This is the second installment of Reflections of Today’s Black Marketing Professionals with The Loomis Agency. Today, Rachel interviews Maurice Potts who is the local sales manager for Radio One Dallas, home of 97.9 The Beat and Majic 94.5. In the interview, Rachel and Maurice discuss the importance and impact of people of color in the industry. Continue reading to hear Maurice’s advice on people of color entering the industry and more on his experiences so far in his career.
Rachel Brittenham: Welcome back everyone to Reflections of Today’s Black Marketing Professionals with the Loomis Agency. This is our celebration of black professionals within the advertising and marketing industry. And we are having our second interview today, featuring one of our own from our community of media partners. Once again, we’re back with media. This gentleman is also one of my fellow alumni. He went to UNT. Go Eagles. And we are also board members of a national organization of the Dallas chapter, actually, for the Alliance for Women in Media. So glad to have him today, please give me a virtual handclap for none other than Mr. Maurice Potts.
Maurice Potts: Thank you.
Rachel Brittenham: So, Maurice, I’ve gotten a chance to know you a little bit over the years, but would you tell us who you are, how you got into the industry, and what are you doing currently?
Maurice Potts: Okay. Well, my name is Maurice Potts. I’m currently the local sales manager for Radio One Dallas, home of 97.9 The Beat and Majic 94.5, two urban radio stations here in the metroplex. I’ve been working for Radio One for, this will be going into my 10th year working with the company. I started off as an integrated marketing specialist. And recently, within the last few years, moved into the management side. I first got into marketing and actually to Radio One through a connection from a fellow alum from the University of North Texas. I was actually working in social services and I was looking to make a change. I had always been interested in marketing in media, and so I reached out and gratefully they had a opening position for entry-level salesperson. So, I got my chance and I’ve been here ever since. And I absolutely love it.
Rachel Brittenham: Absolutely. So, as I said in the intro, we are fellow alumni with UNT, but something that I get asked all the time and I was even asked this question when I got into the industry, where are all the Black people? [Inaudible 00:02:35]. And even though we were probably at UNT at different decades and we entered the industry at different times, did you see as many people of color? Now, granted you do work for Radio One, which is a Black-owned company and has been for its existence, but in your time in the industry, what have you seen as far as Black people?
Maurice Potts: Yeah. I’ve been fortunate enough obviously to work for Radio One, which is part of Urban One, our overall company, to have had those Black faces in the building. Our general manager is a Black woman, Tami Honesty, my general sales manager, Eric Baker. They’ve been mentors to me throughout my full time within the industry. And as now I’m getting to branch out and see more faces throughout the company, I do see diversity. So you do see people of all colors. But once again, working for my company and knowing that we are dedicated and focused on bringing entertainment to African-Americans, I have had the joy of seeing those faces in my company.
Now, if you look at the industry as a whole, and when you go to networking events, that looks different. It looks different. But I will say from when I first started to now, I do see an increase of Black faces, which is great, which is great. And I’m starting to see younger people, as well, coming into the industry. And I think that’s just, goes with the change in society and how things are seen from different perspectives and needing the voices of different people when it comes to marketing and to media.
Rachel Brittenham: Yeah. And that’s a great point, because like I said, I started in the industry in ’99, so it was much, much different. But now that we are in this age of progression, especially with you millennials, I admire you so much, you have a different attitude and a different approach. So with that being said, what do you think has been the greatest impact of having people of color a part of the marketing and advertising industry locally, regional, globally? Why do you think it’s important? And what impact have you seen?
Maurice Potts: Yeah, I think it definitely opens up perspective and allows people that may not necessarily have seen things from the Black perspective. It allows them to see those things. It allows them to see, whether it’s certain things that we laugh about, certain things that we may all know, certain foods and products that are important to us. And I think it just also shows people that there is not just one certain type of black person, and not all black people like the same thing, think the same. But it shows them the variety of Blackness. Whether that’s here locally in the United States or globally.
Rachel Brittenham: Yeah, absolutely. I believe everybody makes their own way in their own experience. No matter what profession you choose, life is what you make it, right? So we know that as people of color, we have challenges and obstacles that face us from every angle. So as you stated, the impact is great because they’re able to see us for who we are. But knowing the obstacles that we have faced, is there anything in particular in your journey that you’ve had to overcome as an obstacle? Or is there something that you would like to accomplish in helping others maybe face the challenges or obstacles that they are going through?
Maurice Potts: Yeah. You know, I’m very committed to helping young men that look like me, that have an interest in going into this field. I’m very committed to helping them find their way in. That’s something that I would love to accomplish, to just show younger Black people that there is a route for us to go. There’s a place, there’s a seat at the table for us. We have to find mentors, reach out, let people know that this is something that we want to do and be open to learning, open to caring about that experience. And I think that’s the only way we will find that we will continue to change the industry. Which, once again, impacts, I mean, overall, we’ll start changing that perspective. We’ll start changing that messaging, start changing just advertising as a whole in what we’re putting out there. Coming in, I didn’t see a lot of young Black males. One thing I will say, I saw Black women. I saw many Black women when I-
Rachel Brittenham: Yeah, we out here.
