101 Making the Personal Profitable: Marketing Maven Mack McKelvey Talks Branding for the Executive and Entrepreneur

Mack McKelvey’s mission as CEO and Founder of SalientMG is to help women, minority and LGBTQ executives build their personal brands. The marketing visionary executive who helped Millenial Media fast-grow to IPO, Mack shares why women often forget to build their personal brands, and what’s in a name.

Melinda Wittstock:         Welcome to Wings, Mack.

Mack McKelvey:              Thanks for having me, Melinda.

Melinda Wittstock:         I am so inspired to have you on because any woman who is helping other women take flight as you are has a special place in my heart. So, thank you for being here.

Mack McKelvey:              Of course. I think that’s probably our mutual kind of business attraction to one another, right, is that we have very similar missions.

Melinda Wittstock:         That’s right. So, tell me a little bit about what inspired you to start Salient MG, your current company.

Mack McKelvey:              So, I’ve been in the corporate world for 20 some years. Yes, I started when I was 12. I’m not that old.

Melinda Wittstock:         We all did. 12 exactly.

Mack McKelvey:              So, I’ve been in the corporate world forever and I’ve worked for some really great companies, and I’ve helped build companies, I’ve helped see companies have massive success. And when I left my last company, I actually was going to start a technology company and a former colleague called and asked me to help with a project and it really turned into a very interesting career diversion, if you will, like I was going off a path that I had set for myself and I accidentally started a marketing firm. And now, almost five years later, while we weren’t, we didn’t begin as a mission based business, we evolved into one because we saw a growing need in the market not just for companies to market themselves in a stronger way, but I started to think a lot about my career path and how I’d worked for multiple companies, companies that are doing extremely well to this day.

But my brand, I hadn’t spent really any time creating or nurturing that. So, while the companies were doing well, my personal brand hadn’t really been established in the market and I started to look around and see extraordinarily accomplished women, people of color, LGBTQ executives who, like me, have spent their entire career enabling other companies and enabling other people to be extraordinarily successful, and they haven’t spent any time positioning themselves in the market, becoming visible, building a brand for themselves. And it struck me that there was an opportunity to help a lot of people because that’s something that I’m very good at. I’m very good at building brands and very good at establishing differentiation for companies, and as it turns out now, for individuals as well.

So, that’s what started Salient, that’s the mission of Salient now. We very much are a mission drive organization.

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh, that’s wonderful. And so with the women that you work with, what are the … There are so many challenges I think we all have, and these come up in the podcast a lot. So, any kind of regular listener is going to know that we struggle with personal branding, we tend to want to succeed in silence. Entrepreneurism for men and women can some times be very isolating. Women in particular have a really hard time asking for help or asking for mentors. So, kudos to you for help turning that around. But what’s the root cause of all that stuff?

Mack McKelvey:              You know, I think that even from a young age, particularly growing up through corporate America, you’re an employee. Your job is to make that company successful. It’s not your job to make yourself successful, and the rewards for making the company successful typically come in the form traditionally of raises and promotions and all that. But I think look, the whole myth of the glass ceiling, it’s not a myth. It’s a fact, and in some verticals it’s more prevalent than others. I think the pay gap is not a myth, it’s a fact, and I think that people in particular, I think women, we accepted that for a long time. And I think many of us that broke out on our own and became entrepreneurs did so because they felt that they had more to give and they felt like their contributions could be maybe accelerated or expanded beyond the box of the employee role that they may have had in past lives.

So, I think that when we spend an entire career keeping our head down, doing a job, being humble, giving teams credit, giving others credit, in a way we were taught to do that in corporate America. But when you bust out into your own as an entrepreneur, or you have goals even if you are in corporate America today and you have goals to be reaching new levels, your personal brand is actually more critical than just about any job that you perform, because your brand is all encompassing of who you are as an individual and if you don’t nurture and create and curate that, then someone will do it for you and you could be pigeon holed into a role or a career path that perhaps you didn’t choose.

