photo credits - Amber Thompson| Golden Jewel Media
What inspired you to become a CEO?
I don't know that I ever aspired to be a CEO but there came a point where I knew that I needed to do something different. I launched my PR agency in 2012 after about two years of doing some public relations work for my church and pastor. Even then, it wasn't about me being a CEO it was more about reconnecting with something that I enjoyed doing and helping others get their organizations local press coverage. I knew I was becoming a CEO in 2017 when I rebranded my agency and started viewing myself and my abilities in a different light. My thought process changed. The way I viewed perspective clients changed. The way I managed my work-life balanced changed to work-agency-life prioritization. I began to see myself with the ability to do something I love on my own terms and being fulfilled by the work that I was completing. At the end of 2017 I had a health scare that required me to make some changes and better manage my stress. What has truly inspired me to become a CEO and think like a CEO was knowing that I could do it, be successful in my own right and have more control over my life. It became necessary for me to value what I had built and use my passion to protect my peace.
What has been your most exciting accomplishment to date?
As a publicist our goal is to get our clients press placements. I get excited with each one - as if it were my first placement. However, I placed my capabilities on a different level when I was able to get a client placed on the American Express business website in a roundup of minority business owners doing good. That one placement helped me to see that I shouldn't place myself or clients in a box. I have a PR mantra of "Pitch.Pray.Repeat". I release the words (the pitch or press release) with the prayer and keep going. I have also worked with a client that was featured on both Cooking Channel and Food Network. I didn't get her those opportunities but working with her on the publicity prior to the episode airing was a significant learning opportunity on what it is like working with television on a large scale. It was frustrating and exciting at the same time and I wouldn't trade it out.
Any 2 pieces of advice you would share with emerging CEOs?
First and foremost I would say make sure that your business structure is correct going in to any venture. When I was starting my agency, my circles weren't as heavy with entrepreneurs as they are today so I was definitely winging it. I could have saved myself so much time, money and stress if I had known what I know now and even what resources would have been beneficial. I allowed my intimidation of accounting as my excuse for doing the bare minimum for my business. And in hindsight, it was a key part of what has held me back. I mean, how could God bless my business if I wasn't taking care of the business. Secondly, I would say get a mentor.
They don't have to be in your industry but they definitely need to be able to guide you and provide unbiased feedback. I have had my mentor almost since day one and she has pulled things out of me that I would not have given a thought to. I know that she will give me open and honest, sometimes too honest, feedback and give me a different way of looking at things. We also have a developed a relationship where not only can I call her but she can also call on me if she needs assistance with anything. That to me is important in building any form of relationship. What started out as an "I need you" turned into a we can help each other.
What is next for you in 2021?
Words cannot begin to describe how excited I am about 2021. I started out saying 2021 is what 2020 should have been. Then I had to check myself because clearly 2020 prepared us all for a different way of living and thinking. 2021 is truly going to be a breakout year in so many ways. I have relaunched my Business Over Brunch Podcast that I initially had in 2018. This time around it is more in line with my agency niche areas and I have a team to help manage it :) I have recently launched a new service that will help brands and small businesses create their brand and marketing strategies while developing their media assets. This service is project based and lasts for 90 days versus being a retainer based client option. Additionally, I am launching a sister agency that will focus solely on BIPOC brands in the areas of beauty, health & wellness and grooming.
What I love about RedHead Creative Media Group is that it is also project based and if the client wants to continue with a long time PR plan I can seamlessly roll them over to my existing agency. I am also enrolled in a program through Women in PR that will allow me to be internationally certified in Public Relations, similar to APR but is not limited to the US. Can I just say that of all of these things that I am looking forward to, only the relaunch of my podcast listed that was on goal sheet for this year. Didn't I say 2021 would be the breakout year?! I'm ecstatic!
How can readers connect with you online?
Yes. Please connect with me. For Mattie Clay Branding & Public Relations, my website is www.mattieclaybpr.com and all social media is @mattieclaybpr (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & LinkedIn). For RedHead Creative Media Group, the website is www.redheadcmg.com and social media is @redheadcmg (Facebook, Instagram & Twitter)