Be able to let go of control and trust your team. When I trusted my intern at the time she doubled my business by adding Instagram posts to bring in new clients and going through her sphere of influence to reach out for new talent that needed representation. The business boomed.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Francis Perdue, Senior Publicist of PS Media Talent and current Communications Director for My Beverages. Ms. Perdue has over 8 years’ experience building brands from NGO’s from The United Nations to Celebrities and Sports players. Now she focuses on creating strategic branding for companies and product lines.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was always drawn into radio. I loved R&b and grew up on “old school” music and a blend of current music. Listening to Phats Domino with my father or James Brown was the norm. When I entered college I was a classic “over-achiever” so it was kismet that I landed a gig as a on-air personality. One night my best friend was visiting and we were listening to Soul on Sundays , the Black Music Day, and decided to call in and have fun picking music. We stayed on the phone with my now long friend Kevin “KC” Morris and he became interested in me as a DJ. We left my dorm room at Pentland Hills and went over this dirt road to the radio station. I got my interview later by the GM and had training with the Music Director and it was history from there. I spent four years on radio while making a lot of friends, community connections and artists colleagues like Bishop Lamont who would lead me to becoming a publicist. They called me the “Hub” of information because I figured things out for people to be connected and solutions to problems.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Public Relations for me has many interesting stories yet one of the most interesting story that happened to me since I began leading my company is that I applied to become a “sponsor broker” for a film festival entitled, ARTIVIST. I met with a man virtually from Spain then I met the owners of the organization in Hollywood. They ended up being a NGO for The United Nations. The group started out with maybe 10–15 people working and dwindled down to about 3 plus the founders. I ended up doing PR, sponsorship brokering, talent wrangling for honorees to actual performances and more. There were many ups and downs but I ended up forging a lot of great relationships with the talent as well as companies.
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?
I can say it is funny now yet it wasn’t funny at the time. I took on clients who had a show on Afterbuzz named, SiStars and I talent wrangled for them and got John Salley because I was working on a revitalize of Runyon Canyon Project with him and Robert Richard because I was pitching his movie to investors at the time to be interviewed. They also said they wanted photos and video of them within the suite. My photographer took pictures of them and the guests we brought on for them. We were inside of an off-site gifting suite for the MTV Movie Awards. John was running late and asked me to get products for him so he can just come in take pictures and go. Robert brought in like 4 other people and tried to get them gifts at the gifting suite. The mistakes were: I should have not let Robert bring guests. I should have let John get the gifts on his own and I never should have listened to the talent on the show they were not over the gifting suite. The people over the gifting suite went through my stuff while I was assisting with a interview of Robert Richard and took everything back saying that I stole the gifts. They said my photographer could not take photos of the inside of the suite because a major outlet had a contract to get the photos and video first. The girls on the show couldn’t get gifts so they became negative because the guests that I invited received gifts and said I took gifts too and shouldn’t have been taking pictures even through that’s why they hired me and my photographer. It was a total nightmare for me in the moment and after I was very upset. I went to Maria Menunous , who owned After Buzz TV at the time and explained what was going on and how I felt violated that they went through my belongings. I’ve never stole anything in my life so, thank God Eric Wade, my then photographer and friend was with me the whole time. They acted really ignorant until John arrived and wouldn’t speak to anyone but me. I told him what happened; he smiled and said, “Never listen to the client.” He dealt with only me. Then Maria and the suite organizer changed their tune and tried to be nice to me. Treatment changed especially from the people in the gifting suite.
So, I went to the booths that were the most understanding about his schedule and skipped the ones who lied on me. Meanwhile, after being interviewed the people apologized yet my feelings were hurt and I learned a valuable lesson, “Never listen to the client about your job, the rules unwritten or written for publicity. Always check with organizers or event publicists for clarification prior to taking directions from the client(s). You’re the expert “
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
My Company, PS Media Talent, stands out because we think outside the box and connect the dots where others do not know to look for connections to creative solutions for projects.
Story: During the last couple of years we have taken on Sponsorship and product placement. A former great producer of The Doctors TV Show, Alicia Clark, Emmy Award winning producer, was referred to me by a friend from college. They couldn’t get a trade-out for a family that was guests on the Doctor’s TV Show. The son was told that he’d never walk again after a horrific accident and he just got up and walked again suddenly. He loved Legos yet Legoland had not responded. I went through a great Facebook group called Czars and a journalist connected me to Legoland Florida and they fulfilled the trade-out for me plus a couple of other companies came through for us to fulfill the product placement and we accomplished that in three days.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’m working on several projects right now.
Currently, I have purchased my first franchise through Burgerim that we will open in Birmingham, Alabama.
We are working on a film with Triwen Productions, entitled, Coffee Pot with my long term client, Charnele Brown.
One product line entitled, My Beverages. This is very exciting to be in the water line of products. They have two products, My Artisan Water/ My Hemp Water and an Electrolyte Water entitled My Sport Water.
These products will help people enhance their water selections and inevitably improve their health; athletes will improve their recovery as well as have quality alkaline water that’s affordable.
In my position I’ve been able to start an influencer team with artists, djs, producers, athletes and more that will be out of Beta testing soon.
More information can be found at www.my-beverages.com .
