( ENSPIRE She Did That ) How Carla Williams Johnson Has Amplified Her International Imprint
ENSPIRE Contributor: Ana Luque
For the past years Caribbean-based CEOs, businesses, and entrepreneurs have taken over the publicity and marketing business. One of these successful businesswomen is Carla Williams Johnson is CEO and founder of Carli Communications. Her work as a publicist has been recognized by many and she was awarded the Female Publicist of the Year award in 2022 and has retained her title of Female Publicist of the Year 2023.
Johnson has a mission to help other Caribbean-based female entrepreneurs like herself get recognized and respected using publicity and marketing. By using her platform to raise other’s voices and teach what she has learned through her years of experience, she has shown her commitment to the ENSPIRE mission. Johnson has expressed her excitement when she can see the women that she has helped succeed and get their vision out to the world. She hopes that her work will continue to help and push others out in the field.
Johnson spoke with ENSPIRE about how her drive led to her achievements:
Why and how did you become interested in working in the marketing and business world? What inspired you to work in this field?
I always knew that I wanted to get into this field. Ever since I’ve known myself I’ve been in love with the media and would get excited to see the creativity in television commercials and print ads. I would think how absolutely brilliant one must be to capture someone’s attention with just a few words or an image.
As time passed, my passion grew and landed me to work with some of the most prestigious advertising companies with global brands. It was there I learned that there was so much that went into the final product and I was finally part of the strategic process.
I realized that there was so much brainstorming and creativity that went into a single campaign and, working in media, I had the single most important job of getting that creativity out to the right people. Plus, I noticed that the more innovative the approach, the more of an impact the campaign made, which resulted in increased sales.
Fast forward, now I have my own company where I help entrepreneurs and business owners increase their visibility through the creative and strategic uses of media.
On the surface, I help clients with promoting their business, but what I really do is assist my people with finding the best and quickest ways to truly connect with their people so that they can serve them and, of course, make some money in the process.
What pushes you to continue working in the marketing business?
It might sound cliche but my people are my greatest inspiration and motivation to keep moving forward. I’ve received so many emails, messages, and phone calls from clients who’ve literally squealed with excitement because I was able to finally get them featured after they’ve been trying for years on their own, or who I’ve helped reach hit their 7 figure or 8 figure income goals just from getting them into the right places and spaces so that they can connect with and speak to their ideal audience.
I have so many stories but each and every one touches my heart. I love that I can help others build the profitable brand they’ve always envisioned because I know the people that I work with have the knowledge, expertise, passion, and desire in what they do and would like to share it with the world, but, they just need a little nudge on HOW to get it out there the right way to touch the lives of others……. that’s where I come in.
I fulfill my dreams by helping others fulfill theirs. My vision is to help as many business owners as possible promote themselves in the right way to the right people and to make their lives better.
How did Carli Communications come to be?
I was so tired of seeing people struggle. There are so many talented entrepreneurs who are fantastic at their craft but aren’t sure how to show up in a way that truly connects with their audience.
Having had my own experiences in the field of Communications it was my duty to show entrepreneurs a much easier way. I’ve worked directly with the media my entire life as part of the PR team to secure press placement, on behalf of clients through advertising agencies to promote brands and events, and even as a journalist so I am blessed with a unique understanding of what the press is looking for. This is why getting others featured comes so naturally to me.
I also am blessed with a creative mind and a background in strategic marketing, so I not only assist entrepreneurs with getting press placement, I show them how best to incorporate publicity into their overall marketing campaign.
I should also note that the name of my business is really in homage to my dad. I was really close to him and being the only girl, I was indeed a ‘daddy’s girl’. ‘Carli’ was his name for me growing up. He passed away unexpectedly in 2010 and it was really tough but as the first entrepreneur in our family, he really left inspired me to leave a mark in this world.
How have your experiences as a Caribbean woman inspired your message?
As a Caribbean-based entrepreneur, building a brand with international appeal can be viewed as difficult. With so many barriers to getting seen and heard, to some building a globally recognized brand might seem like an exercise in futility, however, I am here to say that it isn’t.
What I have found is that embracing the things that make us unique is the very thing that catapults us and our business forward.
There was a time when Caribbean-based professionals were encouraged to hide their heritage for fear of ‘not being taken seriously’ but I am living proof that this is not the approach. Standing in my authenticity has brought me international fame, allowed me to win awards, and speak on various global platforms.
I’ve been sought after by Forbes to comment on internationally trending topics, spoken on stages to mentor upcoming entrepreneurs, featured in an international best-seller, and even lectured at multiple institutions teaching others the art of Public Relations.
There’s no doubt that being Caribbean can and will open doors and my aim is to help other Caribbean entrepreneurs have the same success.
Congratulations on your award, Female Publicist of the Year 2022, could you tell us a bit more about how you got there and your perseverance?
Thank you…..winning that award is proof that the work I do is being recognized and appreciated. I remember first starting out being told that I should just give up; That I was doomed to fail because I was the wrong color, the wrong gender, and lived in the wrong country.
I remember a Business Coach actually saying to me “Get a Caucasian to be the face of your company if you ever want to be successful” Worse yet, many people subscribed to that way of thinking……..not me! I was determined to prove that the very thing people said would cause me to fail would be the very thing that will make me succeed and here I am today, a shining example that being myself is all that’s needed.
What advice would you give someone who just began working in communication and marketing?
Expect the unexpected. I mean, it’s the very nature of the business……just look at the global pandemic. As a marketing and communications expert, people are looking to you for the best advice on how they can make meaningful connections with their audience that will result in sales.
Your job is to make this happen for them so you’ve got to be on top of emerging trends, stay abreast of things that can directly affect their business, and be ready to immediately take advantage of any potentially lucrative opportunities.
Johnson continues her work as a successful entrepreneur and CEO, raising her two children. For more information about her work and teachings, you can visit her website, Carli Communications.