Francis Perdue of ‘Perdue Inc’: How We Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness

Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated
Authority Magazine
Published in
15 min readFeb 25, 2021

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Share the Gratefulness. Tell people who are close to you that you are grateful for them. Write down thing that you are grateful for. Think of all of the things that are good in your life. Write it down. Start small and go to the large goals. Look at them and see how far you have come. If you feel they are not far enough, please give yourself grace and mercy. You are failing forward into greatness.

As we all know, times are tough right now. In addition to the acute medical crisis caused by the Pandemic, in our post COVID world, we are also experiencing what some have called a “mental health pandemic”.

What can each of us do to get out of this “Pandemic Induced Mental and Emotional Funk”?

One tool that each of us has access to is the simple power of daily gratitude. As a part of our series about the “How Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Francis Perdue.

Francis Perdue was born in Los Angeles, California with strong Alabama roots. She was born to Birmingham, Alabama natives Franklin R. Perdue, a Navy veteran who earned a PhD in Clinical Psychology and mother who ended up running the BX/PX, Navy Exchange. She grew up the first part of her childhood in Compton, California and remembers the diversity she experienced from her Navy Brat years. From eating Lumpia, walking to the corner candy store to seeing her babysitter smoke a pig in the ground.

Francis’ contributions in philanthropy and her work ethic in Entertainment Public Relations and Talent Management has deemed her a hot commodity in the Product Placement side of events and television & film. With 100 plus products placed for high end events, The Doctor’s TV Show and her annual FUSE Pre-ESPY Event Ms. Perdue added a products division to her company.

Ms. Perdue’s the owner of Perdue Inc. (formerly PS Media Talent) has been a full-time publicist since 2009. Perdue inc. where she has several projects for inventions, restaurants, business consulting and branding is the staple of her business. Recently she held the position of The Director of Communications for My Beverages, a new water company, based in West Hollywood, California. Force Brands recognized the appointment of Ms. Perdue to My Beverages in 2019 as part of their “Movers and Shakers” newsletter that is recognized globally in the Food & Beverage World.

After purchasing her franchise in 2018 she became determined to have the best experience for her location in Birmingham she was offered the position due to her experience in public relations and willingness to make experiences for owners easiest. In April 2019, she was appointed Director of Public Relations for Burgerim, which was one of the fastest growing burger franchises in the United States.

Currently, she has added Perdue Beauty to her repertoire of businesses under Perdue Inc. and expanded talent management to Influencers.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into our discussion, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about you and about what brought you to your specific career path?

Currently, I am a business consultant and senior publicist. I started off as a DJ and on-air personality in college at KUCR on a show entitled, Soul on Sundays. During that time, I was introduced to up-and-coming talent, music directors and on-air talent from other stations. This led me to networking with people in entertainment from talent managers to becoming talent myself. I thought I’d land on 92.3 FM The Beat with my “air-check” tape and a gig then digital radio hit and people lost their analog based jobs. So, I did what paid the bills. I went into education.

From there I worked in education, yet I could not conform to the strict and sometimes toxic environments that are caused when a person goes above and beyond to assist students. ADA, average daily attendance, was the main focus anything else was futile. After my last lay-off from my Education gig I bought my first entity, a llc, named PS Media Talent, that I started with my best friend at the time.

I was introduced to Public Relations in Santa Monica College’s entertainment program in my post baccalaureate studies. My classes were taught by industry professionals and I met a professor who was over public relations for a major non-profit and her non-traditional approach inspired me. One day networking at an event named, Launch Mondays, I met Michael Snowden and when telling him what I did which was embarrassing and long winded, he stopped me mid-sentence. He said, “what do you want to do?” I responded, Public Relations. Then he said, “Then, say you’re a publicist.” Since that day, I’ve been a self-proclaimed publicist that thinks out of the box, brings business consulting and my expertise to my profession.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

An interesting story that recently happened to me was I bought a franchise in 2018. The franchise did not give me what I needed to do my press release and my team reached out to get stats etc. and received no response. So, in Francis fashion I walked into the owner’s office and explained what was wrong, what was missing, and he just looked at me with a blank stare.

