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Francis Perdue: “With, Without, Because of and Despite of anyone or thing you will make it”

What drives me everyday to give my talks are all the people who state that I have empowered them to move forward past obstacles, challenges and self-doubt. The main message that I aim to share with the world is that, “With, Without, Because of and Despite of anyone or thing you will make it.” Do […]

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What drives me everyday to give my talks are all the people who state that I have empowered them to move forward past obstacles, challenges and self-doubt. The main message that I aim to share with the world is that, “With, Without, Because of and Despite of anyone or thing you will make it.” Do not quit and ask for what your price is for your services or talent. You get what you negotiate not what you are worth. Understand that you will have obstacles and challenges so give in or change your approach but do not give up.


As a part of our series about Inspirational Women of the Speaking Circuit, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Francis Perdue.

Francis Perdue was born in Los Angeles, California with strong Alabama roots. She was born to Birmingham, Alabama natives Franklin R. Perdue, a Navy veteran who earned a Phd in Clinical Psychology and mother who ended up running the BX/PX, Navy Exchange. She grew up the first part of her childhood in Compton, California and remembers the diversity she experienced from her Navy Brat years. From eating Lumpia, walking to the corner candy store to seeing her babysitter smoke a pig in the ground.

Francis’ contributions in philanthropy and her work ethic in Entertainment Public Relations and Talent Management has deemed her a hot commodity in the Product Placement side of events and television & film. With 100 plus products placed for high end events, The Doctor’s TV Show and her annual FUSE Pre-ESPY Event Ms. Perdue added a products division to her company. Ms. Perdue’s the owner of Perdue Inc. (formerly PS Media Talent) has been a full-time publicist since 2009. Perdue inc. where she has several projects for inventions, restaurants, business consulting and branding is the staple of her business. Recently she held the position of The Director of Communications for My Beverages, a new water company, based in West Hollywood, California. Force Brands recognized the appointment of Ms. Perdue to My Beverages in 2019 as part of their “Movers and Shakers” newsletter that is recognized globally in the Food & Beverage World. After purchasing her franchise in 2018 she became determined to have the best experience for her location in Birmingham she was offered the position due to her experience in public relations and willingness to make experiences for owners easiest. In April 2019, she was appointed Director of Public Relations for Burgerim, which was one of the fastest growing burger franchises in the United States.

Currently, she has added Perdue Beauty to her repertoire of businesses under Perdue Inc. and expanded talent management to Influencers.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in Los Angeles County in a city named, Compton. My father was in the military and I was a military brat. Going to the Navy base in Long Beach with my mother and father was normal. Growing up an only child was fun yet could be lonely at times. So, friends became like family to me. I grew up in a blue collar and white-collar family. My father pulled himself up by his bootstraps and earned a PhD in Clinical Psychology while my mother rose the ranks in her job at the BX/PX( Mall for the military). My household was strict yet loving and both my parents shaped who I am today. I learned discipline, ingenuity, how to be a business owner and do my best. My parents loved me, affirmed me as a child and showed it through their actions.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

In search for what I wanted to do as a business I wrestled with wanting to be an talent agent but didn’t feel I was cut throat enough so I dabbled in management. Networking with my best friend at this hot event called, Launch Mondays Mixer. I spoke to this man who was a writer there. His name was Michael Snowden. He didn’t know me at all but he instill some wisdom after he corrected me publicly. He asked me what did I do and I responded with a long rant and rave about how I’m a teacher, but I help people… and I kept talking and the he stopped me and said, “ Next time someone asks you what do you do say you’re a publicist. I noticed that I was securing things for actors, musical artists, producers( music, tv/film) etc. and they were not just media placements either so I gave myself the titles of Publicist and Talent Manager from that day forth. Of course, I worked on my elevator pitch as well.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Wow, that is difficult to narrow down. After 12 years in I have been through a lot of interesting things. Most recently, In 2019 I walked into the office of the corporate franchise office and demanded that I get the required materials for my team and information to release my press release about my purchase of the franchise. After months of going back and forth I had a meeting with the person over their public relations and marketing set. When I did finally get that meeting the girl was gone. It was weird. So, I spoke to the owner of the franchise and he kept saying we need you. I said to myself and him, yes I am a good franchisee owner. He didn’t mean that in a way that I expected. He asked me to meet with him and the Ceo on a Sunday. I unfortunately, was not really happy about meeting because my mother was sick and I was taking care of her at my house. I didn’t want to leave but I went anyway. At this dive bar in Hollywood not far from the Beverly Center was where we met. They asked me to be Director of Public Relations for the Corporate entity. This was not expected yet it was exciting since I paved my own way with no degree in Public Relations nor Business. It was refreshing to be recognized and offered a corporate position that I never had prior due to having my own Public Relations Boutique.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

