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IAM1790 – Public Relations Expert Helps Brands Make a Difference

Podcast Interview with Camille Davis

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In this episode of CEO Podcasts, host Gresham Harkless Jr. interviews Camille Davis, a public relations expert who is focused on impactful brands, particularly Black-owned and Women-owned businesses.

Camille is the founder of Montage Public Relations, a boutique PR firm that helps businesses make a difference by giving voice to those who contribute to the greater good and make their communities thrive.

Throughout the episode, Camille shares valuable insights on effective public relations strategies, emphasizing the importance of building relationships and understanding the needs of clients. She also discusses her journey in the industry, including her pivot to focus on Black-owned and Women-owned businesses in 2019, and the ways in which she is making space for and propelling Black Women and representation.

Additionally, Camille is the host of Meet The Media and The WomenForTheCulture Podcast, and she shares insights on how to effectively utilize media to build brand recognition and make a difference.

Overall, the episode provides valuable insights and inspiration for anyone looking to improve their public relations efforts and make a positive impact through their business.

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Camille Davis Teaser 00:00

I'm finding out things about myself yearly as I go along, but that's good, right? Because we all want to grow. You never wanna be in a place where you're not learning, right?

So most recently I've been struggling personally with being emotional, but that's a good thing as well. I think that the reason why I'm in public relations is because I'm a people person.

Intro 00:23

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:50

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit over 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we are repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, the business pillars that we think are gonna be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, and what I like to call CB Nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month we are focused on the visibility game, a k a, marketing, advertising, PR, and sales. I often say the name of the game is being found, and these tools will help you to do that. We have heard the philosophical question, if the tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? If there's a really, really great product or service and no one knows about it, how great is it really? What impact does it ultimately make? This is where we will go into this month looking at visibility, branding, marketing, public relations, sales being the lifeblood of businesses. Building many companies and so much more.

This is probably one of the most exciting and probably the most excruciating topics, but we hope this helps to demystify or maybe even vanquish the fear and help and arm you with the tools to be able to increase your visibility. So buckle up and sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I AM CEO podcast.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Camille Davis of Montage Public Relations. Camille, it's great to have you on the show.

Camille Davis 02:19

It's an honor to be here. Thank you.

Gresham Harkless 02:22

Definitely the honor is all ours. What I wanted to do is just read a little bit more about Camille so you can hear about some of those awesome things that she's doing.

Unapologetically pushing the culture forward, Camille pivoted to focus on Black-owned and Women-owned businesses in 2019. Focusing on impactful brands, Camille is building her legacy by giving voice to those who contribute to the greater good and make their communities thrive. She's the host of Meet the Media, the Women for the Culture podcast, and a Media Guru. She's making space for and propelling black women in representations.

And I love everything Camille is doing because at the end of the day, having a voice is one of the most important things we have. So when people have the ability to do that through her platforms, I appreciate her for making a way sometimes when we feel that there's no way. So, Camille, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

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Camille Davis 03:06

Yes, I am. Let's do this.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 03:07

Let's do it then. So to kick everything off, I wanted to just rewind the clock a little bit, and hear a little bit more on how you got started, what I call your CEO story.

Camille Davis 03:15

Absolutely. Thank you so much. Basically, I had no idea what entrepreneurship was. That wasn't something that I was necessarily taught growing up. I had two parents who worked for the local government. They were both police officers and education was number one. They stressed the importance of going to college and back then it was like, okay, are you gonna be a doctor? Are you gonna be a lawyer? There was really nothing outside of those two positions and least as far as black excellence was concerned, right?

So, also being located in DC I had family members just go get a good government job. The GGJ, right? That's like good government job. Good government job, that's all people talk about in Washington DC right? I guess it's just so easy and people just assume that if you live here, you work within the government. So it wasn't until maybe my junior year of high school, when I started thinking about, okay, what college am I gonna go to? I put feelers out and I really thought I was gonna go to Spelman. I already had it set. It was gonna be, all girls black institution. They were so much pride in history there.

But can I tell you, Spelman sent me a letter and they're like, oh, come talk to us next year. Oh, Do you know how much that really shot me down, especially for my people, quote and quote. So I'm like, no, they couldn't have sent me a sweatshirt or a, oh my gosh, I'm so glad that you're interested, here are some upcoming programs, learn more about our school. That didn't happen, Penn State welcomed me with open arms. Not only did they do that, they invited me up for the summer. This is the summer before my senior year to a multicultural journalism workshop. At the time, I thought that I wanted to be a writer. I was really good at it. So I went there and then that's when I was exposed to the world of public relations.

