With a distinct admiration for the media industry, publicist Deidre Palode has forged a career in public relations through hard work and an insatiable appetite for her profession. She is the founder and Senior Publicist of MayLee Media, a boutique public relations agency dedicated to producing results for lifestyle brands. However, her true calling is helping others become successful by using herself as a vehicle to achieve their objectives.
As a publicist, Deidre is responsible for managing publicity or the public image of her clients. She achieves this by facilitating media placements, speaking engagements, and creating events using her many contacts and relationships. The overall premise of her job is to create an experience surrounding her clients, where they get to interact with their audience. At the same time, she is raising awareness for the brand and giving it notoriety. However, Deidre did not always want to become the media maven that she is today.
“Growing up I used to love going to the movies, but I was an athlete. When I got to Georgia state. I don’t know if you guys remember the show “The Game” with Tia Mowry and Pooch Hall. Derwin had an image consultant, a character by the name of Deon was his publicist. So, she kind of inspired me to actually take the PR route.”
Her start in the industry originated from her affinity with film and cinema. After receiving an Associates degree from Highland College, she went on to pursue a Bachelor’s in Film/Video from Georgia State University. Around the same time, a television show that depicted the struggles of women who were associated with football players had gained popularity. That show was CW’s The Game, which later moved to BET.
While most people were captivated by the relationship of main characters Derwin Davis (Pooch Hall) and Melanie Barnett (Tia Mowry), along with all of their friends in the sports world, Deidre was interested in a different character. She had turned her attention towards Dionne Taylor, played by Shanti Lowry, who worked as Derwin’s publicist. Watching a woman navigate the world of sports as a working professional inspired Deidre; enough to research everything she could about public relations and publicist.
Her findings led her to graduate from GSU with a Bachelor in Film/Video, and a Bachelor in Journalism: Public Relations. However, before receiving her degrees, Deidre landed a job as a Junior Publicist at ABC Publicity. She would go on to work the agency until the passing of ABC Publicity founder Dee Dee Cocheta. This loss pushed her to work as a freelancer until she landed a job in corporate America to work for multinational information-technology company Hewlett Packard.
In 2015, Deidre finally made the decision to become a full-time entrepreneur and open her own public relations agency. The result is MayLee Media, a boutique agency which bears the same name as her grandmother.
“She used to say, ‘Come correct or don’t come at all'”
Deidre’s grandmother passed away when she was only 16-year-olds. Before she left this Earth, her grandmother instilled a lot of her morals, values, and heartfelt advice in her granddaughter. These gifts became principles that Deidre would continue to use to influence her decisions in life and business. They are the reasons why she has progressed further than she could ever imagine.
Not only had Deidre created her own public relations agency, but she has had the opportunity to represent some amazing clients. Specializing in beauty, fitness, lifestyle, and faith-based industries, the name’s of her clients have been mentioned by some of the biggest outlets. Maylee Media’s roster includes Celebrity Fitness Professional Gee Bryant Beauty professional and hair stylist/wig instructor Tamika Gibson, MogulCon founder Felicia Phillips, Project Runway‘s Rafael Cox, R&B Diva Meelah Williams, Shear Genius Collection, and Restoring The Years Global Ministries
Anyone who has ever created their own business is well aware of the pros and cons list associated with being an entrepreneur. For Deidre, the pros will always outweigh the cons and she celebrates the independence and freedom that her business gives her. One of the biggest pros is control over her time.
“I make my own schedule. I don’t have a 9-5, I have a when I open my eyes and when I close my eyes. I get to travel and do things on my own time. I make the rules and regulations in my firm. And I get to hire people or not work with people. I’m not forced to work with anybody, I’m not forced to partner with anybody. I basically make my own boundaries.”
She also loves working with people when they’re just starting out. For her it’s similar to her athlete’s background of starting at one point and working hard to get to the next; seeing the progression as it happens. Think about it like a race, Deidre is able to take someone from where they started and help them get to the finish line.
Recently, Deidre has created an entire movement called “It’s Just PR”, which helps to educate media professionals and non-media professionals on the nature of public relations. The movement is derived from her frustration with common misconceptions with public relations and publicists. It also doesn’t help that there are people out there who call themselves publicists and don’t deliver any results or perform duties that aren’t associated with the job.
“I got tired of people throwing the publicist word around. A lot of people say that they’re publicist but they haven’t had any media [placements] or you’re a club promoter, or your best friend is a celebrity and you’re walking her down the red carpet; now all of a sudden you’re a publicist”
Instead of sitting back and letting these people play their game of charades, she decided to be proactive. Through “It’s Just PR” people get an upfront and personal education about public relations. They also get to learn the do’s and don’ts of the business and figure out if it’s really for them. Another great outcome is that people who think that they may or may not need a publicist are able to walk away with answers to all of their public relations questions.
Surprisingly, “It’s Just PR” has not just educated potential publicists and public relations clients, but also Deidre. While putting everything together she learned a major lesson about multi-tasking. More importantly, she was able to see other people’s inability to collaborate. It’s a horrible character flaw that stops a lot of people from becoming successful.
Though she has is accomplished publicist with a lot of experience under her belt, Deidre still looks toward her original inspiration for public relations. Just like The Game’s Dionne Taylor, this former athlete would love to represent clients in the professional sports industry. She also sees herself going back into corporate America, but this time being brought on by major corporations to help improve their brands.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know what the future will hold, but judging by her track record Deidre is on the right path to greatness. She has proven that hard work and patience count for something. More importantly, she has demonstrated that having good character is an important trait for business owners. And what is very clear is that Deidre is off to a great start to becoming the powerhouse that she hopes to be.