Lidyr Creative CEO Nikki Purvy breaks tech’s glass ceiling

nikki purvy headshot 2
Photo credit: Nikki Purvy

Lidyr Creative Marketing Agency is an African American-owned and operated digital media firm in Fishtown, a neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The firm’s top three executives: Nikki Purvy, founder and CEO; Kiarra Solomon, and Chinelle Ballard, are native Philadelphians. The digital media company specializes in Web design, graphic design, social media management and business development services. Some of their clients include Scholastic Inc., Forrsmith Logistics Services, The Barnes Foundation, Comcast, Odyssey Media, and Premier Luxury Rentals. In 2015, Lidyr tripled both their staff size and their revenue.

One of the Lidyr team’s core values is giving back to the community. In November 2015, the company launched the #LoveTheTeachers campaign, which recognizes Philadelphia public school teachers for their hard-work and dedication. Award recipients receive a $100 gift-card to use to purchase classroom supplies. Since launching, #LoveTheTeachers has awarded over $900 in support, and has currently pledged to give more than $4,000 total in 2016.

“We believe in giving back. It’s one of the reason I think we’ve been so successful,” offers Purvy. “Our mission is to help others succeed, not just our clients, but younger generations, the community around us, and our entire city. It’s one of the things we’re very passionate about.”

Lidyr is also working with Universal Audenried High School to introduce students to the career possibilities of athletic footwear industry. This program, set to launch in the spring, will give students an introduction to sneaker design and marketing.

“We’re a learning organization. We have to constantly learn new things because digital media is always changing. But the need for education is bigger than us. We have a responsibility to help educate our community, especially our young people about their possibilities,” Solomon, VP of business development, states. “It’s the foundation of our organization. We teach ‘you can do anything you want, as long as you’re willing to learn.’ ”

Read on for more from the CEO, Nikki Purvy.

Please describe your leadership style as CEO.
I believe in the power of pouring into people and that my team is our greatest resource. I don’t take lightly someone’s decision to work at Lidyr. We don’t live in a third world country where people have to take the first job just to eat. In our society, especially with millennials, people work hard at jobs because they are passionate and they believe in the mission while it has less to do with money than it has in the past. Although each member of the team contributes to the company in whatever shape or form, I’m sure that I learn what their hopes and aspirations are outside of Lidyr and I do what I can to help them unless they secretly want to learn our practices and become our competitor [laughs]. Every new employee sits down with me around week three or so and I ask them about their goals and dreams. I try to put them on projects that prepare them for realizing that dream one day and we have open dialogues about strategizing and positioning for that dream. I also actively look to identify people’s strengths and how they work optimally, because most of the time people aren’t truly aware of their own strengths. That’s definitely one of my superpowers, being able to identify people’s strengths. It’s important as a leader to put people in a position to excel. They will only do that when they do work that makes them happy.
And because of this, I have very high expectations for the quality of work that comes from my team and I’m not exaggerating when I say with the exceptional flub or mistake they always deliver.

What is the company’s mission statement?
To improve the local and economic conditions and overall quality of life of our environment through:
1. The most effective use of new media technology;
2. Continuous education of ourselves, stakeholders, and clients; and
3. Providing small business development in the community.

Your personal mission statement?
My personal mission statement is to create a legacy of wealth and wealth building for my family, close friends, personal stakeholders and my progeny.

What three skill sets are critical for the future executive that you hire for your organization?
Important skill sets for future executive that I hire have:
–a high standard of ethics;
–a high aptitude for learning and acquiring new skill sets quickly and on the fly; and
–the maturity to be able to graciously accept both failure and success, analyze them, learn from it and implement effective systems to improve on (or duplicate) that success or avoid the failure. And then move on from that.

It does us no good to gloat on past success because yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games. Similarly, it does us no justice to harp on failures that have already been learned from because you [have] already learned from it. I can typically read a persons IQ in this department within a couple of hours of knowing them.

I’m sure you expect the CEO of a tech company to be looking for more tech skills when building a leadership team but the reality is that we work in a rapidly changing environment. Any tech skills that any one brings to the table can be obsolete in three months. I’m going to paraphrase Jim Collins in his best selling book, Good to Great: “First decide the Who then the What. To decide where to drive the bus before you have the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus, is absolutely the wrong approach.” So it’s all about getting the right people on the bus above all.

