Here we go! Week five of my annual Visionary Leaders summer storytelling series.
To catch-up, you can find the inspiring stories at my blog where I have featured thus far, Kathleen Cohen of the Collaboratorium, a high profile XR Immersive Strategist and Tech Humanist in the immersive world of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), my Creative Roundtable clients of the Wedding industry and how they navigated the pandemic, and Robin Ingalls-Fitzgerald, a 15-year business owner in medical certified coding, billing, auditing, and educational industry, who made a fast come back after being hit financially by the pandemic. (Access the blog here)
I am celebrating 25 years as a creative entrepreneur all summer through my visionary leaders’ storytelling series. Let’s look at the behind the scenes where it all began…
It was summer of 1988 a few years after college graduation. I was two years into my first PR job as a receptionist and jr. publicist for a mid-size high profile celebrity firm in Beverly Hills. I was in heaven. Imagine how it felt. I was this eager young girl bursting with excitement every day as I learned everything from how to work with celebrities, writing bios for press kits, helping the senior publicists with their accounts, attending photo shoots and red-carpet events.
We had A-List celebrity clients. Everyone in the agency knew it was a big deal. The agency was run by two legends in the industry, Dick Guttman and Jerry Pam. I got my first big break right there. It would be one of my fondest memories of my career.
I woke up daily jumping out of bed wondering what magical, fun, creative project I would be getting involved in! I was so in my purpose then monetizing my passions of storytelling, writing, journalism, creativity, entertainment and culture.
Two years prior, I took a leap of faith by listening to my intuition and followed my joy that resulted in building a career in entertainment publicity. It came by way of a chance encounter with a stranger who happened to be a publicist. Little did she know, she changed my life forever.
By 1986 when I landed my first job in PR, I was so in my element. So much that I navigated a highly creative, dynamic, 22-year career as a publicist.
The entrepreneurial seed was planted the summer of 1988 when Dick Guttman noticed my eagerness and talent by assigning me to handle an art gallery account on Rodeo Drive where it was my role to invite celebrities to their art exhibit openings.
But the real test came when he next assigned me to create a radio interview campaign for George Lucas, then the executive producer of this short-lived film, Tucker: The Man and His Dream. It starred Jeff Bridges.
Iconic director, Francis Ford Coppola, partnered with Lucas on this project. Lucasfilm was our client. I was so enamored with filmmaking and George Lucas! I felt incredibly lucky to have this opportunity. Lucas was on his continued ascent of success thanks to Star Wars’ release ten years prior.
The Tucker movie is a true-to-life tale of Preston Tucker and his daring venture to take on the big three automakers by manufacturing an innovative car for America. The story depicts the visionary entrepreneur, who was an innovator decades ahead of his time.
Dick Guttman gave me a golden opportunity to create this radio campaign on my own, as he oversaw my efforts. That opportunity included spending the day with George Lucas at the Beverly Hills Hotel as his personal publicist overseeing the day-long interviews in a private suite.
It was that experience, thanks to my boss, that sparked my confidence and vision to someday own my own PR company. The seed was small, but it was planted.
Eight years later, after getting married in 1989 and giving birth to my son in 1991, I finally had the courage to bring my PR gig home so I could raise my son who was then five years old.
I made a promise to myself that I would be home and present for my son because I wanted him to have that familial experience. It was 1996. I had spent the last 10 years building a fantastic career working for PR companies. Now it was time to fly on my own.
And, I was in heaven, once again.
When friends and family members heard I was doing my own thing, they jumped on board. I had clients right away and off I went! My entertainment PR business lasted 13 years through raising my son, divorce, breast cancer, and a whole lot of personal growth!
Shall we talk about your entrepreneurial dream?
Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll schedule a fun chat.