We had the good fortune of connecting with Chinua Joi Ivey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chinua Joi, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
As a former foster child, I know what it means to feel voiceless. I spent years, before high school, trying to tell people about the abuse that was happening in my home. Fast forward to today, I have not forgotten that feeling associated with being unrecognized, ignored, or belittled. I feel that there are so many incredible stories in our communities, as well as our businesses, that need to be amplified. I personally believe that every cause or brand has a story, and every story can spark change. I want small business owners to understand that their brand story is what differentiates them in the marketplace and makes them unique. Their organizational narrative should be celebrated. We all have a “why.” My public relations agency is rooted in advocacy.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve always had an interest in communications and I come from a family of communicators. I’ve worked in print, digital, radio, and corporate communications. Uncovering stories and promoting new ideas or innovations is exciting to me because I’m raising awareness, promoting social change, or educating audiences. I’m also an author and speaker, so I feel that communicating is something that’s ingrained in me. Yes, there were many challenges along the way but what you love to do is worth fighting for – sometimes you have to reinvent yourself, go back to school, find a mentor, or showcase your transferable skills to get in the door. Almost always, I was the only Black female on the team/floor/department. The key is confidence, and not allowing the source of your confidence to be your work (sometimes work isn’t glamourous or acknowledged). I am confident because of who I am, not what I do. That is how I maintain my integrity and sanity! Ivey Media Agency, LLC as a company that advocates for the betterment of the communities where we live and work. Whether I’m supporting a minorty-owned startup to launch or writing a piece on behalf of a crime victim for increased awareness, my brand stands for advocacy, equality, equity, and advancement and we share these values through storytelling.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Georgia has been open throughout the pandemic when many other states were not. My favorite Atlanta event will always be the Atlanta Jazz Festival. I don’t know when it will ever come back, but I will be there in a bubble if I have to! I love the outdoors and my favorite place to soak in some sunshine and get fresh air is the Amicalola Falls State Park in the North Georgia mountains. On my way up, I would stop at a local farm and get some freshly-made peach or apple hand pies and some peach cider – it’s just the perfect quick, and socially-distant getaway. My hubby and I love live concerts or comedy shows at smaller venues, which in metro-Atlanta, there are tons of options on almost any night of the week! I would caution to consider traffic and parking before going to any smaller venue because, well, #wefull. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I wouldn’t be who I am today without the love and support of two amazing foster families in Washington, DC. They laid the foundation for me by providing an atmosphere and example of faith, love, security, and respect. Entrepreneurship is not an easy task; you let go of some comforts to basically take a leap of faith. My husband has been an amazing support, vote of confidence, and overall backbone as I pursue my dreams. I also have a circle of reliable friends and fellow small business owners who I can talk to at any time of day. I’m thankful for them because iron sharpens iron.
Morrell Gray (Ivey-5) T. Reeves (Ivey Headshot)