Make sure you follow up with your new contacts immediately. You always want to make sure you establish a deeper connection with someone while you are still fresh on their mind. The longer you wait to reply the more likely they are to forget you or you may forget to reach out to them yourself. Either way it’s not good to hesitate on keeping the line of communication open. Don’t become a card collector who has a wealth of business cards with uncultivated relationships. Be sure to send a proper email or text message to anyone you have met, re-introduce yourself and if possible send a few date options for a possible follow up call or in person meeting.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Lucky Church. Lucky is a Partner/PR Director at SMF Global and Director of Client Relations at Mungo Creative Group. Lucky is also the Owner/Founder of Lucky Church LLC. Lucky is a successful Publicist, Global Liaison, Mentor and Motivational Speaker. His amazing career has allowed him to work with major celebrities and brands throughout his 18+ year career. Some of the amazing clients he’s worked with include but are not limited to Nike, Jordan Brand, Levi, Converse, Haddad Brands, Ty Hunter, NYFW, DJ Khaled, Playboy, HSBC, Fat Joe, Wu Tang Clan, FOX 5, Hot 97, NBA, NFL and many more.
Thank you so much for your time. I know that you are a very busy person. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
It’s truly an honor and a pleasure to share my story with you. When It comes to my back story I honestly don’t know where to begin or how far back you would like me to go. I can say this, I am the guy who technically never should have made it out of my circumstances. I am the guy who had every excuse in the book to give up and forget about my dreams. As a child I saw it all within my family. Everything from mental abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, drug overdoses, starvation, neglect and so much more. Yet, somehow I’ve always had the strength and courage to move forward despite my circumstances. I come from humble beginnings in the Bronx, NY where I was raised most of life.
I was adopted by my Grandparents Gladys & Rev. Coda Simons after my mom decided she could no longer take care of me and my younger brother Tyrone. I remember the day she dropped us off at my Aunt Bernadette’s house. She hugged us and said she was going to get some milk for us so we could spend the weekend with our Aunt Bernie (Our nickname for her). I can still remember the smell of my Mother’s hair that day as she walked away, smiled and never came back. Although this could be unforgivable to most children who felt abandoned by their parents I saw things differently. I believe it took courage for my mom to leave me in a home where she knew I would get my basic needs tended to. My Aunt was very young and not prepared for the burden of two children so she sent me to my Grandparents in the Bronx and sent my little brother to my Aunt Denese’s apartment in Harlem.
I had no idea I was in for such a bumpy ride for the next few years of my life yet, hindsight being twenty/twenty I can see my experiences helped me become the man I am today and for that I am Thankful. As bad as things seemed during my time with my grandparents I can only imagine it would’ve been much worse growing up with a mom heavily addicted to various substances who wanted to love me but drugs had a strong grasp on her life and she did what she had to do.
How did you get involved in the PR industry?
Every time I am asked this question I have to laugh. I am what I lovingly like to call the accidental Publicist who became the accidental Fashion guy. I never planned on being in PR or Fashion at all. Yet, I guess you can say the universe groomed me to do just that. During the early years of my career I was in a Hip-Hop/Rock band called The J.U.S. Evolution. We were pretty damn good too! During the band’s 13 year run I was one of the lead singers and also played other major roles. I was a songwriter, vocal arranger, manager, publicist, therapist, chef and anything else we needed at any given moment. I remember booking shows and appearances for the band under my real name which is “Walter Simons”. I would book the band all over NY and even overseas. Then our manager “Walter” (Ha Ha Ha) would tell the booking agents or venue owners to deal with Lucky Church because “Walter” was too busy to travel with us. I was able to do this smoothly for 10+ years. I didn’t realize playing so many roles for my band would develop a unique skill set I could use to take my career to the next level.
