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IL:Maci Peterson

June 5, 2015 | By | No Comments


Maci Peterson

INTERVIEW | Getting to Know Maci Peterson

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur, developing the app, On Second Thought?

I am a born entrepreneur. When I was little, my mom had a basket business called Baskets of Joy. As a young child, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d reply, “I want to be a Baskets of Joy lady.” I didn’t realize I was actually saying I wanted to be an entrepreneur. The idea for On Second Thought was born out of sending a few texts I wished I could get back.

Tell us about On Second Thought.

On Second Thought is a messaging app that lets you take back text messages before they get to the other person’s phone. The app also has the Curfew feature, that is there to help during those times when inhibitions are lower than usual.

The app’s retention rate and download rates are high. What’s behind this success?

We’re thrilled the response and connection to the app has been so successful. With On Second Thought, we’ve solved a problem that people encounter on a daily basis. We’ve been successful because when people hear about OST and download the app, they realize how useful it is and they are grateful that it helps them navigate their text-driven lives. We’ve been extremely blessed, and our success can be attributed to three major factors: 1) Prayer 2) Solving a problem a common problem 3) Taking risks and seizing opportunities.

How did you get involved with the technology industry?

I got involved in the technology industry by having ideas for tech-driven companies.

Tell us about philanthropic efforts outside of your company.

I am an active member of my church, DC Metro Church in Alexandria, VA. I am also a member of Chapman50, an alumni board at my alma mater Chapman University.

What are some difficulties African-American women face in the technology industry?

Being an entrepreneur is challenging, and it’s not for everyone. In terms of difficulties, I only know my experience. I don’t know if challenges I’ve faced have been because I’m an African-American woman, or if they just come with the territory. Raising money is hard for everyone. I don’t know if my experience has been difficult because I’m a black woman or if it’s because the institutional capital funds in DC tend to shy away from investing in B2C companies. My partners and I have been focused on working with investors who can bring more than just money to the table, and that adds another level of complexity.

Name the biggest mistake young professionals make as entrepreneurs.

I think the worst thing that could happen for any person is to become a victim of their own hubris. Entrepreneurs, and people in general, need to be comfortable with the fact that we don’t know everything, and align ourselves with those who know more than us.

What advice would you give to other young professionals who desire to become a CEO one day?

Seek the truth about yourself, accept it and use it to fuel your drive. Whenever anyone tries to project things onto you that don’t align with that truth, brush it off and stick to what you know.

What’s been the best experience of your career?

My career has been filled with many great experiences. The best experiences are when people have shared their stories about how On Second Thought has saved them in what could have been precarious situations.

What’s next for you in your career?

I just left Marriott where I was a Brand Manager so I could give On Second Thought my undivided attention. I’m focused on building On Second Thought into an industry leader in the United States and abroad.

Describe yourself in three words.

Blessed, optimistic, ambitious

How can people reach you?

Twitter: @MaciPeterson or @On2nd_Thought


IL:Steven Jumper

May 5, 2015 | By | No Comments


steven jumper

INTERVIEW | Getting to Know Steven Jumper

What inspired you to pursue a career in branding, creative development?

Branding is just that – harnessing and shaping a company’s inspirations into a concise package that makes people feel something. Since I was a child, over the years I’ve been deeply influenced by certain brands that were able to connect with my aspirations, passions, and lifestyle. Experiencing the power that thoughtful brands have had and continue to have on my life, I’ve been driven over the past several years to help craft brands that connect with people in genuine ways.

Tell us about your transition from politics, corporate to start-up. Pros? Cons?

Although I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the top brands in the U.S. and world, I’ve always felt like I’ve been a part of the start-up culture. My first job, the opportunity that helped set my professional course, was working for renowned communications expert Judy Smith and her company Impact Strategies (now Smith and Company). At Impact Strategies, although we led communications efforts for some of the world’s most prominent figures and brands, the company was still fueled by a start-up/small business culture. I watched Mrs. Smith and later Mrs. Ann Walker Marchant, of the Walker Marchant Group, build significant, influential companies by shaping boutique agencies into organizations able to compete with and surpass larger national firms. So, although I may not have fully realized it along the way, start-up culture has always been central to my professional life.

