Yvette N. Harris’ Passion for Community Shines During the Virus Crisis

Being in business for yourself, you may often run into obstacles, downfalls, and unexpected surprises that may present short or long-term challenges. But this is where the strong survive and the stronger adapt in order to continue making the business thrive.

With the coronavirus pandemic and racial strife front-and-center daily over the last year, Harris Public Relations has been able to stay in business and even thrive a little based on the resiliency of its owner, Yvette N. Harris.

BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke to Harris about her passion for her work and how she was able to still function in the midst of a pandemic.

Harris Public Relations has been operating for a number of years with a focus on culture, community, business, entertainment, etc. How have you been able to continue being successful?

I have been so blessed to able to work with phenomenal people as well as on unique projects. I wake up each day, excited about what opportunities my work will bring. Being authentically me and not changing the core of who I am, assimilating, fitting in, or doing things the way others do, is something I believe has lent to some of my success.

I work hard and bring my passion to everything that I agree to work on. Staying rooted in gratitude allows me to appreciate the opportunities that come my way and show up for them.

What motivates you as an entrepreneur, and how are you able to stay focused on running your business while effectively gaining new clients?

The majority of the work my company takes on is rooted in the community. Being clear about that purpose is my motivation. Helping to tell the stories of the many positive people, organizations, and initiatives in Black, brown, and marginalized communities are at the core of that purpose. Mainstream media often overlook, are unaware of the many amazing people and stories from those communities. I feel strongly that those stories deserve the same attention that other communities often [receive]. We are so grateful for the clients we attract that align with that purpose. It helps us to stay focused and lend energy and attention to the current clients as we welcome those new clients.

You have been involved in many events, what does it take to be able to function at full capacity with so many moving parts?

I think I was born with an extra dose of patience. Smiles. Keeping focused and organized helps me navigate through. I am a bit anal about details. But what helps is a lot of smiles and laughter. I try not to take anything personally and work as a team player to ensure we get the job done. I surround myself with nurturing souls who genuinely have my back and help so much in the process.

Events are a vital part of your business. With events going online or being canceled outright in 2020, how has the pandemic affected you and your business? How have you been able to sustain your business?

I have been incredibly blessed during the challenges of 2020. Even though many events I work on went virtual, it was still an opportunity to showcase them differently. I also have new clients that came out of companies pivoting, needing statements and awareness campaigns throughout the year. Last year’s great deal of my work was crisis communications as a result of coronavirus, responses to address racial inequality, and pivots to online events. It was essential for us to help clients tell their stories and bring awareness to their changes or challenges. So even though we work on events, community initiatives are also a big part of our business.

What would be the best or most useful advice you can give to someone who wants to be a successful entrepreneur?

I would say to make sure you love what you set out to do. The passion and love that you have for your business will sustain you during the ebbs and flows of your life and your business. Smile, laugh, and enjoy the process.