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
Having young talent around gives you a perspective to stay with current trends and get rid of old ones or improve upon them. Thrive by always being willing to adapt and change to new things especially technology. Allow interns to have a say in things they think will improve the process you have in place to create solutions and give them a way to become apart of the team permanently once they complete the internship process. The best thing I did was to hire interns and one became a publicist under my company. Now, Regan Farley is a Senior Publicist with her own firm, (RFA) The Regan Farley Agency and is still striving for greatness.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Large teams come with various personalities and strategy approaches especially if you deal in entertainment. Place benchmarks for the team and open up the forum for suggestions so the team may have input on strategy. Allow people to be experts at what they do and allow them to fail and fix their failures to lead to a success. Create an environment that the people around you feel comfortable coming to you in crisis in order to make the team more productive. Give incentives for positive reinforcements.
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?
I am grateful for many people who have assisted me in my journey in Public Relations. A person who I am truly grateful for that assisted me along the way is a celebrity photographer by the name of Eric Wade. Prior to his passing, he pushed me to get in front of the camera and document what I do and stood up for me as a young under thirty entrepreneur to many people we were contracted with who thought they could get away with anything from not paying or showing me disrespect because of me being a woman, Black and young. He was a confidant, a friend and an exceptional photographer who caught images of many people in entertainment and sports. He assisted me in my first movie press run, official press release and most of all followed me in tow all around Hollywood to capture my clients and events for our firm.
Can you share a story about that?
A story about Eric Wade I remember is him standing up for me to a so-called manager or as we like to call them “middlemen” to The Norwood family. My partner and I prepared a red carpet for a Knockout Records event and contracted Eric Wade for photography/videography. The manager of the event did not pay. I emailed, I called. I spoke to the family and they did not assist saying they gave the money to the manager to pay.
Eric stepped right in and called the guy and spoke with him man to man. We held the footage until he paid and we let the family know what was going on because it wasn’t their fault. He then attempted to make time to pick up the footage from Eric directly when it was supposed to go through me and the company. Eric directed him to address me as Ms. Perdue and told him that he will give the money to me as he was directed to do in the first place. He did so stubbornly yet he never tried that passive aggressive dismissive behavior with me again.
It pays off to have a team around you.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I take the time to speak at schools to encourage students during career days and other opportunities. We have an annual Pre-ESPY event, FUSE, where we give to a charity through the proceeds while having a gifting suite and party for celebrities and athletes. Also, I give advice to up and coming professionals in the Public Relations field as well as other fields through free consults.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.
· Be able to let go of control and trust your team.
When I trusted my intern at the time she doubled my business by adding Instagram posts to bring in new clients and going through her sphere of influence to reach out for new talent that needed representation. The business boomed up $7500 per month.
· Be open to suggestion.
Just when I thought I knew everything about the internet a person much older than me showed me more. I was told by a lady who was in politics to read a book called, Jab Jab ,Jab Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk. It changed my view of effective social media postings.
· Bet on yourself.
Have a plan b.c.d etc. I always make a benchmark date earlier than my actual due date just in case my person falls through or something happens unexpectedly. I keep templates of press release types just in case someone on the team doesn’t follow up on writing one. One person became ill and didn’t send out a press release and I had to write and distribute it in time for the client.
· Be ready to think outside the box
I always think differently. Once on a project I had to talent wrangle a celebrity. No one got back to my calls and emails except to say to reach back next year and the event was next year. So, I remembered that celebrity’s wife was in music, so I reached out to a producer who thought that she would want to be involved and the wife pushed to the husband’s pr team to answer the nomination and award notice immediately.
· Be Assertive when you give instructions that are imminent that your team should follow.
I asked an associate to contact a company for sponsorship. She did and they said they would pass and she came to me asking what should she do. I told her to line them up for the next year since we had authority to do a multi-year deal. Instead the associate decided to contact the client to say that she should push forward even though they said not now. The client redirected them to me and said I knew what was best since my firm had secured sponsorship for them in the past. She was upset and humbly came back to me to admit she was wrong. She did not follow the rules and embarrassed herself.
· Be ok with letting people go.
Many associates have gone on to bigger and better positions elsewhere. When people leave if the respect was set they will come back or when the time is right they will be great colleagues. One of my interns went onto CNN and now is a producer for a major network. She now refers work to us. I have had interns come back after complaining while working to say it was the best experience they have had as an intern and worker in the entertainment industry and asked for a recommendation letter.
You are a person of great 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? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I would inspire a movement that would invoke change it would be focused on the way things are handled when someone is killed for no reason just because of the fact that somehow a person was intimidated or threatened by them being Black. This movement would take over where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. left off in his push for written law to change so we can be pushed into the “Jim Crow” Era of the unwritten rules being challenged. Legislation in the United States should be created to combat the attack of Civil Rights for people of color.
Melanin filled people not just in the US suffer from things that surpass a “haves and haves not situation.” The alarming rates of Black males being killed by police officers and others who are filled with stereotypes, racism, sexism, bigotry and the list goes on has to to stop. It really upsets me. There are no “anti-lynching” laws or laws that prevent the crimes that have been so rampant against people of color.
I would create a group of lawyers, lobbyists and other social change impact doers who would focus just on Civil Rights Law. The whole mission would be to create legislation that would impact at the state and federal levels to ensure that there are consequences and preventative measures in place to stop the needless killing of innocent people for doing things like walking from a store, being in their backyard or in their own home just relaxing watching ESPN.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
During my Amway days I heard someone from the stage say this quote and it spoke volumes to me during a convention.
“With, without, because of or despite of anyone you will make it.” Author Unknown
I have had many trials and the determination that I have makes me press in. Moving forward is all that I know to do no matter the circumstance. I’m determined to make it.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Business Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn: @psmediatalent
Personal IG/Twitter: @frannubian Facebook/LinkedIn- Francis Perdue
Thank you so much for these inspiring insights!