Why are you passionate about startups?

I’m inspired by people and companies fully willing to take the destinies into their own hands. Business owners who truly invest in themselves bring a unique energy that you can feel. As an owner of my own agency, along with my partners, I am inspired every time I meet anyone who believes in an idea and strategy enough to set out and chart his/her own course.

What is the key to balancing your professional, philanthropic, and social commitments?

For a while I struggled with this. For years, I believed that personal, professional, and philanthropic lives had to be lived and managed independently. What I’ve come to believe is that for me to be at my best, I have to approach all facets of my life with the same commitment and passion. My hope is that when I’m fortunate enough to be a part of anything positive I bring a level of mindfulness that people can feel.

Shark Tank DC? How were you involved with this effort?

In April, Ghost Note, the integrated communications agency I co-own, was fortunate enough to partner with Shark Tank and area consultant firm Values Partnerships to offer DC-based startups with an exclusive opportunity to pitch the hit ABC show’s leading casting directors. The collaboration with Shark Tank was the latest event in our Technoir initiative. We launched Technoir in 2014 in an effort to help fund, showcase, and celebrate diversity in tech.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t send a big shout to IMPACT leader Brandon Andrews who was instrumental in making our Shark Tank collaboration possible.

Name the biggest mistake young professionals make in your industry?

There still exist misconceptions about the industries of strategic communications, marketing and branding that young professionals entering the workforce should be aware of. Foremost, is the belief that the glamorization by popular media of the worlds of PR and branding is reality in the office place. These industries can certainly be very exciting, fast paced, and exhilarating, but above all they require an intense work ethic to be successful. Young professionals assuming that their early careers will be defined by red carpet appearances and elbow rubbing with celebrities will be sorely disappointed. Mostly, the communications, branding, and marketing industries are driven by inspired and hardworking people willing to put in the time necessary to implement their ideas and strategies real in ways that benefit clients.

What advice would you give other young professionals who desires to excel in your industry?

I would encourage any young(er) professional in the field to commit him/herself to truly learning the fundamental tenets that still drive the work of strategic communications, branding, and marketing. Focus on core skills such of writing, pitching, project management, and quality ideation.

What’s been the best experience of your career thus far (or the most rewarding)?

I’ve been truly blessed to work closely with principal figures at the center of some of the most significant news stories to happen in this country over the past several years. I’ve also had the privilege of helping to craft effective strategies for global, leading brands. That said, without a doubt, the best experience of my career has been building our agency Ghost Note. Of course, a particular pride comes from owning your company, but mostly I feel incredibly fortunate to be doing it with close friends and three of the most talented young minds I know – Brandon Ellis, Reggie Snowden, and Ade Omitowoju.

What’s next for you in your career?

The continued growth and expansion of Ghost Note. The size and profile of our clients is growing. Our partnerships are growing. Our team is growing. Our aspirations for what we can make our company into are growing. And meanwhile, as professionals, sons, fathers, and brothers, we are growing. If this theme continues, years from now, I’ll think I’ll be proud of what we’ve accomplished.

Describe yourself in three words.

Reserved. Restless. Relentless.

Twitter Handle?


How can people reach you?

IL:Lauren Wesley Wilson

April 5, 2015 | By | No Comments

IL - 2015 - Lauren Wesley Wilson

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

Twitter Handle?
@colorcommntwk; @lwesleywilson

How can people reach you?

March 27, 2014 | By | No Comments


 Registration is closed for this event


IMPACT and the Washington Government Relations Group are collaborating to establish a pipeline bringing more professionals of color to Capitol Hill and into the private sector. Whether the path is the House, the Senate or navigating the corporate maze. 

Our panel will discuss:

  Getting to the Hill

  Being a good staffer

  Moving to the Private Sector

March 25th, 2014 6:00 PM   through   7:30 PM
2456 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
United States

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