Melinda Wittstock:         This is so important now. When you think of the employment stats in the United States, that by 2020 some 40% of the work force will be gig workers, so that is going from gig to gig or freelance, or you know, entrepreneurial if not starting companies. And so how to stand out in that crowd, how are you going to get hired? How do you stand out against all the other people who are competing with you? So, it’s vital.

Mack McKelvey:              It is vital. And you know, I’m a marketer by trade. I spent my entire career in marketing. You know how it is exponentially more expensive to get a new customer than it is to retain and grow a relationship. That’s a fact. It’s well documented. So, if you think of yourself as a solopreneur, and entrepreneur, what have you, that customer relationship, that … And expand beyond customer, that partner relationship, those business relationships are critical to own, grow, maintain throughout your career. That’s part of your brand. And if you’re establishing, if you’re using a third party platform to establish yourself, you have to find ways to break out and be differentiated and that’s a lot of what we do. That’s visibility.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]Find a way to break through the clutter. And being visible is literally the only way to do that. #WingsPodcast #WomeninBusiness @mackmckelvey[/tweet_box]

Because if you don’t have something that you stand for, you’re not packaging your expertise in a good way, you’re not distributing that expertise, then you fade into the background. You’re just one of many. You have to find a way to break through the clutter. And being visible is literally the only way to do that.

Melinda Wittstock:         So, Mack, how has that manifested for you personally? When did you first learn that lesson in your career and what are some of the first steps you took?

Mack McKelvey:              So, I will say it was an accident. I was 23, 24 years old when it first happened for me. So, I had moved to Denver after college and I started my career on the political side, the US congresswoman who was running for governor that I was interning for, I had a little bit of a career path there if she won governor. She didn’t. I was unemployed.

So, I moved west and decided to try on a new city for size and to get into a new field and I literally picked technology out of the air, and when I arrived in Denver, I sent my resume out, I’m dating myself now, via fax. And you know, you print out the hard copy, you send it via fax, and you call to follow-up. Well, I sent my resumes out and I literally got zero phone calls for my resume, which I felt was pretty stacked. I had leadership roles in high school, did all the things you’re supposed to do. I had leadership roles in high school, I played sports, I volunteered, I worked, I went to college, and I always was fighting for interesting projects and interesting experiences to get involved in and I felt like my resume was pretty stacked.

So, sent it out. First real job out of college. Zero callbacks. And one night over too much wine with a friend that lived in Denver, she, her name was Alexandra, and she told me the story of how she changed her name on her resume to Alex from Alexandra and had an incredible response. And I just couldn’t believe it. I thought, “There’s no way that the world is really, it could be that bad. It couldn’t be possible.” But we’d had too much wine, so we decided to play with my resume and instead of changing, my real name is Erin. Very few people call me that. And she was like, “Why don’t we change your spelling to A-A-R-O-N?” And I said, “I don’t think that’s actually legal.”

So, we played with my last name, McKelvey, and came up with Mack, and Mack McKelvey the brand was born and we put it on the resume and I had a 70% callback rate from the same resume that I had sent out as Erin McKelvey.

Melinda Wittstock:         Wow.

Mack McKelvey:              It stuck. And to this day, I will not say that it’s because it’s a more masculine sounding name, I don’t know that to be the case. There’s absolutely no data that points to that. What it does point to, though, is the name stood out. It was interesting, right? And I accidentally branded myself at that moment because when I went in for the interviews, everyone was calling me Mack. I didn’t know they were talking to me, ’cause I had sort of done it on a whim, and Mack was born. And I’ve had to build and curate that name because that didn’t exist and I had to really use every quill that I had to ink what that adventure was going to be with Mack and hopefully over the years, I would like to believe that I’ve created a pretty strong brand that anyone that knows me could tick off my characteristics pretty consistently.

Melinda Wittstock:         That’s just wonderful. I mean, I wonder, ’cause I think with a name like Melinda, certainly on the masculine thing, there’s no way I was going to do that, but there’s something about Mack McKelvey, it just rolls off the tongue, it’s easy to say, and it’s really memorable.

