What Does Success Look Like To You? – Yvonne Dean-Bailey

What Does Success Look Like To You? – Yvonne Dean-Bailey

CEO of FLO Communications and Flo Books

Yvonne’s journey is marked by her determination to overcome significant obstacles. Growing up in a single-parent, low-income household, she worked tirelessly to save enough money to start her own business and move to California. Her early career at Spectrum Marketing, one of the largest direct mail firms in America, and her subsequent experience in a nonprofit newsroom, provided her with a solid foundation in media relations and storytelling.

At just 25 years old, Yvonne founded FLO Communications, bootstrapping the company to a seven-figure agency by the age of 27. Her leadership and vision have been instrumental in the agency’s success, fostering a culture of innovation, integrity, and inclusivity. She is passionate about mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly women, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC individuals, helping them navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship and achieve their goals.

In addition to her work with FLO Communications, Yvonne has launched Flo Books, a publishing company dedicated to bringing untold stories to life. Through Flo Books, she works with talented authors to highlight important voices and perspectives, continuing her commitment to storytelling and making a positive impact through the written word.

Yvonne Dean-Bailey is not only a successful business leader but also an avid reader, basketball enthusiast, and advocate for personal and professional growth. She believes that true success comes from within, defined by a state of peace and fulfillment. Her journey is a testament to the power of resilience, hard work, and the pursuit of one’s passions.

How do you define success?

For me, success is synonymous with peace. When you reach a state of inner peace and fulfillment, that’s when you are truly successful. It’s easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others and chasing external markers of success, but real achievement comes from being content and fulfilled with who you are and what you have accomplished. When you can look within and feel a sense of peace, you have truly reached the pinnacle of success.

What obstacles have you faced on your path to success, and how did you overcome them?

My journey to success has been filled with significant obstacles. Growing up in a single-parent, low-income household, I wasn’t handed anything on a silver platter. Every step of my journey required hard work and determination. I had to work tirelessly to save enough money to start my business and make the move to California. There were countless late nights and moments of frustration, but I stayed focused on my goals. Being a small business owner has its challenges, but each hurdle has been worth the effort. The sense of accomplishment I feel today is a testament to the perseverance and resilience I have developed along the way.

In your opinion, what are the most important qualities or attributes needed to be successful in your industry?

In the media relations industry, success hinges on a few key attributes: consistency, poise, and commitment. Consistency is crucial because showing up every day and delivering quality work builds trust and reliability. Poise is essential because the industry is fast-paced and often high-stress; being able to remain calm and composed, especially in crisis situations, sets you apart. Commitment to your craft and to your clients ensures that you stay dedicated and passionate about your work. Many communications blunders happen when people are too quick to react without fully thinking through their strategy. That’s why having seasoned media professionals to manage your crisis and media relations is invaluable.

Can you share an instance where you learned from a failure or setback and turned it into a success?

One of my favorite quotes from Dawn Staley is, “What is delayed is not denied.” This mantra has helped me navigate numerous setbacks and missed opportunities. There have been times when I missed out on clients I really wanted, but those disappointments often paved the way for even better opportunities. For example, there was a major client I pursued aggressively, but they ultimately chose another firm. Initially, it felt like a significant setback, but shortly after, an even larger client approached me, which ended up being a perfect fit. This experience reinforced the idea that setbacks are often just delays in the journey towards something greater.

Who or what has been your biggest influence or motivation in achieving your goals?

It might sound a bit unconventional, but my biggest motivation has always been myself. I have a strong internal drive because I genuinely enjoy what I do and love learning. I approach life as a game to be won, constantly setting new challenges for myself and striving to overcome them. This intrinsic motivation keeps me going, even when external circumstances are tough.

How do you set, prioritize, and track your short-term and long-term goals?

At the beginning of each year, I take the time to outline what I want to accomplish. This annual reflection helps me set clear short-term and long-term goals. While these goals may evolve over time, having a roadmap keeps me focused and motivated. I periodically review my progress, adjusting my strategies as necessary to ensure I stay on track. This process of setting, prioritizing, and tracking goals helps me maintain a clear direction in both my personal and professional life.

In moments of self-doubt or challenges, what strategies or techniques do you use to keep pushing forward?

When self-doubt creeps in or challenges arise, I find it crucial to unplug. Working in media means dealing with a constant influx of information and rapid changes. Taking a step back to unplug—whether it’s going for a walk, hitting the beach, or simply disconnecting for a bit—helps me gain perspective and clear my mind. This practice of unplugging allows me to return to my work with renewed focus and clarity.

How do you ensure that your personal growth and learning continue as you achieve more successes in your career?

I am an avid reader and a lifelong learner. I make it a point to read a variety of sources, from industry publications to literature on trending topics. This habit not only keeps me informed but also sparks creativity and innovation in my work. Continuous learning is something I deeply value, as it ensures that I am always growing and adapting to new challenges and opportunities.

How do you measure success: by the outcome of a project, feedback from peers, your own set standards, or some other metric?

I believe that success is internal. While external achievements and recognition are important, true success comes from within. If you are in good health, and your mind and body are in a state of well-being, you are successful. This internal metric of success is what drives me and keeps me grounded.

In your opinion, how does a balance between personal and professional success contribute to overall well-being and satisfaction?

A balance between personal and professional success is vital for overall well-being and satisfaction. If you are not happy with your personal life, it becomes challenging to find joy and fulfillment in your professional life. Achieving this balance ensures that you are not only successful in your career but also content and happy in your personal endeavors. This holistic approach to success is what ultimately leads to a fulfilling and satisfying life.