Meet Aviation’s Olivia Pope: How Cartiay McCoy Thrives as a PR Aficionado
With more than ten years of experience in the public relations industry, Cartiay McCoy is a communications professional based in St. Louis that you can learn a lot from. She currently works as a Corporate Communications Manager at a regional airline and is also the owner of the boutique PR firm, Gospel PR. Outside of her wealth of knowledge in the media world, Cartiay is also the owner of the online boutique Shop Cartiay Reshay. Between her busy schedule of being a communications professional and an entrepreneur, she still knows how to manage her time well as a wife and mother. Read more below for the advice Cartiay gives to aspiring publicists, the mission of Gospel PR, the inspiration behind Shop Cartiay Reshay, and how she balances life as a businesswoman, and a wife and a mother.
1. What inspired you to pursue a career in public relations?
I’m a media girl at heart. I’ve always loved broadcast journalism, radio, writing, and design aesthetic. Public Relations was the career path that allowed me to combine all my passions into one.
2. Who are some of your favorite women leaders in the industry and why?
One of my female leaders in the industry would have to be Arian Simone, a celebrity and film publicist turned serial entrepreneur. She’s a mentor to me and has shared some very valuable industry and life lessons with me. Although I don’t know her personally, I also admire Patientce Foster, Owner of CREAM Agency. Her story of going from intern to abruptly being named Cardi B’s publicist and fully owning that opportunity to maximize the superstar’s press is inspiring.
3. With more than ten years of experience in the public relations industry, what would you say are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned thus far?
I would have to say, always be strategic. When you’re crafting a PR plan you need to fully understand your brand or your client and the audience you intend to reach. I also recommend that you use data to measure the effectiveness of what you’re doing.
Lastly, always charge your worth. If you’re just starting out, you will most definitely have to pay to play or serve your way to success up under someone who is more experienced. But, if you have experience and a provable track record, don’t undercut your profits or undersell your skill set. If you do, you will quickly find out that the clients who pay the least can be the most demanding and difficult.
4.In your opinion, what are the top five skills that you think an aspiring publicist needs to thrive in the industry?
1. Great writing skills and grammar - You’ll need to be able to craft pitches to journalists and write press releases.
2. HUSTLE - Publicity is not for the faint at heart. You must be able to figure nearly anything out by yourself and problem solve your way to solutions for your clients. PR has evolved to become more than just publicity, it’s best if you have some hustle and can create content, build others’ credibility, design sponsorship decks, and connect your clients to a paying audience and the media.
3. Follow-up skills and Tenacity - Journalists are being pitched to every day! You must continuously follow-up with them to make sure that they received your pitch, and that they are willing to cover your content.
4. Know how to close a sale - Help journalists, potential sponsors and investors understand why it’s mutually beneficial for them to support your client or brand.
5. Likability - People work with who they know, like and trust. Everyone has a different personality, and I believe that even introverts like myself can also excel in public relations.
5. At one point in your career you did radio, how was that experience and why did you choose to dabble in that specific medium?
Radio was an opportunity that truly fell into my lap. It was an amazing experience and allowed me to meet and interview some great people. I’m an all-around media girl at heart, so interviewing is in alignment with my passions. It was a no brainer, and I hope to get into radio again soon.
6. I know that your current role is a lot different than previous positions because it’s in the aviation industry. What are some challenges you’ve faced being in an industry that was unfamiliar to you in the beginning? How has your current position helped you to become a better communications professional?
My background has been in non-profit, entertainment and with individuals, so working PR within aviation has been a shift for me. There are protocols set in place with government agencies and boards, so you must be very precise when drafting PR statements. Learning this new industry has been an adventure for me and has helped hone my crisis public relations skills. I feel like aviation’s Olivia Pope.
7. Outside of your impressive catalog of work, you also have your own public relations firm called Gospel PR. What inspired you to start your own firm? For people unfamiliar with Gospel PR, what is the overall mission of the firm?
I started Gospel PR in response to a need. At the time, there weren't many PR firms in the faith-based space. Several friends of mine were Christian rappers and authors. They asked for my assistance on their projects and I realized that I was on to something. The mission of Gospel PR is to spread your good news - meaning that we work to build brands and amplify our client’s messages. Faith-based or not, we work with mission-focused people and organizations who understand that their product or gift can change lives, make an impact, and leave a legacy.
8. Another personal endeavor of yours is that you also own your own online boutique, Shop Cartiay Reshay. What inspired, you to open your own boutique and how would you describe your target audience?
I launched Shop Cartiay Reshay on my 30th birthday! It’s an online boutique for the sophisticated, stylish, and secure lady about her business. During the time, I had just had a baby, and while the slinky sexy dresses I’d find online were cute, I was looking for clothing that wasn't see-through and had structure, plus a little bit of edginess. I’ve always loved fashion and decided to make the jump at getting this business going.
9. To top off all the amazing work you have going on you’re also a wife and a mother. How do you balance everything and what advice would you give to other entrepreneurial women who are also wives and mothers?
Balance is tough, and it’s something that I’m learning and prioritizing now. Sometimes it can feel like you’re spinning multiple plates and one is bound to drop. I think it’s essential to have a support system in place - My mom, grandma, and aunt help me tremendously. It’s also important to make your self-care a top priority so that you give from your overflow rather than your deficiencies. Relationship wise, it’s important to have effective communication, reciprocity, compromise, and genuine love and respect between yourself and your mate if things are going to work. My little guy is three, so he keeps me going. Making sure that he is learning and evolving into a loving, productive, and purposeful individual is what pushes me and sometimes exhaust me. Everyday isn’t perfect, but starting the day off centered helps quite a bit.
10. The month of March is International Women’s History Month, why do you love being a woman?
There is no other creature like a woman! Smart, sexy, intuitive, nurturing, educated, righteous or ratchet – We are amazing beings!
11. What advice would you give to young black girls who hope to follow in your footsteps some day?
I’d say stick to the plan! Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do! One of the lessons that Arian taught me is that if you’re getting a no you’re either asking the wrong person (someone without authority) or asking the wrong question (ask it differently). Don’t take no for an answer when it comes to pursuing your dreams. Be relentless!
12. Lastly, how can people connect with you via social media, etc.
I’m on Instagram @CartiayReshay, @ShopCartiayReshay, and @GospelPRNews. If anyone has questions, feel free to inbox me or use the email listed on those accounts. My blog will re-launch soon, but in the meantime, you can visit ShopCartiayReshay.com or GospelPR.com to learn more about my businesses or endeavors. xoxo