#AHHPowerfulWomen: Gwendolyn Quinn Shares Why Balance is a Key to Being Powerful
She is currently the founder of one of the nation’s leading independent publicity and public relations firms. Founded in 2002, GQ Media & Public Relations, Inc. (now Gwendolyn Quinn Public Relations) which is a full-service publicity and marketing firm that specializes in developing media strategies, coordinating special events and brand development for clients who span the worlds of music, theater, corporate, not-for-profit, faith-based, publishing, and the visual/fine arts. Quinn’s roster has included a wide range of clients including Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Isaac Hayes, Kirk Franklin, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Andraé Crouch, Deborah Cox, Johnny Gill, Fred Hammond, Fred Hammond, Karen Clark Sheard, Smokie Norful, Regina Belle, Keke Wyatt, Terri Lyne Carrington, T. S. Monk (Thelonious Sphere Monk, III), Coca-Cola (Nu Classic Soul Campaign), the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, Mandela Day Concert in New York City, the Museum of Moving Image Salutes Will Smith, Radio One’s 25th Anniversary Gala, the Living Legends Foundation, Odyssey Network: The Ultimate Business Retreat, and numerous others.
Quinn career encompasses stints as vice president of publicity at Capitol Records (two tenures at the label), senior director of publicity at Arista Records during legendary executive Clive Davis’ tenure, and senior director of publicity at Island Records under the regime of Rock and Rock Hall of Famer Chris Blackwell. She has also held positions at Mercury/PolyGram Records, Flavor Unit Entertainment and ASCAP. Her work has paired her with some of the industry’s brightest stars, including Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Prince, Queen Latifah, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, the Isley Brothers, Monica, CeCe Winans, Rachelle Ferrell, Lisa Stansfield, Faith Evans, Notorious B.I.G., Vanessa Williams, Oleta Adams, Brian McKnight, Tony! Toni, Toné and countless others.
In addition to her publicity and public relations work, Quinn founded the African-American Public Relations Collective (AAPRC), a national and international group of more than 1,000 public relations and communications specialists that provide professional support to their peers in the communications industry.
Quinn is the recipient of numerous awards including the Media Award by the Living Legends Foundation, Inspired In Music Series, the International Black Broadcaster Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2014 Stellar Women of Gospel Awards. She was named one of the Top 20 Power Players in Roots magazine’s Annual Industry Stellar Gospel Music Awards Edition (2013), Black Enterprise magazine named her one of the Women In Black Music’s Top Women Executives Behind the Scene (2011), the Atlanta Post named her one of the nation’s top African-American Public Relations Agents (2011), and Madamenoire.com named her one of the Top African-Americans Public Relations Agents in the country (2011). In 2010, Quinn was honored by the Talladega College Alumni Association of Greater New York on behalf of the African American Public Relations Collective. She is the recipient of the National Black Public Relations Society Network Award (2007). She has been honored by then Council Member Yvette D. Clarke (Brooklyn, New York), and the Council of the City of New York (2006), and on Capitol Hill by Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (2004) for her professional work and community service.
Quinn is a contributor to Souls Revealed (Souls of My Sisters/Kensington) and featured in Handle Your Entertainment Business (Grand Central/Warner Publishing). She is a freelance writer with Huffington Post, BlackEnteprise.com, BE Pulse, and EURWEB.com. She is also the curator of The Living Legends Foundation’s “The State of Black Music and Beyond” series published in the Huffington Post.
With a resume of this MAGNITUDE, Ms. Quinn’s proves her measure of influence and prowess, not only in music and entertainment but in the ever-evolving field of public relations. AllHipHop quickly gained some details on her extensive career:
AllHip-Hop: What’s the most enjoyable part about working in Public Relations in the Entertainment Industry?
Gwendolyn Quinn: I love and enjoy my work. I get to travel, work and meet some great people. As a publicist, I get to positively impact and influence the careers of many of my clients. I am part of a team that builds and develop their brand and image.
AllHipHop: What is the hardest part?
Gwendolyn Quinn: One of the most challenging aspects of my job now is that I am trying to transition into other areas of entertainment. So, I’m doing double duty; trying to stay focus on my current career, while pursuing new goals and making inroads in other areas. Also with that shift comes many sacrifices and financial challenges to consider. Also, I am one of the caregivers for my elderly parents. I’m fortunate and blessed to still have both parents. A few years ago, I had to move back home to help care for them. I have one sister and brother, so we try our best to provide the best care for our parents.
AllHipHop: Who inspires you and why?
Gwendolyn Quinn: First and foremost, I am inspired by the gifts that God gave me, and I feel it’s my responsibility to make good use of those gifts. I am inspired by positive people who are doing great things; especially many of my former publicist friends and industry colleagues who have transitioned to other careers. More recently, there are a few people that inspired me: Ava DuVernay, and one of my clients, Terri Lyne Carrington.
AllHipHop: What does it mean to you to be a powerful woman and a boss in the urban music and hip-hop industry?
Gwendolyn Quinn: I’ve been in the music and entertainment business for over 25 years. To be named as a powerful woman in urban and hip-hop music simply means that I have put in my time and I have done the work. During the journey, I have made mistakes and learned from the mistakes. It also means that I have gained significant knowledge and access and that I have used that power to move artists, clients, and the genre forward.
AllHipHop: Any advice you would like to give on growing into a powerful person in your career?
Gwendolyn Quinn: My advice to young people would be to incorporate more balance in their lives and always spend time and make time for your family because, in the end, they are often the main people who will be around. For so many years, I spent a lot of time working, not having the balance that I now know is necessary. I’ve always traveled, and would take extra days on the front end or back end of a trip; that was one wise thing that I did. Looking back, I wish I had put more energy into developing a romantic relationship. I did date, but I wasn’t focused on getting married in the early part of my career; and as you get older, it’s not always easy.
Also, what touches my spirit is when people come back and tell me that I impacted their life in a positive way and that they learned a lot from me. Sometimes, they would tell me that they thought I was hard on them, but now they understand and get it. I often hear those stories and always say to myself “job well done.”