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Exploring Life & Business with Chinua Joi Ivey of Ivey Media Agency, LLC

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chinua Joi Ivey.

Hi Chinua Joi, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I’ve always had a passion for communication. My birth father was one of America’s first Black cinematographers and my birth mother was a writer. I believe that, even though I became a foster child, those qualities were a great influence on me. You don’t often hear of communications running in the family the way we commonly do with music, medicine, or teaching, but it does happen! So, I started through observation and journal writing. Then, I became curious about print, radio, and digital communication tactics. With my career, I focus on corporate communication/public relations. I’ve worked for non-profits, federal government contracts, and Fortune 500 companies. Today, I have my own public relations consultancy – Ivey Media Agency, LLC. I am also an author, speaker, and adjunct professor at Bethune-Cookman University in the Communication Studies, Theater, and Dance Department. I am very thankful for the love and support that has empowered me to be where I am today.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Absolutely not, and that’s OK! Leaving corporate America and launching a business was not easy, but corporate America was more of a comfort zone for me. It was an odd combination of me growing complacent coupled with my skills and talents being underutilized and a strong desire for “more.” It was a calculated and planned risk that took many conversations with my husband, budgeting, planning, and pep talks! I went back to school for my second Master’s Degree in Strategic Communication from American University (Washington, DC). I created my business plan and I took the grand leap of faith. Surprisingly, what I am doing today is not what I had originally planned, and what I see in the future is far greater than what I would have ever imagined when I was dreaming about entrepreneurship. The key is two-fold: Know your “why” and use your vision as your North Star. Your “why” is what differentiates your brand in a crowded marketplace and it should be front and center in everything you do. Trends change, but there is purpose in your “why.” We should also grow into our business visions. Vision is always greater than what we currently know, and I strongly believe that the next step is illuminated as we go. We grow as we go! All of this involves achievements, mistakes, expansion, milestones, detours, and an occasional sanity check. I discovered that the struggles were mainly internal, and I needed to get out of my way. With our thoughts, we can be our best cheerleaders or our best doubters. Conquer your thoughts to be your best.

As you know, we’re big fans of Ivey Media Agency, LLC. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Ivey Media Agency, LLC is a minority, woman-owned, independent public relations consultancy in Metro Atlanta. Our specialty is defining brand narratives for maximum impact and influence. We understand that our client’s products and services meet a need and that solutions start with storytelling. Our three focus areas are print, digital, and speech communication. Our company belief is that “Every cause, person, or brand has a story, and every story can spark change.” Currently, we offer a custom solution through The Noteworthy Communication Plan. In the future, we will provide media outlets to highlight our clients, the communities they serve, and more. We make brands noteworthy!

Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
Unless you are a thrill-seeker, most people don’t like risk. Risk alludes to danger of some sort – often financially. When I started Ivey Media Agency, LLC, we paid off everything pertaining to the business with cash. But, then I got curious about business credit. A little backstory: I had divorced earlier on and became a single mom of two. My credit tanked, unfortunately. I had to work hard to bring my credit back up and the thought of establishing business credit was appealing because it meant expansion and greater reach.

I researched business credit, dived in, and now I have excellent personal and business credit! Again – it was an uphill climb! Like I mentioned before, we as entrepreneurs take leaps of faith and they are often into the unknown. The biggest risk of any small business owner is to let fear limit them from reaching their greatest potential. Spending personal cash to build my business was risk I was no longer willing to take, especially when I could leverage business credit. Making sacrifices so that you launch with less stress and improved chances of success is a better way to place your bets. Risks are more manageable with a strategy.

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Image Credits:

Kreed Celisse Photography

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