Editor’s note: Mary Cantando of WomanBusinesOwner.com recently interviewed Patty Briguglio of Triangle-based MMI Associates, a full-service marketing and public relations firm located in Raleigh, NC. Although Briguglio relocated her company’s headquarters from Phoenix to Raleigh only three years ago, she has already made her mark on the entrepreneurial community and won several regional awards. This is the latest in a series of Entrepreneurial Spirit columns done in partnership with WRAL Local Tech Wire.
Patty, you ran a successful business in Phoenix and then moved it to the Triangle a few years back. That takes not only an entrepreneurial nature, but an adventurous spirit as well. How did you come by these traits?
My entrepreneurial nature definitely comes from my father. He owned a large paper and packaging plant so I grew up believing that it was normal to own a company. I witnessed leadership and an entrepreneurial style every day growing up. He was the man who could do anything. He taught me that I could be anything I wanted at a time when girls were not hearing this. At that time, most women were told all we could achieve was to be a teacher or bookkeeper.
And, I’d have to say that my husband, John, is my partner in adventure. Later this month he and I are off to a two-week adventure in Africa. John has always supported me and my business, and helps me with the big business decisions. He is my sounding board and even empties the trash at the office.
Tell us about your business.
MMI Associates, Inc. is a full-service marketing and public relations firm. In the three years that we’ve been headquartered in the Triangle, we have experienced phenomenal growth and were named one of the top 10 PR firms in the Triangle by the Triangle Business Journal. Our clients are superb and we find that word of mouth about the company and its achievements is the key to future growth.
How and why did you start your company?
After a career in corporate America, I decided I wanted a change. Marketing was what I always wanted to do. That was the best decision I ever made. I’ve been proud of the success of my clients over the years. I know that a little bit of me is somewhere in their success.
How would you characterize your leadership style?
I am an outcome-based visionary. Results are the most important thing to me and can be achieved through a strategic vision, a great implementation plan and motivated employees. I try to make all those happen. I believe that a great leader is one who sets and achieves goals, believes that knowledge is exciting and is able to help people grow and succeed.
What is the best decision you’ve made related to your business?
My best decision was moving my business to the Triangle. However, my biggest mistake was the process I used in moving here. I came here with a great attitude and a great plan, but was not prepared with contacts and clients before I arrived. In Phoenix, I was successful and well known. When I started my Raleigh operation, I had virtually no name recognition and no one to call on to validate my reputation.
What advice would you give to a woman considering entrepreneurship?
I’d advise them to first get a job in the industry that they’re interested in; work hard and learn as much as they can. Second, make friends and be a friend in both the good and bad times. And, finally, look for a mentor.
What message would you like women to take away from this discussion?
Women can be professional, successful and have fun. I believe that women need to support and mentor other women. However, the greatest challenge is for each individual woman to be responsible for herself and her personal performance. Just like my dad said, “you can be anything you want to be.”