So if Penn State had never given me the opportunity, I would've never known what public relations was. I had the opportunity to come on their campus a whole year early and experience that college experience. I was able to write for the daily collegian on campus. We also had a communicator, which was the on-campus newspaper. So I got that writing experience before I even left high school. So I feel like I really attribute my success to Penn State giving me that opportunity when I was just eager for it. So that's when I really decided, wow I don't have to just choose one lane. I don't have to just write. I can do news, I can do advertising, I can basically do public relations, and you're telling me that it's all-encompassing of all of these things that I love. That's when I just ran with it.

Once I graduated. It was extremely difficult, but I pushed through. At the time, it was very competitive to have a career in public relations. I actually had to have a certain GPA even to enter into my major. But with all of that being said, I still didn't know what an entrepreneur was. I thought I was just gonna work for a PR agency coming out of school. So, flash forward, to my senior year of at Penn State, I'm applying to all of the PR grades, the Edelman's the Ogilvys. I thought that I wanted to be with one of those big PR agencies, the CHUs. What was really interesting is I had phone conversations, my initial phone interview, and that's what kind of passed you along. I never got that next step interview and I don't know why, but it wasn't for me, and I'm so glad to know that now. It wasn't until I graduated and there were no jobs available. I literally graduated at a time where we were in the middle of a recession. Jobs just were not there. So I said, I'll go to grad school.

Luckily I had that option. I had a full ride to Penn State. My parents were behind me. Whatever you need to do, you got us thus far. They were willing to support me financially. So I came home. I went to GW and I went to business school. I then wanted to focus my public relations experience. I said let me pick a lane. I thought that was going to be towards sports management and event management. So I decided to enter into their business school and receive a master's of tourism administration. That's where sports management fell under. What is so funny is that I was then introduced into another world. Tourism was amazing to me. The fact that I could throw one event, a high pro profile event, let's take the Super Bowl for instance. If I could bring the Super Bowl to Washington DC, how the area restaurants would benefit from that, how the area hotels would benefit from that, how the arts would benefit from having one major event produce revenue for all around it. That was fascinating to me.

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So here I go graduating grad school. Thought that I was gonna get with local tourism administrations. That still did not happen. Destination DC at the time was huge for me. I wanted to work there. I wanted to plan events in a city, on a major level between that or working in sports because I went to Penn State, which was a sports-dominated school. I had nothing but athletes as friends, but still couldn't find my place. How do I represent these people? What is so funny is that in 2010, I started Montage public relations, with no knowledge of entrepreneurship, but simply because not only were the jobs still not available, those that were available then were not willing to pay me what I was worth. Coming out with a grad school degree, I thought as though my salary should be equal to my experience or my educational background. So I just decided, hey, I'm gonna do it for myself. Luckily I've been doing it ever since.

So this is officially 11 years in business for me at Montage PR. And I'm so proud because as many as half a small businesses fail within the first two to five years. So it's really a pleasure that I'm still around. Now I make sure that I'm identifying what those gaps are to make sure that other businesses just like me, see longevity.

Gresham Harkless 08:53

Nice. I absolutely love that. I wanted to drill down a little bit more and hear a little bit more about Montage PR, and hear how you work with your clients, and also hear a little bit more about what you feel sets you apart in is what I like to call your secret sauce.

Camille Davis 09:05

Thank you. I'm all about emotion. I'm all about communicating a brand's message, and I really make sure that I tap into the emotion of the reader, the viewer, and the customer. That is like my thing, my secret sauce, as you can say, I don't think that we can tell a message without making it relatable. So I wanna come into your home, whether my client is on the news or whether you're reading about their product in the paper, and I wanna make you feel a certain type of a way. I want to tell their story and either make you laugh or make you cry, or make it hit home to the fact that you know that you want to align with this business.

That's how I appeal to the customer. Also, write about it now. I only wanna work with businesses that are about impact. I think that we've been through a lot as a nation over the past year. Not only do we wanna see the people who are packaging the products, we wanna know the people that are behind that brand. We wanna hold those people accountable. We wanna know that they care about the customer. So I'm all about brands who wanna make a difference and an impact. It's all about CSR to me. What's your corporate social responsibility? How are you giving back and making a footprint in a major way? That's really what I'm invested in and I think that is how I make my clients stand out as opposed to the rest.

