Chelsey Pendock of Innovision Advertising: If I could inspire a movement, I’d encourage people to support small business more often; Here is why

Tyler Gallagher
Jun 18 · 13 min read
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If I could inspire a movement, I’d encourage people to support small business more often. If entrepreneurs and small businesses work together, we can help each other grow and succeed. I find that small businesses tend to take a little more pride in their work because they have a stake in it. They put effort into the work they put out there because its their product or service.. I’m happy to see more and more innovative small businesses popping up, I’d like to see them get our full support.

a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chelsey Pendock.

Chelsey Pendock is an award-winning advertising strategist and entrepreneur. She is the co-founder of Innovision Advertising, a certified Woman Owned Business Enterprise based in New York City, and the Founder of the NYC Marketing Resource Group (a concept she developed around the time we first met) — now a network of highly skilled, vetted entrepreneurs covering a wide array of marketing capabilities. After leaving her corporate media job and launching her ad agency seven years ago, Chelsey has grown Innovision Advertising into a multi-million dollar revenue company serving socially-responsible companies, family owned & operated businesses, and non-profit organizations. She avidly supports the entrepreneurial community by collaborating with like-minded entrepreneurs throughout each phase of her media campaigns. Her ad agency executes the media buying and planning for clients and they collaborate with fellow members of the NYC Marketing Resource Group to fulfill the creative needs of each campaign. This includes services such as design, video production, web development, SEO and copywriting. Chelsey serves on the board of directors for the Childhood Cancer Society. She is a mentor for undergraduates studying communications at her alma mater, Clarion University and she is the host of “ADvice”, a YouTube series providing advertising strategy tips for marketing directors and business owners.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

always liked advertising ever since I was little. As a kid in the grocery store, I’d sing the jingles for products I saw in the shopping isles. To me, advertising was a mix of creativity, psychology and business all rolled into one — three things that really peaked my interest. I’d say my advertising career officially began in undergrad where I was the advertising and promotions director of our University radio station. I organized creative revenue streams for the station which included sponsored celebrity interviews, events, on-air contests with prizes and more. After college I held several jobs in marketing working for RCA Records in New York City, a soft rock radio station in Pittsburgh, an NBC affiliate also in Pittsburgh, then eventually worked my way up to national advertising at FOX Television back in New York City. I formed my LLC while living in Pittsburgh because it was then that I realized I wanted to run my own agency someday. There was just one thing, I wasn’t nearly ready yet. I needed to learn about advertising on all levels, national and local, before I could launch my own advertising agency. While I was at FOX, I handled fast and furious ad deals with the largest agencies and biggest advertisers in the world. New York City is where the big decisions are made and the big money is spent. That job opened this small town girl from Pittsburgh’s eyes right away, more than you could imagine. The hours were long, tempers were flared, sharp attitudes were abound, and the workload was fierce. When my boss showed me to my office on the first day, there was a fist-sized hole in the wall left there from the man who held the position before me. I was intimidated. I knew I was getting in over my head, but deep down I felt like if I could just stick through it, give it my all and try, the light at the end of the tunnel would get brighter and closer. It certainly wasn’t easy at first. I remember calling my husband (who was still working in Pittsburgh at the time) on my first lunch break and saying “Don’t pack up the house just yet. This may have been a huge mistake”. I was nervous and overwhelmed, not just with the workload. On that first day, a media buyer screamed at me for her commercials not airing as scheduled, a station manager told me a share of business wasn’t big enough, a lady on the subway commute stepped on my toe with her high heel, and my boss informed me I needed to come in two hours early and stay two hours late for the next month to be trained. Needless to say, I cried myself to sleep the night of that first day. New York City and the ad world is no joke. It was stressful, but deep down under all that anxiety, there’s a sense of mere hope and pride. Not everyone can make it here. Not everyone can do this. My Pittsburgh house was three times the size of my little New York apartment, and half the price, but this was it! I saw this as an opportunity and I was just one step away from my ultimate goal. If I can do this, I can be equipped to have my own company one day. The next day at work, I covered up that fist-sized hole with a motivational board and an organized board of work materials next to it. I cleaned that desk and said, I’m going to do this, whatever it takes, I’m going to do this… and I did.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

There isn’t one particular story that stands out. Being an entrepreneur is an interesting life all around. It’s been jam packed with interesting challenges, lessons, opportunities and experiences along the way.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