The moment I realized I was built for PR & Consulting work was the day I received a phone call from my brother from another Free Smith who was the head of the Music Division at Lizzie Grubman PR & Management based in NYC. Free called me in to help with a few events after having major heart surgery. Within two weeks of helping him I was offered a position by Lizzie Grubman herself. I was asked to take lead in the PR & Client Relations Division. I guess Lizzie & Free saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself. Lizzie allowed me to work freely and she helped guide me through the ups & downs of the PR business. Her platform along with her elite connections in the entertainment world allowed me to spread my wings and realize that I had abilities far beyond my wildest dreams. I brought a new flare to her firm and our partnership helped develop me into the Business Man I am today. When Lizzie saw that I was able to secure elite accounts with global brands it confirmed that Lizzie and Free made the right choice taking a chance on me. I am forever grateful to my LGPR family. The moments our team created during my time with the firm were truly unforgettable.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
Wow, I can honestly say I have had some incredible moments that were truly unforgettable. Yet, if I had to narrow it down to 1 I would have to go with the day I met Prince. It was a few years ago…. 2011 I believe. I was at Prince’s concert at Madison Square Garden and I was a guest of Cee Lo Green who was opening for Prince that night. I remember how magical that night was. Everyone who was anyone was in that room. I was in the front row right by the stage and I remember the excitement as Cee Lo performed his song crazy and the crowd began to scream as Prince appeared from under the stage and started playing an amazing solo to Cee Lo’s hit song! We all lost our minds. This was also the night Kim Kardashian was infamously kicked of the stage for not shaking her booty correctly. Only Prince can make someone that nervous. Questlove was on the drums…. Jimmy Fallon hiding by the stage wearing a hoodie…. The perfect recipe for an epic night with Prince.
The funny part actually happened when I got home to watch the videos I recorded from the show. As I watched each video I realized there was some crazy woman screaming in the background of every song. I was furious!!!!! After watching the 5th video filled with this woman’s screams I asked my wife who the hell did we sit next to in the front row!!! I don’t remember any loud women directly next to us….. My wife then turned to me and said, “Babe, there were loud woman screaming everywhere but the woman screaming on the video is you. You know you love Prince a little too much.” We both laughed so hard for about an hour that night. I am never usually star struck but I guess Prince is another story. I’m not even going to say how I acted backstage. That night was beyond epic and life changing. Nobody delivers a performance like Prince. The entire stadium was on their feet for 3 hours dancing and jamming.
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?
I’ve always said success is a team effort! There have been so many key people who’ve helped me along my journey yet none of them can compare to my beautiful Queen Vieng Vongnarath. She has literally been my cheerleader, advisor, best friend companion and everything else for the past 24 years. Vieng is my high school sweetheart and we are both old souls who believe in the power of true love. She has seen me at my worst and been there to pick me up when I fell. She believed in me even when I doubted myself and couldn’t see my greatness within. She was always there in the front row of every show when I performed screaming as if I were performing at Madison Square Garden when I was really performing in a bar lounge for 4–5 people. She would sell T-shirts, fix our CD’s, hang flyers and even custom made some of my clothes I wore on tour. She’s my everything. Her investment of love, time and trust is what carried me so far. Not to mention her financial contributions. At one point she was my band’s biggest and only investor. She never asked for a penny back which is why I would protect her with my life and give her the world. She is the reason I can stand here today living my dreams. She sacrificed so much for me and her family. They don’t make people like her and I am blessed to share this journey called life with her. She is my unicorn. I am glad the universe decided our paths were destined to align and thrive.
I must also mention my newly found Mom, Sharon Heyward and my sister Monique Davis Cary. They are my guardian angels. Although we met later in our life’s journey (approximately 10 years ago) they have embraced me and helped guide me to be more productive in my field.
