She is the CEO and President of Circle of One Marketing, a full-service marketing agency, with expertise in African-American and Caribbean markets credited for campaigns like the wildly successful marketing and public relations campaigns for the City of Miami Gardens’ nationally recognized Annual Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival, publicity and Ambassador for OneUnited Bank, the largest Black-owned bank in the U.S., Make Healthy Happen Miami, Clear Channel Airports, Related Urban’s Liberty Square, MIT’s first Black female UA President, Danielle Geathers, Harry Belafonte’s Many Rivers to Cross Festival, Red Rooster Overtown and more.
Suzan is of “Jamerican” descent and works like an ant. She’s a true visionary, a natural comedian, a wordsmith with a lot of words, tangential. She has twice rappelled down 19 floors to raise money for underprivileged kids and most importantly, she is the proud mother of her polar opposite, her surprisingly calm and well-adjusted daughter, Sydney Alicia.
LASM: What’s your favorite quote?
Suzan McDowell: “The One who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the One doing it.”
LASM: How many years have you been in the industry?
Suzan McDowell: 25 years
LASM: Who are business leaders who you want to give a shout out to and why?
Suzan McDowell: Teri Wiliams, President & COO of OneUnited Bank, because I want to be her when I grow up and Former Mayor Shirley Gibson. They are both bad asses.
LASM: Tell us about your journey. When did you decide to be an entrepreneur?
Suzan McDowell: I never wanted to be an entrepreneur, owning a business wasn’t some lifelong dream. My loose life plan was to marry rich, have 3 kids and live in a big house with lots of windows. That’s not how it worked out. In December 2001 my business fell in my lap – with the support of lots of people who believed in me before I did. It’s been over 18 years of being an entrepreneur and since then I’ve added 2 other businesses – If Eye Ever lensless frames and BOOM Stock Images – passion projects.
LASM: What are your goals with your company?
Suzan McDowell: I am passionate about becoming a world-renown and celebrated international publicist for the Black community, in all corners of this world. I want to be an Ambassador for #BlackExcelence. I want my daughter to be healthy, happy and safe. I want to build my other professional love– a fabulous retail brand called If Eye Ever– lensless eyewear wrapped in African fabrics, totally unique, always memorable, so cool. I want it to be a multi-million dollar company that makes me and my Co-Founder wealthy and inspires other entrepreneurs, especially #blackgirlmagic. I also want to be happily married. #loveistheanswer. I want to live luxuriously in 2 locations – one between the mountains and the sea. I want to make my family proud. I want to laugh, eat delicious food, be healthy, get some beauty sleep, always look 10 years younger and be personally and professionally fulfilled. And I always want to grow my relationship with God, who is my hero.
LASM: What words of wisdom do you have for other young entrepreneurs?
Suzan McDowell: Go with your gut, get a standard airtight contract, proofread everything, get a good accountant and attorney, build strong relationships, be loyal, pay people what they’re worth and show up on time.
LASM: Tell us about your unique business. What makes you an industry leader in marketing?
Suzan McDowell: “The Circle” is a reflection of the curious stew that is America. Our team includes members of Jamaican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Bahamian, Venezuelan, Haitian, African-American and Caucasian descent. And one pooch so ugly she’s cute. Our diversity and our team are a direct reflection of global demographics and psychographics, which gives us a unique perspective into each of these cultures … including resources, relationships, media, marketing, voices, hearts and minds. We offer brand development, public relations, art direction, graphic design, marketing research, event management, digital marketing and thought leadership. Bottom line: we make brands and people popular! We have worked with hundreds of clients in a variety of industries. “The Circle” has built a solid reputation for producing polished, modern, eclectic, fresh and result-driven marketing campaigns through multi-layered competencies including creative design/art direction, public relations, social media, community outreach, media buying, event management, thought leadership and strategic partnerships. For over 16 years, the agency has built a reputation for creating national and local award-winning, energetic marketing and public relations campaigns that produce unprecedented gains for the client.
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