Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Swader.
Melissa, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
My entire career started in the process of obtaining my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography at Arizona State University in Tempe. (Go Devils!). It turns out using my classes as a way of launching my career came in handy. I obtained my business license before I even received my Bachelor’s degree but it launched my career immediately after I graduated. Over the next year, my business slowly transitioned into graphic design using my photography skills as a bonus for any product marketing. At one point, I was designed company advertisements all over the valley for different print magazines for my clients so I decided to start my own exclusive business magazine in Anthem Arizona that was focused on marketing one exclusive business per trade. I moved to Anthem when it was a 4-way stop sign. I designed for dozens and dozens of companies in Anthem, including marketing packages for their clients. Most of my clients were the ones advertising in my exclusive magazine. It was a great cross-over in an effort to help promoting them since the magazine was directly mailed to residences. Eventually, when the economy crashed in 2008, I knew I had to make an executive decision and refocus on the graphic design/marketing business and step away from publishing. Business owners just could not afford the advertising costs for print marketing.
Over the next several years, my business branched out into marketing, writing, editing, public relations which led me into becoming a local and nationally recognized press writer in the valley for commercial real estate. I am the Director of Marketing & Administration for SVN Desert Commercial Advisors in Phoenix. (which is why I moved from Anthem – to get closer to my office) I have also been recognized back to back years for being a top CRE Blogger in the nation and just recently served as a selected panelist on a National CRE Marketing call to answer questions about marketing and social media. Earlier this year, I was named ‘2018 Outstanding Women in Business” by the Phoenix Business Journal as well. To think, this is all the while I am still maintaining my own business, Ruby Red Media LLC. 🙂
Since I lived in Anthem for almost 17 years, I am still heavily involved with the community. I founded the ‘Addicted to Anthemstuff & Community’ Facebook group page back in April 2016. It is closed group specifically designed to uplift the community. You can ask for advice, request business services recommendations, post “Shout-Outs” to highlight those in the community, post fundraising events. The platform has become one of the most resourceful and positive platforms in the North Valley. I designed a corresponding website, www.AnthemAZCommunity.com that the residents and business community can come together and read the latest news or my personal blog called, “Real Talk”. My Community Facebook group has grown quickly to almost 6,000 members in only a little over 2 years and I am adding new members daily. My tag line is “Bringing the Community together”. I additionally run another closed Facebook group (you just have to request to join) called Anthem Exchange. This is a buy/sell group in Anthem as well, which has almost 20,000 members. The original founder, Shelly Lamb gifted me this page earlier this summer when she moved out of state. This group was the first Swip Swap ever created in Arizona, so I am now running the first ever buy/sell group in the state of Arizona, but when I took this over, I wanted to rebrand its name under my new direction. This is also growing very quickly. There are 2 other Facebook business pages that I run as well, so within all of my platforms, I have a huge following on social media and a huge online presence for the local community.
Since there is need for a business economy, I am also a small business advocate, being a small business owner myself, I wanted to create something for other business owners in an effort to help them grow their business too. I created an elite networking event, “Biz Mix & Mingle” that is funneled exclusively through my Community Facebook group. I post the event every quarter and host it at a local restaurant in Anthem. We have on average over 70 guests at each event. It is a great opportunity for any small business or service provider if they serve that area because you get to meet other residents and business owners and build those valuable relationships. It is an evening of priceless conversations with like-minded professionals and is a great event that helps with referrals as well.
After receiving private Facebook messages or website inquiries about advertising and marketing options, I decided to create an Online digital publication, Elevate Magazine. We are very new but it is designed specifically for the north valley. It gives these small business owners an opportunity affords the advertising. Since I remember how it was before when I owned my other magazine, I knew how to establish the discounted pricing for small to mid-size companies. There is a budget for everyone in this publication and it is promoted on every possible social media platform possible, including all the paid endorsements, via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, websites, etc. We are only in the 2nd issue but I feel this was another way I could help business owners move forward and grow their business without using my Facebook groups for advertising. Both of my Facebook closed groups area built with integrity and positive influences.
I am not sure how brief that was, but this is basically my career over 20 years in the marketing, graphic design artist and public relations career. My only objective is using the resources I can to help others.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My art is simply my love for business. I am a businesswoman. Although I am a graphic artist, and press writer, I am also someone who tries to build better business brands for small business owners so they can achieve their goals and make their visions come true. With every piece I design, every column I write, every press statement I write and release, I must make it unique to my readers. There must be valuable content. Every client has a different audience. In commercial real estate, there are many people in the industry that I work with every day. From magazine owners, other publishers, to reporters, other brokers and most of all, our clients. Building valuable relationships is the most important to me in my career. Networking is a priority and bringing people together is just as important so it is rewarding that I am able to connect people within another for other business opportunities.
I hope that my readers and/or clients can be inspired by seeing the positive results. Everyone wants a win! But most importantly, I want them to feel great about their business and remind them they have a purpose. It is up to me to help share that message with everyone out there. It is rewarding to see others become successful in their own business brand. I am just so happy to be part of so many amazing success stories and watch them flourish.
Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
The challenge with artists today is now there are so many of them and they are all unique. Art collaborators are looking for artists whose original designs stands out; that is totally different than everyone else. Art comes in many forms and it is all their interpretation, so I believe original presentation and uniqueness will play a significant role in their recognition. If there were more open art gallery opportunities or more outside art exhibitions in the valley, I think everyone would have their fair share to represent their work.
For me personally, my challenges are people are so closely connected to their work. Sometimes when you are too close home, you can’t see clearly. You become influenced by your own expectations, instead of letting me take the reigns and create the vision. It is hard telling owners/brokers they need to step back but I do understand where they are coming from. I realize it is their investment.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My commercial real estate press work is published all over the internet. Thankfully, I have received SO much support from our valley magazines and media. The editors and publishers have been so supportive in publishing my work and so grateful for that. My commercial real estate blogs and press can be found on www.SVNDesertCommercial.com.
Instagram: @elevatebizmag @SVNDCA
Twitter: @AnthemAZcomm @azPRninja
The greatest part about anyone supporting me, is that I am able to support them back. If there are business owners that wanted to advertise in the north valley to help build their business, then Elevate Magazine is reaching 100K people through digital and online social media platforms that I own and operate. If there are any business owners or Commercial Real Estate brokers/brokerage that need help in creating marketing content or writing press work for them, or graphic design work, I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Address: Valleywide
- Website: www.AnthemAZCommunity.com www.Elevatebizmag.com www.SVNDesertCommercial.com
- Phone: 480-710-0904
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @elevatebizmag @hoophottie @svndca
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElevateBizMag/ https://www.facebook.com/AnthemAZComm/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/swipswapanthem/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/1576821929276360/
- Twitter: @anthemazcomm @azPRninja @SVNDCA
Most of the photos I have provided are all taken by my company. All the Press Release images are already published on other forums and are reused by other affiliations. The 2018 Outstanding Women in Business Poster by Phoenix Business Journal – photo credit: @lesmaness.com