Gresham Harkless 10:24

Absolutely. I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Camille Davis 10:35

Can I say my media list? That's like my Bible in a sense. Without my media list, I couldn't do anything. So I think that's like my go-to having this document that you can, at the press of a button, access a ton of contacts, in one moment. That's my way in and out of any situation.

Gresham Harkless 10:56

Absolutely.  I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO Nugget. So this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client related to PR or it might be something if you were to hop into a time machine, you would tell your younger business self.

Camille Davis 11:08

I love this question. I'm finding out things about myself yearly as I go along, but that's good, right? Because we all want to grow. You never wanna be at a place where you're not learning, right? So most recently, I've been struggling personally with being emotional, but that's a good thing as well. I think that the reason why I'm in public relations is because I'm a people person. I always put my client's best interests first. However, that can be really detrimental for someone who's an empath like myself. Because I feel everything, every single no that comes by from a reporter.

It's like the publicist is that person that receives all the no so the client doesn't have to, but at the end of the day, it's really draining. So if I could tell any advice, like if you're an empath, public relations may not be the industry for you. But one thing that I will say, a potential investor pulled me aside and said, I think sometimes you care more than the client does, and you would think that's a good thing, right? But it's not. You cannot be more passionate about a project than your client is. You want to make sure that you are passionate. I don't take on any clients that I do not fully support their idea because I need to be able to communicate this to the public when they're not around.

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But my problem is you never want to get too far in what you care about the baby more than the client does because it doesn't work out and that's something that I've had to learn over the years.

Gresham Harkless 12:41

Absolutely. I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping out different quote and quote, CEOs on the show. So Camille, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Camille Davis 12:52

I think that being a CEO is obviously the ability to lead, but also the ability to listen. So I had a conversation before we were on this interview today with one of my social media managers. And although I'm in public relations and our worlds cross, I do not in any way lead anyone to believe that I'm an expert in social media.

I think that it is important to have people around you, how they say that your network is your net worth, I think that being able to pull from like-minded individuals, is what makes you a highly successful CEO. Knowing where other strengths lie and being able to pull up on them and utilize them, I think that's what makes a good leader.

Gresham Harkless 13:36

Awesome. Camille, truly appreciate that definition and I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is just pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know, and of course, how best they can get ahold of you and find out about your podcast and all the awesome things that you're working on.

Camille Davis 13:51

Absolutely. I think that before now, self-care was never even a word. And I'm starting to learn that going, all engines blasting, working 24/7 is great, but at the end of the day, rest is so important and I'm starting to learn that myself because, as you said, we cannot pour from an empty cup. So as we're all trying to take over and have our seven different lanes and streams of income, I do wanna make sure that we save time for ourselves and our mental, and we know how important that is.

Again, going back to creating, and setting boundaries, know that we have little ones watching us. So that's so important to me as I'm raising my son and he's four years old now as taking that time to sometimes disconnect to remember to be present. It's so difficult being a CEO nowadays, especially when we're amongst the land of all CEOs. But, I think that we also have to remember at the end of the day that it's okay to unplug, it's okay to set boundaries, it's okay to have a mental health check and just try to stay as present as possible.

Gresham Harkless 14:56

Absolutely. No, I definitely appreciate that. Ana for people that want to get in touch with you and listen to your podcast, what's the best way for them to do that?

Camille Davis 15:02

Thank you so much. Absolutely. The Women for the Culture Podcast, we broadcast basically on all major streaming networks. You can find us on Anchor, Spotify, iHeartRadio, you name it. And there I'm interviewing your favorite celebrities. Also with Meet the Media, I'm interviewing your favorite media reps, but not only pushing the conversation on why it's important to control the narrative, why it's why representation matters but also getting tips directly from the source on how we can elevate and level up in all areas of our lives.

So look for me there. Also, I'm on Instagram. If you go to @montagepr you can basically find, and use that as a hub to everything that I have my hands and access on. Basically, that's my best visual portfolio to show you what I do, and I can do that better than I can tell you. So please join me over on Instagram @montagepr, drop me DMs, take a consultation. I promise I don't bite.

Gresham Harkless 16:00

Absolutely. I truly appreciate that, Camille. We will have the links and information in the show notes as well too so that everybody can follow up with you. Thank you so much for reminding us of that and how important that is and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Outro 16:11

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 media. Tune in next time and visit us I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Don't forget to schedule your complimentary digital marketing consultation at This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless, Jr. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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