stakeholders. Q. What are the main skills needed to be in PR? A. Creative, Great communication skills, Amazing research skills, Time Management Q. Tell us what made you start the company “B The Buzz PR”? A. The simple answer is when I didn’t get a call back from seeking a job in journalism. My degree is in Broadcast Journalism, so my desire was to be an on-air personality. I decided I would create my own company and try something new like PR. I had no idea what I was doing. However, the benefit that had helped me is taking the knowledge of working
in a newsroom nearly 14 hours a day and understanding how the newsroom flow. Five years later we serve clients in Public Relations, Branding, Marketing, Social Media and Event Management. Q. What do you find to be the most challenging in being in PR? A. 1. Being patient. I’ve always been an impatient person but working in public relations you must have patience and a thick skin. For me, I believe in my clients brand as if it was my very own business. I know I have the power to push the brand at every capacity within my means. Unfortunately, sometimes we’re just stuck on read, or the journalist is not interested. In those cases, we have to re navigate our intentions, our angles and focus on timing. 2. Not always in control: As much as we plan, strategize, cross our T’s and dot our I’s we are not in control of the perception or reaction of the audience. It’s also out of control how the media how positions they message. Sometimes we won’t know until after the interview is published. 3. Unrealistic expectations: Clients or prospects have unrealistic expectations when desiring to hire a publicist. Social media has portrayed as the ideal scapegoat to fame. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. You would rather build relationships and character over time than be a one quick wonder. This also includes click- bait. Don’t be a click bait, be a business of substance that want to stay top of mind for a long time. 4. Unpredictability of the media: similar to not having control but different. The media and current events changes by the minute. It’s important to stay alert on news trends and what they’re reporting about. Q. What are some of the things you love about being a Publicist? A. I whole heartedly love seeing clients receive the exposure they’ve been seeking and deserve. It’s one thing to know you have a good brand that needs publicity, but it’s another thing to know
who to obtain the level of success of being recognized for your accomplishments. Q. If you can go anywhere in the world where would you go? A. I’ve always had a fascination with Paris. I studied French in high school and college and fell in love with their culture and food. Q. Are there any new projects you working on? A. At the beginning of quarantine I launched “Buzz on the Go” as a new service offering for COVID-19 support to small business owners. I also transitioned that to be the beginning of my educational series. I now have three E books on public relations and branding. I will be launching three new T-shirt designs for in mid to late August. Q. What advice can you give to others that want to be a PR? A. Start building relationships now. If you can intern under a PR firm or a publicist definitely do that. It wouldn’t even hurt to intern with public relations firm that gave different niches. One firm may be focused on entertainment while another firm may be focused on solely certain small business clients. Q. Where can the audience follow us at? A. They can follow me at @bthebuzzpr @bubblybusby
Q. Thanks for Interviewing with us. Tell everyone who you are and where you from? A. Thanks again so much for the opportunity, I’m originally from Baltimore, MD born & raised. Q. Define Public Relations in your own terms? A. PR is bringing attention to and highlighting the amazing things that people are doing that may not otherwise get the attention they deserve. Q. What or Who inspired you to be in PR? A. I was inspired to get into PR by accident, I started out writing and touching on journalism a little bit but quickly realized that interviewing the celebrities wasn’t all that I wanted to do, I wanted to find another way to be involved
that would still keep me connected to the entertainment industry and found PR. Q. What are the main skills needed to be in PR? A. Communication, commitment and follow-up are critical to PR. Unfortunately, not everyone understands that communication goes beyond social media and that we still have to pick up the phone to have a conversation. Q. Tell us what made you start the company “IPY Agency”? A. After having a few clients and working either for free or for less than my work was worth, I wanted to make it official, it was never just a hobby for me. So I started I’m Promoting You which after becoming more experienced, would be shortened to IPY Agency. Q. What do you find to be the most challenging in being in PR? A. The most challenging part of PR in the beginning of some new client relationships is explaining the difference between PR & Marketing and managing expectations. Because of some of the horror stories with PR, some people have a hard time trusting the process. I love it when the wins overshadow the reluctance. Q. What are some of the things you love about being in PR?
