Megan Smith, founder and president of Brownstone PR, started her own public relations firm and now has a number of clients in South Philadelphia.
Smith came to Temple University in 2001 — motivated in her journalism curriculum.
She worked several internships at various publications including Essence, Glamour and Marie Claire. It wasn’t until she reached her senior year that she realized she wanted to do something different.
Smith, who is a Washington, D.C., native, decided she would stay in Philadelphia after graduating in 2005, to chase what ever it was that would make her happy. She knew she had a love for independent films and started an internship with the Philadelphia Film Society.
“I thought it would be a cool opportunity to promote a film festival,” she said. “I got to connect with a lot of amazing people.”
It wasn’t long before Smith realized she enjoyed creating stories, giving pitches and conversing with people in the media. She then began working for a boutique public relations firm, which led her to more opportunities to network.
Through her public relations work she reconnected with editors she interned for in the past and began to put the pieces of her life’s goals together.
Smith knew she wanted to continue public relations work and wanted to do it for everyday people. Chaka Fattah Jr., Smith’s long-time friend, needed public relations assistance for a luxury concierge firm he started. Smith began working with Fattah and managed to get him on the cover of the Philadelphia Business Journal.
As her work with Fattah grew, it became increasingly difficult to maintain her work at the boutique firm.
“I had a decision to make and it was really scary,” Smith said. “I didn’t want to go out on my own — I considered it would happen but I didn’t think it would come so soon.”
Smith decided to leave the boutique firm and continue her work with Fattah. She was able to get him a full feature in Black Enterprise and Forbes. After much thought and a motivating conversation with Fattah one night, Smith decided she would pursue starting her own firm.
“When I started it was me — a laptop — and Chaka Jr., my one client,” Smith said.
Smith launched her firm, Brownstone PR in June 2007 and now has a team of seven and client list of 31. The team works with nonprofit organizations, like the Art Sanctuary located at 628 South 16th St.
“I work with a lot of clients in South Philadelphia, as well as major corporations and law firms,” she said.
Smith’s South Philadelphia clientele also includes Ms. Tootsie’s, a soul food café located on 1314 South St. and KPD Lifestyle Luxury Suites.
As an African-American female entrepreneur, Smith would encourage anyone to pursue what their true passion is.
“My dad used to always say there are enough miserable people in the world that get up and go to a job they hate and come home to a significant other they don’t love — don’t add to that number,” Smith said.
She has found her true passion, but she described her work as anything but easy.
Brownstone PR opened an office in June 2010 at 1616 Walnut St. Smith mostly enjoys when her clients share an idea with her and she is able to help make it bigger.
Along with public relations, Smith has other passions she would like to tap into. She hopes to one day open up an art gallery and bookstore. On her spare time, she enjoys going to Old City to browse through used books and old record stores.
“You have a lot of bad days and there are a lot of uncertainties,” Smith said “I do it everyday because I love what I do.”