Happy New Year everyone! Although we may have said goodbye to last year, 2016 will be an exciting year for Charlotte.  After being awarded the 2015 Google e-City Award as the Digital Capital of North Carolina, it’s evident that Charlotte is ripe to become a digital marketing hub.  It is a fact that hasn’t escaped marketing expert Michelle Connley-Gore. With over 15 years of experience in marketing and advertising, she is taking advantage of the growing marketing industry and decides to embark on the biggest challenge of her career by opening her own agency.

Graduating Magna Cum Laude obtaining her Bachelor’s, Connley-Gore obtained her Master’s degree from her alma mater, University of Illinois.  Soon after, her education and natural aptitude for marketing led her to positions at advertising agencies working on government accounts (U.S. Army), corporate accounts (GM, P&G, Coca-Cola), and then in the non-profit (KIPP Foundation) sector. After having worked to make the dreams of others a reality for over a decade, Connley-Gore felt it was time to live her own dream of being an entrepreneur.

Connley-Gore relocated to Charlotte in 2014 and founded her agency called MDC Marketing Group, positioning her company in one of the five fastest growing economies nationwide.  The goal of MDC is to ensure that businesses, government entities and non-profit organizations thrive.

Her career move to become an entrepreneur has presented a number of challenges for the Queen City transplant.  However, Connley-Gore is no stranger to facing adversity when she is driven to make a difference.  It is this mentality that lead her to the KIPP Foundation, working with schools in under-resourced communities,  as the Senior Marketing Communications Manager.

When asked what were some of the biggest challenges in starting a business in Charlotte, the marketing veteran responded, “Firstly, learning how to set up my business (obtaining an LLC, an EIN number, setting up a business banking account, taxation information and logo trademark). Also, being new to Charlotte, I had the large hurdle of building relationships from scratch.”

Not one to sit back on her heels, Connley-Gore began building relationships by joining organizations like the Charlotte-Mecklenburg BLACK CHAMBER of Commerce and National Black MBA Association.  She also joined the Board of Directors for KIPP Charlotte.  Becoming an active member in these organizations have helped the well-traveled brand builder gain her footing - whether by meeting fellow entrepreneurs in a social setting or through professional development opportunities.

Plugging into the CMBCC has been mutually beneficial, for both Connley-Gore and the Chamber, in the overarching goal to support the black economic ecosystem. For this reason, we are thankful for members like Michelle and her willingness to help advance enterprise in Charlotte.

She leaves us this insight, “Know what you’re good at and stick to it! Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Stay in your sweet spot and people will see your value as an expert in that area.”  Michelle Connley-Gore brings a wealth of talent and wisdom to the Charlotte business community and continues to further validate Google Forbes claims for our future.