A. I love the networking and the connections that come with working in PR. There’s always something new happening along with new challenges which I love. Q. What sorts of clients do you find to be most interesting? A. All of my clients are interesting in their own way, I work with celebrities, entrepreneurs and small businesses that keep me on my toes but are always so supportive & trusting of my work. Q. Are there any new projects you working on? A. I am blessed to have a few new clients that i’m working with, I’m working on creating a PR class & also a stop the violence panel with a client who unfortunately, lost her son to gun violence. Q. What advice can you give to others that want to be in PR? A. Stay committed, PR is a tough career that can mostly be thankless, so if you want to do it, you have to stick with it. There will be times that you are frustrated that stories aren’t being picked up and pitches aren’t working but once you find your rhythm, it will all be worth it. Q. Where can the audience follow us at? A. Instagram @impromotingyou Twitter @promotingyou LinkedIn Adrienne Allen
“ I love the networking and the connections that come with working in PR. There’s always something new happening along with new challenges which I love.” WIBMAGZ
Q. Thanks for Interviewing with us. Tell everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. I am Latoya Chambliss born and raised in Tallahassee, Fl currently residing in Atlanta, GA. I am one of the proud co-owners of Bliss Consulting Services and a graduate of FAMU with a B.S. in Public Relations. Q. Define Public Relations in your own terms? A. Public Relations is truly what you make it. It’s an art and science by definition but it can birth so many other areas of expertise. The art and science fuses together creativity in finding unique opportunities and developing pitches, strategic development of messaging and tactics, relationship building, brand and image consulting, management of public image, marketing and support through organization. Not to mention the energy you pour into it! Q. What or Who inspired you to be a Publicist? A. Wow, I would say once I saw Terrell Owens show years ago and saw his black communications team, I was inspired! Throughout my time at FAMU in the Public Relations program, I was so inspired by many of my professors (Gina Kinchlow, Yanela McLeod, Dr. Bettye Grable, and so many others). Representation truly does matter, and those minority women all inspired me to dominate the field of PR and do it MY way! Q. What are the main skills needed to be in PR? A. Being a communications professional/publicist means being equipped with the ability to write, effectively communicate verbally and non-verbally, understand all types of communications styles, be confident in counseling organizational leaders and have the ability to tell stories. You must be able to adapt to all situations and be very strategic in your approach. Q. Tell us what made you start the company “Bliss Consulting Services”? A. I have always wanted to be
an entrepreneur, knowing that ownership was always the goal for myself. The company was created through a beautiful co-creation of the minds with my partner Nakita Gibbs (serial entrepreneur). While attending college, both of us experienced challenges as minorities in the Communications field and we set out on a quest to gain different experiences in the field. It’s always been a dream to combine our creative minds and mentor young professionals and provide opportunities along the way. We both utilized our life experiences to navigate the industry and leverage opportunities for advancement. We have vowed to create opportunities for underserved communities and operate in business from a place of bliss! Q. What do you find to be the most challenging in being in PR? A. In my opinion, one of the most challenging things as a communications professional is the work that we do being undervalued. Q. What are some of the things you love about being in PR? A. Being a PR practitioner really brings me joy. I love helping clients to clearly find their voice and collectively brainstorm ideas to increase their brand awareness and visibility. I love connecting with genuine clients who appreciate the time and energy that’s put into the work that we do. I also LOVE clients who recognize their agencies! When one wins, we all win! Q. What sorts of clients do you find to be most interesting? A. I love clients who are passionate about their art, clients who listen and are humble, have good business practices, willing to invest in themselves by seeking knowledge and understanding of the value of the services they are seeking. Q. Are there any new projects you are working on? A. Yes, the agency is working on a few virtual events (not yet announced) this Fall and so excited to give the community
something positive to look forward to amid COVID-19. I personally will be hosting a virtual event with the women’s group I founded, Queens LinkUh, and beginning to pen my first book! did I just say that aloud... (*squeals like a little girl) Q. What advice can you give to others that want to be in PR? A. My best advice is to stay focused on your vision, no one else’s but yours! Understand that there is groundwork to be done and not to rush the journey because you will learn so many valuable lessons along the way. Don’t forget to brand yourself, too! Be firm and direct when dealing with new clients so there is a clear understanding before bringing them on. Manage expectations. Enjoy the work that you do, always! Most importantly, GET PAID WHAT YOU DESERVE! Q. Where can the audience follow you at? A. Our agency can be found at www. bcsbliss.com and on Instagram + Facebook @bcsbliss on Twitter @bcsb_bliss. I can personally be found on IG @l.bliss.