Mack McKelvey:              It’s alliteration, too. So, again, I’m in marketing, so a lot of marketing, company names are not done by accident. Really memorable company names are curated and researched and thought through and tested. We don’t think that way about our names. We don’t think that way about even our own image. We don’t think about what others may say about us, or when you Google somebody what may be written about them, or the pictures that come up when somebody Google’s you. Are they consistent? Or are they all over the map? We don’t think that was as career professionals, and I would venture to say that is a mistake.

Melinda Wittstock:         Right. And so, one of the things that women some times struggle with, though, too is the concept of leverage, whether it’s getting out of their own way early enough to hire early enough, or to ask for help or get the right mentors. Brand is something that can be leveraged as well. So, in the context of this, and knowing your value enough to be able to leverage that value, does that make sense? ‘Cause I think some times we-

Mack McKelvey:              It does.

Melinda Wittstock:         We give. We have such a tendency to give so much to other people or try and do all of it ourselves. And I’m talking now about say we’re running our own businesses, but we also have kids, but we also got to do the laundry and the shopping, you know, all this kind of stuff. And at the end of the day, there’s nothing left of us, it manifests like we under price ourselves, all these sorts of things. So, what is it going to take to turn that around and that kind of attitude that I think persists with so many of us even though we’re conscious of it, or increasingly so?

Mack McKelvey:              I think that it’s what you just said, and this has been, this is not mine, many people have said this throughout history, but knowing your worth is something that I don’t think we’re taught when we’re young, so it makes us uncomfortable when we’re older to think of ourselves almost in monetary terms. You have to think that way. You’re priced at your brand value, just as a company is. You’re paid at your brand value based on your expertise, based on your reputation in the market, based on what value you’re bringing to whatever. You have a value placed to you. You are a brand whether you want to admit it or not. And if you don’t admit it and don’t nurture it, then your brand becomes again, it’s up to somebody else to determine. I will not let somebody else determine my worth or my brand. I am curating it every day, meaning I’m conscious of it.

Can I do everything? No. Do I mess up? Every day. Do I learn from it and move forward? Of course I do. That’s part of my brand. No one on earth would ever say that I’m perfect because it’s not true, not even kind of. But that’s okay. I don’t think, maybe it’s at my age or my stage in my career, but I cut myself a little bit of a break, a lot more than I used to. But I think it’s always about you can’t trade on yesterday, you have to move forward, and I think that’s what brands do. If you look at brands that have escaped awful crises in their lives or just being sedentary, they’ve done it because they’ve focused and invested in it. And I would say to anyone that isn’t thinking that way you’re doing yourself a big disservice if you don’t invest in yourself. You get one life. This is it. You get one chance to leave a legacy. This is it. So, at what point do you put your brand value at a high level and invest in yourself?

Melinda Wittstock:         Interesting.

Mack McKelvey:              I would say the sooner the better.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah. I agree. And it’s interesting that you use the word legacy. Because I suppose the older we get, the more we’re starting to think about things like legacy. But it’s actually a really interesting focusing function, right? If you think how, and I know that this has inspired you, right? To think, “Well, how do I want to be remembered? What’s my purpose? What is all this about?” So, when did legacy first become something that you were conscious of or it was that kind of organizing principle for you in terms of thinking about your brand or thinking about your life?

Mack McKelvey:              I think there are a couple instances where I really honed in on it. So, one of my very first mentors passed away suddenly, I think he was about 51 or 52, and I to this day am haunted by the fact that I don’t think I ever truly thanked him. And I don’t think he ever truly knew that he was single-handedly responsible for helping me get early confidence in my career. He helped me kick in some doors when they were very much closed, and he just got me a jump start. He saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself. And that is the legacy I want his kids, he’s passed on, his kids are young. I want them to know that. I want them to know that their father has a legacy even just with me, that I will forever remember this man who took a chance on some young woman that he didn’t know and he fought for me. And that has stuck with me. He passed away not that long ago, but I think about that almost, there’s probably not a week that goes by that I don’t think about that.

