Raven Robinson is down to earth and inspirational. Raven has a certain air about her that makes me feel like the person that she is today and the person that she was before she became successful, are one in the same. Raven is a young woman from the "Boogie Down" Bronx (the birthplace of hip hop). She's spearheading modern day public relation campaigns for some powerful people and has been doing so for several years now. Often times, it's believed that in order to start a public relations firm, one needs to be a seasoned veteran. Things of this sort are truly just suggestions and Ms. Robinson isn't one to follow those. At least not whole heartedly.
New York City is one of those places where business is part of the culture. Growing up in NYC you quickly learn the value of money. At a young age you start conducting purchases on your own, from sodas at the bodega to bus fare to commute to school. She didn't have a business as a kid, but she spent a lot of time in roles that taught her leadership principles and made her comfortable with speaking in front of a crowd. From speeches in elementary school to a presidential campaign in high school. Raven has made herself comfortable in front of a crowd, which is really important in business. I know at least half a dozen folks who have given up on a good idea just because they were too afraid to tell people how to purchase it. You've got to get comfortable in front of people. Sidenote: every medium sized town to city has a local chapter of an organization called Toast Masters. Essentially they're a group of people who practice speaking to improve not only the skill of public speaking but the comfort level associated with it as well. Learn more about them here.
Near the end of High School and while in college, Raven took on as many internships as she could handle which lead to a lot of experience with growing the brands of people running for an office. Experience has been essential to her success. At the City college of New York she studied Political Science and in 2009 she named her brand: PR2 Politics. One of her greatest revelations that she was on the right path was when she went to a conference in 2010 for Political Public Relations. From there her momentum picked up and she not only was more motivated, but savvy. In college she started taking on clients. Though instead of asking for money, which would've been a low amount and not very life changing, she asked for something of greater value. Raven understood brand equity and she started building it from the beginning, I suppose it's the New York in her. Instead of money she asked for her logo to be posted and associated with the campaign, or at least a Linkedin recommendation. Brilliant. I have always heard that documentation beats any conversation. With documented association, Raven knew that getting clients in the future would be a lot easier than otherwise. She was right. By 2012 she was working on two senate campaigns building their social media presence. Though Raven had internships, she advocates more for volunteering and creating what you want to be a part of. More times than not internships are quite limited, though if you volunteer or create your own opportunities you will have more control over your experience.
For entrepreneurs building their brand Raven highly suggests sticking to things that you are not only good at, but that you actually enjoy. If you can't see yourself doing it for an indefinite amount of time, you probably shouldn't pursue the venture.
In the spring of 2014 Raven released her first book. Your Campaign: A Business Owner's Guide To Understanding Public Relations: PR 101. Check it out here. Raven self published her first book through a self publishing company called Create Space. It's more of a workbook than anything, which helps you work through Public Relations concepts for your company. Very useful for any entrepreneur. In June Raven was listed as one of the top 40 under 40 rising stars in politics by CityandstateNY.com, which is a huge accolade.
Finding clients in Public Relations requires some finesse. She makes sure to be part of industry related associations, networking events and of course reminding people in her network of her skills. She mentioned that one of her first clients came from her being very observant of people in business and whether they're doing their own PR. Not to mention how well their PR is being done. Being observant = opportunities. What's one of the greatest tools to use to observe potential opportunities? Social media.
I for one am excited to watch Raven grow in to a powerful Public Relations figure. What she's going through now is the beginning of what will be a great story 20 years from now. Look out for more books from Raven and a national PR campaign from PR2 Politics. Raven's advice for anyone on the rise: "Losing isn't an option. You either win or you learn."