By Vanessa Wakeman
President and CEO, The Wakeman Agency
This July, The Wakeman Agency turns 12!
It’s hard to believe that more than a decade has passed since my idea officially became a reality now known as The Wakeman Agency. What started out as a notion is now a full-fledged operation, with three offices, a presence on both coasts, a shining roster of nonprofit rock stars and exciting new offerings on the horizon.
I realized I was on the precipice of something new and different back in 2003 when I founded our firm. But little did I know that I would be at the forefront of a brand-new wave of social advocacy and social-change awareness by creating an event planning and PR agency devoted solely to positive, life-improving causes.
The road to continuance, growth and, yes, success has not been easy. As any entrepreneur will tell you, the path from inspiration to realization is intense and unyielding. There is marketing, building a team, making payroll, renovating office space, developing employees and more. But aside from the usual growing pains of building a business, The Wakeman Agency has faced unique challenges – and opportunities – because of our very relentless commitment to social justice, equality and a better world.
We have said “yes” when others might have said “no,” as we have helped enterprising nonprofit organizations and incoming startups develop a solid foundation. We have said “no” when others might have said “yes” because we have stood by our values and principles in living out our truth.
The Wakeman Agency is the brainchild of my experience and, some might say, comes from an unlikely place. Though I hail from a long line of party planners who knew how to put on incredible events for family and friends, I also spent a number of years working in corporate America. From each of my experiences, I learned many invaluable lessons.
But the most important lesson I learned was fearlessness.
I embraced the opportunity to advance causes that build a brighter tomorrow, while championing the potential of women in leadership. I welcomed any part I could play in uplifting the role of socially responsible companies in changing the narrative about how business success looks, and how organizations operate, in our society. Today, The Wakeman Agency serves a growing number of nonprofit organizations, start-up companies and major businesses. We have executed countless events that have heightened awareness and raised funds that improved programs, enhanced services and supported organizations in achieving various strategic goals. By extension, these efforts have strengthened families, communities and institutions.
Since 2003, we’ve grown from one location to three. And our team has expanded. And I have you – our clients, both past and present, plus our supporters, friends and fans – to thank for our continued momentum and impact. Just as The Wakeman Agency has taken calculated risks throughout our growing pains, I know that many decision-makers from companies, businesses and nonprofit organizations also took a chance on me.
And I am so grateful.