Chance played a major role in the future of Dawn Michelle Hardy, a Black businesswoman.
Early on in her professional career Hardy enjoyed a merchandising role with major retailer Banana Republic. She was formally educated at the Fashion Institute of Technology and hadn’t considered a career outside of the fashion industry.
The seed of publicity was planted when a couple of colleagues suggested she should take a foray into the industry because she was a great champion and advocate for designers. Years later in 2002 Hardy sought a career change and was introduced to True to the Game author Teri Woods. “Everything lined up seamlessly afterwards,” Hardy said.
Today, the Black businesswoman works as the principal consultant and publicist at Dream Relations. PR & Consulting Agency, while holding down an associate literary agent position at Serendipity Literary Agency. Being an entrepreneur adds to the grind, but Hardy is good enough at her craft that clients come to her. People in the know like established authors, editors and even other publicists refer clients in need of her specialized brand of public relations.
What is it that she does, exactly? If you are a self-published author, Hardy can help you cut through the cacophony that is marketing to reach your target audience and capture exposure for your brand and title. However, she works with clients who know the game and are committed to doing the work.
With so much experience. Hardy makes it all look easy, but that hasn’t always been the case. Both facets of her work take faith, tenacity, discipline and patience. The best way to cut your teeth in this business is through hands-on experience, she said, which means finding solutions through trial and error. That sole aspect of her work has led to moments of great frustration, she said. Then, of course, there’s the rejection she handles on behalf of her clients, because, let’s face it, no one likes to be turned down.
“It wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t share that I’ve had my moments where I’ve dusted off my resume in frustration. Then faith steps up and colleague encouragement pours in.” Hardy said. “Entrepreneurs speak a certain language. You have to be willing to push past rejection and go after what you want, whether it’s the press interview or book deal. Have faith that the work you are doing warrants what you are asking, and the right entities will agree and give you that.”
Hardy continues to work past any challenges brought on by her twin choices of entrepreneurship and agenting. Over the ten years she’s been in business for herself. The Black businesswoman has learned to manage her packed career alongside her personal life so that she can have it all while helping her clients. Next year promises to be an exciting one for her. with former NFL player Takeo Spikes’s project titled Behind the Mask, a collection of personal narratives and photographs from Hall of Fame linebackers. Another book she’s looking forward to representing is a collection of essays on surviving the intersectionality between sexuality, race and God that will be out in June.
“I am truly enjoying the career that I’ve carved out for myself, and I’m working toward expansion. I am working outside traditional walls, and that means potential is endless. I’m where I am supposed to be,” Hardy said.