All my mentors and the roles that they’ve had, have I thanked them? Have I told them? Because look, I’ve lost both of my parents. They both have a legacy that they never curated. They didn’t think that way. But they have a legacy. They’ve left an impression on various people throughout their lives and it’s up to me and to my brother and my sister to keep their legacy alive, but what is their legacy? That’s up for us to now create because they didn’t create their own. I will create my own. I have kids. I want to leave something behind that forever they can point to and there’s no question what my legacy is.

Melinda Wittstock:         I remember being at en entrepreneur event a year or so again, and we did this exercise about exactly this, like what will your tombstone say, and it felt a little macabre, but it really does force you to think about that. What does it mean to live a life of no regrets, to be in alignment and figure out your true purpose? ‘Cause one of the things about purpose and being in alignment and all of these good things is it makes life much easier. It makes your decisions easier on how you spend your time. And then also, there’s a providence about it. Things tend to, you start to have synchronicities, things start to work in flow so much better. Do you find that as well?

Mack McKelvey:              I do. I do. And I think working in marketing, it’s another thing that we do. We work backwards. So, if this is the end state where you want to be or this is the end goal that you have, how do you back into that? What are the goals and milestones that you set, whether you’re a company or an individual? What do you have to do to get there?

And I think it’s interesting to look at the end. It’s scary, but my husband says this all the time, “Tomorrow’s not promised today.” You think of the end as this thing that’s really far down the road and hopefully for everybody it is. Hopefully it is. But it may not be. The mentor that I mentioned to you, I think he was 51 when he suddenly passed. It was very sudden. And one of the healthiest people I’ve ever known, super athlete, and it just, his light went out faster than it ever should have. He lived every day to its fullest. He helped me when he didn’t have to. Nobody asked him to do that. And I think that we as individuals have to look up a lot more. We have to look up, stop looking down. Look up, look around, and just be pretty pleased with how far you already have brought yourself.

But think about that end state and where you want to be, and it is legacy, whatever you want to call it. At the end, when you turn back, what’s behind you that you just left in your trail? And are you proud of that? ‘Cause to me, that’s how I want to go out. I want to look around and go, “Hmm.” And for me, my legacy, I want a lot of people to say, “I know your mom,” or “I know your sister,” “I know your friend. She helped me. She was there. She fought for me. She didn’t have to do that.” I want that legacy.

Melinda Wittstock:         You know, what we give is probably the thing that makes us the happiest and certainly as entrepreneurs. The best entrepreneurs, in fact, the successful entrepreneurs are ones that are singularly focused on creating value for other people.

Mack McKelvey:              I agree.

Melinda Wittstock:         ‘Cause to even figure out what kind of business am I going to grow, to know your why or your mission, or your purpose. Who you’re going to help. And what problem are you going to solve. And this is just such a powerful motivator, so I just feel so hopeful now where I see women increasingly, and women of color and LGBTQ, it’s like so many people coming into entrepreneurship, really with a mindset to tackle major problems that we have, whether it’s in healthcare or transportation. Really intractable, climate change, these big intractable problems, and looking at them afresh and taking that moon shot.

Do women think big enough when they’re thinking about entrepreneurship?

Mack McKelvey:              I think they think big enough. I would question do they act big enough. So, could I help five people? Yeah. That’s thinking pretty big, right? What if I could help 10,000 people? Can I do it? Yes, I probably can. Am I doing it? No. I need to constantly think about how do I scale up, how do I, because again, as a mission based business we’re talking about I think the more the better, meaning the more people I can help with a value drive proposition like you’re saying, bring value to them, then the more people that I can help, I imagine those people … and I actually have seen this with several of our clients. They are actually more inclined to reach down, reach back, reach next to them and help others. It creates community, it creates conversation, and you talked earlier about isolation. It actually is, a helping hand is a pretty good cure for loneliness and isolation, that if you know you’re not completely alone, there’s somebody next to you, somebody behind you, I think it’s pretty inspiring.

So, I think it’s acting on it, really, is where I think we all can continue to improve.