They are both talented women who are self made. They are both legends in the Music world and are my constant voice of reason when my overly optimistic mind gets the best of me. They are brutally honest, loyal and caring. What more could any man trying to find his way in the world of Entertainment ask for. I am so blessed to have them in my life and I am treasuring the time we have together now yet I do wish I had them both when I was growing up. I often daydream about what it would’ve been like growing up with my big sister and Mom. Yet I am just thankful that the universe delivered them when I needed them most. The women in my life helped shape me to be a better man. I guess this is also where my extreme love for women’s rights and diversity comes from.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
Yes, Networking is one of the major keys to my success. Anyone can be a master networker but first you must master yourself and be aware of who you are. When you are self aware it’s easier to pick up on the energy of those around you. I’m all about energy. Most people would say they avoid bad energy or people but what if I told you your energy is powerful enough to change the mood of any room you walk into. We all have the ability within us.
Some key tips to networking are the following:
1) Work the room! Never be afraid to approach people and spark up a conversation. Learn the art of making introductions without being rude or having an ulterior motive. Get to know people genuinely for who they are. Genuine conversation can lead you to deeper connections that turn into long lasting relationships.
2) Be yourself! Never present your “representative” or the person you think you should be when meeting anyone. As my mother always told me “Whoever is meant to be in your life will be there, don’t ever change who you are to please someone else”. These are words I live by and it took a long time to fully register the deeper meaning and importance of those words. Being yourself will always get you to the right places at the right time.
3) Make sure you follow up with your new contacts immediately. You always want to make sure you establish a deeper connection with someone while you are still fresh on their mind. The longer you wait to reply the more likely they are to forget you or you may forget to reach out to them yourself. Either way it’s not good to hesitate on keeping the line of communication open. Don’t become a card collector who has a wealth of business cards with uncultivated relationships. Be sure to send a proper email or text message to anyone you have met, re-introduce yourself and if possible send a few date options for a possible follow up call or in person meeting.
4) Always respect everyone you meet. Whether it’s the Janitor or the CEO of any company, everyone is important and deserves respect! No matter what level someone is on you never know where they will be a few years from the day you met them. One day the Janitor may be the head of HR for the company you are applying to work for. Plant seeds of kindness wherever you go so when you return to that exact spot years later there will be a Forest of opportunity blossoming for you and future generations. Kindness will always get you a lot further than being rude….. I mean lets be real every emotion has its purpose but always lead with love.
Is there a particular book that you read that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
I love to read!! Two of my favorite books are actually great quick reads that give me daily motivation.
The first book is called “Yes, Everyday Can Be A Good Day” written by June Archer. This book is an incredible motivational tool that can uplift anyone’s spirit on a daily basis. June takes his life experience and shares how we can all see the world through a lens of positivity. I love this book because it’s like carrying a piece of sunshine everywhere I go.
The second book is called “Thankful” (created by the Co-CEO & Founder of Thankful.org) which is a collection of real life Thankful moments and experiences shared by people from around the world. These books are filled with daily mental nourishment that can help anyone get through day to day stress. I live my life believing that everyday and every experience has purpose. If we can dig through the coal of our lives to find the jewel within, we will all lead more productive and Thankful Lives.
I am also currently reading some great work by one of my favorite Authors James Baldwin called If Beale Street Could Talk and Giovanni’s Room. James is one of my favorites because he was unapologetically black, gay and free during a time when racism was at an all-time high. His courage and literature gives me strength to fight for my dreams and never take my life or purpose for granted. He is definitely one of my heroes.
You are in a position of influence. How have you used your position and skill to bring goodness to the world?
Bringing goodness, love, light and positivity to the world is the main ingredient in everything I do. No matter what company, brand or entity I partner with, the first thing I look for is how can we collectively make a positive impact globally. As I grew in the business world I strategically aligned myself with people who get the bigger picture when it comes to healing our planet and healing the hearts of people who feel excluded or abandoned by society.
I also bring goodness to the world by choosing to be a vessel of light that reflects kindness, thankfulness and love by utilizing my voice in a positive manner on TV, Radio, Social Media or any additional platforms I am blessed to share my point of view. I’ve always said happiness is a choice and I stand behind those words firmly. I want to help people find happiness in every moment.
