Boutique Public Relations Firm COO Katie Kern on Diversity and Inclusion

Ekaette Kern

In this episode, Katie (Ekaette) Kern, COO of Media Frenzy Global, a PR firm with offices in Atlanta, and London, discusses Clubhouse, the Meghan Markle Oprah Winfrey interview, the #BlackWomenatWork hashtag, Billie Holiday, alternate realities, diversity, inclusion, and much, much more. She’s an expert at getting press coverage for her clients.

Kern started as a retail coordinator at Reebok, and after that she started her own PR agency specializing in fashion and lifestyle brands. Next, she became a partner at Media Frenzy. Reebok was her first job after graduating from college, “and it was a great, great launching pad for me, I got to work with many global brands. I couldn’t ask for any more from a learning standpoint. I was managing millions of dollars in retail marketing budget.”

Kern says she’s bullish on the potential of Clubhouse as a B2B content marketing tool, having recently hosted a mixer on the nascent audio service for a client involved with SXSW. “I’m more of a listener than I am a host. I like to go and just kind of listen to what people has to say”, she explains. Clubhouse can be used as a virtual event platform, which is especially useful these days. “People can go in and invite speakers to come in and speak on various topics,” Kern says.

Regarding the Meghan Markle-Prince Harry interview, Kern thought, “It was done really well, and it was done by the right person.” But with respect to the Crown, she said they handled the situation poorly. “They should have been advocating for Megan, apologizing for how they made her feel,” Kerns says. She also explains why the hashtag #BlackWomenAtWork went viral during the interview.

Full Video Interview

There's a different sense of what’s real in the black community than what’s real in the White community, she pointed out. “It really took the murder of George Floyd to awaken people”, she emphasizes. “I have gone to HR on numerous occasions, saying that I had been mistreated, microaggressions, and I’m not an oversensitive person”. In many of those instances, she was told she was overacting. Her message to White America is that racism still festers and inhibits African Americans, particularly in the workplace. Rather than roll your eyes, “Believe black people,” she says.

Regarding the film United States vs. Billie Holiday, Kern says she enjoyed the music, but remarked that what Holiday went through is not really that surprising for her perspective. “I didn’t find her story to be unique, because when I look back at a lot of other black performers in that day, their situation is not any different.” But she said that in addition to standing her ground, she was struck by Holiday’s self-confidence in the value of her artistry. “It’s so important to know that you’re valued, and there are so many people who want to bring you down, who don’t think very much of you, but I felt in that moment, watching, that she knew what her worth was.”

To hear the full interview with this content agency professional, scroll up and use the audio player at the top of this blog post to play the podcast. And subscribe to future episodes here.

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