Maurice Potts: … coming in in the entry. I’ve seen that. But I’m not seeing as many Black males in the industry. But I’ve heard a lot of people ask, “What do you do? Oh, that sounds interesting. How did you get into that?” And you know, I’m very open to talk to anyone and say, “This is what I did. This is what I’ve learned.” Because I believe outside of just being on the sales side, I’ve got to learn a lot about the whole industry. I’ve got to meet people from all over. That has really shaped me, I will say, as a professional. And I want to be that same person for someone who may be entering and maybe, I came in when I was 24, someone that’s that same age, that’s a little hesitant to try to come in to say, “Hey, it’s okay. I got you. I’ll walk with you through this journey so that you can one day be in the place that I am.”
Rachel Brittenham: I love that. Guidance is key. Which brings me to my next question. Because of the work that we do, which is the Alliance for Women in Media, and you and I both are strongly dedicated in that space, especially with the student advocacy part, what advice in particular, when you’re talking to these young men or anybody for that matter, as far as people of color, what advice are you giving them about coming into this industry?
Maurice Potts: My advice is to be open and to network with all people. One thing that I often get, the stares or the laugh when I say I’m on a board for the Alliance of Women in Media. But through the organization I have been able to meet many people like yourself, who come from different backgrounds, who have different experiences and I’m constantly learning. But on the flip side, I’m actually able to teach people. So me, as a Black male, I’m making an impact by letting people know certain things that I think are important, messaging that I may say, “Oh, I don’t think that’ll go well.” And overall helping to change people’s perspectives so they can see things from my eyes.
And so that’s the big thing I can say, “Come in, meet people. Meet people no matter who they are and be a sponge. Learn as much as you can. But also be willing to be that person that I’m going to let you know my feelings. I’m going to let you know how I feel about certain campaigns. Or this is how I feel about certain things that are going on in the community.” So that people will be able to legitimately learn from your experience and see from your perspective. And it will make an impact on them as a whole.
Rachel Brittenham: Absolutely. So as we round out this interview, of course, the world knows we saw a lot in 2020, especially with number one, she has not left us yet, COVID-19. But the racial uprising that happened in our country. In particular, with our industry we saw a lot of support begins to come out of many of our clients, as well as agencies, production houses, you name it. Everyone was empowering or wanting to be supportive of the Black community. So my question to you is, what role does advertising play in solving the issue of race? Does it even have one? And do you think we’ve done, or has the industry taken the steps that it’s needed to take post George Floyd? That’s a three part question.
Maurice Potts: Okay. Well, I don’t know if advertising can solve the issue because that’s much bigger. But I think it gets us the opportunity to educate people on different experiences. And I think that’s what a lot of societal issues come down to, is there is not an understanding between people of our differences and our similarities, right? So advertising gives us the opportunity to educate people on certain things that they may not have thought was important, but is very important.
And then as we look at, in regards to the support that the advertising industry has been putting out there, you’re seeing a lot of brands stepping up and saying that they are for social justice and against racial injustice, against police brutality. It’s great to see. It’s great to see that companies are stepping up. And some companies have even gone as far as donating to the foundation and things like that, and also making a commitment to work with Black-owned businesses.
I think it’s very impactful, because as we know, especially during this COVID pandemic, that a lot of Black businesses have been disproportionately impacted just due to having to shut down and things to that matter. So I think that it is a wonderful thing to really see a lot of these brands step up to say that we’re in this together, that we see the problem and we want to help be a part of the solution.
And once again, I think advertising can’t solve the problem, but it has a big part of us helping to spread a message and letting people know that once again, we see things that are going on, we will no longer be silent and we want to be a part of the solution. And hopefully it helps us all to move to actually finding that solution, that people are going to be open to hearing the messages. And if we are driving a message, let’s meet up with a neighbor for dinner that you’ve never met up with, or speak to a different group of people that you never spoke with. I think there’s power in those words. And it’s driving people to action that hopefully will help to solve this overall societal issue of race relations.
Rachel Brittenham: Yeah. Yeah. You’re so right. It’s all about authenticity. And the biggest thing you can do is just speak. Use your voice and connect. We’re all human beings at the end of the day. And it just takes one person to start it. The best way to get to know a group is educate yourselves on them. But don’t do it through reading a book, actually just reach out to them. Well, Maurice, thank you so, so much for joining us for our series of Reflections of Today’s Black Marketing Professionals. This has been an empowering series. To all of you that are watching, look for Maurice. He’s doing great things within the Dallas Fort Worth marketing community. He’s over at Radio One. And we will be back next week with another interview and you will see my colleague Briana Jones again. Thank you so much for joining us. So great to have you. Have a great and blessed day everybody.
Maurice Potts: Thank you.
RACHEL BRITTENHAM is senior media buyer for LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency and a top Dallas advertising agency for digital, social, mobile and user experience. For more about challenger branding, advertising and marketing, leadership, culture and other inspirations that will drive your success, visit our blog BARK! The Voice of the Underdog and catch up on all of our posts.
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