Barbara Proctor started her own advertising company believing in a market nobody else paid much attention to – the African-American market.
After facing a wall of indifference when looking for funding, she was finally able to establish her company and break the industry with amazing results.
Proctor and Gardner Advertising now has many high-profile clients and is the second-largest ad agency headed by an African-American in the US.
Barbara Proctor – Keeping the Faith
Barbara Proctor started from the bottom up, redefining the advertising industry with her vision of a different kind of ad agency.
She used to work as an advertising executive in Chicago with accounts that included the world-famous Gillette and Maybelline. She was highly respected and a coveted employee who worked hard and pursued excellence above all things in her line of work. However, after airing some concerns regarding certain questionable ad policies, she was fired.
Undaunted, Barbara decided to go it alone and start her own ad agency that catered specifically to the black community. It wasn’t that easy though. Although she was hot property’ as she describes it, she faced rejection after rejection from banks who refused to grant her a loan.
She almost gave up her search for funding but in the end, and down to her last pennies, she made one last attempt at securing financial support. Her persistence finally paid off – the Small Business Administration managed to fully establish her credentials and net worth as an individual (which was assuringly high!) and agreed to lend her money to finance her agency. It took off from there.
Today, Proctor and Gardner Advertising is hotter than ever with an estimated annual revenue of $15 million. Proctor never gave up her quest for success and her persistence paid off. Her clients include Jewel Foods, Sears, and many more high-end corporations.
The Barbara Proctor Quick Bio
Full Name: Barbara Proctor
Birthplace: North Carolina
Company: Proctor and Gardner Advertising
Key Success Traits: determination, commitment to excellence
As a last-ditch effort to secure financing she had a representative from the Small Business Administration call other ad agencies to find out how much she was worth as an employee.
They were impressed with the answers – she was worth as much as $100,000 a year as an executive. This persuaded them to lend her enough cash to see her start her company.