“ Being a communications professional/publicist means being equipped with the ability to write, effectively communicate verbally and nonverbally, understand all types of communications styles,... ” WIBMAGZ
Q. Thanks for Interviewing with us. Tell everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. My name is Latoya Stegall I’m from Tupelo, MS residing in Lawrenceville, Ga. I’m 39 years old divorced single mom of 4 amazing kids and is currently an Army Mom. Q. How would you explain Public Relations? A. Public relations is the art of crafting and delivering messages that inform and persuade the public and get people to change opinions or take action. Public relations (PR for short) is often done to generate publicity and promote a business. Q. Tell us about your company “Publicity Press Chic PR”? A. Publicity Press Chic PR Boutique - a Public Relations & Sponsorship Agency representing creative entrepreneurs all over the country, such as event planners, non -profit organizations, Social Media Influencers & Radio Personalities. Q. What is one of the biggest challenges in the PR world? A. Credibility & Reputation public relation professionals has to work extra hard to access to media outlets. Q. What sorts of work and clients do you find most interesting? A. I love writing and creating pitches for my clients. The clients that I find interesting are individuals that are patient and have what it takes to work smarter and not harder. Being a part of the brand team everyone wins; it’s never about just the client and their brand. Q. What do you love about being in PR? A. I get to meet a lot of different people. It’s a like variety, owning your own PR or social media firm is the gig for me. Clients, colleagues, partners, vendors – the list goes on! If you hang your hat in an active and vibrant PR or social media shop, then you connect with a lot of different people who come in all shapes, sizes and personalities, which keeps everything interesting!
“ Credibility & Reputation public relation professionals has to work extra hard to access to media outlets.”
Q. What are some of your other hobbies? A. Journaling, Spending time outside in nature, shopping, cooking & traveling, Planning Spa Parties for little girls, Styling hair , volunteering in the community & giving back to the less fortunate. Q. What projects are you working on right now? A. I’m working on CheMinistry Celebrity Relationship Talk Platform. My goal is to get it on a major network. Also, I’m working on the E-Z Nail Lifter brand turning it into a household name is in the works. To learn more about CheMinistry you can visit our website at www.CheMinistry.com Facebook @CheMinistryLive E-Z Nail Lifter www.e-znaillifter.com Q. What do you think is one thing Publicist does not get enough credit for? A. Publicists work hard to make sure their clients benchmarks are made successfully a lot of times clients may not show that they appreciate your work and the value you bring. I’m always celebrating my wins by announcing them even if my clients don’t. Q. Where can the audience follow you? A. Facebook @PublicityPressChicPR Boutique IG @Publicity_prchic
Brittany Miller “ My style is VERY different! I love an edgy chic look! My stylist loves to dress me in edgy contemporary looks! I love difference liking pieces that you don’t see everywhere!”
