Episode 168 – MJ Pedone
Welcome to another episode of The HERO Show. I am your host Richard Matthews, (@AKATheAlchemist) and you are listening to episode 168 with MJ Pedone – Completing the Loop of Communication through Innovative PR Strategies.
MJ Pedone is the President of Indra Public Relations, where she has supervisory and strategic control over all functional disciplines of the organization.
MJ is a former partner and CEO of Pro Players Sports Marketing Group, Inc., which brings her expertise working with professional athletes, brands, and individuals on endorsements, producing high-profile events, and executing top-tier PR and branding campaigns to her broad range of clients. With over two decades of experience, MJ is a result-driven and award-winning leader.
Here’s just a taste of what we talked about today:
- MJ shared how she came up with the company name—Indra Public Relations. When his father passed away she wanted a name that would reflect heaven and beauty. In Buddhism, Indra is a powerful rain god that represents the beauty and splendor of heaven.
- After that, we get to know more about MJ’s business. Indra Public Relations builds a brand name or individual endorsements for athletes, chefs, doctors, and nonprofits. It is about helping them grow their visibility and media presence.
- MJ also shared how they have shifted her event marketing strategies when the pandemic hit in 2020.
- We went on with the conversation and talked about MJ’s origin story. An event where one of the athletes asked her if she does PR was where it all started and the rest was history.
- MJ discussed how they keep up with choosing the right type of media for their clients and how they measure KPIs.
- Next, we talked about MJ’s superpowers. Having a great personality and interpersonal skills have been a common thread that allowed her to attract and handle different types of people.
- The biggest fatal flaw that MJ had to overcome was delegation. Along the way, she learned to feel okay about letting her team do the job.
- In MJ’s PR business, managing people’s expectations has been the arch-nemesis. She constantly overcomes this by educating her clients and letting them understand how the whole process works.
- Then, we talked about MJ’s driving force in her business. Their goal, as a team, is to make sure that their clients are happy and surpass the expectations they set with them.
- Lastly, MJ’s guiding principle is to treat people the way you want to be treated.
MJ mentioned the following book/s on the show.
- Thrive by Arianna Huffington
The HERO Challenge
Today on the show, MJ Pedone challenged Peter Borish to be a guest on The HERO Show. MJ thinks that Peter is a fantastic person to interview because he is a hero in many people’s eyes. He is the founding partner of the Robin Hood Foundation, along with other businesses that he is involved with. It would be great to tell his story.
How To Stay Connected with MJ Pedone
Want to stay connected with MJ? Please check out their social profiles below.
With that… let’s go and listen to the full episode…
MJ Pedone 0:00
So I think it’s my personality and my personal skills. People are always very attracted to my personality. I’m very positive, very outgoing. People like to be around that. And that’s the key, especially with communications. I also know how to handle different personalities. And I think that’s because I know my personality so well. When I’m working with athletes that sometimes we’re getting in trouble every day of the week for something, I just know how to handle people. I think it’s me, it’s the interpersonal skills, definitely, because people will always be attracted to that. I’m so fortunate not only with clients, but such a great group of friends, my friends have been with me from day one. And I think that’s really the biggest part of it. And that comes a lot about being genuine, I tell it the way it is if somebody asked me, does my butt look big in this dress? I’m gonna let you know it does. But again, that’s just the genuine side and, and people are attracted to that.
Richard Matthews 1:16
Heroes are an inspiring group of people, every one of them from the larger than life comic book heroes you see on the big silver screen, the everyday heroes that let us live the privileged lives we do. Every hero has a story to tell, the doctor saving lives at your local hospital, the war veteran down the street, who risked his life for our freedom to the police officers and the firefighters who risked their safety to ensure ours every hero is special and every story worth telling. But there was one class of heroes that I think is often ignored the entrepreneur, the creator, the producer, the ones who look at the problems in this world and think to themselves, you know what I can fix that I can help people I can make a difference. And they go out and do exactly that by creating a new product or introducing a new service. Some go on to change the world, others make a world of difference to their customers. Welcome to the Hero Show. Join us as we pull back the masks on the world’s finest hero preneurs and learn the secrets to their powers their success and their influence. So you can use those secrets to attract more sales, make more money, and experience more freedom in your business. I’m your host, Richard Matthews, and we are on in 3…2…1…
Richard Matthews 2:12
Hello and welcome back to the Hero Show. My name is Richard Matthews and today I have the pleasure of having on with me MJ Pedone. Are you still there, MJ?
MJ Pedone 2:21
I am here. Nice to see you, Richard.
Richard Matthews 2:24
Awesome. Glad to have you here. Where are you calling in from for today?
MJ Pedone 2:29
Manhattan, New York.
