Black Public Relations Professionals That You Should Know

If you think about your favorite celebrity, author or reality television star, you can probably remember their best interview, amazing campaigns or cutest social media posts. It probably looks like a piece of cake because most times, it’s done with ease.

Most of those individuals and companies, however, have a team that you don’t see helping to make it happen.

Some of those working diligently behind the scenes to develop these thought-provoking and memorable experiences are publicists or public relations professionals. They are the incredible minds that develop branding strategies, implement marketing ideas and help create experiences for client’s customers, followers and their own clients.

So, who are these amazing and dedicated professionals that take details and create unforgettable memories?

We recently interviewed five vivacious, dynamic and energetic public relations professionals that are unstoppable in the industry. We celebrate these five powerful figures in the public relations industry and their journeys to become who they are today! Meet two of them below!

Meet public relations veteran, award-winning PR professional and extraordinary serial entrepreneur, Nepherterra Best.

Nepherterra’s three business ventures, Pride Public Relations, Mosaic Communications, and NewsReleaseNow, are all successful businesses that are currently growing and thriving. She recently launched a mom blog, Dope Boss Mom Blog, for the working, everyday mom. Learn more about Neph and her journey!

Tell me about yourself and your business.

I am the Chief Communications Officer and Co-Founder of Pride Public Relations, an award-winning African-American woman-owned PR firm headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charlotte has been my home for 11 years, but I am originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I fell in love with Charlotte while attending Johnson C. Smith University, the city’s only HBCU.  During my tenure at JCSU, I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Communications Arts. While at JCSU, I had the opportunity to serve as a reporter and the editor of the JCSU Student News, a campus newspaper. This experience allowed me to intertwine my passion for writing and people. 

What encouraged your transition from working for someone else to becoming a full-time entrepreneur/business owner?

At the very last PR agency I worked at, which shall remain nameless, I was placed on the government affairs team, which required me to do some lobbying at the local level.  I remember the agency’s owner coming to my cubical and giving me a high five after he received a large payment for a project the government affairs team had successfully completed. He literally had the check in his hand. I did the work and all I got was a high five and my regular paycheck. He got the BIG check. That was my ah-hah moment. That just didn’t seem fair to me.

What is your favorite campaign to date?

My favorite campaign is the We Share Solar PR campaign we launched last year.  We Share Solar is a hands-on STEM education program that teaches middle school students how to build Solar Suitcases® that is sent to energy scarce regions of the world.  It’s an amazing program that came to Charlotte last year thanks to the financial support of Wells Fargo and Jim and M.A Rogers. Our team was honored to be their agency of record and help them tell their story in a meaningful way.

What advice would you give to someone entering the public relations industry?

1. Get as much experience as you can. 

2. Build authentic relationships with media and other PR professionals.  

3. Make sure you can write. 

Who is your business or career inspiration and why?
 
Madam CJ Walker is my all-time favorite career inspiration. She was a business and branding genius. Not only did she build a haircare brand, but she used PR and marketing to promote the idea that if you look good on the outside, you feel good on the inside.
 
Her story is truly inspirational and remains relevant today. She was the first African-American woman to become a self-made millionaire. She created her own line of hair care products and then recruited and trained other African American women across the country as a sales force.  

What’s next for you and your business?

We are laser-focused on growth and scaling.  We’ve started exploring opportunities to expand to additional markets in the Southeast to serve clients in South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee. I am also launching a brand of t-shirts for PR professionals later this year.

Follow Nepherterra on Instagram, as well as Dope Boss Mom on Instagram!

Say hello to award-winning publicist Candice Nicole, owner of Candice Nicole Public Relations! Candice has been listed as a Top 25 African American Publicist in the Huff Post, a testament to her years of experience and dedication to her incredible list of clients. Get to know Candice Nicole and her public relations journey!

Tell me about yourself and your business. 

I am originally from Silver Spring, MD and I attended Wayne State University in Baltimore, MD, where I majored in Communications and a public relations concentration. I became a publicist and founded Candice Nicole Public Relations (CNPR) 12 years ago and I have been operating full time for four years.

Was public relations always your career path or did you have other career aspirations? 

I actually fell into public relations after first choosing a major in photography while attending Wayne State. As much as I loved taking photos and art, I wasn’t the best artist in terms of drawing and realized that track wouldn’t work for me. I knew I wanted to work in entertainment and took some time to review other majors at school. I choose communications and after researching, decided public relations sounded interesting.

After changing my major, I began taking my new classes as well as joining the new PR club on campus and it clicked: this is what I want to do as a career. I wanted to build a story for clients and their audiences and potential audiences. I wanted to help clients build their brands through storytelling.

What encouraged your transition from working for someone else to becoming a full-time entrepreneur/business owner?  

I originally started at BET in August 2007 in the Traffic department to get my foot in the door. After four and a half years there, I decided to move to a couple of different companies and it was then I knew, it was time to go into entrepreneurship. I had been working for others for some time and I knew that I didn’t want to keep working for someone else anymore. I wanted to build my own business. 

I made the leap of faith with no business plan and no savings account. I just knew this was my path and I was ready to take it on. I haven’t looked back since. It’s not always easy but I’m glad I took the leap.

What is your favorite campaign to date?

All campaigns have a reason behind them and I consider all of them my favorite. If I have to choose one though, it would be a recent project with Chevrolet. It’s my favorite because they are investing dollars into HBCU students and I am a proud graduate of an HBCU. It’s so important for African American students to at the very least, be given the option of attending an HBCU and be provided with information about them.

The campaign is for aspiring journalists that currently attend HBCUs only. Students that apply and are accepted will go on a road trip in a 2019 Chevy Blazer and intern at black newspapers. They also have the opportunity to meet celebrities in the journalism field and learn from them, receive an educational scholarship, as well as a stipend to support them during their travels.

What’s next for Candice Nicole PR?

Continued growth as we move into a full rebrand. I am also looking at ways to be more strategic so I can turn CNPR into a seven-figure agency. I would also love to have international clients and work with clients from other industries. Lastly, I plan to do more speaking engagements to expand my brand and platform while continuing to help so many others.

Keep up with Candice on Instagram and Facebook!

Written by Chronda Higgins

Chronda Higgins, owner and principal consultant of Forever Changed Consulting Agency, has been a freelance writer for several years, blogging for a variety of clients. She got her start as a grant writer for nonprofit organizations. She offers public relations, blogging, social media management and ghostwriting services. She works directly with nonprofits, businesses of all sizes and entrepreneurs. Follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.