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Hidden Gems: Meet Randi Matthews of Multi-Hyphen Media

Today we’d like to introduce you to Randi Matthews.

Hi Randi, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?

I am originally from the Midwest where I was a collegiate track athlete at Ohio University. I learned a lot about leadership, multitasking, being accountable, serving as a team player and collaboration from being an athlete my entire life. As a team captain during my college years, I came to realize that I had a lot of qualities innately within me that could transition over to the real world. Coming out of school, I really wanted to do something in the entertainment or sports-related arena because that was the discipline I studied. After graduating, I was an assistant at IMG. I learned how to recognize an opportunity and was able to work my way up from an assistant to a junior agent. While working there, I worked with some of the biggest celebrities and athletes in the world at the time. I also had the opportunity to work with the former Press Secretary of the United States. I’ve learned a lot and been able to propel myself to the next level. I’ve worked with agencies the bulk of my career, some of the biggest in the world. I’ve worked for Ketchum, IMG, UEG and have done everything from celebrity procurement to social strategy to influencer marketing and brand partnerships.

After having so much exposure, I felt it was a time in my life where I could do it better. As a Black Woman who has been working in a business that can be difficult to navigate for people of color, and with the level and caliber of experience I have been exposed to. I felt it was the right time, and it has been. I have been able to really carve a niche in the industry for myself which brought me to this point in my career as CEO of Multi-Hyphen Media. I have always considered myself a Jack-of-all trades so that is where the name of my company came from. I also wanted an all-inclusive name where I could do a myriad of projects and not have to worry about the name being intrusive or not cohesive and allow me to experience all the things I ultimately want to accomplish. It has been a great journey that has included many ups and downs. I have accomplished many amazing projects where I was leading the endeavor. During my career I have always been the typical head down, do what you’re told and be a team player type employee. I am now out of that phase as CEO of my own company deciding what I want to do and how I want to achieve the goals of this organization. I am a wife to my amazing husband, Kyle, and a mother to my sweet son, Quinn, and I want my family and son to see what I am capable of while making my own rules. I am really excited for this next chapter in my career.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Regarding obstacles I faced, I did not have any specific  I always really wanted mentorship or guidance when I came into the industry. I was one-of-one where I worked, there was nobody that looked like me in my role when I first started. So I was kind of on my own, unlike other people who came into the industry with some sort of pedigree or familial connection. I have always had to really work for every opportunity and promotion I have received. I have worked at places where there were people doing half of what I was accomplishing and getting promoted and paid twice what I was earning. I always said I was okay with not having the exposure and I didn’t need that recognition, however, it also stunts your persona if you’re attempting to go out on your own. The people who know you and what you have accomplished are eager to work with you.

However, there are contacts or brands, etc, who don’t know anything about you and you are starting from scratch in a lot of ways. It’s hard to sometimes build a consumer-facing reputation when you’ve been behind the scenes most of your career. I think those are things I try to be for other people, a mentor, a safe place to ask questions, to help guide other people of color looking to operate in this industry. It is a passion and a calling for me, I will always make that a priority as I continue to grow. Bottom line, I’ve always made it to the other side and I’m very proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish.

As you know, we’re big fans of Multi-Hyphen Media. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
I started Multi-Hyphen Media in 2019, right before the pandemic hit. I was freelancing on my own before that and have done a lot of really awesome campaigns as a part of major agencies. My first real campaign that I booked on my own in terms of influencer marketing was Lovecraft Country. I did that in tandem with the agency Translation. I came in and helped to hone the influencer strategy and the influencer campaign and we were able to secure almost 300 influencers for our gifting campaign, which can be difficult to execute, but we made it happen and it is an award-winning campaign. I’m really proud of the work that came out of that and it also gave me a ton of confidence because what happens when you are in a machine or an agency for so long, you lose sight of the fact that you have a gift or special skill-set or a grouping of talents that really help you shine and stand out.

What I took away from that experience is that I can be successful on my own and Multi-Hyphen Media has the tools, the skills and the personnel to really succeed and bring value in places that a lot of other agencies and influencer experts quite frankly can’t. We are just really well-rounded, and we are very knowledgeable about the industry and the space that we occupy. We offer a caliber of service that most agencies aren’t nimble enough to implement. I am also working on a documentary about the Black Maternal Crisis in America, through the eyes of real sheroes, Black midwives, called Deliver Us (Deliverusdoc.com), which has been a labor of love over the last several years, and something I wouldn’t have been able to take on in an impactful way if I was still working for other people. My co-producer, Jenny Callaghan, and I have really been able to dig into this world and learn and grow and provide value to a group that is so commonly overlooked and not given a voice.

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
We were very fortunate during Covid. I was very fortunate to start a business and maintain and grow a business during the Crisis. I will say I am a hard worker but I also have built a roster of internal and industry friends and people who trust me and who I trust and have wanted to work with me over the years, and so leaning into my network, leaning into my values, really establishing myself as an expert in a social facing, way has helped me to take big strides in a short amount of time. I just think staying true to what you know, being smart, protecting yourself, protecting others in your circle and delivering in a way that nobody can deny you. These are all things I think we did during Covid-19 that set us apart.

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