MJ Pedone 2:31
Manhattan, New York, we were talking before we hit the record button. We just got to visit there for the first time really enjoyed seeing New York can’t wait to go back. Which like I said, I don’t particularly like big cities. But I really enjoyed New York and look forward to going back there. And met a lot of nice people. We went into New York expecting the Hollywood version in New York or New Yorkers are kind of gruff and not very friendly. But everyone we met was super friendly. And they were like, oh, we come over and show you our favorite places to eat or how to get places. Then we even had someone give us directions on how to find good parking for where we wanted to go. So anyway, I found New York to be a pleasure, and the people there, the New Yorkers that we met and ran into, were also super wonderful. And we got a bunch of young kids. So we met a bunch of New Yorkers at the park. It was a really good time.
MJ Pedone 3:22
That’s great. And New York sometimes gets a bum rap, that they’re standoffish, or we’re all too busy. And we’re running through the streets, and we don’t help people. I have never seen that. I help anybody who asked me, I don’t know why that is. But I’m glad you had a pleasant experience and had a great time and wonderful to hear you come back with family.
Richard Matthews 3:43
I feel like it’s Hollywood’s fault, right? That Hollywood has this picture of New York. And it’s just not the same as the real New York. All the New Yorkers I’ve ever met have been super friendly. And we had a good time there. So for those of you who are following along with our podcast, and our travels, my wife and I are back down in the south, we made it to North Carolina and we’re on our way down South Carolina and Florida for the rest of summer and winter. So that’s where our travels are going. And what I want to do real quick MJ is just a quick introduction so we can dive into your story for my audience who may not know who you are. So you are the president of let me see if I can get this right is Indra Public Relations that right?
MJ Pedone 4:20
Correct, and I’m going to tell you what Indra stands for. Not that you’re asking, but I’m just going to let you know because that’s always a very common question. Indra is the luckiest and most powerful of the rain gods and it represents the beauty and splendor of heaven. My father had just passed away. And I wanted a name that would reflect heaven and beauty and that’s how we came up with Indra Public Relations.
Richard Matthews 4:45
Awesome. So when you say rain gods, which religion for the rain gods?
MJ Pedone 4:50
This all has to do with Buddhism.
Richard Matthews 4:52
Okay, Buddhism, some of the Eastern religions. That’s cool. So you guys are a public relations company. And you were a former partner and CEO of Pro Players Sports Marketing Group. And so you have worked with professional athletes, brands, individuals on endorsements, producing high profile events and executing top tier PR and branding campaigns, to a broad range of clients, you have over two decades of experience doing this, and a whole slew of awards to go along with it. So what I want to do to start off is, why don’t you tell us what it is that you’ve known for? What’s your business like now? Who do you serve? What do you do for them?
MJ Pedone 5:33
So we do a lot in the sports world. As you mentioned, we work very closely with athletes and teams, but we also work closely in hospitality with the chefs and restaurants. And it’s anything to build a brand name or an individual, their name, their awareness. We have clients also internationally. Doctors, plastic surgeons, dermatologists, nonprofits of very big press different charities. So again, it’s growing the visibility. And I’d like to say that we do a lot of cross-marketing and our business. So we’re able to get a lot of notable clients involved in these different charitable organizations, which is great. So it helps with their awareness, it helps with the media presence. And we do high-profile events, as you mentioned, which I love that side of the business.
Richard Matthews 6:33
I know event marketing, and sort of any form has been hit really hard the last year and a half or so, have you had to shift your strategies since the pandemic started for events?
MJ Pedone 6:43
Actually, we have and in December, one of my clients, which is Encourage Kids Foundation, we were able to have Justin Hartley, who is from This Is Us, he’s the lead actor, he co-hosted with Michelle Hall Duncan. And basically, it was a virtual event, they had about 600-700 people virtually attend, it was a great fundraiser, a lot of work goes into that as well. And what we did, we just had small group media, come to a restaurant interview, Michelle and watch the event live. So it was good. Definitely not part of the business. But I enjoy the virtual events, just because I love being in person and with people. But certainly, you make it work. Now we have a lot of golf events coming up. And I’m really excited about that. Because it’s in person, and everybody comes out for it. And that’s a lot of fun. And we have a few food tasting events. In this state, they love food, and they love to come out and kids come out in the restaurant.
Richard Matthews 7:48
I love food tasting, that’s my favorite.
MJ Pedone 7:50
Especially in New York, you may have to fly in for it. You bring your wife and the kids.
Richard Matthews 7:54
Yeah, so just out of curiosity, you mentioned several spaces you work in, do you have a favorite for sports, chefs, or nonprofits, something that’s just like, I just love it when we get clients like that.
