PR Guru Re-Invents With a Purpose

After dealing with depression, Terrie Williams fulfills her destiny to be the best

Terrie M. Williams

Somewhere along the way, we got a memo saying that we had to be fabulous–all the time. How is this possible? How many of us are pretending to be a superwoman when we are a super wreck? It’s time to re-invent.

Re-invention is the process of being honest about what’s compromising your spirit and preventing you from being the best (job, business, marriage, family and friends). The goal of re-invention is to become your true, authentic self–so you can live your purpose and make the necessary changes to W-I-N.

When you least expect to unravel, the universe plays a trick on you and forces you to take off the mask. That’s what happened to Terrie M. Williams, 55,  a public relations guru, author, and sufferer of depression. She had dealt privately with depression for most of her life, and then one day, speaking on a panel about HIV and AIDS, she decided to go off script and talk about her battle. It was courageous and the beginning of her healing and re-invention.

“My purpose began to make sense once I publicly admitted that I had a problem,” says Williams, who launched The Terrie Williams Agency with superstar clients Eddie Murphy and late jazz legend Miles Davis, and now represents Oscar Award-winning actress Mo’Nique. “When your spirit is compromised, your body and mind start to act out–illness, depression, shopping, and obesity. It’s okay to take off the mask and stop acting like you have it together,” declares Williams.

“Most people don’t know what it is to have their true authentic self appear – their brand. It’s not easy to admit our vulnerability, but once we allow ourselves to be truly honest we can fulfill our destiny and be our best,” she told me recently.

Though she is an iconic figure in the public relations industry, Williams had unwittingly compromised her brand because she was not functioning at the highest level with her business. She was masking her illness and not dealing with the day-to-day responsibilities of running her business. As a result she lost opportunities. Once she had the courage to tell the truth, she began to rediscover herself.

“It made sense to me why I started out as a clinical social worker, then publicist, mentor, and now mental illness advocate and survivor. I no longer had to pretend that all is well.  Because of the power of public relations, I found my true calling to speak and promote mental illness and become a voice for the voiceless. Everything came full circle for me and I empowered myself to live for Terrie.”  Through her Stay Strong Foundation, she has launched the national mental health advocacy campaign Healing Starts With Us in association with the Ad Council.

When you begin the re-invention process and do what is ultimately destined for you, life truly begins. To help others like her she wrote the best-selling book Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting (Scribner, 2008), where she reveals her personal struggles with depression and the impact the stigma of this and other mental illnesses have particularly on the African American community. (See related article.)

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  • Tee

    This is excellent advice. Thanks Karen and Terrie!

  • Wendy

    Thank you Karen and Terrie for this much needed advice. It is confirmation for me: authenticity & honesty without apology (many people can’t handle the truth); establishing boundaries in business and personal life (teach people how to treat you); and I especially relate to the Caviar & Chitlin moment (take time to listen to The Voice within.) Again thank you.

  • http://www.bootband.com Krista

    Wonderful advice! I especially loved 4a. Tell young people the truth. If we can teach them that it’s ok to have down moments, but also show them strategies for handling their feelings, then they will be equipped to handle them if and when they feel them.

  • http://Rosalindytompkins.com Rosalind Y. Tompkins

    Great article!! Thanks for sharing your current struggles spreading hope!! God Bless, ;-)

  • Jay

    Thank you Karen for writing an article that focuses on hope and successfully living with depression. Your tips are so relevant because they can be utilized by anyone who is experiecing a change in their life or who wants to experience a change in their life. This is definately an article that I will keep posted on my memo board!