How Combs Enterprises Exec Ericka Pittman Handles It All

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Erika PittmanEricka Pittman could be called the perfect example of a driven career woman. But there’s a lot more to Pittman than that description. Pittman, who was recently promoted from VP Business Development at Combs Wine & Spirits to Vice President of the Chairman’s Office at Combs Enterprises, has many facets to her.

For one, Pittman, who prior to joining Sean Combs’ Blue Flame Agency in March 2009, worked for various media companies including Radio One, Inc., Time Inc., Conde Nast, and Vibe Media Group, is now also a reality star. She took part in the reality show “The Singles Project”  in 2014 and is now shopping a book she has written.

The Baruch College grad, who holds a bachelor’s degree in corporate communications, seems to juggle it all as well as her demanding job. Through her new post, Pittman acts as an executive liaison and ambassador on behalf of Combs. She oversees Combs’ corporate and C-suite communications. And this a big deal as Combs Enterprises has under its umbrella such companies as Sean John and Sean John fragrances, Revolt TV, Combs Wine & Spirits, Bad Boy Records, and Blue Flame Agency, a boutique firm offering capabilities in the areas of Influencer marketing, social diffusion and advertising.

On top of this, she still makes time to volunteer with Dress For Success and NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship), and she is a member of the National Association of Professional Women, Advertising Women of New York and Cosmetic Executive Women.

Pittman, a 2012 Network Journal 40 Under Forty honoree, carved out time to tell TNJ.com about some of her upcoming plans and more.

TNJ.com: How did you juggle being vice president at Blue Flame Agency, vice president of Combs Wine & Spirits (CWS) and co-star on Bravo TV’s “The Singles Project?”

Ericka Pittman: The universe has a way of conspiring in your favor. When it’s your time, it’s your time and everything falls into place. “The Singles Project” shot for 10 weeks and began taping literally the week before I moved into a new position at CWS…During the source of the show I was hiring a team and developing our market strategy which gave me a great deal of flexibility–not that it was easy!

TNJ.com: What made you do the TV show “The Singles Project”? How do you feel it helped your brand?

E.P.:   I was at a place in my life where I wanted radically different outcomes and I knew that required radically different decisions. It is also important to note that I was terribly disappointed by the African-American female representation on television. I wanted to show the world that we are a dynamic and compelling group. There is more to me than salacious exploits and classless rants. The decision to do the show was one of my greatest–it humanized my persona both professionally and personally.

TNJ.com: What inspired you want to build your own brand?

E.P.: I have always been focused on my personal brand which is one of the reasons why I am often times close to the vest regarding my private life. Professionally, it was important for me to make very calculated decisions surrounding how I operate and how it may impact your reputation overall.

TNJ.com: Please tell us about your book.

E.P.:  I have a completed manuscript that I am currently shopping entitled “What Mommy Never Told You (A Young Woman’s Guide to the Next Phases of Life).” The book is an exploration of a young woman’s ascension into her next life phase. As little girls, most of us are guided by very prescriptive rules and parameters: “Use your inside voice,” “Head up, shoulders back, legs crossed,” “Get a college degree,” “Find a job,” “Get married.” Once we’ve achieved all of these goals, the instructions go out the window. What do I do now that I am an adult and I need to overcome the next growing pain hurdle? “What Mommy Never Told You” will shed light on some pressing concerns of young adult women through my lens using my own life stories as examples of what to do or perhaps in some cases not to do and the lessons I’ve learned along the way.  

TNJ.com: How do you find a life/work balance?

E.P.:  Work/life balance is a constant focus. Doing what I say I am going to do in the moment, time management, boundaries, and focus are the keys to balance for me. My quiet time is my quiet time. I commit to an hour of private time to regroup, collect my thoughts, and focus inward on my goals, dreams,, and aspirations. Making “by when” lists help me to hold myself accountable to life’s priorities. “No” means “no”–respect my boundaries. Focusing on one thing at a time helps to plow through all of the things I need to do.

TNJ.com: What would you say has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned through all your business experience over the last 20 years?

E.P.:  More times than not, there is a solution–be resourceful and imaginative. Life has a way of working itself out. My life occurs exactly in the order with which I believe I deserve. And happiness is a personal choice–it is as simple as choosing “happy.” Also, integrity is a super power in business (do well by doing good–it keeps your karma in tact).

TNJ.com: What are some of your goals for 2016?

E.P.:  Publishing “What Mommy Never Told You,” growing my blog community at LWACE .com to help women navigate their personal and professional goals and dreams, and a few others that I will keep confidential–stand by.  

TNJ.com: What are some of your long-term goals?

E.P.: Long term, I would like to utilize my portfolio of assets to subsidize relevant and noteworthy charities focused on inner city youth and at-risk women and children.

TNJ.com: What do you enjoy the most about what you do?

E.P.:  I enjoy the idea that no two days are alike at Combs Enterprises. I can walk in the door with a specific plan in play for the day and end up in another country by sundown. With Sean Combs, anything is possible–isn’t that fun?!