Female Disruptors: Candice Simons is shaking up the boys’ club of outdoor advertising

I had the pleasure of interviewing Candice Simons, owner, founder and CEO of Brooklyn Outdoor.

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Candice Simons, owner, founder and CEO of Brooklyn Outdoor. She has been the recipient of Crain’s Detroit Business “40 under 40”, DBusiness’ “30 in their thirties,” Detroit Young Professionals Vanguard Award, Summit International Marketing and Creative Awards, Michigan Economic Bright Spot Award, 2017 Corp! Magazine’s Diversity Business Leader, and 2017 Enterprising Women of the Year.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

Of course, thank you for having me! After spending around 10 years in Chicago after college and establishing myself in the out-of-home advertising industry, I decided to move back to my home state of Michigan and start up my own brand with a twist — making advertising fresher, newer, and more vibrant than before.

Why did you found your company?

I had the skills and tricks from establishing myself in the industry, along with the passion as well. I knew that I could work for another outdoor advertising company, but in my heart I also knew that I was meant to put my mark on this industry. I had creative ideas that needed to be shared and I was capable of shaking up the advertising world, so that’s why I had to found Brooklyn.

What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Being a female CEO in the outdoor advertising industry is already disruptive! This industry is dominated by men and being a powerful woman in it can be difficult. I’m showing other CEOs that my ideas are just are creative, my knowledge of business is just as up-to-par and that I myself am just as strong and influencing.

We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?

Dean Manone and Scott Goldstein, who are partners in Red Star Outdoor, have made the most profound difference to me in my path as an entrepreneur. I’m so fortunate for their guidance in the outdoor advertising industry.

Since starting Brooklyn, they have been a source mentorship that I can trust. Their honesty, friendship and wisdom have meant the world to me.

How are you going to shake things up next?

I want to continue making my mark as a woman in the outdoor advertising industry and allowing the independent advertising companies to compete most effectively with the industry titans.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey?

  1. Be true to yourself. I have always been outspoken, from my personality to my style. Instead of hiding these, I have embraced them wholeheartedly, which has been my driving force from the beginning.
  2. Ask for help when you need it. Even as a CEO, there have been so many projects I have needed help with. Utilizing the strengths of your coworkers to help get the job done can result in a better outcome, and you also make those around you feel needed. It’s a win-win!
  3. Relationships, relationships, relationships! Mold and form relationships with others in your industry. Befriend those with more experience than you to learn something. Befriend those who are in your same boat so that you have someone to talk to who understand your entrepreneurial struggles! Relationships serve as rocks for you to help keep you sane and can also serve as great connections.

What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking?

The book The Three Laws of Performance by Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan has deeply impacted how I view business. I even use it as an outline for our continued education and team coaching sessions, which bring my employees together and further their knowledge in a professional environment.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

I will continually say this time and time again — Michelle Obama. She’s one of the funniest yet powerful females I’ve ever known of. Her movement initiative for youths, along with how passionate she is with everything she does, is something I admire. Her ideals and values are ones that I try to incorporate into my daily life.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can find Brooklyn Outdoor at, and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at Brooklyn Outdoor! You can also find my Detroit culture blog, J’adore Detroit, at, and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at J’adore Detroit.

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