Melinda Wittstock:         So, you are doing so much to mentor other women coming up. Who mentors you? And you mentioned some male mentors of yours who had a profound impact on your life and who passed. Who is in your kind of mentor circle right now? Who do you turn to?

Mack McKelvey:              So, it’s interesting that you say that. So again, I started in technology and I was pretty typical one if not the only woman in the room and there were not many women to be seen. You know this very well, right? We’ve lived in sectors where below us, above us, around us, there’s men. Now, I was very fortunate that several of the men that I worked for, worked with, again, I didn’t ask them to be my mentors. They saw something in me and proactively stepped in and whether it was formal or informal, they just helped, and whether it was to open a door or give some advice or be a listening ear.

I think today I derive actually, I would say I have three forms of mentors today, people I look up to or out to, maybe it’s more out than up at this point because out are people who maybe ventured out into different sectors and although they’re not necessarily above me in my field, they’re certainly high level in theirs. So, it’s looking out. I think people around me, so peers. I get a lot of peer mentorship that I’m very fortunate. The women that I work with from an executive visibility standpoint, these are either peers or again, people that I look out at, but I derive an incredible amount of energy and I get a lot of learning from watching them in their various fields.

And then this is going to sound strange, but I will tell you one of the biggest areas I’m learning form is the generations coming after us. I have to tell you, the Millenials do get their share of, what’s the word I’m looking for? Disbelief. People don’t believe necessarily in this Millennial generation. I see a lot of good in this generation. But Gen Y and Gen Z, this Gen Z, we better look out for them. This is the kids that are out there fighting for gun control. These are the kids that are out there fighting for healthcare and voice, and these are children. These are children.

Melinda Wittstock:         They are amazing.

Mack McKelvey:              They are so, they’re aware.

Melinda Wittstock:         They are so wise, articulate, kind of powerful. Not taking any nonsense from anybody. So clear headed. I find them so inspiring. And of course, you’re the expert on Millenials, having been a senior executive of Millennial Media and taking that to IPO. So, you know a little bit about this generation.

Mack McKelvey:              Well, I’ll tell you, I will say that the Gen Z’s, they’re being raised by the Gen X’s. It says a lot about how we were raised and it says a lot about our work ethic and our values that I think hopefully we are passing that on. I think the Millenials, what their actual course is going to be, I don’t think any of us know. They were the tip of the digital generation. Gen Z is the truly, truly epitome of the digital generation. They’re growing up with access to every bit of information ever written at their fingertips at a moment’s notice. They have access to knowledge and news, and they’re so keenly aware. And I don’t know. Maybe they are the most awake generation. We’ll see.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah. I love it. I mean, it’s interesting to see what happens, whether all that hope and whatnot, the adults ahead try and teach them to be sensible. Words like that.

Mack McKelvey:              [crosstalk 00:35:39] grounded. Right. There is a point; they don’t know everything. They haven’t lived, however I think that that as entrepreneurs, we cannot close ourselves off to other opinions. We cannot close ourselves off from listening to people that are younger that maybe don’t have the career expertise, but they’re living a life that we did not live. We did not live in a purely digital generation growing up. With everything you do, but these kids, every single moment of their life is documented on film, video, and a lot of its on the Internet from the time they’re born. None of us faced that. None of us.

Melinda Wittstock:         Right.

Mack McKelvey:              So, maybe they have a little bit of perspective on what it is to be in the spotlight ’cause they’ve lived it since day one, since we took pictures of them when they were literally inside our tummies to now. They’ve been in the spotlight and they’ve handled it pretty well so far. So … too early to say you’re right, but I derive a lot of energy and a lot of insight and I will try to continue to learn from them because I think it’s important.

Melinda Wittstock:         I love it. I hope they bust through all the scarcity thinking and limited thinking that’s come before, because I think there’s so much that’s possible and I don’t know, history always favors people who take chances and see things differently, and connect the dots in a different way. This generation is so hopeful to me.

Mack McKelvey:              I agree.

