Spotlight on - Patrice Camille
At Spotlight, we got the opportunity to talk to Patrice Camille Stephens-Sobers CEO of Pink Ship Ltd. Patrice chatted about following your passion, the highs and lows of business and her top tips to anyone starting out.
I’ve always been interested in the media. Once I decided not to follow my dream of becoming a singer and actress (I sometimes regret this decision) I pursued a career in advertising, I wanted to be an ad creative. And somehow, I ended up in the digital marketing world instead.
After studying abroad in California and completing multiple internships and work placements at various companies, I went on to graduate with a degree in Advertising, PR and Media. Also a natural entrepreneur, I went on and founded my Digital Marketing Agency, Pink Ship Ltd in 2015. Through my agency, I have been featured on MTV and worked with over 220 different brands of all sizes including the likes of Superdrug, the NBA, Morgan Stanley and more. With a dedicated team of strategists and creatives, Pink Ship continues to grow and scale into an international agency with clients and team members in Toronto, Canada and Los Angeles, California. Pink Ship now targets hair, beauty, beauty tech and athleisure brands specifically. I also teach classes and workshops all over the country to small and medium-sized businesses.
Challenges and setbacks
Getting opportunities has been the largest roadblock for me, even to this day. I’ve always worked hard and showed up with the best credentials and portfolio to back it up but for some reason, I was never chosen for any jobs I went for and never chosen for any brands I pitched to either. Everything I’ve accomplished I fought tooth and nail for. There are still so many things I’m yet to achieve that I’m still fighting for.
If I can be frank, most often than not, the thing preventing me from getting into the room was the colour of my skin. Some organisations aren’t very diverse and they often don’t see the value in someone like me. There isn’t much I can do to overcome this other than to keep trying. I often reach out to other black people who have managed to break through (gatekeepers) and ask them for referrals. This usually helps me. Unity is the best way to diversify spaces in the industry.
Determination to succeed
I’m very passionate about giving young creatives a chance to get into the industry. I know how hard it was for me to get my foot in the door and I always want to make room for graduates to try their hand at something and build a portfolio.
I’m an ambitious person and I don’t like giving up. Also, I have a really strong faith in God and I believe wholeheartedly that although things may be difficult, I will always pull through and that God will not leave me hanging. In due time, things will always come together for me.
Patience and consistency are key. It’s about seeing things through for the long haul. Whenever anyone asks me for advice, that’s always what I say. Also, it is okay to ask for help. We all need a helping hand. Whether that means asking for help on a project or asking for a referral to get the job. Either way, it’s important to humble yourself often and ask for the support you need.
Advice to anyone starting out
Be consistent and be patient. Things will be rough sometimes, it’s not going to be a smooth sailing journey. When the road gets rough, just fasten your seatbelt and keep driving. The best advice I’ve been given is “Develop the habits of a successful person and you will be successful.” My three top tips are:
Stay true to yourself. The temptation will be there to change who you are in order to be deemed ‘acceptable’. If you have to shapeshift in order to fit in, then you won’t ever be comfortable in your place of work. It will take its toll on your mental health over time.
Never stop studying your craft. Keep doing webinars, going to seminars, reading books, practising and trying new things. Thanks to technology, every industry continues to change very fast and you need to ensure that your knowledge is always up to date.
Never stop networking. I do believe that your network is your net worth. It’s all about who you know when ‘what’ you know isn’t quite enough. So keep reaching out, meeting new people and making connections.
Ensure that you have the right intentions for wanting to lead. Make sure you have a purpose and mission that goes beyond your own personal desires. because the world doesn’t need self-serving leaders. Being a leader comes with responsibility and without noble character, you will only lead people off a cliff.
What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
When you have mastered servanthood you will then have the character to lead. Being a leader doesn’t mean you don’t have to serve anyone, it only means you have more people to serve. Great leaders don’t set out to lead, they set out to make a difference. It’s not about the role, it’s about the goal! Remember to do more listening than you do talking.
What has been your strategy for your business during COVID-19?
We already have a WFH policy at Pink Ship so we’ve been going as normal. One thing that has changed is that we have tripled our clientele. I guess brands are understanding the importance of digital marketing since brick and mortar has become a safety hazard. So we’ve been much busier and we’ve had to hire more team members.