Where Innovation and Funding Meet – Buzz from the 2015 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit

The Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit is always a great place for networking and an important moment to invigorate as an entrepreneur. This year’s event held in Atlanta was buzzing with topics, tips and tools for small business owners new and seasoned.

Here are a few highlights on my Storify story. http://sfy.co/f0bvK

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Personal Brands I Like: Queen Latifah

Here’s a woman who has mastered many facets of entertainment – music, television, film, theatre, books, beauty and business. Her recent CNN appearance on Larry King Live reveals the honest way in which she approaches her personal brand and how she doesn’t allow prying into her private space. Who needs the dish on the Queen when the success of her career is enough to keep us talking for decades to come! Hear her philosophy on how she manages a personal brand while protecting her personal life.

Queen Latifah on CNN's Larry King Live

Personal Brands I Like: Victoria Beckham

Okay, okay – I know what you’re saying, “You like her because she’s a Spice Girl.” Actually no. I respect this former girl group singer because she has seamlessly transformed her posh personal brand into fashion icon status. She took her stage presence to the runway and finally landed in the designer’s chair to launch her own collection of dresses that celebs and even PR strutters like me are going crazy for. Check out a recent rundown of which celebs, including Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Lopez who both wore a piece from the collection to the White House, are making Victoria’s collection a staple in their red carpet wardrobe.

Vogue UK

Personal Brands I Like: Ice Cube

He’s come a long way since NWA. His career proves that none of us are one-dimensional. Read how the former gangsta rapper used his hip-hop legacy and L.A. roots to direct a documentary for ESPN’s “30 for 30” series.

Ice Cube and Robert De Niro at the Tribeca Film Festival. (Getty Images)

Personal Brands I Like: Marshawn Evans

This former pageant queen is a multi-faceted entrepreneur who offers women tips for success in business and life. She’s another example of women with marketing/branding savvy who capitalize on opportunities to build, grow and give. Hear more about her philosophy of women in business from her interview with Dreaminsoul.com

Courtesy of DreaminSoul.com

Reality Checkpoints for Athletes

With football season now over and basketball season about to climb to its peak, sports fans couldn’t be more excited.The thrill it brings with each year continues prove the sports industry to be one of the powerful agents of media culture. But the public’s interest spans further than touchdowns and championship trophies.

More than ever before, pro athletes are increasingly seen as celebrities, stars and ballers but known less for their power plays on the field. Sure, that’s great branding for name recognition but how many players can you name but have no idea what team the guy plays for? More importantly, at what moment did you learn or remember his name – during a hot media crisis buzzing amid the news or after reading a good magazine article about his journey to the pros?

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The reality is athletes aren’t hard to brand. Their public relations efforts are made simple by their league and team affiliations. Take the media legend of Terrell ‘T.O.’ Owens for instance. Though he grew into some rather unfavorable moments while becoming one of the most outspoken and unpredictable players in the NFL, T.O. has weathered the storm. The Dallas Cowboys’ receiver is getting his own reality show on VH1 this summer showing what life off the field is like. Kudos to his publicists Monique Jackson and Kita Williams tasked with the taming of success.

Not every athlete will have a shot at a reality show. Not every athlete wants their daily life off the field to be peered into. Not every athlete will face public crisis or turmoil. Nonetheless, the responsibility for athletes to manage their image very carefully couldn’t be greater.

Here are three reality checkpoints of PR for athletes:reailtycheck1

First, realize that the sports industry has gone far beyond just getting in the game. PR is a must. Athletes have to study both games and acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing this firsthand will help them tackle their seasons with success.

Second, work hard. Hard work never kills but it pays.
If you’re an all-around hardworking guy, you will surely make progress in your career. This will make people respect and see you as an icon. Hardwork includes going to practice on time and as well as maintaining your character in front of the public.

Third, humble yourself and be disciplined.
This is one of the greatest assets of success. Remember, its public relations, the art of relating to the public and it requires you to be in touch with who you are as player and a person.