Since she was a small girl, Kelli Coleman has looked up to her entrepreneurial father, Don, chairman-CEO of multicultural marketing agency GlobalHue. "I loved being his shadow, and any task I was given, even small, I wanted to complete with a sense of pride." Today, Ms. Coleman's responsibilities run deep: shy of 30 years old, she's already being groomed to become Mr. Coleman's successor at the agency, which, according to the Ad Age DataCenter, ranks as the largest U.S. multicultural agency, with estimated 2011 revenue of $65.3 million.
It wasn't always a given that Ms. Coleman would join the family business. But during her summer breaks from studying political science at Spelman College, she would find herself hanging around the agency, and following graduation began working at the shop full time. In those years, she has witnessed a sea change in the role of multicultural marketing for advertisers.
"It started out as a "check the box' type of scenario," said Ms. Coleman. "In the early days of multicultural marketing ... it was almost something that you did as good faith and goodwill as opposed to affecting the bottom line. From there it evolved to knowing that these groups are important and multiculturalism is a part of the fabric of American society.
Knowing what you know now, what career advice would you have given yourself when you were starting out?
Nothing great ever happens overnight, and there is no limit to the amount of questions you can ask.
What is your favorite book? "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is a handbook for life.
Give us one fact about yourself that will surprise people.
My favorite place is my home. Most people assume I'd rather be "jet-setting," but really I love to be home.
If I wasn't doing this job, I'd be ...
Education-reform work, full-time.