Happy Birthday to Our CEO/Founder, Erica
Every business, no matter the size, starts somewhere. More specifically, it starts with someone, someone who had an idea and ran with it. Sure, starting a business might begin with an idea but it's the person behind that idea who gives it shape and creates an opportunity to make their mark. If you own your own business you know that everything I said in that last sentence is much easier to write than it is to do. It's a task that requires risk and countless hours of work that may or may not pay off depending on the decisions you make. Leading Lady Public Relations is proof that those risks and hard work are worth it. LLPR is a product of our fearless leader, Erica Patterson, a future Penn State grad with the track record and the drive of a future CEO. With goals like being in Forbes' Top 30 Under 30, you can probably understand why.
Hailing from Englewood, New Jersey, Erica attended Academies at Englewood, a high school where she focused on Law and Public Safety. "I wanted to be a homicide detective," Erica said, but through her internship with Prana Marketing, her senior year, she realized she wanted to make a change. Erica encountered some of her first major PR and marketing experiences during this time, from working Super Bowl events to the 2014 NFL Draft. You could think of this as the spark that lit the flame, driving her towards her future endeavors. Once Erica graduated and went on to Penn State she continued toward her passion by choosing to major in Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communication. But she didn't want to stop there. While working toward her degree she also worked as a Communications Intern and a Public Relations Coordinator, steadily gathering more experience and a higher understanding of the industry she had come to love. The question was what did she want to do with that experience?
When I was given the opportunity to interview Erica I asked her when it was that she decided to start her own business. She told me even her grandmother knew that one day Erica would be her own boss because she couldn't see her working for anyone else. And at the age of twenty, Erica took those words to heart. The idea of owning her own business in a field that she loved with a team she could trust and grow with would no longer be a dream but the beginning of a reality that she would bring to life. Of course none of this happened overnight and those countless hours of work I mentioned earlier were definitely coming into play considering she was also working as a PR and Communication Specialist at LiveTiles, then a Communications Specialist for Eberly College of Science in the same summer she started Leading Lady PR, the summer of 2016. Erica is not a stranger to working hard but she's also not afraid to make the tough choices. Erica said life caused her to take a step back from her business but she became the Sports Information Director for Penn State, still gaining more experience and understanding for Communications on a larger scale. When I asked Erica why she chose to put Leading Lady PR on pause she said, "If you start to rush things they'll fall apart. Take the proper steps in time." And according to how much Leading Lady PR has grown since she started it up again, I'd say she made the right choice.
When she was ready to take Leading Lady PR to the next level she says, "[She] had to do PR for [her] PR." Erica wanted Leading Lady PR to be more than just a PR firm she wanted to be able to work with her client and stand behind their product. The first place she looked was Black Wallstreet. Sure, with over 7,000 businesses it could've gotten a little overwhelming, but Erica knew she wanted to build a name for herself in the African American business community. She said, "I wanted to support people that looked like me." And as of right now she's well on her way to making a beautiful mark by building a rapport with growing companies with diverse owners and not being afraid to do things differently.
Erica wants to break the mold of traditional PR, which is why we consider ourselves The Millennial Firm. During our interview, I asked her to go into detail about what that meant. "I wanted to do something different. We don't typically go your normal way. Traditional PR strays away from things like Facebook Live or Instagram Live. I want to take that risk." Every successful business, no matter the size, has been built from the ground up by someone who was willing to take the proper risks and make the right choices. The beauty of Leading Lady Public Relations is that it's run by someone who isn't afraid to step up for her clients and help them achieve their goals as a part of their team, not just as a PR firm. She says, "I've always worked with people like family. We're not a PR firm we're a part of your team." Erica wants to be someone who will help you reach the next level not just because she's on your team, but because she believes in you and your business.
One of her closing statements during our interview was about her drive for her clients, "I don't do what I do for the money. I love what I do. I'm never going to take on something for the money." For Erica, money is not what LLPR is all about. It's about communication and teamwork and building relationships. Erica sees LLPR expanding with everything under the same umbrella she doesn't want to box herself into one industry because she wants to be able to team up with people she believes in, regardless of industry. With goals like having multiple international offices and working with Beyonce, if you haven't heard of Erica until now, keep watching. What happens next shouldn't surprise you.