MJ Pedone 8:09
I don’t know if I should say it out loud. But those three are definitely up on the list. Yes, we’re fortunate enough to work with the clients we want to work with. So we don’t do every client. And if it’s not in our wheelhouse, I will definitely refer to another agency. So, anybody, we do bring in, it’s fantastic. And it’s fun, usually know the owner or somebody that’s involved with the organization. So I’m really fortunate and blessed that way. So let’s just say being politically correct, I love working with everybody.
Richard Matthews 8:45
You love all of your clients. So, what I want to talk about is your origin story, how you got into public relations. We say on this show, every good comic book hero has an origin story. It’s the thing that made them into the hero they are today. We want to hear that story. Were you born a hero? Or were you bit by a radioactive spider that made you get into the public relations world? Or did you start in a job and eventually move over to become an entrepreneur, basically, how did you get to be where you are today?
MJ Pedone 9:14
So growing up, we were a family that was very sports-oriented. We participate in sports, my siblings and I, went to a lot of the different games. And also my parents were very philanthropic. So that became two passions because we were entrenched in that. And I always knew going into college and study marketing that’s what I would want to do. I was doing some modeling, and a lot of the circles of models or the professional athletes, I invited a few of the athletes to an event that Donna Karen was part of while I was working for. And then one of the athletes said to me, do you do PR by any chance? And I’m like, Of course, I do PR and know at the time it wasn’t. And the rest is history, so to speak. But I will say, people do say, you have some special power or something about you because, in the beginning, I was a female in a male-oriented business. You know getting into sports and working with the athletes, you didn’t see as many females as you do today. And I feel so fortunate that I have been able to come out of fashion, and go into PR and work with a lot of people and brands that I’ve worked with today. So there were some challenges along the way. But you find ways to make them work. And I knew I never really wanted a partner in the business that I can go at it alone. And it’s a lot to take on. And even today, but I have an advisory board and some of my closest friends are my business mentors for very successful business people. But I’ve learned a lot and I am grateful for every bruise because I’m still standing.
Richard Matthews 11:08
Yeah. So how long have you been in the PR business?
MJ Pedone 11:12
I’m probably doing this. I know, you mentioned before over two decades, but it’s close to three decades.
Richard Matthews 11:19
Wow. So you’ve got a long history doing PR work. Have you always been based in New York?
MJ Pedone 11:26
I always have. Yes, and I know a lot of agencies, they open up in different cities. And I’ve never done that, and especially now even more so with the whole pandemic, you really learn how you can make that pivot, and just work from anywhere. Have a great team. Everybody is working remotely right now, our building offices opening up in October. But it’s been working out great. We speak every day on the zoom doing the conference. Everybody’s doing the work and it’s great.
Richard Matthews 12:01
So when it comes to your team, how big is your team at this point? Or so you’ve been doing this as long as you have.
MJ Pedone 12:10
So there are 10 of us which is great. And you know, you have 10 personalities and some people are a lot to handle. And then if we ever need any more hands-on, then I work with a group where they’ll come in and we work together on a project, but it works out great because my team is basically old veterans. That’s great they’re all seniors.
Richard Matthews 12:37
So just a curious question, because I sort of always, wondered this, how do you guys see PR fitting into the overall marketing for a company or a brand?
MJ Pedone 12:49
I think it’s a very big part of any company’s strategy, or it should be a very big part. You have the marketing and people somewhat confused the marketing and the PR, and the marketing, your logo and your website and, and your collateral,
Richard Matthews 13:05
and your pay per click and stuff like that, your campaigns.
MJ Pedone 13:09
And then you have the PR side. Now it’s time to come in, and let’s get you media on a campaign. Let’s get you talking to different digital or print journalists, let’s get you on TV, let’s get you on radio and podcasts. So it is different, but it works hand in hand. And also, it’s important today because of the social media aspect. It’s also a great way to get PR if a company is doing it properly. So yeah, it’s important.
Richard Matthews 13:42
So my next sort of question on that is, I know over the last 10, 15 years, PR, like where you would get your media has started to shift, where podcasts, for instance, didn’t really exist 10 years ago, and getting someone on doing that we call it doing the podcast rounds, when you go do a book launch something like that. And YouTube shows didn’t really exist. And that’s a big way to get media nowadays. And there’s been a certainly a change. I’m not sure if it’s even a decline yet. But in magazines and newspapers, how is that impacted your business? How do you guys keep up on where the best media is for people?
MJ Pedone 14:23
So it’s really a strategy, and it’s putting together who are your clients and where you see the client, getting the most eyeballs so to speak. So it’s a mix, it’s on social media, it’s on TV, it could be radio, and based on a campaign that you’re doing, or the messaging you’re trying to get out, you will know where to go. Now it has changed because a lot of print publications don’t exist anymore. Everything is digital. But it’s really because a lot more companies are digital-based. So every time there’s to transition or shift, you have to know where to make that shift. So it has been really good because there are a lot more media platforms available to a client, which you know, it’s constant pitching.