My funniest mistake would have to be the time I woke up really early for a morning meeting. The sun wasn’t out yet. As I was leaving, I quickly grabbed a pair of shoes and a jacket from my closet. I didn’t notice it until I got to the meeting…I had two different shoes on. One navy blue and one black. Everybody saw my face when I realized it and we all had a good laugh. It broke the ice. Ever since, I double check my shoes the night before and leave the correct (matched) pair by the door.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Aside from no retainer fees, getting our clients great low rates and upgraded media placement at no extra charge, I think what makes our agency stand out is that when you work with us you are working with the owners of the company. We take a lot of pride in our work, our service and our reputation. It took a lot of effort to obtain our clients’ business, so we want to prove to our clients that they made the right choice. Client satisfaction is our top priority and we do this by delivering results, being responsive, being proactive, and being available to them when they need us. At the end of the day, it all comes down to dollars and results and we work hard everyday to make sure we overachieve!

Some things you might want to know about the existing business model for advertising if you’re an entrepreneur: Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes, we just launched a new YouTube Series called “ADvice” (link here). The ADvice channel is a go-to resource for pro tips in advertising strategy. Some of the topics covered include: Creating an effective ad message, defining your target audience, metrics for tracking results and measuring ROI, creating an effective media plan, an inside look at digital advertising, the benefits of using an ad agency and more! Our goal is to provide helpful information to small-medium sized businesses who are looking to achieve company growth and improved results from their advertising efforts.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Take note of how you present yourself to your team. I felt it necessary and worthwhile to invest time and money into executive presence training. I found it to be extremely beneficial. There are certain mechanics that we tend to overlook while presenting — posture, hand movements, eye contact, knowing when to pause, paying more attention to our volume and tone. These are important skills that can be improved upon in order to command the attention and respect of your audience. I trained with Carol Lempert (link here), I highly recommend her workshops for women executives.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

The person who got me see the potential in myself was my college advisor, Dr. Steven McCrory. When I was in high school I was a social butterfly who cared more about friends and extracurricular activities than studying. While I had a lot of fun, it ultimately led to bad grades and a difficult time getting into college. I applied for a summer program at Clarion University which offered me a chance to prove I had aspiration and ability before they would accept me. When I started the program, my advisor, Dr. McCrory, helped me discover what I wanted to get out of my college experience. With a little listening and mentorship, he helped me see that I could have a career where my social skills could be an asset. He helped me find an area of study which I was actually excited about! He saw that I hadn’t tapped into my potential because I lacked a vision. And without a vision or a goal, it’s easy to lack the passion and motivation needed to accomplish the tasks that bring you closer to accomplishing your goal. With his encouragement, I discovered my love for media, business, and advertising. I got excited seeing the radio and TV stations and knowing I can be a part of it. Eventually, it wasn’t just the goals that got me excited anymore, it was the journey, the day-to-day joys of learning new things, developing ideas, creating opportunities, overcoming challenges, and thinking innovatively. At the conclusion of the summer program I achieved a 4.0 and got accepted to be a full time student. When I graduated college 4 years later, Dr. McCrory asked me to be a keynote speaker for the incoming students in the program. I was happy to share my experience with them and encourage them to discover their vision like I did. Finding my passion helped me get to where I am today, but knowing that Dr. McCrory believed in me and saw my potential really encouraged me to go for it. I didn’t want to let him down. His faith in me helped me change my own mindset. I believed in myself and my capability. I am ever grateful for the gift of a true mentor.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Outside of work, I serve on the board of directors for the Childhood Cancer Society — a 100% volunteer organization that helps families of child cancer patients with medical expenses and donates gifts and trips to help bring joy to the patients and their families at a difficult time. It’s a great organization and I’m proud to be a part of it. In my personal life, I’m an animal lover so I actively make an effort to use my buying power to support cruelty-free companies. Overall, I like to be positive and optimistic. I enjoy a good belly laugh and strive to spread happiness wherever I can. When you put good vibes out into the world, it’s just better for everyone — for you and anyone around you. I find that things generally run smoother, calmer and more efficiently when everyone keeps a positive, pleasant mindset. I think my success thus far is a direct result of this mindset.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

5 Today’s Self Affects Tomorrow’s Self.

If you eat too much today, you might feel bloated tomorrow. If you drink too much tonight, you might have a lousy unproductive day tomorrow. It’s important to ask yourself what your tomorrow self is asking of you and do it. When I started my business, my tomorrow self wanted clients so my today self had to plant the seeds. If no seeds were planted, nothing could sprout in the future. Keep your tomorrow self in mind, and do the necessary preparations today.