He said, “We need you.” I said, “I know. I make y’all look good but what about what I need for my press release. He asked me to meet with his CEO and him on a Sunday, I almost said no because I was taking care of my mother who was sick.

I got to the meeting and they offered me the Director of Public Relations for the whole corporation. It was a complete surprise to me.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why do you think that resonates with you? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Self-preservation is the first law of survival” is my favorite life lesson quote. This resonates with me because I forget to do for myself a lot in life. Being selfless can leave you as a target in any profession or in life period. Loving myself attracts those who mean me well. When I place me as a priority other do the same, especially when it comes to my time. Time is the commodity you cannot get back.

A story relevant to this quote is that I started participating in a visualization call every Monday for the last 3–4 years. I was asked to meet with an especially important potential client and explained we could meet the next meet and they picked Monday even though they didn’t see it as a day on my calendar for appointments online.

I politely let them know that they day is blocked off every week. I told the client unfortunately that day I am not available again. They didn’t like that I “reclaimed my time” in my Congresswomen Maxine Waters’ voice.

I politely let them know I could refer them to someone else who’s great at what they do.

I lost a headache of a client was lost and my peace was gained.

Having one day out of the work week that I focus on me, A “Self-Care” day allows my family, friends, clients etc. know that my time has been reclaimed to jumpstart my week on a positive and focused manner.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story about why that resonated with you?

My first publication Life Is In Session: Accomplish the Life You Want With Daily Living has impacted my life in a great way. It brought light on the situations that I had been dealing with in life and presented my mindset and solutions for people who have challenges. After losing my mother, I felt lost. As an only child the loss of my mother affected me in a crazy way. My mother set me up to not just survive but to strive. To this day I feel she is still taking care of me after death in the way my life is going in positive directions.

I gave my life lessons from real experiences that I thought that I would never share about my journey.

The response from those who read the journal and stated that it helped them made me realize that I should share more about my life so others can benefit and not make the same mistakes. Also, it fulfilled a need for me to continue to share information with people.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

The projects that I am working on right now are an invention, I finished my Life Is In Session: Accomplish The Life You Want With Daily Living”. “Heel It” a shoe product, another burger franchise, a beauty supply store online, Perdue Beauty and more books, seminars, and webinars under my “Try Focus Series.”

I believe the franchise will allow me to give to the community at large by providing jobs, programs for scholarships for students in the area as well as assist the neighborhoods around with food insecurity in the area.

The Try Focus Series will give a platform for those who want to learn about public relations and business keys to success.

Perdue Beauty will allow people to save money on beauty supply products while shopping at home. My books will inspire people to start where they are and set a plan for success. Successful thinking starts with knowing you have a future ahead of you and you are not alone. That’s my message through my publications and teaching platforms.

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?

I stand on the shoulders of many mentors, God mothers, friends, and extended family. So, it is difficult to narrow down to one person. I am grateful for my sounding board and largest supporter, my late mother, Carolyn Jean Walton Perdue. My mother allowed me to think big and supported me financially and spiritually.

My mother was so determined my senior year to keep me in California that he approached my Alma mater, UC Riverside and asked why I did not get an admit to the college. They replied, “We do not know.” When I got home from school, I had a “provisional” admit from UC Riverside. My mom was a beast! She was a hustler. She basically made a whole college look at her child and say why did not you admit her because she is a great well-rounded student.

My mother was my biggest fan and she taught me to never give up.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now that we are on the topic of gratitude, let us move to the main focus of our interview. As you know, the collective mental health of our country is facing extreme pressure. We would like to explore together how every one of us can use gratitude to improve our mental wellness. Let’s start with a basic definition of terms. How do you define the concept of Gratitude? Can you explain what you mean?

I define the concept of Gratitude as sowing and reaping and the process of reciprocity. Being grateful is the act of appreciation for what you have and paying homage to where you came from. Gratitude gives the opportunity to be open to receive more in life.

Why do you think so many people do not feel gratitude? How would you articulate why a simple emotion can be so elusive?