Richard Matthews 15:17
I because I work a lot in the marketing space, right, we’re working on campaigns Pay Per Click campaigns where it’s like, you put $1 in here, and you expect a certain action, it’s all very direct response driven. And it’s really easy to have measurable KPIs. And then to report on those KPIs to the clients. And so my curiosity is when you’re doing PR, how do you measure the success or lack thereof in a PR campaign, and what sort of KPIs to actually report on for clients to help them see the success of the campaigns?
MJ Pedone 15:46
So we have a software that we use. For instance, we had a client in the New York Times. And it gives you how many people actually read clicked on that story, it gives you the estimated PR value, which happened to be $103,000, New York Times there were millions of people who viewed the article gives you the demographics. So we get printed out and copies of all that. And that’s what we send to the client. Same thing with social media campaigns. So you just plug your clients into the software. And that’s how they see the value.
Richard Matthews 16:26
Can you get the same thing when they get on TV shows like if you were to get them on Good Morning America or something, is it the same kind of data?
MJ Pedone 16:33
Richard Matthews 16:34
MJ Pedone 16:35
That’s the reason why it’s the most important tool because that’s always a question. People always see PR and marketing as a big expense. But then when they see the value, that if they had to do an advertorial where they had to pay for it, that same article, they see the value, a $1,000 for an article in The New York Times, it’s a lot of money. If you’ll work with me, that’s for sure.
Richard Matthews 17:08
Awesome. So I want to talk a little bit then about your superpowers in this business, we talked about how every iconic hero has a superpower, whether that’s a fancy flying suit made by the genius intellect, or the ability to call down Thunder from the sky, or even super strength. In the real world, heroes have what I call a zone of genius, which is either a skill or a set of skills you were born with or you developed over time, it really helped you to slay the villains for your clients, so to speak. And the way I like to frame it for people is if you look at all the skills, you can develop over the course of building your business, you probably find a common thread. A skill that sort of ties into all of them, that you could say, hey, this is really the one thing that I bring to everything I do. And with that sort of framing, what do you think your superpower is in your PR business?
MJ Pedone 17:53
So I think it’s my personality and my personal skills. People are always very attracted to my personality, I’m very positive, very outgoing. People like to be around that. And that’s the key, especially with communications, I also know how to handle different personalities. And I think that’s because I know my personality so well. I’m working with athletes that, sometimes some are getting trouble almost every day of the week for something, you just don’t know how to handle people. But I think it’s the interpersonal skills, definitely, because people are always attracted to that I have, I’m so fortunate not only with the clients but such a great group of friends. Some of my friends have been with me since day one. And I think that’s really the biggest part of it. And that comes a lot to being very genuine, I tell it the way it is if somebody asked me, does my butt look big in this dress? I’m gonna let you know it does. But again, that’s just the genuine side and people are attracted to that.
Richard Matthews 19:08
So if you have to sort of put it into a bucket, so to speak. Would you say that, that skill, that interpersonal ability to sort of understand other people’s personalities and how to communicate with them? Is that something that you were born with? Or is that something that you have developed over the course of your career or some sort of mixture of both?
MJ Pedone 19:28
You know, there are two stories that stand out, and I’ll make it really brief. And I am going to say that I was born with it. I remember going to kindergarten, I guess in kindergarten, five years old, and I remember that nobody would play with this one world because she had a terrible body. And by the end of that, not even the end of that day. I remember saying I’m going to be the mother in this dollhouse who all can play with me and be my children and everybody is gonna treat each other as we’re all sisters. They made everybody tell each other, their names and what they liked. And I remember it like it was yesterday, and she became my friend. And I think because people wanted to be my friend, they had to also accept her. And so I’d like to say it’s definitely something that I was born with, plus, I think there’s that sensitive side growing up with animals. And again, my parents were philanthropic, they used to take us to a soup kitchen, and we used to have to pack out toys and clothes, and we would go and deliver them. And we would always make sure we adopted a family for Christmas. So might be in part both. But I think you have to be born with that sensitivity. My son who’s going to be 12 is such a sensitive boy. And I have him doing a lot of the same things being involved with charities and stuff.
Richard Matthews 20:55
Yeah, absolutely. My son’s about to be 12 by the way.
MJ Pedone 20:59
Oh really, when’s he gonna be?
Richard Matthews 21:01
October. So, like three or four months.
MJ Pedone 21:05
He’s gonna be in August.
Richard Matthews 21:06
He’s very excited because he’s been counting down the days to his 12th birthday, because he can start his training as a Falconer then, and he’s wanted to be a Falconer since he was about two and a half.
Richard Matthews 21:16
He wants to be what?
Richard Matthews 21:18
A Falconer someone who trains Falcons.
MJ Pedone 21:22
Interesting, how do you come up with that?
