Deidre Malone describes the day she resigned from her 10-year tenure as a marketing executive with ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as the day she “walked out on faith.”
With a husband recovering from a major surgery in a household concerned about health care, it wasn’t exactly the perfect timing for Malone to become an entrepreneur. But after turning 40, she knew that if she ever wanted to realize her dream, she’d have to take the risk.
“I remember walking into the CEO’s office at ALSAC and he tried to talk me out of it,” Malone said. “He said, ‘Deidre, if you don’t want to run this division, come work for me.’ I said, ‘No, that’s not it. This was the best opportunity because it taught me how to really deal with some adversity in terms of what it would really be like in my own business.’”
That same day, Malone’s pastor invited her to lunch, unaware of her professional circumstances. He informed her that The National Baptist Convention was coming to town and its ministers wanted to hire Malone.
“He said, ‘I know you have a full-time job, but we really need your assistance with sponsorship and PR,’” Malone said. “He had no idea I had just resigned. That was kind of my sign that it was the right thing to do.”
Malone founded The Carter Malone Group LLC in 2003, a full-service public relations, marketing and advertising firm. It was a year after she was elected to the Shelby County Commission, where she served two four-year terms.
The National Baptist Convention still uses The Carter Malone Group when it stops in Memphis. Other longtime clients The Carter Malone Group has retained in its 10 years in business include Saint Francis Hospital and The Church of God in Christ (COGIC).
“From a business standpoint, I’m very proud of the clients that we’ve been able to keep,” Malone said. “I’m proud that we are sought out to partner with organizations that are outside of our industry for work and that we get a lot of referral business, which speaks to the quality of work that the associates here at the firm provide.”
Many of those clients have taught Malone valuable life lessons. Solidifying COGIC, for instance, taught her that as a small-business owner, she had to know the value that she brought to the table and ask for it.
Malone scored that account after starting The Carter Malone Group as a sole proprietor out of her Midtown home and then transitioning into EmergeMemphis, the city’s new business incubator. Working with Cynthia Norwood of alt.Consulting, Malone learned that reducing rates in order to get clients in the door was the wrong methodology for a fledgling agency.
“She said, ‘If you start out that way, then you’re not really getting the revenue that your firm should receive because they’re not paying for what you’re worth,’” Malone said. “(Meanwhile), the Church of God in Christ had asked for a proposal. I gave them a proposal and I thought, ‘they’re never going to agree to this.’ Bishop G.E. Patterson didn’t blink. He said, ‘Absolutely. Send me a contract.’ From that point on, I’ve never reduced my rates or my associate’s rates. We’re pretty competitive with the larger agencies and I think you should be.”
Malone said oftentimes women know that they’re capable of doing the job and offering a quality service, but seldom do they convey the self-confidence they should.
“Sometimes we’re just so grateful to get the opportunity, whereas our male counterparts are very confident when they’re obtaining that opportunity,” Malone said. “More women have to realize that you have the same education, the same experience, the same organizational and thought process as your male counterparts and you deserve to be there and to ask for what you’re worth.”
Malone also stresses to women, especially those looking to open their own business, to be prepared. That’s why earlier this year, The Carter Malone Group held a series of three free symposiums called, “Controlling How the Cookie Crumbles: Educating and Empowering Entrepreneurs.”
“I want people to have a clear understanding that starting your own business is not going to be the easiest thing at all in the world to do, but it can be the most rewarding thing that you could ever do,” Malone said.
The Carter Malone Group, which employs 10, recently moved from The Cotton Exchange Building Downtown to a 103-year-old house at 1509 Madison Ave. The firm occupies the first level and is looking to lease out the second floor to attorneys, architects or any other interested lessees.
Newer clients to The Carter Malone Group’s portfolio are Rural Metro/Corp., Chicago-based Harris & Harris, Los Angeles-based RTKL Associates Inc., Achievement School District and Aspire Public Schools.
And always looking for more opportunities, Malone may also run as the Democratic candidate for Shelby County mayor. She ran in the 2010 Democratic Primary and has been approached by several supporters since that time asking her to consider campaigning again.
“With my small-business background, my corporate background and with the level of public service that I’ve been able to offer the community for the last 25 years, I would be doing a disservice to myself if I didn’t even consider it,” Malone said. “But right now I’m really torn because I’ve been focusing on my business and I’m really loving that. So I’m just going to be prayerful and we’ll see what happens.”
The Memphis Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will host its annual Freedom Fund Gala at the Memphis Cook Convention Center on March 20, 2013 with Susan L. Taylor as the keynote speaker.
Taylor is the Editor Emerita of Essence Magazine and founder of National Cares Mentoring Movement.
At Essence for nearly three decades, Taylor was the driving force behind one of the most celebrated Black-owned businesses in the world serving as its fashion and beauty editor, editor-in-chief and editorial director. For 27 years, she also authored one of the magazine’s most popular columns, “In the Spirit.” She was the first and only African American woman to be recognized by the Magazine Publishers of America and the first to be inducted into the American Society of Magazine Editors Hall of Fame. Taylor was the recipient of the NAACP’s President Award for visionary leadership and has honorary degrees from more than a dozen colleges and universities.
