Name: Monique Tatum
Position/Company: CEO, Beautiful Planning Marketing & PR
Describe your job in one sentence: My job can be described as the client whisperer, daily news maker, and exciting story generator.
Where did you go to college? Fordham University
What was your major? My original Major was Dance for BFA then I changed it to English because I felt like I needed more of a mental challenge for my college experience.
First internship? What were your responsibilities? What did you learn? I never had an internship within my career or otherwise. I was already working within my career by then. I was a lucky gal right out of the gate.
First job in PR? I was the Marketing Coordinator at NBC Universal for The NBC Experience Store where my responsibilities were both Marketing & PR combined. I learned on the job from online promotional work to events such as the Jerry Seinfeld induction in to the NBC Walk of Fame and more. I lucked out with that position, as I was originally just the Manager for the NBC Studio Tours and then one day had a ton of marketing and PR ideas. I put them in a PowerPoint presentation and sent them upstairs to the VP. The next thing I knew, at age 20, I was in pulled up in to the corporate office and my job was to implement those very ideas. I was the youngest person in my department.
Favorite part of your job? There is a certain thrill that comes with a media placement for a client. I think it kind of ties hand in hand with the fact that we don’t take on clients that we don’t believe in. It has to be a project that we are passionate about. When you see a media placement hit that you pitched the feeling is amazing. You know you created that pitch and the angle from beginning to end with your team, the press releases were written and sent out, and we actually generated that same excitement for someone else. I don’t think the feeling has ever changed for me, from my very first placement until now. Whether I place it , or one of my girls in office does, it is still the same burst of excitement that it was from day 1 in my career. That will forever be my favorite part of the job.
Least favorite part of your job? You wouldn’t think that my answer would be “being the boss.” However, that is my least favorite part. As the CEO, I wear a million different hats. We are a small boutique firm, so I have to oversee the accounting department and sign off, be the final go-to for any HR issues, and though we have amazing team members, clients do often love speaking to me directly—and at times wearing all of those hats can be stressful. I do however have amazing team members, as I mentioned, who work with me daily to take any work they can and make my life easier. In the end when I look at the big picture, though that’s my least favorite part, it’s also the part that comes with the most benefits. So you will never hear me complain about it. I would much rather count my busy blessings.
Favorite brands (brands you think are launching great PR campaigns)? It would be remiss of me to not mention at least one of my clients of course! SimpleDeal Mobile App is new to us and I think it is an amazing brand. You walk down the street, point your phone at a restaurant and can see the deals for the day via the app. Innovative, and we are doing some great things with them.
A brand that is my favorite that I wish was on my roster is Versace. It was very smart for them to name Lady Gaga as the new face of the brand and the roll out of the announcement was done with minimal fuss and maximum exposure. A very clean PR campaign that garnered an amazing amount of traction.
Biggest accomplishment so far in your career? I would say this has to be split. My biggest accomplishments came between 2012 and 2013. In this time period my firm worked its first Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Show. We also produced the first annual The Reality of FASHION The Reality of AIDS, where celebrity reality stars walked the runway to raise awareness for AIDS and worked the PR for Hot 97 Summer Jam 2013’s 20th Anniversary concert at 50,000 person filled Metlife stadium. Names like Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown and more performed. Those are my biggest accomplishments to date.
Biggest lesson learned to date in your career? The biggest lesson that I have learned in my career is not to try and go it alone. Ever. Though I run my company as the sole owner, it is important to have a skilled team underneath me and a network of people behind me. This year I joined a major networking group and though I am new to it, within the last few weeks of 2013 it made a tremendous difference in what we are able to bring to the table for our clients.
Who were/are your mentors? I have one mentor.His name is Conrad Strabone, the CEO of E9 Digital which is a web development company. Though we’re in different industries, he is a master marketer at heart and has given me a ton of business advice throughout the years. He has taught me valuable business lessons like not to discount my rates because clients are paying for my expertise and the connections that I have. He also provides general advice on running my business and suggestions that work on how I should be growing it. For years I did not have a mentor and my mentor, mentee relationship with Conrad sort of naturally fell in to place as we used to share an office with his company.
Best work advice? When working in PR it is important to prioritize and actually have the ability to put your head down and get the work done. The best advice that I have ever received and give to this day is to work smarter, not harder. Working in PR that means a ton because you can work and really spin your wheels any day of the week producing 0 results and media placements. When I say work smarter, I mean craft interesting angles that will actually get picked up, research your media contacts, research your topic and the popularity of publications in order to get clients greater media traction. Have your arsenal full of information before you shoot so that you can pitch less and garner greater results for clients.
As a publicist, you can’t live without your… internet! I need to be plugged in at all times.
In order to succeed in PR, you… should always be kind and forever be cognizant of the things you say in public.
If you weren’t a publicist, you’d be… a dancer in a ballet company somewhere in the world.
What is your website, twitter handle, or anything else you’d like to promote? www.beautifulplanning.com