Richard Matthews 21:26
I’m not entirely sure because he’s been obsessed with peregrine falcons, since he first heard about them on wild crowds when he was two and a half years old. And he’s like, to the point where he knows the ornithologist at the San Diego Zoo by name and it writes them letters and stuff like that.
MJ Pedone 21:43
It’s interesting, alright.
Richard Matthews 21:43
He loves it. And I do business. So I was, well, if you want to do that, how do you take those skills and bring them into a business and he’s got the full business plan written where he wants to become a Falconer himself and then get into abatement, which is what airports used to keep the ducks from going into airplane engines, and whatnot. And they use falconers to do that. He’s like, I’ll train a whole bunch of falconers, and we’ll get contracts with airports all over the country. He’s got a whole plan together how he’s gonna turn falconry into a real legit business.
MJ Pedone 22:22
Super good and is he your oldest?
Richard Matthews 22:22
Yeah, he’s my oldest. So I mean, you saw youngest when we got recorded and she’s crazy. But yeah, my oldest is gonna be 12.
Richard Matthews 22:35
Richard Matthews 22:36
So I want to talk then about the flip side of your superpower. So if your superpower is those interpersonal relationships, the flip side of the superpower is the fatal flaw. So just like Superman has his kryptonite or Wonder Woman has her bracelets of victory she can’t remove without going mad, you probably have a flaw that’s held you back in your business, something that you struggled with. For me, it was a couple of things. It was perfectionism, which kept me from actually wanting to ship product, because I always tweak it just a little bit more before went to market, or lack of self-care, which for me, I’m letting my clients walk all over me not having good boundaries early in my entrepreneurial career. And I think more important than what the plot is, is how have you worked to rectify it so that you could continue to grow and move on and hopefully our audience learn a little bit from your story.
MJ Pedone 23:24
So the biggest challenge that I had to overcome was delegating. And I think as a business owner with your name on the door, you want to oversee every aspect of your business. And sometimes, that’s not so good, because there aren’t enough hours in the day. Sometimes I’m just up in the middle of the night to answer emails, and whatever. But I think as I’m getting older, and especially having a son and being a single mom, now, I really had to learn that skill. And I had to realize that it’s going to be okay, I’ve hired such a wonderful team. And they’re all more than qualified. And as mentioned, they’re senior level. So I had to be okay, so let somebody else write a story, or write a pitch or write something and just checks it, not have to start off and write it and then have them fill in. So that was a struggle, and I’m not gonna lie, I struggled for years. And it used to cause tension with people that are senior-level, if you’re working with people that are new to the business, that’s one thing and one girl would just always go head to head with me and I would be like, I didn’t like it. But I’ve learned from that, and I’ve learned from my own health and mental state that it’s okay, we’re not curing cancer. The work is going to be there and let somebody else do it. And so that’s the biggest thing. And also being a perfectionist, when you work with high-level people, and you’re working with athletes, and you’re putting your name to something you’re constantly going over something and dwelling on it. And I have learned how to ease that pain for me.
Richard Matthews 25:27
Yeah, I can definitely feel the delegation thing. I actually had a mentor of mine a number of years ago. I see him at our yearly mastermind meeting. We all come and share some that we’re doing on our business. And I got done with one of my things, and he comes up to me afterward, he was like, the thing you do in your business to grow if you want to actually get beyond where you’re at now and grow, you need to hire someone. And he’s like, cuz you’re your own worst bottleneck. And part of that was because of that perfectionism that I had, I went on doing it all myself, I can’t delegate. And I remember thinking, I can’t do that, I can’t afford it and how am I going to actually make sure I keep the quality of work going. And I remember vacillating about it for months. And then I finally hired someone full-time. Who you’ve actually met, you probably talked to Mark a few times on the podcast and everything. But I hired him a number of years ago, and I remember the first two weeks setting him on my team. It was that mental shift of like, how am I going to pay for this person? And how am I going to ensure that their quality of work? I found out that other people can do just as good of work if not better work than you can do sometimes. And then secondarily, it opened up a whole slew of work output that I didn’t have before because that’s how it pays for itself. Because instead of just my 40 hours a week I was going to put into my business, for 80, or 90, or whatever it was, I had all of his time as well, that was also going to creating our work output. And within the first couple of weeks into that, his work paid for his own salary kind of thing. And we’ve since grown and hired several more team members, but it was a huge hurdle for me to get over. So I totally understand that.
MJ Pedone 27:16
As you know, as a business owner, and look, you’re successful, and you’re doing great. So sometimes you look back, and I should have done that long before.
Richard Matthews 27:25
I should have done that sooner, right?
MJ Pedone 27:28
But It’s okay as long as you got the memo.
Richard Matthews 27:33
They say that lessons repeated until lesson learned, right? Once you’ve learned the lesson.
