It’s been a while since we’ve been able to sit with a brand expert that gives you that breath of fresh air. After speaking with her I felt the industry-shaking because she is truly a force to reckon with. I think that you should watch out for Madame Gordon. Our conversation went something like this:
What drew you to the creative industry in an era of digital marketing?
I’ve always been drawn to the business of creating since I can remember. My greatest joy is finding a way to tell stories for and with people who look like me – finding that synergy is what I love to do.
How did you get started with HYYER Creative? What are your roles and responsibilities at HYYER Creative, and how is it split with the rest of the team?
Our CEO, Malachi, and I were introduced as like-minded creatives by a mutual friend a few years ago. Over time, we’ve grown to become family and it was an organic and casual conversation one day, like “Why aren’t we working together?” From there, we just talked through what HYYER needed and how I could help fill any gaps. I do a bit of a lot. My focuses include internal structure and process for the team, building and fostering client relationships, and overarching partnerships. My touchpoints are pretty widespread with the team but essentially, just improving how we build altogether.
Can you share with us some of your goals and aspirations for yourself? For HYYER Creative?
For myself, I aim to impact and empower a generation of young Black women to literally do what they want – create the life, business, and lifestyle that they want for themselves without limitation. My goal is to provide tangible resources beyond inspiration to help build that with and for them. For HYYER, I’m excited to take our small but mighty team into huge rooms and bring value to the way brands communicate with our community.
What was the biggest challenge for you in media and PR during the pandemic? Any insights on what businesses should expect in the future?
The biggest challenges have been 1) not being IRL. So many business deals and relationships are planted seeds from events, in-person meetings, by chance run-ins, etc. so taking that out of the mix made it that much more difficult to foster new and existing relationships and have those conversations. 2) business priorities completely shifted – budgets were cut, employees were laid off, timelines were on hold so essentially things came to a full stop for a few months. Now that things are slowly getting back to “normal” I think people shouldn’t expect business to return to normal. Both personal and business priorities were put into perspective with the pandemic – I foresee traditional event styles [panels etc] won’t be as popular, brands are going to want to partner with more substance behind the initiatives, and teams will be forced into much more transparency. Accountability will be a major theme, but it will be interesting to see how they uphold some of the initiatives they’ve set forth over the last 1+ years.
We’ve seen that you juggle different tasks/responsibilities at once – HYYER Creative, different brand partnerships, and your own PR agency – any advice for other multi-tasking women?
Do the work but make sure it works for you. So many times people want you to dedicate your life story to sole entrepreneurship or put you in a box – I don’t subscribe to that. I find places and spaces that respect the value I bring to a project/team/company and set my own guidelines on how I execute. I’d also say, don’t be afraid to pivot. So many times, we can have a million things on our plate because we don’t want to say no or stop doing something that’s expected of us. If it no longer serves you or the vision for yourself, don’t be afraid to put it down and replace it with rest.
When your work is heavily online, how do you disconnect for “me time?” Ever feel social media fatigue?
Social media fatigue is REAL! I often need ‘me’ time to recharge my social battery. For me, it looks like going outside in nature or removing myself from the habit of over-scheduling. A weekend where I can put my feet in the sand or go on a hike and not have five pending meetings over my head, serve me best.
What fellow industry professionals or creatives inspire you?
I think some of mine are a little less traditional. I’m inspired by business savvy and thought leaders who are changing the conversation in their respective realms. Jenna Lyons is a major inspiration for me because she’s mastered the pivot – creative director, interior designer, producer, beauty brand founder, the list goes on and on. She’s also been successful but maintained a sense of privacy which is the ultimate goal. Another would be Issa, because how could you not? She’s another who is a master pivot-er and juggler. As someone who serves in many roles and capacities, it’s inspiring to see her building different verticals that speak and help to build on one another. And I’d say, Mal! Working with a friend can be either really great or really bad but at HYYER, I’ve been so supported and trusted. Watching him navigate providing opportunities to people in his circle [and outside of it] pushes me to help create those spaces.
What is something that makes you uniquely Rachel, and how does it further your career?
Rachel: I think my golden gift is my relentlessness. A no isn’t ever really a no to me – I will find a way. It’s helped to put me into rooms, finesse in/out of situations, and ultimately accomplish things, that even I didn’t think I would. It’s like planning a conference and the venue gets pulled from under you six days before, and yet – we found a way.
What is one mantra or affirmation you would share with other professional women?
Do the work and let it work for you.
A “Magnum Opus” is defined as one’s most important work, (not necessarily their best). What do you view as your “magnum opus” thus far in your career and personal life?
That’s tough, there are so many moments that have set the stage for me. Right now, I think I’d say pulling off a six-city women’s conference tour in five months with no budget. Netwerk to Networth was birthed out of something incredible between myself and my two co-founders, and it quite literally changed lives. I learned so much about myself throughout the process and the way we’re building for 2022, it’s easily my favorite brainchild right now.
Follow Rachel HERE.
This feature was submitted by Nia Rice
Tanzania “Nia ” Rice was born in the Washington D.C. area and currently resides in Los Angeles California. For the past 8 years, she’s told stories for musicians, cultural leaders, entrepreneurs, and more. She’s confirmed her love by becoming a 2x author of “Eventproof”, list in Huffington Post as the Nation’s top 25 Rising Publicist and stepping on red carpets for box office films. She’s curating the life she wants, to assure your story is told flawlessly.
All images by Gianna Dorsey