Thank you to Chamber Board Member Sharon Wright, founder and President of Loud & Clear Marketing, for answering our questions! Learn more about the Chamber’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility (DEIA) Committee here.
I was born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh and had what I would describe as a pretty idyllic childhood. It was the era of great sports in Pittsburgh, and I have fond memories of our beloved Steelers winning multiple super bowls. After finishing an undergraduate degree at West Virginia Wesleyan College, I enjoyed corporate stints in Newport Beach, CA, London, Atlanta, Honolulu, Chicago, Dallas and eventually DC. I landed in Loudoun County in 1999.
I was lucky to find my career at the age of 13 when I helped raise awareness about the captivity of the American hostages in Iran through the national yellow ribbon campaign that many will remember. My small suburb of Pittsburgh was not well adorned with yellow ribbons so I helped to change that landscape by speaking to as many churches in my area as I could and handing out yellow ribbons. This effort ignited my love for public relations.
When I arrived at West Virginia Wesleyan College, I worked with the college’s curriculum board to create the public relations degree and thereby serve as its founder. I am very proud to say that thousands of students since then have graduated with degrees in PR and are now placed in firms and corporations the world over.
I am the founder and President of Loud & Clear Marketing, a full service marketing and public relations firm that I founded in 2012. My co-owner, Deb Haynes Swider who was also a friend during our college years, joined me at Loud & Clear in 2019. We have a team of more than 30 support staff and subject matter experts who support our clients and help us achieve great results for them.
Several mentors have been integral in my career over the years. The few that come to mind are Madeline Belfoure, a professional woman I met when I joined Hill & Knowlton, the largest public relations firm in the world, right out of college. Madeline was the epitome of a successful public relations professional. She took me under her wing and showed me how to thrive in the high profile agency world. We remain friends to this day.
Just a few years later, I would join Hyatt International as a Public Relations Manager and Cristina Tabora would serve as my boss. Cristina, originally from the Philippines, was a consummate leader in the hospitality industry. I knew from the moment we interviewed together that she would be able to teach me so much. She taught me grace, leadership and poise under pressure no matter the situation, and so much more.
Arriving in Loudoun County in 1999 was a blessing. A blessing that continues to reveal itself to me time and time again. Loudoun is a county that has been good to me. The people, the services, the environment, all create a rich landscape for business owners. I felt so strongly about embracing Loudoun that I named the first iteration of my company after it – Loudoun Clear Marketing. As we grew outside of the region and state, we morphed into Loud & Clear Marketing.
I spring out of bed every morning knowing that I have chosen the right profession. How lucky was I to have found it as a teenager? I love the variety in my days, the challenges our clients face and the solutions we create to help them thrive. When our clients are successful we are successful, plain and simple.
Women’s History Month to me means an opportunity to celebrate the women who have come before us and helped create a rich environment for those who follow. It has been my intent to share this inspiration by paying it forward and I have done so at every interval of my career. Today, one of the most rewarding roles I have in Loudoun County is that of Vice Chair of the Loudoun County Public Schools School Business Partnership Council. It is this desire to help our youth find their way in life that gives me such joy.
My biggest inspiration are my two amazing kids, Arianna, age 20 and a Junior at Virginia Tech, and Colin, a senior at Tuscarora High School who will be attending JMU in the Fall. Both are natural born entrepreneurs with maybe just a touch of inspiration from me. Arianna will be working at Capital One this summer doing an HR rotation and Colin owns Colin’s Haul’n. He can often be found traversing the county moving furniture or dropping it off at our county’s many thrift shops to live a second life.
When I am not working or spending time with my kids, I am exploring. I have a love of travel and adventure that has taken me to the furthest regions in the world. I often say that my favorite place to travel is the place I haven’t visited yet.
Check out the Loud & Clear Marketing website here.