Richard Matthews 27:38
Richard Matthews 27:41
So I want to shift gears and talk a little bit about your clients. And we talked on this show about your common enemy. So every superhero has their arch-nemesis, and it’s the thing they constantly have to fight against in their world. And so to put this in the context of your clients, people who will hire you, to help them with their PR. And it’s generally a mindset or a flaw that you constantly have to fight to overcome. So you can actually get them the result that they hired you for. If you had an arch-nemesis, so to speak, and you had a magic wand, and you can just bop all your clients on the head and not have to deal with that common enemy. What would you say it is in the PR world?
MJ Pedone 28:18
Are you looking for a specific agency or other agency?
Richard Matthews 28:24
No, not another agency, like a mindset or a flaw that your clients have that you have to help them overcome so that you can actually do the work that you want to do for them.
MJ Pedone 28:32
I have become very good at managing expectations. So I think for me, it’s that one thing when I listen to what they want, which can really be grilling like everybody wants to be on a cover of a magazine, or everybody wants to be in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, whatever that sometimes eats at me because they don’t know what it takes to get there. They don’t know the messaging and so on and so forth. Or you need a sizzle reel, or you need to put together these photos, that’s always a challenge. And sometimes you just want to hit them up, but you have to educate them.
Richard Matthews 29:15
I can say that seeing the expectations being very difficult for someone who doesn’t really understand PR. Because I’m in the marketing world. So I feel like I should have a good understanding of it. I still don’t, because I’ve talked to a few PR people before. And I don’t really know what it takes to get on to the New York Times or get on to The Morning show, or Good Morning America something like that. And I don’t really know what goes into making that happen or what to expect as a result on the other side. So if I was hiring a PR agency, I know that that would be the thing I needed. I would need someone to come in and really helped me understand what should my expectations be? And if you’re not coming into it with that mindset, we’re like, I don’t know what the expectation should be, maybe you already have an expectation of like, I’m gonna hire this PR agency, and they’re gonna give me a New York Times tomorrow, I could see that being a problem.
MJ Pedone 30:11
Right, and then you go through the process of explaining how it works, if people just think you pull over to GMA and say, hey, I have this great new client, and you should talk to them about the charity, but it doesn’t work like that. They want to see a media reel, and then you’re explaining to a client, what a media reel is, and how they go about putting one together. But that’s the tools that a producer at GMA, or NBC, or wherever you’re pitching CNN, those are the tools they need. So basically, you’re sending the video with a pitch letting them know somebody’s background and you’re also helping them create a story as well. A perfect example, we created a story with two clients, one client is a meat purveyor that provides meat internationally, all across the US, and internationally. And then another one was a restaurant, and it was a story about the price of meat. So it was great. And it took seven months of pitching them about the story and how important and finally, I got an email that said, hey, we’re ready to do the story. But the seven months later, and then you have the client say, it was such a great story, how come they haven’t picked it up. But again, it’s constantly that managing of expectation, sometimes you want to sit with a client, and I wish I had that want that just taps them lightly on their head, and they get it as the light bulb goes, Oh, now I understand. So there’s always that time, especially on the onboarding phase. And yes, it was a great example, I will be working with this new client, and they’re based out of Texas, and I had twelve of them on, it was just me and one other person for my team. And the questions and the questions. And when do we get on TV? By the end of the call, it was great. But it’s just brutal in getting there. But we had them go through the whole onboarding phase, and we hope they get to read and understand, you’re giving them their weekly updates, and so on and so forth and getting on calls. That’s the biggest thing for me.
Richard Matthews 32:28
And I feel like almost every business has that expectation problem because the reason they’re hiring you is because they don’t know how to do what you do. That’s the reason why they hire me to do what I do. And it’s always the same thing. At the beginning of the relationship, it’s like, hey, we need to help establish the expectations for how this works. And you know, what we’re going to do going forward and how we’re going to measure success and all those things. It’s a common problem that entrepreneurs, particularly when you’re offering services have to go through with new clients. So my flip side of that question. So if your common enemy is something that you have to fight against in your business, then your driving force is what you fight for. So just like Spider-Man fights to save New York or Batman buys to save Gotham or Google place to index and categorize all the world’s information, what is your mission, so to speak with Indra Public Relations,
MJ Pedone 33:29
The biggest goal for us is to make sure our clients are happy. And the expectations we set through them, not only reach but surpassed them. That’s the biggest thing for me, make sure they get as much awareness as they can. And if it’s a nonprofit, make sure they’re raising money, make sure we’re bringing high-profile ambassadors on board, make sure we’re telling their story and that they keep growing.
