Donna St. Jean Conti, Reflecting on 20 Years in Business and What Comes Next

By Mary Hansen, President Mary Hansen Writes

Today I am interviewing Donna St. Jean Conti, President of St. Conti Communications, regarding her company’s twenty-year anniversary. For additional information, please see the press release.

Q. Can you remember back to what led up to the day that you opened your business?

A. (Chuckling) Yes, I do. Back in the beginning, the idea to open my business started as the Internet came in, and specifically, e-mail access. I was hearing how people were working from home offices, doing maybe even just a couple of days a week to avoid the commute times and rush-hour traffic and all of that.

Q. So, you wanted to take advantage of the Internet, fax, and e-mail, and yes you were interested in advertising and communications… but there’s still a missing piece. That’s a big leap to decide to go home to work. What or who influenced you to want to stay home with your kids?

A. That’s a good question. It was an inner desire. I was torn up when I had to drop off my son at daycare the first time, and there were many days when I cried each time I dropped him off. I just didn’t want to do it. That was kind of the beginnings, right? But it still took me the two years until my daughter was born to make it happen. It was a matter of pouncing on the opportunity as soon as the technology was available.

Q. Good insight on your part to recognize that opportunity and seize it.

A. Yes. There is a caveat to that “inner desire”. The seed was planted by my father, Norman J. St. Jean. From the time I was little, he always said that he wanted every one of us kids to be our own boss. He used to say to us, “You will never make money working for someone else.” He drove this home. He had long been self-employed, and he didn’t want any of us to work for another person. He wanted us to be our own bosses. When the opportunity arose, I took it.

Q. What would you do differently today?

A. I can’t think of anything I would change.

Q. That is such a blessing, Donna.

A. Yes, it is really, and I very much recognize that. I’ve been blessed with great contacts and references. Just as important has been the ability to develop multiple specialties that allowed me to keep working during slow times.

In fact, I’d like to share some advice for entrepreneurs: Don’t pigeon-hole yourself. Continually stretch and learn new things, so that, when adversity strikes, you can swivel and make the changes needed.

That’s why I hint in the press release that it’s always important to stay up-to-date with current technologies, always adopting the latest thing or at least being aware of it so that you can use it as a tool to in whatever way possible.

Q. Where do you see St. Conti Communications in five years?

A. The latest thing about which I am intrigued and on which I am putting my focus in terms of new business efforts is Benefits Corps, or B Corps, as well as other activist brands.

A good example of such a company is LuminAID – they were a winner on Shark Tank and have developed foldable lanterns that are solar powered. It was initially meant to be used for camping and such, but they’ve been donating their lanterns to victims of the recent hurricanes and other disasters. My company doesn’t represent LuminAID, but that’s the kind of company we want to attract and represent.

There are others that set themselves up as avenues to support the community: GlobeIn (fair-trade artisan products bought from women in poorer developing countries), Method Soap Company (non-toxic household and personal cleaners), and Flowers for Dreams (small batch design and local distribution).

That’s where I see St. Conti Communications going forward, providing PR and social media support for these types of companies – putting our expertise to work for the greater good.

This concludes the interview with Donna St. Jean Conti of St. Conti Communications, Inc.

About the Author:
Mary Hansen blogs from her Arizona desert home. When she’s not blogging, she’s working on her memoir or painting the desert landscape.

St. Conti Communications (St. Conti) is a public relations and marketing communications agency based in Southern California and specializing in supporting high technology, green technology and similar companies. For more information about our agency and how we can help you, contact Donna St. Jean Conti, APR, at dconti (at) St. Conti has on-staff and subcontracted professionals ready to provide media relations, social media, writing, research and other services.

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