One of my closest friends Justin Kamine is also a huge inspiration in my life. He is a brilliant young man who has accomplished so much at a very young age. He inspires me to be great and he has been one of biggest supporters I have next to my wife. Truly blessed to call him a friend and a brother. I am mentioning Justin because he is one of the many bright lights I surround myself with. To do good you must be surrounded by those with like minds. I feel it is my responsibility to partner with others who see the world through similar lenses yet, have strong viewpoints of their own that can help you sharpen your skill set.
So the best thing I can do to better the world or anything else is simply by bettering myself. That’s my daily goal.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why.
I must admit I have been blessed to receive incredible advice from my mentors throughout the years. Yet there have been many times earlier in my career that I wished I had more guidance or mentorship.
Be mindful of who you choose as a mentor and even if the mentor turns out to be a bad one make sure you learn the lessons you were meant to learn while in their presence. Whether good or bad there is always a lesson or a blessing hidden in every situation or person we encounter.
Learn what to look for when choosing a mentor. Honesty within mentorship is key. I feel the one thing most mentors lack is honesty when it comes to the reality of how much they have struggled during their journey and sometimes how they can continue to struggle even when it seems they have reached the pinnacles of success.
If I were to give today’s youth some advice in this area I would say failure is your best friend. It is within failure that you find your true passion and how bad you really want to succeed within the journey you’ve chosen for yourself. Struggle is a necessary and an inevitable part of life so accepting this will help anyone achieve the career or life growth they are looking for.
I remember being very young and always getting frustrated and feeling defeated when things didn’t go my way. I didn’t realize that everyone who’s ever lived and anyone who will live in the future will face adversity or bumps in the road. Once I learned I wasn’t exempt from stress, trials and tribulations life began to make sense. I was able to find purpose in every corner of my life and I realized my power was in my response or what I chose to respond to. I realized every bad situation didn’t require me to be angry, aggressive or stressed. When I truly embodied this and made this my way of life I was able to navigate through life with confidence and ease.
TRUST YOUR JOURNEY! It is so important that we trust the path we’ve chosen for ourselves. We must have faith that things will pan out the way they’re supposed to as long as we do our part. Don’t be afraid to lay it all on the line for what you believe in. Our beliefs, work ethic and purpose will allow what’s meant for us to gravitate our way. Don’t get in your own way!
Your life won’t change unless you do. Speaking things into existence is one thing yet, action is the key to true change in our lives. We must take steps in the direction of our dreams in order for them to become our reality!
Sometimes all you need is a fresh start and it doesn’t matter how many times you have to go back to the drawing board. Don’t be afraid of the unknown, EXPLORE! Take risks and watch how life changes for the better right before your eyes.
Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
At the moment I honestly couldn’t be happier. I am excited to announce my new position with Mungo Creative Group based in NYC. I have been friends with the CEO, Glenn Mungo for 4+ years and we have a special bond. Glenn, like yourself Alex has always reminded me of my worth and abilities.
This new partnership will really help me expand my brand while giving me a powerful platform to utilize my phenomenal relationships.
One of Mungo’s taglines pretty much sums up the brilliance of their team and creative process; “Former Comedians, Lawyers and Reality TV Stars all led by a rockstar. Unique perspectives creating transformational work. Clearly we do things our own way!”
This is why I know I am a perfect fit with the Mungo family and I am beyond excited for our future as a team. We have a long list of amazing clients and we will be making the official team announcement in September. I guess everyone can say they heard it here first!! Ha ha!
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
Honestly I would love to sit with Barack & Michelle Obama. I can relate to them on so many levels and their historical journey has changed my life for the better. Their presence alone has given me a sense of pride, responsibility and hope. It would be an honor to share my story with them and receive additional guidance to help me along my journey. As they say iron sharpens iron and I want to be sharpened by the best!
