INTERVIEW | Getting to Know Lauren Wesley Wilson
What inspired you to pursue a career in public relations?
I needed to find a career for talking on the phone, PR seemed liked the best option.
Tell us about your organization ColorComm.
ColorComm, Inc. is a company focused on advancing the visibility and accomplishments of women of color in the communications, marketing, digital and advertising arenas. ColorComm, Inc. houses the national professional membership organization called ColorComm: Women of Color in Communications and ColorComm’s Conference (called C2), which is held annually at the Ritz Carlton, Key Biscayne Miami.
ColorComm has chapters in multiple cities nationwide. What’s behind the organization’s success in attracting more members?
ColorComm was created in May 2011 as an invite-only luncheon series to
connect mid to executive level women with the goal of forming mutually beneficial
relationships and learning about special opportunities. ColorComm is often referred to as a good ol’ girls network because of the environment, community, exclusive exchange of information and access to job opportunities. In 2012, the group transitioned into a membership organization and launched its first chapter in Washington, D.C. Currently ColorComm has chapters in DC, New York, Chicago
and Atlanta with access to over 10,000 professional women nationwide.
What’s key to balancing professional, philanthropic, and social commitments?
It’s hard to balance it all. One trick that has worked for me is to set my alarm multiple times throughout the day. I have a tendency to run over at meetings and or events. I set my alarm for the time that I must leave or end a phone call. When the alarm rings, I know that it’s time to end whatever I’m doing and head to the next task. It’s worked out well. It allows me to give 100% to the person vs constantly checking my phone for the end time.
How did you juggle a full-time job and an organization?
ColorComm, Inc is my full time job. Prior to this, I served as Communications Strategist with QorvisMSLGroup and worked full time with ColorComm, Inc. There was no balance.
What are some difficulties African-American women face in your industry?
Not having access or insight to the players that can advance their career.
Name the biggest mistake young professionals make in your industry.
Not being proactive enough.
What advice would you give other young professionals who desire to excel in public relations?
Take time to learn about the industry and about the people who are making a difference. Read, read, read, and read some more.
Tell us about the upcoming ColorComm conference.
C2 (short for ColorComm Conference) is the ultimate business conference and retreat for women of color in communications that will connect approximately 300 multicultural, professional women. Women’s activist Gloria Steinem, CNN’s Lisa Ling, Levo League Founder Caroline Ghosn, President of Combs, Wine, Spirits Dia Sims and many more will serve as speakers. Prudential, Coca-Cola, Toyota, Wells Fargo, McDonald’s, Edelman, Weber Shandwick, MSLGroup and many more will serve as sponsors. ColorComm will host the ColorComm Circle Awards, the highest honor awarded to a select group of 8 women who are changing the face of the communications industry. PR Week, Latina, Audrey, and Blogher are serving as media partners.
What’s been the best experience of your career thus far (or the most rewarding)?
Having the confidence to tackle fear and to leave a full-time, comfortable, and nicely paid position with QorvisMSLGROUP to fulfill my mission and calling by leading ColorComm, Inc. as President.
Describe yourself in three words.
Proactive, Persistent, Impatient
How can people reach you?