President Durée Mellion Ross fell in love with public relations at the age of 19 during a fated college internship. She has since become an award-winning PR entrepreneur with a broad spectrum of experience spanning the corporate, agency and non-profit arenas for local, national and international clients. Durée & Company is a member of PR Boutiques International™ (PRBI), an international network of boutique PR firms founded by people who put client service first.
Durée’s industry awards include:Three Gold Coast PR Council Bernays Awards, Five American Business Awards, also known as The Stevie® Awards, 2015 Influential Business Women Award by South Florida Business Journal, 2014 Lifestyle Media Group Up & Comer Winner, Public Relations category, 2013 Sun Sentinel Top Workplaces for People on the Move Award, Named one of South Florida Business Journal’s 2013 40 Under 40, honoring the best and brightest young professionals in South Florida, and 2012 South Florida Women Extraordinaire Business Leader by Business Leader magazine for being a community leader and major contributor to her firm’s success
How did you get into the industry?
I kind of stumbled upon it in college. I was already in the School of Communication at the University of Miami, but studying broadcast journalism. I saw a part-time paid job opening for PR and wanted to learn more about it so I gave it a shot. The rest is history …
Any emerging industry trends?
Continuing to see an expansion of services and blurring between agencies. A lot of our growth has come from clients who don’t want another agency to manage all of their other marketing efforts, so they ask us to take on additional services such as graphic design/creative, content generation, websites, ad buys and more.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
As journalism and publishing industries continue to shrink, PR in general is getting harder and harder. However, now we have social media, influencers and bloggers so it’s definitely changing — and will continue to change. A huge opportunity is that we’ve been able to get clients some great ink/coverage by taking B-roll and high-res imagery and sending immediately from on-site. Gone are the days of dropping off B-roll to TV stations! The very thing that is an opportunity is a challenge — 24/7 access and availability.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
Kind of like my first job in PR, I stumbled upon the business. At 24, I had already been in PR for six years and had prior colleagues and companies I had worked with calling me to help them on projects. I didn’t intend to create a company, but it just happened! My current vision is to do incredible work that produces results, to work with clients we like, and to feel good about the clients we work with.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
Definitely a continuation of expanded services — by client request!
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
Purchasing our office space a little over three years ago was a major step for us. Two years later, I purchased the second office next door. The expansion and room to grow has been instrumental in allowing us to grow the team and services offered.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
Wow; that’s a tough one! There have been many — all learning moments. Sometimes you have to realize that if a relationship isn’t working — client or employee — it’s best to cut ties.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
We have a personalized touch to our services, so I’d like to think the client knows I am involved, care and that he/she has an entire team to support his/her efforts. We work tirelessly to produce results.
How do you motivate others?
That’s tough because what motivates is different by generation and by person. Some people are motivated by money and others just want to feel rewarded. I try my best to motivate by being involved and energized. I also re-invest in employees, hold company retreats and do special things like closing the office early on Fridays.
Career advice to those in your industry?
For those in college, I would say do as many internships as you can as often as you can. It served me very well to make connections that I still work with to this day! Worth ethic is bar none and people will remember whether you delivered or not. For those both in and out of college, I would say to continue to add to your skills — learn some creative design, stay on top of social media trends, know how to generate content, learn a second language.