Melinda Wittstock:         I think they see things differently. What’s interesting, though, too, is how they’re really influencing the market and how we buy things. Like for instance, the rise of evolved enterprise companies, which very, very near and dear to my heart. In fact, I tend to work pretty much exclusively now with companies that have a mission to do well by doing good for the world. So, whether they’re buy one, give one models or they have a really clean supply chain or they’re working to say eliminate plastics from their packaging, right to like help the oceans. Those sorts of things.

What’s interesting is Millenials have really driven that trend to only buy from companies that have diverse boards of directors, that kind of thing. So, this triple bottom line piece that they’re really driving in corporate America, and in startups and better cultures and better leadership, all of that is remarkable and inspiring.

Mack McKelvey:              Agreed. I completely agree. I think again, it’s rise of the mission based business, I think those that aren’t mission based stand out now, too, and not in a great way.

Melinda Wittstock:         Not in a good way, exactly.

Mack McKelvey:              Yeah. If you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing. That’s true in the world. And I think again, this goes back again to visibility and entrepreneurs, but if you don’t have a stance, then you don’t have a brand. You literally are just background. And I think we all deserve better than that.

Melinda Wittstock:         So, what were some of the lessons you learned in, I’m thinking the rocket ship that was Millennial Media, as that was coming up and scaling. I love to talk to women on this podcast who have really scaled things, because it’s rare. Most women don’t even reach the million dollar mark, which is kind of like the, in a way really the entrée level. We know so many doors open once you get to the kind of million dollar mark in revenue. But to really take something and scale, what were some of the big lessons you learned doing that?

Mack McKelvey:              It’s hard. I think that’s one thing. I think some times you look from the outside and it seems like maybe, “Wow, of course they did well. They had it all together.” That’s not the case. There’s a lot of failure that happens behind closed doors and I think that failure’s not often celebrated and it’s not often recognized and I mentioned earlier, I am not ashamed that I fail. I fail all the time. I mess up all the time. But it’s how you adjust yourself up and go forward and what you learn from it. And I think that’s a big piece, it’s not easy and you got to fight for it. What you did yesterday does not matter. You can’t trade on yesterday.

It’s about what are you doing today and really more importantly, what are you doing tomorrow, and that’s a big, hard lesson. You got to learn it every day. There is no end goal. I talked earlier about the end state, that’s like the end state you want to be in, but there is no end goal. It just keeps going. So, what do you want to get to and how do you make a plan to get there is a big one. But you know, I think the other thing is people. People are everything. You do nothing by yourself. There’s nothing that you do by yourself. There’s people that influence it, there’s people that do it behind the scenes. There are teams and celebrating the people around you that have made amazing things come to life is everything, and nothing at Millennial, or VeriSign, or BT, or any place I’ve ever worked happened because of one person or one lucky coincidence. Teams of people working tirelessly in the succession towards those common goals, keeping everybody super aligned, but the people are everything.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]We were not okay being a small fish in a small pond. We had to grow the whole pond. We had to grow it into an ocean. And once you had an ocean to swim in, then you can be a bigger fish. #WingsPodcast #WomeninBusiness @MackMcKelvey[/tweet_box]

I think the other thing is thinking, you said this a little bit earlier, you have to think bigger than people expect. Like, what’s the audacious dream? Be audacious. What’s the audacious dream? What’s the audacious state? Maybe mapping to that is what we should be aspiring for. Not what can I do, but audaciously what could I do if I had every bit of resource and I had every bit of time and I had every bit of energy and what’s the audacious goal. And I think we lived that way at Millennial. We had an audacious dream to go public within a couple of years and we went from something like $9 million to $105 million in three years. And we did that by staying extraordinarily regimented. We were not okay being a small fish in a small pond. We had to grow the whole pond. We had to grow it into an ocean.

And once you had an ocean to swim in, then you can be a bigger fish. But we were never okay with just kind of maintaining a pretty good path. We were a little bit audacious, I think, and that was energizing. That’s very energizing for me.

