(BAMSouth.com is pleased to begin a series of honoring outstanding young business professionals in Mississippi and throughout the South called “Future Leaders Among Us.” We presented these up and coming young leaders with a series of questions in order for our readers to discover more about them through their own words and thoughts thus showing why we think their futures are so very bright in our business communities.)
COMPANY: McLaughlin Garner Group LLC
CURRENT TITLE: Partner
TITLE UPON HIRE AT CURRENT COMPANY: Partner
High School – Madison Ridgeland Academy; College – Millsaps College
SPOUSE’S NAME and NAME AND AGES OF CHILDREN (if applicable):
Matthew McLaughlin, Tinsley – 5 years old, Tatum – 3 years old
PLEASE DESCRIBE BRIEFLY YOUR JOB AND RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDING HOW LONG YOU HAVE BEEN IN YOUR CAREER:
I am very fortunate to be in the third year of having my own company with my business partner and friend Emily Garner. Our company focuses on advertising, event planning, marketing and public relations. Our clients include small businesses, nonprofits and trade organizations. My responsibilities include developing and overseeing marketing and publicity schedules, general branding, public relations campaign development, and implementation and coordination of special events. My career began 17 years ago as a senior in college with an internship at an advertising agency. At the time, I did not realize that this would be the starting point of my career path. My career path has kept me in the advertising field; however, it has introduced me to different positions within the advertising/marketing world. With each job, I learned new skills including media buying, event planning and public relations.
I have worked at advertising agencies, worked at large corporations within their advertising and marketing departments, have consulted with small start-up businesses and now have my own company. With each chapter in my career, I have learned about different industries ranging from retail and gaming to healthcare and nonprofit.
PLEASE LIST COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT/ACTIVITIES/BUSINESS AND SOCIAL ORGANIZATION AFFLIATIONS:
Throughout my career, I have volunteered with numerous organizations. Currently, I am an active volunteer with the Junior League of Jackson. I am the publicity chair for the Greater Belhaven Foundation’s Annual Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights event, the staging chair for the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event, a Class Agent for Millsaps College and Children’s Chapel volunteer for St. Andrew’s Cathedral. I have served as the publicity chair for the Belhaven Garden Club and Friends of Laurel Street Park biannual Art for the Park event. I am also the room mother for my oldest child’s class at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and my youngest child’s class at St. Luke’s MMO and Preschool.
YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT THUS FAR IN YOUR CAREER?
Two years ago, my company was hired by a nonprofit organization to plan and coordinate a new event in a new coverage area. This is was quite a challenge, not only introducing a new event to the area, but also introducing a new organization to the community. I worked diligently on a public relations campaign to educate the area about the organization and its mission. I contacted local businesses to form partnerships as sponsors of the event. I helped recruit volunteers for the event as well as worked with the City for approvals and police assistance. It was a great example of grassroots community activism. Hundreds of people attended the event. My business partner, the organization’s executive director and myself were extremely pleased with the turnout. The organization even netted a profit with this first-year event in a new community. The funds raised allowed the organization to further service its programs, which directly aid people in the community.
ADIVCE TO OTHER YOUNG BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS?
My advice to young business and community leaders is to learn to be adaptable in everything that you do whether professionally, socially or personally. Your life and career path is continually changing. You need to be amendable and learn from it. In today’s ever evolving business environment, there are no guarantees and nothing is certain. When you learn to adapt, you become open to what lies in front of you. You may pick up new skills, develop new relationships and gain a different perspective.
Expose yourself to as many different experiences and people as possible. Be involved where you work and where you live, and with organizations that interest you. Be careful not to over commit yourself. You cannot do everything with complete dedication. Map out your goals and commitments. Most importantly, remember that you are accountable for your words and actions.
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE MOST POSITIVE THINGS ABOUT METRO JACKSON? CONVERSELY, WHAT AREAS DOES THIS CITY AND SURROUNDING AREA NEED TO IMPROVE ON?
The most positive things about Metro Jackson are the people and the attractions. We have a great group of diverse people that are passionate about their communities and the Metro area. We have museums, galleries, theatres, retail, baseball, the Reservoir, Pearl River, downtown Jackson, art districts, farmers markets, historic neighborhoods, planned communities, etc.
However, I think that all of the cities and communities with all of these wonderful attractions need to be more open to working together. Sometimes I feel that people are quick to point out problems and complain about situations, but they do not want to get involved and help find a solution. I think that if everyone could come together, focus their energies, and support everything that this area has to offer, the possibilities for Metro Jackson would be endless.
THE BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ THAT HELPED ME IN MY CAREER WAS/IS?
I recently read “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. It resonated with me as a professional woman and a mother with young children. She discusses the difficult balance of being able to fully serve your company, clients and career without compromising your personal life and family. She also discusses the role of women in the workplace and the obstacles that we face. Sheryl points out that people should not shy away from opportunities because of the unknown. They should lean in and be ambitious in any pursuit.
I think that this applies to everything in life, but especially with my career. I am not going to be able to help grow our company if I decide that we should sit out or pass on an opportunity with a new client because of the unknown. I am not going to fully serve my clients if I just do the status quo rather than determining how we can fully meet and exceed their goals. And on days, where 10:00 a.m. feels more like 5:00 p.m., I have to remember to “Lean In” because you never know what the rest of the day will hold.
MY GREATEST INSPIRATION IS DRAWN FROM—-WHO OR WHAT?
My greatest inspiration is drawn from my mom. She worked in a field that was completely dominated by men; however, she worked extremely hard and always gained everyone’s respect. She somehow managed to balance her work life and home life even though her work required frequent day trips and extended nights out of town. She instilled in me to never give up no matter the challenge. At times this was frustrating, but through it, I gained an invaluable attribute. I think that this has carried me through my life professionally and personally. It enables me to accept challenges, look for alternative solutions and step out of my comfort zone. Even with my daughters, at their age, I am already teaching and hoping to instill this quality in them.
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE IN FIVE YEARS?
If you asked me this question five years ago, I never would have imagined that I would be where I am now. I feel very fortunate and blessed to be in the third year of having my own company with a business partner that is just as driven and dedicated as myself to our families and to our community. I would not be at this point in my career without the support of my husband, who has encouraged me every step of the way. I am thankful for such a wonderful family that is willing to help with my girls when meetings and events take place after school hours.
In five years, I want McLaughlin Garner Group to have grown to employ several people so that we are better able to serve our expanding client base in their marketing and event planning needs. I want to remain involved in the community and organizations that are dear to me. I want to continue to challenge myself and learn new things, and through this, be able to offer more to those around me.
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