Meet Media Maven, Shakeema!

What do you do and How long have you been in business? I am the Founder and Principal Publicist of Mattie Clay Branding & Public Relations based in Charlotte, NC. I founded my agency in September 2012 and have had the pleasure of working with beauty and lifestyle brands, as well as select non profit organizations over the last 6 years. The primary focus of my agency is to help brands and small businesses create brand awareness through various strategies including events, social media, collaborations and press placements via blogs, radio and various print/online publications. 

Why did you pick this particular field to do business in? I majored in Media Communications with the intent to be an investigative reporter and eventually a talk show host ;). I did my an internship with a marketing/pr agency and fell in love with the ability to still put together a whole story behind the camera but still able to see my work beyond the camera. You know, I could be the face without being the face - if that makes sense. But it was some years after graduation before I actually got to work in the industry.

In 2008/2009, my pastor at the time, also a well-known gospel artist, asked me to write a press release for a community event. I call it divine intervention because he had no clue that I actually had formal training and knowledge of the public relations industry. For the next few years, I did quite a bit of his press releases, tour support with merchandising and social media for our church. In 2012, I decided to launch my agency and voila! I am!

Getting back into PR has been great! I get to combine a lot of my passions into an amazing career. I love beauty (Beauty PR), I love giving back (Cause-based clients), I love events - attending and managing (Event PR), I love seeing the potential of a person or product and being able to help them implement strategies (branding), I love writing (press releases, content, pitches, etc). So as you can see this is me living my best life! (lol)

Tell us about a challenge you have had in business and how you have overcome it? Starting out in my business I took on a client that, in the long run, wasn't a good fit. I needed the portfolio and she needed the assistance with her brand. We worked together for about two and half years before I decided to end the business relationship. During the time that we worked together, there were several recommendations that I made that she didn't implement. In the end, I found out that too many people associated my brand with hers and it wasn't a good look. I also had another client that kind of fit into the same mold.

What I eventually did was a complete re-brand. New name, new colors, new logo -- everything! It allowed me to create a fresh start for my business. Nothing about those clients are associated with the image that I have today. Now I am not saying that a complete change is always the answer, but for me, it worked. In the last year and half since I changed how my business is represented I have received some really good opportunities. One thing I must emphasize is that when you are in a service based industry, such as PR, not only do you represent your clients but your clients are also a representation of you.

Why do you feel you have been as successful as you have in your business? I pride myself on being innovative and consistently finding ways to re-invent myself and my brand. Some people see re-invention as failure ... I don't. I see it as a way to learn from mistakes, as well as successes, and take a different approach. Success for me isn't just money, although it does make the success sweeter, success is also about longevity, credibility and integrity. Public Relations and Entrepreneurship are not for the faint at heart. You have to be willing to put in the work to be recognized as someone who can add value to a brand. Why are you so compelled on seeing other women win BIG? One of my favorite hood classics is Paid in Full and one of my takeaways from the movie is when they say "We all can eat". I want all of my sisters, women in business or whatever their passion is to eat. Not just appetizers but full course meals. And I want us to eat together. One of the things I absolutely love about being in my industry is being able to reach out to a fellow publicist to make things happen. I don't like to see people in unhealthy and unethical competition. I believe that it taints the end result of what each person is attempting to accomplish. I stand by Collaboration Over Competition because I believe that together we can accomplish so much more. 

I love cheering on others because I don't believe that me supporting you takes away from what I am working to accomplish. I take pride in seeing women accomplish things that someone would say couldn't be done. I am not a science, numbers or code person so women I see women in tech, IT, science, medicine .. I am especially proud of them because to me they accomplished what I couldn't. I see it as a win for everyone. I just want us all eat ... and eat good.  So, what's next in 2018 for you? I am super excited to launch my podcast - Business Over Brunch; hosted through my Brunch with Brands platform. Business Over Brunch is just a conversation with other entrepreneurs about their journeys in business. We talk about overcoming rejection, researching business mentors, tools and resources for productivity and so much more. The podcast launches October 13 and will air every 2nd and 4th Saturday at 1130am.

I am also in the process of revamping somethings so that I can move into the Digital PR space which allow me alot more flexibility with taking on more clients. Going into 2019 I am refreshed and ready to make some major moves!

Fun fact about yourself.  Hmmmm ... I am goofy. I like to sing and dance in the mirror - I mean .. who doesn't? But I do stand dances .. reliving my days when I was a dancer on my high school marching band. Those were some of the best days! Just don't ask me how long ago that was *wink wink* How can we stay connected with you? Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - @mattieclaybpr| Snapchat - redheadprgirl| website: www.mattieclaybpr

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