Melinda Wittstock:         I love that. Why not be audacious? I think of, you can build a small business, you can build a big business, it is the same amount of effort. You have to do a lot of the same things.

Mack McKelvey:              That’s a very good point. I think there’s also a difference between starting a company, running a company and doing a job. I think entrepreneurs think of the job. So, I’m a marketer, but technically, what do I do every day? I am a marketer. That’s my job. That’s not running a company. That’s a different monster. Running a company is a whole other thing and I think we as entrepreneurs have to remember that. Our job is not necessarily just whether you make jewelry or you run a billion dollar tech organization. Running a company is very different than doing a job.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah. Exactly. No, this is so, so true. Oh my goodness, so what is your big vision? Where are you going? Where are you taking Salient MG and what do you see yourself doing like the next five and ten years? What’s the next big thing?

Mack McKelvey:              So, I mean this is what I want to do. I truly do think that there are some absolutely incredible entrepreneurs, executives, and even people coming up behind us, so even the young, and helping these people prioritize visibility as a key component to their success, helping them understand the ROI that goes with having an incredible … personal brand is not even the right word. It’s really every day curating your name. Like what is your name and how do you curate them? The end state for Salient, I hope to do this the rest of my life. I really, really am energized by people, and seeing people, the experts, these unsung heroes actually get discovered and become more visible and have their opinions not only seen but recognized and rewarded, and they see that through increased business and leads, and positioning a market that helps them grow their companies, get more funding, hire faster.

They start to see the fact that they are not disassociated, their brand is not disassociated from their career path and success. So, I hope to be doing this 25, 30 years from now. ‘Cause remember, I started when I was 12. So, 50 years from now I hope to still be doing this, ’cause by 50 I’ll be 62, right? No. I won’t be 62 in 50 years. I hope to be doing the same thing. And I hope that the Salient brand is completely aligned with that. Salient means a jumping off point, it is an acceleration point. That’s the whole idea behind the name of the company. And is it for companies? Yes. Is it for individuals? Yes. You have to start somewhere. And if you want to accelerate, create, curate, and accelerate your brand, we want to help you do that and help you do that in a way that really, truly drives value for you and your company or your organization that you run, and companies again that also need that level of help.

So, that’s the name of the company. It wasn’t an accident. And really thought about what we do, that’s what we do, and I hope again 20 years from now I’m still doing this exact thing. I’d be honored to still be working with executives that want to build their brand in the market.

Melinda Wittstock:         How wonderful. Well, Mack, how can women and men who are listening find you and work with you?

Mack McKelvey:              Sure. Well, we are typically referral only business, so I think that I have a pretty wide net and you’re one degree of separation, so for people that know you, for people that know people in our world, get in touch. Even if you don’t, get in touch. If you have an interesting story, I would like to know what that is and if we can be helpful, I’d love to talk to you.

So, the best way to get me, I’m fast on Twitter, so it’s @MackMcKelvey on Twitter. Website’s www.SalientMG, that’s M as in Mary, G as in George, .com. And yeah, I’m a connector. So, I hope people will connect back.

Melinda Wittstock:         And you have a podcast as well, right?

Mack McKelvey:              I do have a podcast, it’s called The Credential and really what we look for is exactly what I just said. We’re looking for extremely strong interesting voices and stories and people that are experts. Although we don’t talk about it as a diversity podcast, look, we’re looking for people that should be visible, and they tend to be women, underrepresented minorities, it’s people of color and again LGBTQ. We recently talked to a transgender CEO who, she’s incredible. What she’s done and built as an individual is nothing short of amazing, ’cause anyone that can take, we were talking about anything, a company, build it and scale it and a technology company at that, and do this all while going through a gender transition, and raise money, and retain employees, and do it in an open and honest environment. The company’s doing extremely well and she brings an incredible amount of expertise. And those are the kind of voices we look for, it’s inspiring for me.

Melinda Wittstock:         That’s wonderful. Goodness. Well, thank you so much, Mack, for putting on your wings and flying with us today.

Mack McKelvey:              My pleasure. Thanks for having me, Melinda.

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