Q. Thanks for Interviewing with us. Tell everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. I am a Serial CEO and Women’s Advocate, and I help women especially, build and grow business, as well as develop new ideas for additional streams of income. I also work to motivate, inspire and support the female community in general, as it pertains to real life issues and adversities, based on my own experiences. Q. What made you want to be in Public Relations? A. It’s funny because I actually just fell into it! I got my initial start into entrepreneurship through the beauty industry as a hairstylist, and then expanded to serve the female community in Philanthropy through my nonprofit. It was through foot work for that, and hands-on experience trying to expand the reach of my own platforms, that I noticed the hidden gem of my skills in that area. People began to notice my progress and were inquiring on ways they could obtain help for themselves. It was due to that need that I adapted the “supply and demand” approach to Public Relations and Branding. Q. Can you tell me in your own terms what does a Publicist do? A. Sure!! Publicists assist with Image management and consultation, as well as service in the areas of next level networking and exposure. The idea is that PR work will give your business or brand more reach, while also keeping your image and reputation at best, which in turn brings more income, opportunities and return for the client. A common misunderstanding when it comes to this industry is that we do the work of booking agents or sales reps, which is not the case. Q. Tell us about your company and the experience you had building it? A. Whew!!! So, Brittany Miller Brand is the mother brand to 5 company platforms that all have strong presences
in Women’s Empowerment. Building this Brand web (as I am calling it lol) was fun and easy-breezy! I say that because each entity was created based off of real needs and experiences of my own, and merely made sense to organize and monetize. I am all about serving the sisterhood, but I also recognize that I can do more and have more time to do more, when I can make more money to fund my ideas and keep me stable while I work! Q. What is one thing you love and one thing you dislike about being a Publicist? A. One thing I love is using my resources and skills to help another Boss Lady win!!! I get so excited and fueled up, off of helping to ignite passion back into women who may have been discouraged or lost in direction, as well as helping the motivated ones to dream bigger and set higher goals. One thing I dislike, is the lack of understanding of the industry that many clients possess when they book services. I usually have to go through a good amount of teaching sessions about the nature of the work in general, and even after that some clients will still have unrealistic expectations, which can make our jobs as Publicist tougher. — Also, the mentality that some people have that once they hire PR, they don’t have to do any work. I NEED my clients to do work so I can have fresh material to pitch and present. It’s a team effort and we both have to be on top of our game. Q. What is one of your proudest moments being in PR? A. I think one of my proudest moments is still to come!! In September, I will be presenting at the Boss Summit 2020 (4days, 3nights) in Orlando,
FL, and I’ve been asked to lead production on the Documentary! — I am excited for that because I had plans for my future to get more into film production (which can be heavy on PR) many people don’t realize that Production and PR have similar perspectives and duties required to make it a smash hit; so I am excited about that. Q. What is one fun fact about yourself? A. Fun fact: I can’t eat my food without eating all portions evenly. I have to keep all sections of my plate even, all the way to the last bite. I’ve been doing that since I was a kid and now it’s completely second nature! Lol Q. What are some things you’re working on for 2020? A. I am working on SO MUCH. I am of course, helping navigate my clients through this Pandemic and create innovative ways to stay on top of their game... but also for Brittany Miller Brand I am making a lot of shifts. I am transitioning the structure of many of my services, I am hiring a few teammates, I am moving my Magazine to its own site (finally) lol and I am expanding Boss Lady Blvd! I will also be doing more within my hair platform, such as more tutorials and NEW PRODUCTS! There is definitely a lot to look forward to over here. Q. What is one thing you think needs to change in the PR world? A. Publicists need to stop being so bougie and start helping one another a lot more. This is a tricky field because a lot of PR personnel like to compete. It makes me sick. I created a group chat on Instagram with a good handful of some of the dope PRs I know, mainly to encourage them to work together and create that community vibe. It’s still a little shaky though because this industry comes with many egos. Me personally, I’ve always been humble and grateful and never afraid of failure due to someone else’s success. Therefore, I’ve never had that competitive demeanor or mindset. That mindset can actually slow you down and block your blessings, so I move differently in my calling. I do this work for God and for my clients, much more than for myself. Q. Where can the fans follow you? A. I am on Instagram and Twitter @ mrsbrittmiller and all my brands are listed there in my bio. I am also on Facebook as Brittany NaturalStylist Miller, and if you’re looking to see MORE of what I am about and have to offer, my site is mrsbrittanymiller.com. Thank you so much for this awesome opportunity!
“ A publicist’s job is often a pivotal role in positioning a personality or brand in achieving their desired outcome.”