My funniest mistake when I first started was at a gifting suite in honor of the MTV Awards. I unfortunately, listened to the client/celebrity and got the gifts ahead of time of them arriving per their request to make it easier for him to take pictures etc. Unaware to me I went to the bathroom and the ladies over the gifting suite acted like I was stealing and took everything away. When the celebrity arrived and asked for me and would not deal with them, they changed their tune and respect was given yet I was over it. I paraded the client around and then people wanted to be nice to me after they went through my belongings and accused me of stealing. I was over it. My lesson learned was, “ Never listen to the client about rules of your profession, You are the expert!”

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am grateful for Eric Wade, God rest his soul. He was a celebrity and sports photographer. He helped me get the tools needed to be a good publicist, stood in between me and clients to demand respect for me, was my confidant and did a lot of pro bono work to get me to where I am today.

Eric stood up to a manager for a famous family when they did not pay after receiving my services even with a contract. After the event he demanded that he pay me directly not go to him as my client. The man had to eat his mean words and give the money to me after Eric was done with him.

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging and intimidating. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

Becoming a publicist is a path that you can customize to your personality and your interests. Find a niche to focus on that you enjoy and stick to that in order to have greater success and a fulfilling feeling. Fail forward by making mistakes and just do not make the same mistake twice. Find a person you can trust as your mentor and run things by them prior to doing anything new. Keep up with new technology and tools to further your reach and impact for your clients.

What drives you to get up every day and give your talks? What is the main empowering message that you aim to share with the world?

What drives me everyday to give my talks are all the people who state that I have empowered them to move forward past obstacles, challenges and self-doubt. The main message that I aim to share with the world is that, “With, Without, Because of and Despite of anyone or thing you will make it.” Do not quit and ask for what your price is for your services or talent. You get what you negotiate not what you are worth. Understand that you will have obstacles and challenges so give in or change your approach but do not give up.

Can you share with our readers a few of your most important tips about how to be an effective and empowering speaker? Can you please share some examples or stories?

Being prepared by knowing your audience ahead of time is important in how to be effective as an empowering speaker.

When I started accepting speaking engagements, I was still an educator. Teaching the CAHSEE, California High School Exit Exam at SIATech within the YWCA system had a certain audience. The students ranged in experiences from being from foster care to older students who wanted a High School diploma and a trade. I was asked to give the commencement speech since I had assisted students in getting into college. I fixed my speech to include my overcoming of my tragedy of my parents and it was a point that the students could relate to since they mostly came from traumatic experiences and overcame a lot.

Having a written guide even if you tangent off course allows you to stay within timeframes allotted for your speech.

I spoke at Lionsgate Films for an organization entitled, Diverse Representation, and I looked at the topic of Diversity in Public Relations and surveyed some colleagues and had some notes on my phone to keep me focused. I went over those notes prior to speaking.

As you know, many people are terrified of speaking in public. Can you give some of your advice about how to overcome this fear?

Overcoming fear is a case by case basis. You have to be forgiving with yourself and take your time to get to a point where you feel comfortable. Finding a topic, you are passionate about helps with overcoming the fear behind why you do not feel comfortable speaking in front of others.

Things that help me are:

Figuring out what scares me about speaking or interacting with people.

Visualization of me speaking and the audience loving my speech.

Practicing your speech in the mirror helps with confidence.

Practicing your speech with someone for feedback helps fine tune it.

Have personalized positive affirmations.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Five things I wish someone told me when I first started speaking was centered around my topics.

1.Topics have to align with what it is that you are passionate about and knowledgeable.

Being passionate about my topic of public relations has led to have my name in rooms I never thought it would be. When I first started, I spoke about public relations to students in high school and they only could relate to social media. Social Media is what I do on a small scale for promotions of our company’s work but not on the scale that students are. I attempted to speak about it and the kids knew more than me..lol!