Developed as a call to action, Taylor founded National Cares Mentoring Movement to serve a massive campaign to recruit one million able adults to help secure children who are in peril and losing ground. “Not on our watch!” says Taylor. “Our children are the mothers and fathers of tomorrow, and their future is in our hands.”
Taylor is also the cofounder of Future PAC, the first national political action committee devoted to providing a network of support and sources of funding for progressive African American women seeking federal and state-level political offices. She is the co-chair with Danny Glover of Shared Interest, a capital campaign to raise money to build housing in rural areas of South Africa, and serves on the boards of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
For additional information about then gala, you may contact the Memphis Branch of the NAACP at 901.521.1343.
About the NAACP
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. The mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights for all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.
Aspire Public Schools is proud to announce Memphian Nikita Reed as the organization’s second principal in Memphis at the Hanley Elementary campus. Reed visited Aspire schools in November of 2012 as a member of the Orange Mound community and after her visit she was so impressed by Aspire that she sought to become a part of the organization.
Reed brings 23 years of experience in the Memphis City Schools District as a teacher, library media specialist, assistant principal, and principal. As an administrator, she served families at Hanley Elementary as an assistant principal for three years, and as a principal at Cherokee Elementary for three years.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to return to Hanley Elementary to educate a community; ultimately empowering the City of Memphis and our nation,” said Reed. “I see education as today’s civil rights movement, and is honored to be a school leader for this most important responsibility.”
“We are pleased Nikita will be joining the Aspire school leadership team in Memphis” said Allison Leslie, Aspire Memphis Executive Director. “Nikita’s proven commitment to educational excellence and strong Memphis roots will support our efforts to serve the students and families in the Orange Mound community.”
Not only does Reed serve the Orange Mound community, she proudly serves our country as a Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force. She embraces the core values: Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. Her grandfather, Judge Boyd, taught her the importance and willingness to help others; and the rewards that follow.
Reed’s educational background is a prime example of her belief that learning is a continuous effort. She received an Associate of Art Degree in Pre-Nursing from Southwestern Christian College, an Associate Degree from the United States Air Force Community College, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Harding University, an endorsement in Library Science from Union University, and a Masters in Education in Educational Leadership from the University of Mississippi.
In addition, she is a member of the Harvard Principal’s Center, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), Leadership Memphis Class of 2013, and Enlisted Association (Military). In her efforts to serve others, she takes pride in professional and volunteer services. She also volunteers and supports the March of Dimes, The Scleroderma Foundation, Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA), Memphis Grizzlies, and Habitat for Humanity.
For more information, please visit www.apsirepublicschools.org or call (901) 205-9443.
About Aspire Public Schools
Aspire Public Schools is a nonprofit organization that currently operates 34 high-performing, open-enrollment public charter schools serving 12,500 students in underserved communities across California and will open schools in Memphis, TN beginning in fall, 2013. Aspire is one of the nation’s highest-performing public school systems, delivering a rigorous ‘College for Certain’ education to students in grades K-12. Visit Aspire Public Schools at www.aspirepublicschools.org or call (901) 205-9443.
(February 15, 2013 – Memphis, TENN) The Philanthropic Black Women of Memphis (PBWM), an organization with a focus on supporting programs or projects geared towards economic self-sufficiency, is seeking grant applications. The deadline for submission is Sunday, March 31, 2013.
The organization is accepting applications for programs focusing on, but not limited to, career development, education, entrepreneurship, scholarship and health. The application and requirement guidelines can be downloaded from the website at www.pbwmemphis.org.
“In this economy, budgets are being cut left and right,” said Mary McDaniel, chairman, PBWM. “Our organization is determined to provide assistance to a few organizations that we believe are having an impact in the community.”
Philanthropic Black Women of Memphis was founded in January 2005.The organization has nine members which include McDaniel, Debra Evans, Edith Kelly-Green, Carolyn Chism Hardy, Monice Moore Hagler, Deidre Malone, Belinda Watkins and Lashell Vaughn.
Past grant recipients include the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, DeNeuville, Blackhawks, Booker T. Washington High School Girls Basketball team, New Ballet Ensemble, College Bound of Memphis, Memphis Black Arts Alliance, Memphis Cultural Arts Enrichment Center, Amateur Athletic Union and the Watoto De Afrika.
(February 15, 2013 – Chattanooga, TENN) – The health care industry is changing. That change not only brings increased access to insurance to populations never covered before, but also a greater need for a qualified, diverse workforce to deliver that care.
To address this need for more inclusion in the health care setting, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community Trust, in collaboration with the Memphis chapter of the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE), is offering a $5,000 college scholarship to three Tennessee minority students.
According to BlueCross’ Health Institute’s white paper on health care reform and its impacts on minority populations in Tennessee, major findings suggest that African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians as well as other Pacific Islanders remain underrepresented in medicine relative to their numbers in the U.S. population and populations in specific states, regions and localities.
In addition, the Association of American Medical Colleges reported in a 2010 study that
in Tennessee, out of a total of 411 graduates from medical school, 254 were white (62%), 97 were Black (24%), six were Hispanic (1.4%), two were American Indian or Alaska Native (0.4 %), 42 were Asian (10%), one was other non-Hispanic or Latino race (0. 2%) and nine were self-identified as foreign (2%).
For more information, please contact Mary Danielson, APR at (423) 535-7694.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company’s website at bcbst.com.