Richard Matthews 33:57
Absolutely. And you’re in the same type of business that I’m in, it’s a ripple effect business. Every time, you do good work for your clients, their mission and their value gets spread, which is a cool place to be. And it’s a cool thing to be doing for people. Personally, one of the reasons we run this show is because I like the idea that entrepreneurs are really the people who make the world a better place. And so that’s, you’re one of the levers in that, making it happen to make the world a better place by spreading the value messages that you’re bringing.
MJ Pedone 34:37
And you know what, I get to see that, especially through events, and see how much money we’re raising and the awareness that we’re bringing. It’s a great feeling as you’re helping so many children that need help, organizations that are children based. So It’s nice, It’s great.
Richard Matthews 34:57
So I want to talk about some practical things. We call this the heroes tool belt. Just like every superhero has their fancy gadgets, like batarangs, or web slingers, or laser eyes, or big magical hammer like Thor, talk about top one or two tools you couldn’t live without in your business could be anything from your notepad, your calendar, your marketing tools, or something that you use all the time with your clients to get the work done, like the Sizzle Reel, or something like that. What is the top one or two tools you think you couldn’t get by without in your business today?
MJ Pedone 35:25
My cellphone, because I’m always on the phone. Like, you’re on the phone with clients, you’re on the phone with journalists, you’re on the phone with producers you’re just constantly pitching. So after that pitches, emails, you’re on the phone doing your follow-ups, or a client that has a crisis, they need something. So that would be number one for me. And the second most important thing is we all live on a computer. I don’t know, if we didn’t have a computer, what would life be like?
Richard Matthews 36:00
I would imagine nowadays, it’s things like Zoom and everything have become indispensable for businesses.
MJ Pedone 36:06
And my eyeglasses. I can’t see anything anymore. But that’s all that I need.
Richard Matthews 36:13
I put my contacts on today. So normally, I’ve got glasses, occasionally I get a wild hair up there in one month and not wear my glasses and put my contacts on.
MJ Pedone 36:25
On my phone, I have the notepad. I don’t know, what I would if take notes were ever raised.
Richard Matthews 36:33
Yeah, you got to make sure it’s synced and backup somewhere.
MJ Pedone 36:36
Richard Matthews 36:38
Richard Matthews 36:38
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Richard Matthews 36:47
So I want to talk a little bit about your own personal heroes. Just like you know Frodo had Gandalf or Luke had Obi Wan Kenobi or Robert Kiyosaki had his Rich Dad, who are some of your heroes? Where they real-life mentors, speakers, authors, maybe peers who are a couple of years ahead of you, and how important were they to what you’ve accomplished so far in growing your agency?
MJ Pedone 38:29
Well, I always like to start off with Arianna Huffington. I think she did tremendous work in the field, A as a female, but starting a media company. I’ve had the great pleasure of attending many of her conferences where she was speaking it. And she’s a lovely woman. I approached her and I told her that I wanted to write for the Huffington Post. And that’s always a passion of mine, which is so much writing. And she literally gave me her cell phone number and she gave me an email. She said, email me tomorrow, and I will set you up with the person that handles and writes about the post and that’s going back a while because now she has thrived, go global, and so on and so forth. So she certainly is one and then you have the people that are doing so much charity work out there. I love what Bill and Melinda Gates do. Were doing I don’t know where they are. But people like that. I know Angelina Jolie at times gets a bad rap. But she has a beautiful heart. And that’s really important watching somebody like her.
Richard Matthews 39:42
Yeah, absolutely. I know she’s adopted a number of children too.
MJ Pedone 39:47
That’s tremendous. That’s great work. And then you have the quiet heroes. I have a very dear friend. He’s one of the founding members of Robin Hood Foundation, which is a New York based organization that’s absolutely huge. He’s one of the most philanthropic people that I know on the planet, he is such a giving part. Not only is he one of my dearest friends, but he’s also my business mentor. And I look up to him, for many reasons. And when those days can be dark as a sole business owner, you have to make so many different decisions. He being there is certainly one of them.
Richard Matthews 40:27
Yeah, absolutely. I have a couple of people in my life that are like that. I tell people, he’s my running mate, so to speak. I’ve run everything I do by him, just because if I don’t won’t be as good if they don’t get at least his eyes to pass over it.
MJ Pedone 40:45
And the great people to have in your life, and I everybody that you should definitely have business mentors. And again, go back to my personality, we host a lot of networking events, and we bring a lot of great people in the room. And I make sure he’s at everyone, and I think everybody should have his name’s, Peter Borish.
Richard Matthews 41:06
Yeah, absolutely. So for me, it’s Zach, everyone needs Zach in their life, he’s the genius I keep in my back pocket, pull out every once in a while. So, I want to talk a little about your guiding principles. So one of the things that make heroes heroic is that they live by a code. For instance, Batman never kills his enemies, he only ever puts him in Arkham Asylum. So as we wrap up this interview, I want to talk about the top one or two principles you live your life by, maybe something you wish you knew when you first started out on your own hero’s journey.