If money was no object what would you do with it and why?
If money was no object I would do everything in my power to dismantle systematic racism. Not only for my people but for everyone. We live in a world where people can’t see their full potential based on their race, sexuality, gender and many other reasons. We need and deserve an even playing field for everyone to grow the way God intended us to grow. I do understand that without struggle there is no progress yet, wiping the tears of so many of my loved ones due to injustice has torn my heart to pieces. I just want a better world for us all….. Some may call me a dreamer who has unrealistic goals. Yet, I beg to differ because all dreamers were considered crazy until they pushed their dreams into reality. I will fight and push for equality until my last breath and even then my ghost will be fighting from the other side. I am not a quitter.
Is there a person living or not that has shaped you to who you are in your life today? If so, who and how?
Wow this is a loaded question because I have so many people who have helped shape me into the man I am today.
My first choice would be my Grandparents Gladys and Rev. Coda A. Simons. I chose them because they taught me the importance of forgiveness. My life with them was far from perfect yet, I learned to see the beauty in the pain they inflicted upon me. Yes they were pretty abusive and aggressively religious but their actions were rooted in love the way they knew how to express it. I don’t want to make an excuse for abuse but the only way we can heal is by forgiving those who have wronged us along the way.
My grandparents grew up in an era I can’t even imagine. We can all empathize when we see the video footage from the Jim Crow era yet it’s totally different when you had to live and breathe it. I can’t imagine what they must have seen, felt or heard during that time. My grandparents were very secretive about their past but they would give us some insight occasionally. What I did see was the pain in their eyes and I can remember them screaming as they beat me “This hurts me more than it hurts you”. That was a statement that always confused but as an adult I can imagine it may have been one of the phrases flung at them when they were beat or forced to drink from the Negros Only fountain. They gave love how they received it and that doesn’t make them bad people but it makes them tortured souls who were confused about the true meaning of love. I took this lesson and made sure I would live my life breaking the cycle rather than becoming a victim of it.
I must say it hasn’t been an easy journey and sometimes I get so weak. Yet, I dig deep, remember what I’ve learned and I continue to push forward pollinating the world with the love I never had. This is how we create real change. We must become the change we seek.
When you were growing up what was your dream job? Are you currently working in your dream job? Please elaborate. If not why and what would it take to be doing it?
LMAO, my dream job as a child was to be a wizard. You couldn’t tell me I wouldn’t be able to change the world or anything else with the snap of my little finger. I would dress up in my spider man underwear, put on my sheet cape, paperclip nail and a cone hat made of paper to cast spells on all evil doers. I was a hot mess but my imagination was as vibrant as a trillion rainbows. I believed I could do anything. I wouldn’t say I am a wizard today but I would say that my charm, charisma and heart have become an extension of what i thought was magic in my youth. I have channeled that same mindset into a way of life that has allowed me to flourish. I always believe we all should stay connected to our inner child. That is the true fountain of youth.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years and what goals do you want to achieve?
WOW…. ten years from now. Honestly I don’t think that far ahead as of recent years. I am so focused on living in the moment yet I do have goals I would like to achieve over the next ten years and beyond. I would definitely love to own various real estate and fly across the globe empowering everyone within my grasp via motivational speaking. I want to write a book based on life and I also would eventually like to create a TV series based on my story as well. I believe there is power in sharing our stories and being transparent with the world around you. You never know who can relate to your story and who you can empower to break from their own shell. Sharing our truth can be the key to unlocking the truth in others and that other person just might be the person who changes the world.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
If anyone wants to find me on Social Media you can look for “Lucky Church” and you will either find a church or this beautiful black man before your eyes. LOL. I believe in keeping my brand tight and easily searchable. Anyone can also email me or inbox me on one of the various platforms listed below to interact with me directly. I am very approachable and always willing to share some advice with everyone I encounter.
Here are my social media handles and email address:
Email: [email protected]