People do not feel gratitude for various reasons. One of the main reasons is that they let go of things or people who no longer serve them. Reciprocity is giving with the expectation to show that where you sow a seed does not mean that is where you will reap the return.

The emotion is elusive because people are very self-centered and unaware of those around them. People are isolated and not interacting with people and it’s difficult to feel gratitude. Our society has turned into a “give me, give me” place where people usually do not show gratitude, especially with everything being fast paced on the internet such as social media outlets. People also no longer really look for things or research and just asks for things directly and have no concept of what people have done in terms of networking or building relationships.

This might be intuitive to you, but I think it will be constructive to help spell it out. Can you share with us a few ways that increased gratitude can benefit and enhance our life?

Increased gratitude allows you to be happy no matter what is going on. Knowing that you are on your journey and you do not have to compare yourself to others. Gratitude can enhance your life by giving you a benchmark for happiness. Benefits include health effects such as low blood pressure and a balance on cholesterol etc. Being grateful allows you to be blessed with other opportunities because you have pride in what you physically have, mentally you are free to receive things and to gain more. Dreaming big is a part of being grateful and the gratitude creates an aura around you that makes people want to give to you and collaborate.

Let’s talk about mental wellness in particular. Can you share with us a few examples of how gratitude can help improve mental wellness?

Gratitude for the simple things in life can give perspective on how to live and feel about the things that are happening.

In my life I had to grab a hold to the perspective of gratitude to improve my mental wellness. Writing down and reciting the things I am grateful each morning allows me to focus on positive things as I start my day. When things go wrong like someone cutting me off and not hitting my car. I thank God for traveling grace. When I do not get somewhere on time, I am grateful for whatever I missed that may have not been good such as an accident etc.

Ok wonderful. Now here is the main question of our discussion. From your experience or research, what are “Five Ways That Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness”. Can you please share a story or example for each?

Five ways to leverage the “Power of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness are: Reciting Positive Affirmations, Share The Gratefulness, Share The Wins, Be Kind & Be Open To New Possibilities.

You are the most important person in your world or sphere of influence. Therefore, you have to invoke, “Self-Preservation” by affirming that you are worthy of happiness, love, and success.

Affirmations

Affirmations can affirm you in a way to set your day up better. Affirmations are declarations that you say to yourself out loud so your ears can hear the gratitude you have for yourself.

My daily affirmations:

“I am Happy, Excited, Wealthy in Life Love and Finances. God is my unfailing supply and no weapon formed against me shall prosper. What is mine by divine right is given to me under grace in perfect ways?”

Affirmations are important so speak life. I spoke into existence my firing from a job. My principal at the time was unbearable and salty. I kept saying over and over again, “I hope they lay me off so I can start my business.” Watch what you say and be prepared for what you ask the universe for.

Share the Gratefulness.

Tell people who are close to you that you are grateful for them. Write down thing that you are grateful for. Think of all of the things that are good in your life. Write it down. Start small and go to the large goals. Look at them and see how far you have come. If you feel they are not far enough, please give yourself grace and mercy. You are failing forward into greatness.

Sharing gratefulness is important. I believe that people who let me know they are grateful for me gives me a sense of purpose. When I spoke about what I was grateful for I took it a step further. I started telling people that I am grateful for them and started traditions to show how much I care.

Share The Wins

Share every win with others. It can be a post on social media, newsletter, phone call, text. You name it. Just do it. The adrenaline that runs through you when people say, Congrats! I knew you would do it.etc… is worth the announcement. People are grateful for you and your contributions to the world.

I share my wins in a newsletter created to accompany my business. I had no clue who was watching and one day someone who was a businessperson congratulated me on my opening of a burger franchise.

Be Kind

Being full of gratitude and saying three little words Thank You Please can do a world good. My Godmother used to say, Hearts Like Ease Open With Ease with Three Little Words, Thank You, Please.

One day I was in line at a grocery and my card declined and the man behind me paid for my groceries and told me to pay it forward. That reminds me every day to pay it forward every day of my life.

Be Open To New Possibilities

Being open to new opportunities come with gratitude for yourself. Knowing you deserve opportunities will allow you to be in gratitude for everything lining up.

