ORLANDO, Fla. – This week on “Black Men Sundays,” host Corie Murray interviews Ivan Thomas, a celebrity publicist and motivational speaker whose wide range of talents and services find common ground in the ways they enhance the lives of others.
Thomas is president and CEO of Intrigue Media Group, a company specializing in PR and reputation management services primarily for clients in the arts and entertainment industries. Some of Thomas’ clients have included companies from Nielsen to Xerox and celebrities such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, NBA player Michael Beasley, rapper Waka Flocka Flame, reality TV star Melody Shari and more.
He told Murray about how often he reminds himself of his purpose: to help other people bring out their greatness.
“About 10 years ago, I really started the journey of just learning myself, to be completely honest. Like, why am I here? What am I put here to do? You know, I had gone through a period in my life where I just felt like I was just going through the motions and I was just working every single day without any real sense of purpose, I wasn’t truly passionate about what I was doing, so I had to go on this journey to figure out, like, ‘Hey, what am I here for?’” Thomas said. “...So really, for the past 10 years, that’s really what I’ve been focused on doing is projecting the best of myself and helping others to do the same. So every day, you know, I wake up with the intention of making an impact.”
Intrigue Media Group has been based up in Atlanta, Georgia, for around seven years now, but Thomas said he started the company in Palm Coast. Business was slower and attention was lower here in Florida, understandably, but Thomas soon found ways to change all that.
“People might have a book or they have a small company that they’re trying to launch, but there was kind of like a small town type of mindset there. But still, with that, I started my company and I’m telling you man, I’m making like $250 a month with this client, I wasn’t making no kind of money at all, but I was just working my tail off,” Thomas said. “I started getting these people press coverage, getting them in some outlets around the country and things of that nature, and what that did — even though it seemed small at that time — was it put me on the map, it showed other people, like, ‘Hey, how did you get there? How to get that interview? How was this person writing about your business?’ And gradually, I started bringing more attention to me, where I had people reaching out from different states.”
According to Thomas, one of the keys of becoming known is the simple act of leveraging free opportunities — in Thomas’ case, writing articles about conferences and red carpet events for the exposure — in order to connect with potential clients and build a healthy, relationship-based operation.
But perhaps more important than collecting such connections is understanding that success the likes of Thomas’ will take time, and he should know, given how he’s written a book about it.
“I have a book called ‘Defy Gravity: Unleashing Your Greatness Within’ where I talk about that, embracing the process. Success doesn’t come overnight for most people. Now, there are people, rare cases where people just come out the box, they’re hitting on all cylinders, but sometimes you even got to be careful with that, sometimes you can grow quickly and then just fizzle out,” he said. “...For those people who are struggling in the beginning, I would just say keep going, but also recognize that you don’t have to put it all on your shoulders. Like I mentioned, it’s about relationships, so sometimes you got to collaborate with people. Lots of times, due to ego or pride, we don’t want to ask for support or ask for assistance from other people, but there’s plenty of talented people around where you can pull your resources together and make it work. So yeah, that’s pretty much what I would say, just don’t give up.”
Hear the full interview in Season 3, Episode 15 of “Black Men Sundays.”
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