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Hidden Gems: Meet Valentina Barton of V.Maria Consulting

Today we’d like to introduce you to Valentina Barton.

Hi Valentina, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I started as a North Carolina A&T Alum graduating in 2009 with a Bachelors in Mass Communication & Journalism. My first gig was with a Charlotte-based music grassroots marketing agency – South Coast Marketing where I was an Executive Assistant to the CEO which transitioned into a project manager role managing national street team projects as well as artist promotional campaigns. I started to tap into the freelance marketing space around 2011 when social media became the new wave of marketing in the entertainment industry. I worked with my first freelancing client in 2012 as a Social Media coordinator for a major jazz festival and Celebrity golf tournament.

In 2012, I transitioned into the Sports Marketing division for the Charlotte Bobcats as a coordinator and later promoted to a manager working directly under the Senior VP of Marketing, Communications and Event Activations. In this role, I curated special event sports marketing programs, produced high-level corporate and social events and worked on the core team that successfully executed the organizational rebrand to the Charlotte Hornets! I graduated in 2013 with my Master’s in Strategic Public Relations from George Washington University and shortly after I started my side hustle strategy consulting company – V.Maria Inc.

In 2015, I was offered the opportunity to transition into the Arena Marketing division of the organization and shifted my career to the entertainment space as the Senior Manager of Arena Marketing for Hornets Sports & Entertainment / Spectrum Center. I managed the marketing, PR and promotions for all third-party live events that came to the venue. I worked with entertainment promotional companies/agencies and managed the client relationships for national concert promoters, marketers, publicists, influencers and key industry trailblazers. I worked with LiveNation, AEG, Cirque Du Soleil, USA Gymnastics and more.

While in this role, I continued to build my freelance consulting side hustle aligning with individuals within the sports & entertainment world. My clientele ranged from local community leaders & visionaries seeking event planning/management services, athletes seeking branding & business development for their passion projects and one of my favorite side projects with the sports organization the BIG3, a basketball league where I was a team/media coordinator for the summer 2019 season for the championship-winning team – the Triplets, with head coach Lisa Leslie and All Star NBA players.

As I continued to grow stronger in my career and within my consulting business, I realized it was time for a shift. I started to look for jobs and career moves and nothing I saw aligned with my spirit. In 2018, I realized there was no growth for me at my corporate job and I had outgrown that environment. I put together an exit plan, worked with my mentors and advisors and in September of 2019, I took the leap of faith and walked away from my corporate career into full-time entrepreneurship to grow my boutique strategy consulting agency – V.Maria Consulting! It has now been a little over a year and I am full in swing with building my consultancy!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It hasn’t been an easy task to build an agency during these trying times but with faith and a lot of determination, prayer, belief, support from family & friends and endless cups of Four Sigmatic coffee /MCT Oil – we have made it work! All the obstacles & challenges has prepared me for every next stop of my journey.

To shift from someone guiding you and telling you the goal and the desired end product to YOU creating those opportunities and building your net worth at the end of the day is something I didn’t really comprehend the weight of until I made the step.

Over the past year and a half, I have been challenged with how to build my agency to attract clients that are seeking my niche services and how to appeal during a time where my focus industries have been hit the hardest with the pandemic. I was challenged with pushing through doubt to trust that I made the right decision. Pushing through fear of failure and if my prospective clients would see my value. And just pushing through the transition of time management and learning how to play all the roles in your business when you launch!

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
V.Maria Consulting is a boutique strategy consulting agency with a niche for strategy, management & execution services. We specialize in focusing on strategic planning, project management, event planning/management and brand strategy/ management within the sports, entertainment, fashion and tech industries.

At the core of who I am and what I do is connection. I am the bridge. I help visionary entrepreneurs, professional athletes, entertainers, public figures, brands, growing agencies and small business start-ups and mid-size enterprises turn ideas into reality and reality into brilliant results.

A few of my most proud highlights have manifested in 2020 – 1. Building a key role within my families business since 2012 with a portfolio of three franchises, three airport concessionaire locations, a trucking/hauling company and a printing/design company.

2. Upon launching, I have been working with the groundbreaking duo of Fayetteville Road agency (Brittany Hicks & Jessica Couch) as their Events & Strategy lead for their Women Of Color Worldwide division.

In my first year, I have collaborated with Fayetteville Road and their client – NORDSTROM to launch the Women of Color Beauty Box campaign & semi-annual 2020 Women Of Color FashTech Brunch event. The campaign included a curated unboxing campaign amplifying the voices of Black Founded brands while working with nano/micro influencers that resulted in social media engagement growing +300% organically and +500% in direct website traffic! The campaign also included planning and managing the signature 2020 Women of Color FashTech Brunch which was held in October 2020 at the Nordstrom New York flagship location. The event facilitated a raw and uncut conversation among indie Black-founded beauty brand innovators and gatekeepers of the fashion and beauty industry. The event was cutting-edge in its alignment with a modern, socially-distanced execution, sacrificing none of its glamour and energy in its virtual format. The virtual rollout has reached +5 million viewers!

What sets me apart from others is me being me – walking in my light and my purpose daily. It’s about working together to bring my client’s vision into the light, into the best version of itself. I make great things happen.

What was your favorite childhood memory?
Meeting Destiny’s Child at the age of 12 years old! (I’m a member of the BeyHive) Beyonce is my inspiration to make my dreams a reality) Seeing Destiny’s Child was my first concert – I got backstage passes since my mom worked for the radio station and from that moment, I fell in love with the world of live entertainment and working behind the scenes.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

All photos labeled Women Of Color FashTech Brunch please photo cred @samvibes.

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