Keisha N. Brown recently became the president of LAGRANT COMMUNICATIONS, an award-winning, full-service integrated marketing communications firm that specializes in African American, Hispanic and LGBTQ consumer markets. She is an industry veteran with over 23 years of experience and was appointed to this position in November of this year and is the first president to succeed the founder of the agency, Kim L. Hunter.
“I am excited to start this new chapter of my career as president of an agency that has fulfilled me in so many ways and allowed me to make contributions to clients that target consumers (African American, Hispanic, and LGBTQ) that are important to me”, stated Brown. “I look forward to partnering and collaborating with [the former president and CEO, Kim L. Hunter]in this new role to build upon the agency’s accomplishments and to continue developing and executing creative solutions for clients that position us for success in the future,” Brown went on to say.
Brown brings a lot of insight and maturity to her new role and will be responsible for identifying and securing new business and providing integrated and innovative client service to all of the agency’s clients. Brown is a Los Angeles native and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in business administration from Howard University.
Rolling out spoke with Brown about what it means to be a Black woman in leadership, why it’s important for women of color to lead and what she believes her superpower to be.
As a Black woman, what do you consider your superpower to be?
The ability to experience the world through the lens of a Black woman, while increasing the range of the lens to relate and understand the diversity that exists in this world.
What qualities make you unique as an African American female leader?
Learning from everyone that you meet, because everyone has something to offer. Being truthful to younger people of color about what it’s like to be a professional person of color and female, not only in this industry but in other industries. [And] honesty, it’s important because if I don’t tell them, who will?
What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Take risks and fight for your seat at the table, because age shouldn’t matter if you have great ideas based on insights.
Always believe in yourself, and never let anyone question that belief.
Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments, and don’t be afraid to let other’s share them with you. Enjoy your shine!
Why is it important for women of color to lead or work in leadership roles and decision-making capacities?
Women of color have a perspective that is all-encompassing. Our history, experiences and culture are unique and they allow us to look at problems and solutions from more than one angle. We have been taught the rules of engagement as women of color and can often use that to our advantage. We know when to turn it on, when to turn it off and when to adjust the temperature just slightly enough to make any room or situation work for us.
If you could thank any Black woman history maker for her contributions to society, who would it be and why?
Right now, I would have to say [former] first lady Michelle Obama. She is an educated woman with many life experiences and she created her own seat at the table. She showed the world what it was like to be educated, successful, loving and caring, all the while not apologizing for who she is or where she came from. She demonstrated how to continue reinventing yourself and the importance of remaining committed to the person you are, inside and out.
Why is it important for seasoned and experienced Black women to reach back and help younger women of color?
We should be able to show younger women of color that everyone can make it with the right support and opportunities. It is important they know they don’t have to be a victim of their circumstances and that it is okay to make decisions that might not be popular.
As a woman who grew up in Compton, CA to a single mother, I want other young women to feel as if they are not alone and they too can achieve their dreams. Life may not go as planned, but you can make it anything that you want. Define your own success because everyone’s journey is different, and it is okay to take your own path to achieve your happiness and success.
How do you feel about the hashtag #CollaborationOverCompetition?
Competition is good for everyone. It helps you grow and keeps you hungry. However, collaboration is what we need to make it in this world today. We can’t be afraid to join forces and take what is best in each of us to be the powerhouses that we know we are destined to be.
What qualities or values do you deem indispensable in your business partners or collaborators?
Qualities that are important include:
Being a good listener: Someone that is open to hearing the ideas of others.
Being a team player: A person that does not care where the idea came from, as long as it can be built upon to achieve greatness.
Demonstrating honesty: An individual that can admit when they are wrong doesn’t know everything and has everyone’s best interest at heart.
What are your thoughts on taking risks? Making mistakes?
Taking risks is necessary to grow in your personal and professional life. You should not be afraid to make mistakes as they will help you learn and be a better you. I have made mistakes in my career that have taught me what not to do or how to improve on the outcome next time. No one is perfect or too old to continue to learn.
What are three success habits you implement into your daily routine to maintain your success, sanity, and peace of mind?
- Be committed to the business, the clients and the industry.
- Listen, observe and try new things.
- Always take time for yourself.
As a successful woman in business, what is your proudest achievement?
Succeeding the founder of LAGRANT COMMUNICATIONS in becoming the first president.
Who is your biggest inspiration? Why?
My mother is my biggest inspiration. She has always shown me what it’s like to carry yourself with grace, work hard, be dedicated to everything that you do, and how to earn and maintain the respect of those around you.
If you could have any person in the world become your mentor, who would you choose and why?
I can’t select just one. I would want to take a little bit of this and a little bit of that from women like Oprah, First Lady Michelle Obama, Rosa Parks, and Tracee Ellis Ross. Each one could teach me something different about life and myself, such as being a great business leader, always showing your best side no matter how low they go, determination and fighting for what is right, and just living your best life according to how you want to live it.
Share your vision of being a CEO.
My vision is being able to continue moving the agency forward by building upon the foundation, enhancing my brand, maintaining a skilled team, developing creative solutions for clients and positioning the agency as a premier, multicultural integrated marketing communications agency that will be power a hitter in the industry decades from now.