MJ Pedone 41:40
The first principle that comes to mind, I always talking to my son about this is to treat people the way you want to be treated. And that’s the power you’re going to bring into your life, for sure. If you’re going to treat people, disrespectfully or negatively, that’s what you’re going to attract. And as far as I know, get caught up with the competition. I just get caught up and I focus on the clients, I have potential clients that may come on board, and how can I just do great work? To me, again, it’s just living your life as positively as you can treat people the way you want to be treated? And it’s all about respect.
Richard Matthews 42:31
Absolutely, the golden rule is, treat other people the way that you want to be treated, I have a slight modification that I’ve made to that rule, just in my own head. And I call it the Platinum rule, I don’t know if that makes any better or not. But it’s a treat other the way that they want to be treated. And the only reason I’ve ever brought that up in my head was that I run into some things that like some people don’t want to be treated the way I want to be treated, they want to be treated differently. So that goes into what you were talking about learning that whole interpersonal relationship aspect of being able to understand what their motivations are, and what they’re interested in. And for me, it just helps shifts my focus a little bit from trying to focus on me to focus on the other person. Really, it’s the same rule. It’s just my own little way to think about it if that makes sense.
Richard Matthews 43:29
Oh, absolutely. Sure it does. That’s great.
Richard Matthews 43:34
Absolutely. So I have one more thing I want to talk about in the interview. And it’s pretty simple, I call it, the hero’s challenge. And I finished all of my interviews with this. And basically, it’s just to help me get access to stories that I might not find otherwise because not everyone is out doing the podcast rounds, as we say. So the question is simple, do you have someone in your life or in your network that you think has a cool entrepreneurial story? Who are they? first names are fine, and why do you think they should come to share their story with our audience here on the hero show?
MJ Pedone 44:09
Since I already brought him up, Peter Borish. I think he would be fantastic. And he is the hero in many people’s eyes as mentioned earlier. He is the founding partner of Robin Hood, along with many other businesses that he is involved in finance. It would be great to tell his story.
Richard Matthews 44:33
That would be cool, I’d love to have him on.
MJ Pedone 44:35
Yes, and he certainly wears a cape every day.
Richard Matthews 44:41
So just so I’m clear, you’re talking about Robin Hood, like the investing platform Robin Hood,
MJ Pedone 44:44
No Robin Hood is a charity and it’s a New York based charity that feeds the food insecure. During the pandemic and Another time when we were hit with Hurricane Sandy, they got whole different artists to do a concert, they raised 31 million in one night. They really are an organization that knows how to raise money, they have a very strong and successful board. Again, that’s pages of influence there on why as successful they are.
Richard Matthews 45:26
That’s cool, so we’ll send an email request out, maybe get an introduction and see if they’ll say you have to come on the show. They don’t always say yes, sometimes they do. And when they do we get cool stories. So with that, we do our send-off in the comic books, in comic books, as always, the crowd of people at the end who are clapping and cheering for the acts of heroism. So as we close our analogous to that is where can people find you? Where can they light up the bat signal, so to speak to hey, MJ, I’d really love to work with your agency. And so I think the first question is, where can people find you? The second question is, who are the right types of people or businesses to reach out and say, hey, we would like to get your help.
MJ Pedone 46:06
Anybody could send an email. And it’s MJ@IndraPR.com. Or our office numbers 917-319-9600. And the right people are maybe in entertainment and hospitality, the nonprofit world. health and wellness, beauty, some fashion, or people that have, have a great story, and just really need help getting it out there. If we can’t do a great job and we will certainly refer to somebody else who can.
Richard Matthews 46:06
Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on the show today, MJ really appreciate it
MJ Pedone 46:47
Please let me the next time you’re in New York or when you’re coming?
Richard Matthews 46:59
Yeah, I will. Next time we get up there. Hopefully, it won’t be too far out. But you never know the world’s been a little bit crazy lately with travel restrictions and all that. But yeah, if you are listening to this and you are in one of those spaces, and you need a PR agent, definitely take the time to reach out to MJ and her team, I’ll make sure that the phone number and email address are in the show notes below this and again, MJ, thank you so much for coming on the show today. Do have any final words of wisdom for our audience before I hit the stop record button.
MJ Pedone 47:32
Never take no as a final answer. And hold close to your dreams. Whatever you dream for tomorrow, whatever you hope, to achieve. Remember that nothing is out of your reach if you only first believe.
Richard Matthews 47:48
That’s really good. I always say like, the dangerous people, ones who are going to change the world are the ones who dream during the day. They dream with their eyes open. I feel like that’s along the same line. So again, thank you so much for coming today. Really appreciate having you here.
MJ Pedone 48:06
Thank you so much.
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