New opportunities arise daily. Open means that you are able to think outside of the box, you are willing to listen to people even if you feel the opportunity is originally not for you, you are willing to see things from other people’s points of view and take calculated risks to take advantage of opportunities to better yourself, make money and be happy.

Is there a particular practice that can be used during a time when one is feeling really down, really vulnerable, or really sensitive?

Being grateful of the things I utilize the method of grounding myself and becoming still. Coping mechanisms are what are getting me through loss of family, betrayal of family and the pandemic as a whole. When I am feeling really down, I allow myself to feel the sadness or the feeling of anger. I have a tribe of people that I call when I am in need. Grounding one’s self in a time of feeling down, vulnerable, and sensitive may come in many forms. Grounding by becoming still, going to a quiet space meditating, listening to frequencies on YouTube, speaking with those about your feelings who love and care for your wellbeing, getting out of the house and walking around in nature.

When my mother passed it was incredibly difficult to function because it did not feel real. She had been sick before and I prayed her through it yet when she went back to Birmingham, she did not have the will to live. So, when she passed it was a huge challenge for me to function.

I moved to my fathers per his request and I remember him saying that I did not sleep. He would ask me if I was going to try to sleep each night. When I announced my mother’s death people started to make it about them because she touched so many people in a positive way over the years. So, it was very draining.

Utilizing the assistance of Ms. Naimah, “My Fairy Godmother”, she turned me onto techniques to attempt to help me calm down and eventually sleep. She even customized videos to show me techniques to calm down and get over the betrayal my family did and continue to do to this day.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that you would recommend to our readers to help them to live with gratitude?

My favorite Podcast is Ms. Naimah Ali’s podcast, Naimah NorthStar: Plug Into The Wonderful You. This is a visualization call that was turned into a podcast. I’ve been on the visualization call for over 6 years now. Giving gratitude was taught to me through the affirmation exercises that are on the call and the book The Game of Life and How To Play It by Scovel Shinn.

Podcast:

Spotify — Naimah Northstar: Plug into The Wonderful You | Podcast on Spotify

The books:

The Game Of Life and How To Play It by Florence Scovel Shinn

Life Is In Session: Accomplish The Life You Want With Daily Living

You are a person of great influence. If you could start 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. :-)

Creating a social justice endowment that recognizes laws that need to be changed would start a movement of legislature amelioration as well as “good” laws being placed on the books.

My movement would still be my Social Justice Endowment that invokes change into the legislation system. The idea is to take 2 lawyers in each of the states and pay for their law school in full in exchange for them not going to work for a major law firm and creating their own law offices that we would supplement their expenses in exchange for erasing legislation remaining that promotes racism in the form of lynching and other ways. Creating landmark cases that combat the laws that are unjust will be the outcome. Landmark case examples are Brown Vs. Board of Education overturning Plessey Vs. Ferguson which overturned segregation and integrated the nation.

This will bring about justice through actual laws in place to overturn the enforcement of the police brutality and weaponizing of the police against Blacks and other groups in this country. It would hold those who commit the crime of death and other offenses no matter what title that they have. Bringing justice to those who are wronged by this country would be the ultimate outcome.

What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?

I can be found on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Amazon for my book, Life Is In Session: Accomplish The Life You Want With Daily Living

I’m on Clubhouse, Clubhouse: Drop-in audio chat (joinclubhouse.com) , as @francisperdue

Author Page: Life Is In Session

https://www.amazon.com/author/francisperdue

Website Link for the book:

https://perdueinc.me/life-is-in-session

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/lifeisinsession/ -Book Page

https://www.instagram.com/frannubian/ — Personal Page

https://www.instagram.com/perdueinc/ — Business Page

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/francisperdue — Personal Page

https://www.facebook.com/perdueinc Business Page

https://www.facebook.com/lifeisinsessionbook — Book Page

Twitter:

www.twitter.com/frannubian

LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/francis-perdue-390a417/

— Personal Page

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated
Authority Magazine

Entrepreneur, angel investor and syndicated columnist, as well as a yoga, holistic health, breathwork and meditation enthusiast. Unlock the deepest powers