How does having an advanced degree benefit you and your clients?
Actually this was a topic of the discussion in the office today. I want to first say that I have a bachelor’s [degree]. I don’t know how advanced that is. But we debated the value of a degree. I used to be of the mindset that my degree was worthless because I studied finance. I used to be an institutional bond trader. And now here I am not using my finance degree, running a web design company. But over the years I have completely changed my tune. My experience in undergrad gave me one of the most valuable skills anyone could ever ask for: the skill of high-level reasoning. There are very few places that give you intense, high concentrated lessons on reasoning in a short amount of time outside of college. All the work you do is really busy work but it’s training on how to solve new complex problems both small and large that allow you to gain the real skills that you need to succeed in life. If you finish, that’s the ultimate bonus because you have just exercised the powerful muscle of endurance and mental toughness. When you complete something as intense as undergrad and higher degrees, you learn stick-with-it-ness and follow through that most people don’t have.

How do you utilize technology to benefit your organization?
We are a tech company. With everything we do we use technology. Computers, web design, libsyn (we have a podcast “Better Than Success”), Photoshop, iPads, Asana, all social media platforms, Google Analytics, data capture software, email marketing software, eCommerce software, Apple TV, APIs, IPNs, Magic Jack.

What social media platforms do you engage in the most?
We use all for our clients, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, LinkedIn, Pinterest. I personally just got into Blab and I love it.

What professional organizations do you support?
I support the African American Chamber of Commerce here in Philly. I just organized a ‘Philly Podcasters’ MeetUp.

Describe your networking style.
I don’t really like the word “networking” because it has the connotation of manipulation to me. Networking basically means “meeting people for the sole purpose of bettering your agenda.” If you didn’t have an agenda, then you wouldn’t meet people? Why not? People are pretty cool. I believe in nurturing my relationships because it’s our obligation as humans. Spend time with people you like, help each other out, and congregate because you were made to do these things. If you get business out of it then great. If not, that’s also great because you wanted to spend time with that person anyway. It depends on the season of my life and my business. Sometimes I’m a social butterfly and sometimes I’m a hermit. In the end, it doesn’t really matter because it all works out and the business always finds itself to us because we’re genuine and we do great work. If you’re an introvert, then that’s even better because they say that introverts make better entrepreneurs, so you can skip this ‘networking’ nonsense and focus on improving the business.

If you were giving a graduation speech to college students what would the title of your speech be and give three reasons for that title.
“The quickest way to success is to take your time.”
Ooh.That’s a good one.
1. Success is just a sum of a lot of really small habits performed day in and day out. It takes a while to develop good habits. So you have to be patient to allow yourself to develop them. And then once you develop one good habit you have to develop 10 to 20 to100 more. And then allow time for those 10 to 100 habits to turn into success. And then that process – allow the habits to turn to success – can take a while. You have to be patient. God will give you clues that you are in the right direction even if it doesn’t immediately turn into money. But you have to be patience to see/hear them.
2. Young people have this twisted inaccurate sense of the amount of time it takes to successfully do anything. So they change their minds and give up quickly so they never become successful at anything. I was definitely guilty of this in the past. If you’re patient and stick with a course even through the failures then you will get to success at your own pace rather than not getting there at all.
3. Young people need to understand that the key to accomplishing any goals that they want to achieve should be treated as a marathon not a race. It’s a war and not a fight or even a battle.

Name your two favorite vacation destinations to relax and recharge and explain why you like them
I love Vegas. Not for the reasons most people do, though. I love it because within the Strip’s three mile radius — I have no idea how small the Strip is — it’s so clean and modern you literally don’t have to lift a finger. And everything is so decadent. I lived in L.A. for a while and one summer I drove to Vegas eight times, which is a four-hour drive. My other favorite vacation spot is a little town in the countryside of Jamaica called Treasure Beach. I’ve only been once, but I went for a charity trip to build a basketball court for kids and fell in love with the people, the country, this hotel called “Jakes” the most unique/dopest hotel I’ve ever stayed in and I’ve traveled all over the world a lot, and Festival a food. I literally cried when I left.s

What are you reading and what your two favorite books?
Right now I’m reading Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk. It’s about social media marketing. My two favorite books are Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill and The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey.

Name three business leaders or political leaders who inspire you.
Oprah, Amy Porterfield and Andrew Carnegie

Favorite sports team and hobbies?
I play the bass. And I’m actually looking for a new hobby now, which has been a whole big thing in my life lately.

Two favorite quotes that motivate you?
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” The Holy Bible, 2 Timothy 1:7
“There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them.” –Seth Godin

For more information, please click here to visit Lidyr Creative Marketing Agency or find them on one of their social media pages: one of our social media pages: or

Yvette Caslin
Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.

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