Studies suggest that half of all new businesses exist no longer than five years. EGAMI Group CEO Teneshia Jackson Warner, however, is not here for that.
She and her husband Mike Warner, who serves as the company’s Chief Relationship Officer, are in the midst of celebrating 10 years of EGAMI’s position as an award-winning, women and minority-owned, multicultural integrated marketing and communications agency, and they have no plans of stopping any time soon.
Here, we caught up with Jackson Warner, a Network Journal 40 Under Forty alum, to talk about the company, its long run with Fortune 100 client Proctor & Gamble, its work on “The Talk” campaign and EGAMI’s successful place among today’s leading communications agencies.
TNJ.com: Tell me a bit about the mission of EGAMI Group, what the name means, and the inspiration for launching the company.
Teneshia Jackson Warner: EGAMI Group is founded on the belief that brands that live, lead and operate ON PURPOSE can change the world. EGAMI pioneered purpose-inspired marketing in multicultural communities and leads brands in meaningful engagement with diverse audiences.
The name EGAMI is IMAGE spelled in reverse. EGAMI’s unique approach to purpose inspired marketing always starts with our brand partners looking within at its purpose and then defining how that purpose can come to life to drive meaningful engagement, brand affinity and most importantly sales.
TNJ.com: Your website mentions a focus on multicultural, purpose-driven marketing. How do you define “purpose-driven marketing?”
Teneshia Jackson Warner:EGAMI defines “purpose-driven marketing” as enriching a brand’s IMAGE through culture. community and cause. We call it being a brand that is ON PURPOSE.
TNJ.com: What is your husband’s role in the company?
Teneshia Jackson Warner: My husband, Michael C. Warner serves as my business partner and holds the title of Chief Relationship Officer for the company. He is responsible for nurturing key stakeholder relationships and infusing these relationships to drive the business forward and enhance the firm’s core offerings. Together we have built EGAMI Group.
TNJ.com: What, if any, challenges arise with working with your spouse? (If none, please disregard!)
Teneshia Jackson Warner: The beauty of working as a ‘Couple’preneur is together we get to drive our dreams forward every day. Entrepreneurship is NOT for the faint of heart, it comes with trials, tough times and hardship. However, working together with my partner in life (and business) has given me the strength to stay the course over this 10-year journey. On the flip side, the biggest challenge is to balance our roles and ensure we are carving out sacred times to just be husband/wife versus CEO/CRO.
TNJ.com: Tell me about your work with Procter & Gamble, and “The Talk” campaign.
Teneshia Jackson Warner: The phrase “The Talk” in mass American culture usually refers to the awkward conversation parents have with their teens about sex. But in African-American homes, families giving the “The Talk” usually means discussing with children how being black will affect their lives, from how to deal with hearing racial slurs, to overcoming discrimination to how they should behave during interactions with the police to avoid dangerous or deadly outcomes. Spanning several decades, the campaign shows that while many things have changed in our world, “The Talk” has remained a grim rite of passage for most black Americans for too many generations.
In the end, the campaign hopes to spark a dialogue across America to talk about “The Talk” so that ultimately we no longer need to have “The Talk”.
To date, The Talk has garnered many of the most coveted industry awards including the PRSA Silver Anvil PR Pro of the Year and the Cannes Lion Grand Prix Award and has been lauded by ADWEEK as ‘bringing a new level of empathy to advertising’.
TNJ.com: What, if any, challenges arise with being an entrepreneur and owning your own business?
Teneshia Jackson Warner: Wow, I don’t think we have enough space to list the challenges. Some of the big ones include: the challenge to remain competitive in the marketplace, access to resources/ capital, competing for top talent against global firms and more…the list goes on and on. However, true entrepreneurs don’t run from the challenge…we run to the challenge and seek solutions in real time. Someone once said, entrepreneurs, jump off the cliff and figure out how to build the plane on the way down. This statement sums up the spirit and mindset of an entrepreneur.
TNJ.com: What makes a great marketing campaign?
Teneshia Jackson Warner: Great campaigns are creative, challenge people to think differently and leave consumers feeling better. Most importantly great campaigns drive action, loyalty, affinity, engagement and of course, SALES.
TNJ.com: Your company is now 10 years old and thriving. What has been the secret to your success with regard to the award-winning work you’ve put forth major brands?
Teneshia Jackson Warner: At EGAMI, we approach every day as an artist does a blank canvas. Each day and each campaign is chance for our team to bring innovative and new ideas to the marketplace. We strive to never become complacent. One of my favorite songs is the Jay-Z track, “My First Song”. This song is such an inspiration to me because it challenges the listener to treat every day like it is their first day on the job and that is exactly what we do here at EGAMI. We bring hunger to the game everyday. This is the reason why our firm is not only here but we are thriving.
TNJ.com: What sets EGAMI apart from other communications agencies?
Teneshia Jackson Warner: It is our unique approach to purpose-inspired marketing that sets us apart. EGAMI strives to enhance the lives of the consumers and communities we serve. We truly are change agents and we thrive on doing purpose-inspired work.
TNJ.com: What about your work do you most enjoy?
Teneshia Jackson Warner: Making a difference one campaign at a time. Over the past decade, EGAMI Group has served 35 clients; delivering 50+ campaigns, engaging 15+ million multicultural consumers; spent $3+ million with Minority-Owned Businesses ( in last 3 years);, and secured $2+ million in multicultural community contributions.