Earlier this week I had lunch with a really cool girl boss, Mrs. Lauren Davenport, the CEO and founder of The Symphony Agency in St. Petersburg, Florida. She started her company in college and in less than five years, turned it into one of the fastest-growing marketing and technology agencies in the country.
The Symphony Agency is a team of marketing and technology experts who function as an extension of your company. They basically create classical music for your theater and Mrs. Lauren is the maestro.
After a tour of the 7000 square feet of office space and introducing us to her team, Mrs. Lauren treated us to lunch at Freshii. Their mission: To help citizens of the world live better by making healthy food convenient & affordable. I enjoyed my customized salad with lots of bacon, my favorite food ever! Mrs. Lauren had the Buddha Satay and my mom enjoyed the Smokehouse Burrito. We talked about my photography adventures, my philanthropy efforts and our love for traveling. We both have an obsession with Paris!
When we returned from lunch, we sat in her office and talked some more. I even took a few pictures of her at her desk.
Mrs. Lauren was very easy to talk to. We have a lot in common. In fact, one of the reasons I wanted to meet her was to ask her a bunch of questions so I could learn from her. I am so happy that she took time out of her busy day to answer my questions.
One of the things we have in common is that we both write for a newspaper. I write for my local paper, the Hernando Sun and Mrs. Lauren writes for the Daily News, a New York City paper.
I had a few questions that I prepared to ask. I enjoyed listening to Mrs. Lauren answer all of them.
Madison: When you have writers block how do you come up with something to write?
Mrs. Lauren: I talk to the people around me and I look at popular blogs for inspiration on topics. I also use SOOVLE to search for popular topics.
Madison: How did you start writing for the Daily News?
Mrs. Lauren: I was actually approached by the Daily News to write for them with the help of my friend Marsha Friedman, owner of EMSI.
Madison: Are there specific stories that you like to cover?
Mrs. Lauren: I mostly write about marketing because of the industry that I am in, but I really enjoy writing about female entrepreneurs, mentorship and the importance of helping other women build confidence.
Madison: Who was your favorite person that you’ve ever interviewed?
Mrs. Lauren: In college I took an investigative journalism class. I did a story on corruption in the local police department. I got to interview the Mayor. That was pretty cool.
Madison: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Mrs. Lauren: Without really knowing it was an option, an entrepreneur. I remember when I was 12 years old, I was a shoe addict. My mom and I went shopping one day and there was 100 pairs of shoes in the store that I wanted. My dad said, “if you want the shoes, find a need and fill it.” I realized that my mom hated to iron clothing, so I made a deal with her. I would iron everything if she paid me 25 cents for each piece of clothing. The word got out and I started ironing for family and friends too. That was my first taste of entrepreneurship. I made enough to buy all of the shoes!
My dad said, “if you want the shoes, find a need and fill it.”
Madison: How did you get into marketing?
Mrs. Lauren: I graduated college in 2010. I had a degree in Journalism and a minor in marketing. In 2008, Facebook was released to the college I attended and you needed to have a college email address to have access. I started to create and manage Facebook pages for local businesses and that’s how I got started.
Madison: What did you do when you were a kid that got you into trouble?
Mrs. Lauren: (after laughing for a really long time, she responded): Locking my sisters inside the local tennis courts and at 6 or 7 years old, telling my father that my sister continually bit my finger….until my father witnessed me saying to my sister, “bite my finger, bite my finger”. (You really had to hear her tell the story).
I am really so happy that Mrs. Lauren spent a couple of hours with me yesterday. We did a Boomerang video together and it was her first EVER! That was so cool. She is very kind and has a good sense of humor. I really enjoyed myself and I hope to meet with her again soon.
As a ten year old photographer and entrepreneur, I left her firm feeling SO INSPIRED because Mrs. Lauren is a woman entrepreneur and she built a successful empire! It’s very encouraging because it lets me know that I can be just as successful as she is.