2. Your audience loves authenticity.

I was speaking and felt like I had spoken to openly to a group of entertainment professionals. After the actual speech, some publicists came and told me that they appreciated that I had such candor. You have to be authentically you because you never know who you are going to touch positively and inspire to keep going.

3. There’s no right or wrong topic to speak on if you are passionate about it.

When I did the first commencement speech my principal thought it was too dark, yet the students felt that someone understood what they were going through. I got a standing ovation.

4. Align yourself with other speakers and likeminded people who push you to do more and better

By joining a networking group and assisting a god father I met some amazing people who have been in the speaking circuits for years. It pushed me to get more speaking engagements.

5. Have a platform that you build to stand on to be versatile with your engagements and have multiple streams of income.

Creating a journal expanded my audience to have them more interested in what they will get from my speaking engagements. It offers an opportunity to get funds from a different source if the booker is unable to pay a large honorarium especially for children audiences.

You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?

My first publication Life Is In Session is a journal created by me to inspire others to overcome obstacles in life is one of my latest projects. Changing with the times of the pandemic in the US I have added a division of my company for PPE, Personal Protective Equipment, that I am selling B2B to assist schools and small and large companies.

I see myself headed toward releasing my first patented product, writing a memoir, writing other self-help books, and diversifying my income more.

Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Please share a story for each one if you can.

My routine includes: a vitamin regimen to maintain a healthy balance, daily and sporadic prayer, weekly visualization call, I’m a foodie so I find a new restaurant each month to visit, listening to frequencies, positive affirmations, check-ins with my life coaches, frequent calls to people I love and who love me and I keep letting go of things that no longer serve me.

I live by my massages for my body to stay healthy along with my natural remedies and products. Massages are apart of my selfcare routine because it has tremendously healed me. Reflexology massages saved my life. Each year I have had Cervical Cancer screenings since I was 18 and my first scare. I had a biopsy coming up and my foot was hurting and cramping very badly. I went to a Reflexology masseuse and they informed me that where my foot hurt was where my nerves connected for my reproductive organs. After having a great 1-hour massage I was able to be relaxed when I went for my biopsy and it came back benign which sold me on doing regular massages.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

A Life Lesson Quote that I live by is: “You have to listen to the inner voice and hunches that you receive about decisions to make.” It is paraphrased from the book, The Game of Life and How To Play It By Florence Scovel Shinn.

Every time I had a doubt about someone because of an action that they did my first mind was right. I was driving down the street to my apartment and I would park in front of my place and something said turn and I was obedient. When I came out of the alley and turned the way my mind and hunch told me I avoided a drunk driver who took out 10 cars on the main street of where I park usually and he had turned the corner and hit more cars. If I did not listen, I would have run head on into this drunk driver who had kept going even after they hit cars.

You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

My movement would still be my Social Justice Endowment that invokes change into the legislation system. The idea is to take 2 lawyers in each of the states and pay for their law school in full in exchange for them not going to work for a major law firm and creating their own law offices that we would supplement their expenses in exchange for erasing legislation remaining that promotes racism in the form of lynching and other ways. Creating landmark cases that combat the laws that are unjust will be the outcome. Landmark case examples are Brown Vs. Board of Education overturning Plessey Vs. Ferguson which overturned segregation and integrated the nation.

This will bring the most good through actual laws in place to overturn the enforcement of the police brutality and weaponizing of the police against Blacks and other groups in this country. It would hold those who commit the crime of death and other offenses no matter what title that they have. Bringing justice to those who are wronged by this country would be the ultimate outcome.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

I would love to have lunch with Attorney Ben Crump because I would lobe to join forces to create a Social Justice Endowment with him to continue the fight on another level and to continue the work that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. started. It would throw the country into another “Jim Crow Era” to enforce the new laws that protect people of color.

Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?

I can be found on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Amazon for my book, Life Is In Session

Author Page: Life Is In Session

https://www.amazon.com/author/francisperdue

Website Link for the book:

https://perdueinc.me/life-is-in-session

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/lifeisinsession/ -Book Page

https://www.instagram.com/frannubian/ — Personal Page

https://www.instagram.com/perdueinc/ — Business Page

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/francisperdue — Personal Page

https://www.facebook.com/perdueinc Business Page

https://www.facebook.com/lifeisinsessionbook — Book Page

Twitter:

www.twitter.com/frannubian

Linkedin:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/francis-perdue-390a417/ — Personal Page

This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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