Shannon Williams has a top-level view of the “corporate ladder.” She began working for the Indianapolis Recorder after graduating from college and has managed to reach the top of the publishing game.
And she is just 34.
Carlee McCullough: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Shannon Williams: I am a resident of Indianapolis and graduated from Jackson State University with a B.A. in Mass Communications. Journalism is a life-long passion. While it sounds a bit corny, I love having a career that affords me the opportunity to help others. Everyone has a story and the two publications I oversee are outlets that not only tell those stories, but also enable us to empower the minority communities. I strongly believe in hard work and taking full advantage of opportunities while also doing our individual parts to help others in this world. Being professionally successful and personally fulfilled are two goals that always remain at the top of my “to-do” list. It keeps me focused on what really matters in life!
CM: How and when did you become involved in publishing?
CM: How did you decide to publish Indiana Minority Business Magazine?
SW: Our newspaper is geared more towards African Americans. We decided we wanted to expand our brand so that’s when we acquired the magazine. It was a deliberate attempt to be more inclusive of all minorities and effectively reach a larger audience.
CM: Tell us about the work you’re doing with the magazine.
SW: Indiana Minority Business Magazine is Indiana’s leading publication that focuses on business, lifestyle and diversity. My staff and I are committed to publishing a highly informative, yet entertaining publication that’s reflective of all minorities. We represent everyone from the small business owner, to the large corporation and even the young professional who’s just embarking on (a) professional career.
CM: What has been your greatest challenge?
SW: With the influx of technology and the overall changes in the industry, the most challenging aspect of our business has been attracting new advertisers. Fortunately, we are one of the more successful African-American publications in the country so our products, proven track record and niche audience help in this regard. We overcome the challenges by transcending with time, remaining relevant and thinking outside the box in regards to our approach.
CM: What is the greatest reward in heading the newspaper and magazine?
SW: As president of both, the greatest reward is being able to set my own agenda/vision for the business and then implement those processes. It is always great at the end of the work week to know that your actions influenced positive change that enhanced the lives of your staff and your audience.
CM: If you had an opportunity to change anything about your path, what would it be?
SW: I am fortunate in the sense that I don’t have any regrets or wish I would have done anything differently. I’ve spent my entire professional career with one company, but I can’t even consider that bad because I’ve served in various capacities and worked my way up the ladder. I believe when you work hard and put your best foot forward every day, you don’t have regrets.
CM: What impact has your magazine had on the businesses that you focus on?
SW: Our magazine and newspaper have helped various businesses that we profile (as well as companies that advertise with us) expand their brand and better market themselves. We have provided them with outlets to promote themselves.
CM: What’s the next step for you?
SW: Right now I’m really focused on expanding the business and breaking into other markets. I recently formed the Recorder Media Group. So in addition to the two publications, we also serve as a full-service marketing/communications firm that does event planning and consulting services. It’s a great way to increase revenue.
CM: How can our readers contact you?