4 — It’s Not Easy at First.

When I first took the leap and launched my company, I was so excited to be an entrepreneur. I was floating in the clouds. When the excitement of the launch passed, it was an overwhelming realization of all I needed to do to get up and running. I went from working in a busy, bustling office with lots of people to working at my quiet desk in my one bedroom apartment, inbox zero, just me and my cat during the day until my husband got home from work. Since I’m a social extrovert by nature, it wasn’t ideal. It was a little depressing and isolating at times. I started to doubt myself. Thoughts ran through my head like “How could I possibly start an entire company myself? Where do I start?” I was so overwhelmed. There was definitely a low point at first — mentally, emotionally, and financially. But, underneath those temporary gray clouds, there was an underlying determination. That’s what kept me going. I started filling my calendar with networking events and met some great people who turned into referral partners and leads. The seeds were getting planted and things were beginning to sprout! My network of connections grew and my days felt more fulfilling and promising. I took some entrepreneur classes so I could gain some insight and be around like-minded individuals. That eventually led to forming a mastermind group which eventually led to forming my very own marketing networking group. That group led to introductions and closed business. After two years, the business was growing and my husband was able to join me as the director of financial operations full time. Things have a way of working out and you’ll weather the storm if your passionate about it. The desktop background on my computer during the first two years was an inspirational quote by Martin Luther King, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase. You just need to take the first step”.

3 — Set Realistic Goals & Expectations

Taking the leap from a full time job to start your own company can be a big change. It means no paychecks for a little while. So prepare to cut back on luxuries and live within a strict budget for a while. Setting short term goals and sticking to a schedule is key. Prepare to put in a lot of time at first, but know that the time you’re putting in is worth it.

2 — Take Your Time & Hire Wisely

It takes a lot of time and effort to train a new hire, and you don’t want to be doing this more often than you need to. So when it comes to hiring, don’t be too hasty.

1 — Stay Positive.

What you think and what you tell yourself is very important. Be optimistic, keep calm, and know that if you really want it — you got this!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

If I could inspire a movement, I’d encourage people to support small business more often. If entrepreneurs and small businesses work together, we can help each other grow and succeed. I find that small businesses tend to take a little more pride in their work because they have a stake in it. They put effort into the work they put out there because its their product or service.. I’m happy to see more and more innovative small businesses popping up, I’d like to see them get our full support.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

The quote I find myself saying most often is “Team work makes the dream work”. Whether I’m working ON my business or IN my business, I’m often working alongside a team to accomplish the end result. When I first started my business, I only offered media buying and media planning because that was my expertise. What I soon realized is that the clients who needed media buying and media planning also needed other services to make their ad campaign possible like video production, copywriting, proofreading and graphic design, which I didn’t offer. Rather than sending my clients to Google or the yellow pages, I set out on my own quest to find the right strategic partner for each service offering I needed. It took a considerable amount of networking and vetting but I found those who I felt confident referring. Later I formed a networking group for all of my new strategic partners and called it The New York City Marketing Resource Group. (Link here). We gathered for a meeting once per month to get to know each other better to collaborate and refer one another. This group enabled me to provide full service to my clients and led to many new business opportunities. The group has been growing ever since. We now have 20 members, all entrepreneurs who specialize in a specific area of expertise just like me. We lean on each other for business advice and refer one another when opportunities arise. In my opinion, team work really does make the dream work. Whether it be personal or business, having a team can really help make the impossible possible.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)

The list of top people I’d love to meet someday includes a mix of authors, comedians, leaders and entrepreneurs. Oprah, Melissa McCarthy, Sheryl Sandberg, Tim Ferriss, Mark Cuban and Mark Manson would be on the top of my list. Each of them have been inspiring to me in their own way. I’d love to pick their brains. More that ever, I am grateful to be featured by Carly Martinetti courtesy of Chaya Weiner in this exciting tell all about my entrepreneurship ascent.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film…

Tyler Gallagher

Written by

CEO and Founder of Regal Assets

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Tyler Gallagher

Written by

CEO and Founder of Regal Assets

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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