Jaquese “JQ” Smith knows her way around 94 feet of hardwood. She’s played at the collegiate level, coached and is currently 1 of 3 hosts on DNA sports talk radio. All of that aside, JQ’s passion lies in her ability to “Groom athletes for success” which was the goal she had in mind when she formed JQ Sports PR. With two high school athletes and her first professional client, JQ is well on her way to establishing her brand within the PR community.
JQ Sports PR offers two levels of service. For student athletes, services such as SAT prep and guidance, community outreach, media coaching, recruiting exposure, academic/social media monitoring and life skills development are available. Each service is important, however probably one of the most essential for student athletes is the monitoring of their social media. With the popularity of platforms such as facebook, twitter and snapchat recruiters and coaches have an unprecedented amount of access to athletes. “We all know that coaches will view athletes social media so I monitor it and if I see anything that is not positive, I will contact my client and advise them to remove it.” says JQ.
As for professional clients, some of the services offered are media relations, event planning, branding, social media campaigning, personal assistant services and organizing of travel arrangements. JQ prides herself on the fact that “JQ Sports PR is not one dimensional” and the range of services she offers speaks directly to its diversity. JQ views PR as the “building of relationships” which is a primary focus for professional clients looking to establish and grow their brands.
JQ started her business in Raleigh, NC where she established relationships with current clients, Dondre Griffin (Freshman at Murray State) and Michael Okauru (Senior at Brewster Academy). It was her recent move to Atlanta, GA that allowed her to secure her first professional client, Christina “Ms. Basketball” Granville. JQ credits “the power of social media” for that relationship as it was Granville’s manager who reached out to her via instagram. “As a publicist, you have to believe in that person and their brand” and it is her belief in each of her clients that gives her the energy to spend countless hours researching opportunities for them despite still working a 9-5.
As a woman in a male dominated industry, JQ allows her work ethic to speak for her explaining that she “doesn’t believe in mediocracy.” Yet she still fights to be “taken seriously” and get others to see beyond the pretty face and stilettos. Being a startup brand also lends to its own set of challenges such as “just getting your foot in the door” but JQ is accustomed to hard work and overcoming challenges.
Eventually, JQ plans to establish a PR firm with an all woman staff but she knows that will take years of networking, dedication and planning. Right now, she is focused on expanding her client base and providing exceptional service. Her advise to other entrepreneurs is simple, “make sure you have a passion for it, be confident in what you’re doing and be patient because success doesn’t happen overnight.”
Jaquese “JQ” Smith
JQ Sports PR