(Photo Courtesy: Cheryl Parks Ajamu)

(Photo courtesy of Cheryl Parks Ajamu)

Cheryl Parks Ajamu is the founder and CEO of The Ajamu Group LLC. as well as the creator and executive producer of the Multicultural Media Luncheon. The sixth annual luncheon will be held at The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016.

Read what she has to say about producing events, the North American International Auto Show and her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.

What inspired you to create your event?
I created the Multicultural Media Luncheon as an event during the North American International Auto Show [to] showcase the achievements of ethnic groups and bring in a celebrity keynote speaker who could share their experiences on how they have been successful in marketing and branding to diverse consumers. I wanted to create an event for everyone in the auto industry that would be educational and entertaining. Before I created the Multicultural Media Luncheon, I met so many people who were doing exceptional work in the automotive industry, but very few people knew about them. I wanted to share their work with the public in the hopes that consumers would purchase more cars if they knew more about the people who help to create or design the vehicles or the advertising campaigns in the auto industry.

How do you select your keynote speaker?
The speakers for the Multicultural Media Luncheon are selected on based on their success and challenges in marketing themselves or their products to diverse audiences — they have interesting stories as well. I like keynote speakers who are personable, enjoy sharing their journey to success and enjoy interacting with the public as well as business professionals.

The multicultural creative community is growing. What type of advertising campaigns do you highlight during the awards?
The ad campaigns highlighted during the Multicultural Media Luncheon awards are nominated by automotive journalists, social media professionals who have a pulse on what types of advertising campaigns generate conversation and trend on social media outlets, as well as the automotive TV commercials that resonate with various ethnic groups. I keep the identities of the people who nominated candidates for the awards program anonymous, so that they feel comfortable in providing an honest perspective on what they see and hear in the marketplace.

What are the three most important keys to producing a successful event for the auto industry?
Integrity, being organized and following through on commitments. Working with the North American International Auto Show is a prestigious opportunity, I’m not only representing the Multicultural Media Luncheon and my company, The Ajamu Group, but also the North American International Auto show and the automotive industry.

How do you balance work and family life?
I struggle with this one! Work and family life balance is one of those things I’m still working to improve. I try to schedule down time regularly and make time for fun things to do. Using my calendar helps because I can instantly see how much time I’m working and then I can add some non-working activities to it.

What do you suggest to a young person considering starting a business?
Work for someone else first because there are so many things you need to be familiar with before becoming a business owner. I would also advise them to volunteer with various organizations as well. Lastly, make sure to save some money before you launch your company, to be able to cover your expenses when cash flow is limited.

Finish the statements:

Impactful means …
Maintaining a sustained level of top performance is important in my career. The core business of The Ajamu Group is advertising media sales––securing advertising and sponsorships from the automotive industry for nationally distributed media brands. The Ajamu Group currently represents Latina magazine and Uptown magazine. Since I entered this industry 15 years ago as a Advertising Sales Manager for Black Entertainment Television, I’ve been fortunate and blessed to be able to generate advertising revenue consistently for the media brands I’ve worked for and represented through my company. I have built long-term mutually beneficial relationships between the automotive industry and media brands that are clients of The Ajamu Group.

Passionate means …
Without passion, you’ll get frustrated and give up.

Perseverance means …
Staying the course has been a factor in my professional life. There have been so many times that I was told my idea of creating the Multicultural Media Luncheon would never be successful. When I launched the luncheon six years ago, Comerica Bank was the only sponsor and I didn’t sell many tickets the first year. Today, the Multicultural Media Luncheon has nine sponsors — most of them are large corporations and Fortune 500 companies. For the last three years, our event have been sold out.

Munson Steed

Founder and publisher of rolling out's parent company Steed Media Group.