Rachel Dares 44
Q. Thanks for Interviewing with us. Tell everyone who you are and where you’re from? A. Thank you for having me. I’m Rachel Dares, the President of Rachel Dares PR, a Los Angeles based agency, my company provides full-service marketing PR campaigns in both the traditional and conventional methods for signed and independent artists, entrepreneurs, actors, pro athletes, doctors, authors, speakers & influencers in every field. I’m not only versed in publicity, my background as a former Feature Reporter, Newscaster, Radio Personality and as a contributor to some of the top online publications in the U.S., gives me a deeper understanding of working with the media. Q. What made you want to be in Public Relations? A. I have always been passionate about mass communications, promotions and marketing. What better opportunity for me to be able to apply my passion in these areas and work in Public Relations. I am also a ‘people person’ who very much enjoys celebrating others - and as a publicist championing the work of others is what I do all day long. From this career I have learned countless invaluable lessons including the ability to gauge the trajectory of any given media, and to place people in a marketed media position which fulfills their needs. Q. Can you tell me in your own terms what does a Publicist do? A. A publicist’s job is often a pivotal role in positioning a personality or brand in achieving their desired outcome. I currently write for numerous publications and hold a proprietary partnership with my partner in dime, Adelheid Waumboldt of the ISET agency - together we build fame and fortune for our clients by utilizing a one-two punch of business development and public relations. We build narratives around whatever project our client is currently working on and lend strategic alliances among a number of other strategies that are sure-fire ways to reach the end goal. Everything in PR is about successful branding and strategy. Q. Tell us about some of the challenges you had growing your business in PR? A. Public relations is an interesting field because I am most successful when I make the achievement of goals looks easy and seamless. In our office - there are tons of aspects that go behind a successful launch, product development, personality development, event, book deal, etc. but the client never really sees the hours of preparation, brainstorming, marketing back-end work, or other
strenuous undertakings of the job. I’ve had a few instances where clients feel the successful outcome and assume that what we’ve done to get them there is simple and have decided to try it on their own. Those moments are a mix of both win and lose for me because I certainly know that our job was very well done when we make things seem so easy, but disappointed in that a client would not be able to understand the gravity of the actual events which have transpired. That said, they do always understand later, and usually come back quite quickly after trying it on for themselves. I am hoping that my upcoming book will help people to better see the behind-thescenes work of a publicist and give perspective to the work at hand. Q. What is one thing you love and one thing you dislike about being a Publicist? A. I take great pleasure in being a publicist and all aspects of my career; however, sometimes I do defer attendance of high-profile events to my business partner or other team members as I’ve already had the thrill of attending these events countless times. I wouldn’t say that I dislike these incredible days of showmanship and extravaganza but I do like to let my other team members experience these wonderful events. I truly believe that my office will function at its highest levels when I am able to share not only the work but the rewards and the glamour of this position with my team. Q. What is one of your proudest moments being in PR? A. I am proud whenever I achieve success for a client, which gratefully happens often. Each time it is different, and I wouldn’t weigh te success of one over another - but the joy that I feel for a job well done is endless. Some of our accomplishments include becoming a Forbes rated company within two years, representing high ranking officials from the Vatican as well as a breakthrough artist who had two top 40 hits last year coupled with our help in the media onslaught realm. Spaces/Regus with 3000 global offices are one of our clients who we are proud to partner with in publicity and gaining new clientele. We have had countless clients who we are proud of - 2-time Grammy Award winner Jerry Bell, 5-time Emmy ward winner Gustavo Sampaio, former NFL player Marques Ogden, international professional basketball player Tywanna Smith, musicians Fuller French and Scott Howard, and so many more. We have also had the pleasure of collaborating with
Grammy Foundation’s Musicares, Billboard, international DJ sensation Mksmth, famed Los Angeles producer Krunkadelic … and the list goes on. It is hard to be surrounded by so manyncredibly talented people and not feel pride every day. Q. Tell us about some of your other hobbies? A. I am an avid salsa and bachata dancer. There’s just something about Latin dancing that enlivens my soul. I also enjoy hiking and working out. Q. What are some things you are working on for 2020? A. In 2020 we will be more involved politically in the State of California. I am also writing a book that will help others who cannot necessarily afford our services including PR secrets to pitching and securing media coverage. Q. Tell us one thing you think needs to change in the PR world? A. Fake news. I feel that anything we push in the media should be founded in fact - and that seems to be happening less and less. As a journalist who writes for numerous publications, and as a former feature reporter, I find that even “fact checking” has become a biased symposium of agenda pushers. It is the prerogative of both me and my office to publish stories that are truthful, the support of which is indicative of the success of my clients. Q. Where can the fans follow you? A. Access to all my social media links can be found on my website at www.RachelDaresPR.com I look forward to connecting.