Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Day In Her Life: Shante Bacon, Founder/CEO of 135th Street Agency



Her Journey…

Take a good look at Shante Bacon because she is a prime example of what can happen when you dream big, and then relentlessly go after it.  Raised in the drug-riddled neighborhood of Jamaica, Queens, there was very little around her indicative of what her successful future would behold, except a strong affinity for the then emergent hip-hop culture.

“There was a lot of talent out of my neighborhood, so it never seemed farfetched to me that I could do this for a living,” says Bacon, who grew up in the same neighborhood as future hip-hop legends LL Cool J, Run DMC, and Salt-N-Pepa. “What made it a reality for me was when I was a kid, my brother was pursuing a career as a rapper and he would go to Def Jam Christmas parties and that had me all starry eyed about it.”

After reading an article in her brother’s Billboard magazine as a child, her goal was officially set: she wanted to work for Russell Simmons as part of the Def Jam empire.

“There was a little itsy, bitsy, teensy, weensy article about this new company called Def Jam started by this Queens native Russell Simmons, and that was it for me. “

By the time she majored in Marketing at Hampton University, her dream began to take shape while she balanced a full course load and internships at Pendulum and Perspective Records and a college rep position at Def Jam Records working under music business titans Julie Greenwald and Kevin Liles. Liles, so impressed with Bacon’s work as a college rep, held a position for her until her graduation in 1998. With her childhood dream of working at Def Jam finally realized, the journey really began.

“It was probably the most profound, challenging, amazing, inspirational, hard experience ever. Julie and Kevin pushed people out of their comfort zone and required you to always produce the best,” she says. “I was trained by the best and I am doing what I was meant to do.”  

After several promotions and leadership positions, Bacon left her dream job to craft a new destiny of running her own business. And years later yet another dream has come into fruition. Bacon’s agency, which specializes in targeting  urban youth and urban professionals, has been recognized in Redbook, Crain’s NY Business, Black Enterprise, and EBONY to name a few.

“There are people who make their dreams happen and people who are upset they didn’t make their dreams happen. Being a dreamer is not a hard thing…execution is the hard part,” she says. “You just have to wake up every day and work hard and push further, and accept nothing less than exactly what you want out of a situation.”

Her Day Begins…

It’s 9 a.m. East Coast time. From the moment she begins her long work day at her home office, she and her team, including her partner Saptosa Fosterare conceptualizing innovative marketing campaigns for existing clients that have included the likes of Coca Cola, Radio One, Warner Music Group, NY Times, and Island Def Jam.

“The one thing I really love about my life and company and all of that is there is no typical day. I would say the most typical thing is coming to office and knocking out of the park the projects we already have.”
After a few hours, she forces herself away from her computer at her home office and finishes up her work day at her office in Atlantic Records, staying until around 9 p.m. that night-but the work does not necessarily end there. 

“I am one of those people who will do her best work at 3 or 4 a.m. That is when I really get a chance to hone in on something that requires a lot of brainwork.”

Her Advice to You…

“What you do for a living is going to be a major part of your life for so long. You have to choose well.  You have to know yourself. If you graduated from college and you realized this wasn’t for you, switch it up. Nobody said ‘well this is what your degree is in so this is what you have to do the rest of your life’. We are lucky enough to be a generation who have options.”

Best Part of My Job…

“The best part of my job is that I get to be creative, that I get to pitch new business. I feel like I am as close as I can possibly be in terms of true freedom and actually waking up and doing what I want to do.”

To find out more about Shante Bacon’s business journey, please visit her website: www.135stagency.com.

Featured Writer: Lenora Houseworth is a published writer, editor and social media strategist. She can be reached at lenora.houseworth@gmail.com. Find her on Twitter: @LenoraTheScribe.

A “Day in Her Life” blog series gives an insider view into the professional lives of successful women from various fields with the intended purpose of educating and inspiring the next generation of BOSS women.

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