Jamie Madrid-Mehta moved to L.A. after college (a Journalism and Marketing Communications major) and dove head first into Public Relations. Years later, she took the plunge and started her eponymous firm Jamie Madrid Consulting. Representing the fashion, beauty, accessory, restaurant and lifestyle industries through her array of clients, Jamie has been called a “PR Diva with impeccable taste and truly great connections.” This mid-twenties Midwesterner is the antithesis of generation Y: a self-made go-getter who isn’t afraid of risk or commitment. With the brains to back it up, she’s a recipe for success.
I met Jamie a few years ago through a friend; we had a breakthrough conversation at that friend’s tea during which Jamie first told me about her plans to launch her company, and we have stayed in touch since. One Sunday we met at Sunny Spot, my favorite neighborhood haunt for bottomless brunch libations. In between rounds of mimosas, Jamie reflected on her experience thus far.
The world of PR is a mystery to many; can you tell us what you do in 10-15 words?
We make things happen. 🙂 Consulting on brand strategy and build brand awareness.
How did you get started in the industry?
I studied in London and later interned at Stella McCartney. Living abroad presented some of the best times of my life and definitely something I would recommend. I got my first look into the world of fashion and PR. I got to travel through Europe and really experience things on my own for the first time. At the time, I feel like it made me fearless… if I could go to another country on my own, I could probably do anything, right?
That must have helped spark something in you that came to fruition years later as you contemplated taking the leap from an established agency to founding your own. How did you find the courage to start your own company?
I felt like I was missing out on life and hated being in a box of set hours and feeling chained to a desk. As much as I love working in PR and all of the “pretty things” that come with working with these lifestyle clients, I really wanted the freedom—to choose my clients, to schedule my day, and to have time to experience life!
Did you ever second-guess your decision to start JMC?
Of course, I second-guessed it before I actually did it. The first step is always the hardest one to make. For me, as is true of many things in life, there were no guarantees of what the outcome would be. I’ve never second-guessed the decision since actually doing it though. I’ve learned to go with my gut.
You’ve been open for business for just over a year. What advice can you give to other young women working towards their career goals?
Whenever I make a decision, I don’t really look back. I just decide to move forward from there. I think knowing yourself makes it a lot easier to trust your own decisions. You may make a mistake but that’s part of the journey. Trust that you’ll end up where you’re meant to be.
What advice do you have for those who are interested in breaking into the industry?
Intern, and be a sponge. Absorb everything you are doing—even something as simple as making lists. Learn media outlets and editor names. Read the copies you are making, it’s all in the details.
I like that. Great food for thought for any industry really. What is your professional comfort zone?
Staying comfy scares me more than taking a risk.
What constitutes “making it” for you?
To be able to take at least one adventure every year in another country.
What is your ultimate aspiration in PR and in your career?
To continue working with brands I truly believe in, to keep clients happy, and to have balance in my life.
Let’s get personal. How do you foster relationships with your inner circle?
All relationships are different. I have girlfriends who I don’t see for months or even a couple years (especially since I moved to L.A.) and when we do see each other, we pick up right where we left off. Other relationships need a bit more care. I have a standing phone date on Mondays with my best friend from home. Because of the distance, we know we have to put in the time and the effort to foster our relationship. We are also conscientious of change; life happens, but we’ve been through so many stages in our lives together. Even if we change as people, the bond remains the same.
You’re originally from Chicago and moved here not knowing too many people. How did you make new friends in L.A.?
I met people through work, at events, and friends of friends. My advice is to be really open to people in the beginning and know that the good ones stick.
Tell me about the most unexpected way you met a new friend in L.A.
Ha! I’ll leave names out of this, but one of my very first “job offers” in LA. It was in a tiny office and not for me at all. They had me and another girl basically competing for the position, which would be decided in two weeks. After a few hours, I knew I didn’t want to work there, so I told my supervisor that while I appreciated the opportunity it wasn’t a fit. Then I went on my way. A few hours later, I got an email from my “competition” saying that she also felt the awkward vibe and didn’t think it was a fit for her either. We ended up grabbing coffee. Coffee turned to lunch, dinners and nights out… and we’ve been friends ever since. She actually met her fiancé through mine!
Speaking of having a fiancé, how do you take care of your inner single girl?
Like most girls, I do yoga, plan a spa day, read books, or have dinner with girlfriends. If I have a night one, the next night I need to spend time with myself. Being single is having the luxury of taking time for yourself, and you can do that with a significant other too. Communication is key.
What have you learned from your fiancé?
So much, but I admire him most for the way he interacts with people. He has that rare ability to make every person in the room feel welcome, like they’ve been friends for years even if they met just a few moments ago. I always say that James treats everyone the exact same way… whether it’s a billionaire or a homeless man on the street, he talks and interacts with people the same way, and I’ve found that to be a quality most people don’t innately have.
It’s good to see qualities in those close to you that you hope to emanate yourself. I know that you consider your mom another one of your role models. What has she taught you?
I was raised with the belief that you always have to “share your blessings.” My mom is one of the most giving and yet, sassy people I know. She’s taught me to always give without ever expecting anything in return. You just give because it feels good. She also goes through life marching to the beat of her own drum. She doesn’t care what people say or what people think; when she believes in something, she will make it happen. That’s the kind of perspective I try to practice and hope to perfect by the time I am her age.
Do you have a motto?
“Be gentle with yourself. You’re a child of the universe.”
Everyone’s trying to find him or herself. You are your own worst critic, so don’t be too hard on yourself or anyone else. Allow room for mistakes… they are inevitable (failure may be too). Accept them gracefully, and learn from them.
What would you tell your 21-year-old self?
Slow down. By the time I was 21 I was in such a rush to get out into “the real world” and have my life figured out. Now I realize, we’re constantly evolving, so you won’t ever have everything figured out. 21 is young, fun and free. No one should be racing to the finish line to get life started.
Have a question for Jamie? Leave it in the comments or tweet us at @SingleDiariesXO with #BrunchesWithJamieM.
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