- Tell me a little bit about your career journey. What different jobs have you had?
My first job when I graduated from the University of Maryland College Park was working in Washington, DC as an Administrative Assistant for a nonprofit organization that provided college scholarships for Asian and Pacific Islanders. I then went on to work as a Program Assistant at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. I then decided to go to graduate school to pursue a Masters in Healthcare Administration where I had a number of internships at top hospital systems in both Maryland and New York and when I graduated, got a job working at NIH (again) as a Clinical Research Coordinator. It was during graduate school, while I was working part time, in addition to being a student, that I became interested in entrepreneurship!
- What motivated you to start your own PR & Communications firm?
Throughout my graduate studies, I was fortunate to have professors and advisors who had previous experience running businesses. Regular conversations with them encouraged me to start my own business, which I initially only saw as a side hustle, versus a self-sustaining opportunity. I had also been exposed to work opportunities in marketing and communications and so my interest in those areas continued to grow.
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When I moved to Los Angeles in 2018, intent on pursuing my business – which was solely focused on wedding planning – I figured I should cast a wide net and so I positioned myself as the owner of a wedding planning company who plans more than just weddings — one who could also help with marketing projects as needed. And to my surprise, it began to stick! I was building a clientele of individuals and businesses interested in both my marketing and event services but when COVID-19 hit in early 2020, my ability to produce weddings and special events was completely shut down. And I knew I had to switch things up.
That was when I knew I had to shift my business focus to adapt to our online only environment and so I began to offer PR + Communications services – I was no longer solely Jumi Aluko, the Wedding and Special Event Planner, but I became Jumi Aluko, Marketing Communications Specialist and owner of Jumi Aluko Consulting.
- What does your day-to-day look like?
A majority of the work I do takes place over the course of three 12-hour days.
On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I start my work day responding to emails and scheduling meetings. I then dive right into having current and potential client / partner meetings until about mid-day.
I always take a midday break to recharge (which could include a quick sweat session at the gym or getting in the kitchen to try a new recipe!) and then jump back into it responding to various inquiries, pitching (for PR clients), connecting with vendors (for event clients), conducting industry research (always important to stay up to date with the ever evolving trends!), and of course, completing client work.
You’re probably wondering, “What happens on Mondays and Fridays?” Well, Mondays are my administrative days where I’m working on my business – because being a business owner means you’re handling multiple aspects of running a business! And Fridays are my days off to completely unplug.
- Have you seen the marketing & communications space change over the past few years? If so, how?
The biggest thing I’ve seen (and what I find super important) in the space is the importance of making sure the messages brands are putting out are in alignment with their actions. People will QUICKLY call out any brand whose messaging and actions are misaligned (read: performative). So, anyone in this field has to do their due diligence and appropriately guide brands in a way that gets their message out there in the most authentic way possible.
- What is your advice to anyone wanting to get into marketing and/or communications?
One thing I’ve learned that I think anyone getting into this space should be ready for is that they need to be prepared to be a forever student of the field. Marketing and communications is rapidly evolving and we need to be ready to evolve right along with it. Be ready to learn through any and all means available to you – don’t be afraid to ask questions, take initiative, and make mistakes. Every experience you have shapes you and provides a solid foundation as you grow into a successful Marketing and Communications professional.
- Anything else you’d like to add:
Something I live by:
“Don’t be so afraid of the uncertainty of an outcome that you never take a first step…”
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