Each #WomenWhoLead feature will be showcased on a wall mural in South End Charlotte. If you know a woman leader who you want to feature on the wall, please click the button to nominate her.
Brittney Bogues grew up in an arena. Her father, Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues, was drafted into the NBA the same year she was born: 1987. He soon emerged as a star for the Charlotte Hornets and eventually debuted in the live-action comedy, “Space Jam.” Meanwhile, his daughter lived and breathed basketball.
“I grew up hanging out with Stephen Curry,” says Bogues. “I went to every home game.”
Today, 34 years later, her passion for the sport shines through in her “go hard or go home” leadership style. As the owner and founder of Bogues Consulting Group, a PR firm rooted in Charlotte, Bogues believes in bringing her A-game to every ghostwriting project and media planning session.
We sat down with Bogues to hear more about what it takes to be a female entrepreneur in the Queen City and what’s next for her business.
On your website, you mention that you have a “go hard or go home” leadership style. What does that mean? What’s a good leader?
“Go hard or go home” means bringing your A-game. My team is great because we put our clients first. But we also make sure that we take time off for ourselves and treat ourselves well so that we can give our clients the best product. That’s how I lead. I try to stress work-life balance and team bonding so that people feel supported and heard.
Leadership all comes back to self-awareness. A good leader is someone who knows what they don’t know. Even though I have my graduate degree and experience, I don’t have all the answers. That’s why I’ve built a team — because there are things I know I don’t bring to the table.
Throughout your career, you have been very focused on women’s rights. You worked at a domestic violence and sexual assault shelter, for instance. Now, at Bogues Group, you offer the C-Suite Boss Camp for women. What, in your opinion, has changed regarding the culture of women in the workforce? What still needs to change?
What’s exciting now is that more women are launching their own businesses, especially during the pandemic. That’s so exciting. Women have always had passion and drive, but society’s expectations and norms have stunted their growth.
I’m a huge nerd and love looking at statistics. So, women make up almost 50 percent of the workforce but just 25 percent of leadership. Then, if you look specifically at the C-suite, it’s just ten percent of women. And, if you dig deeper, only two percent of women in C-suite positions are women of color. Those numbers just don’t make sense to me. The math isn’t mathin’, as the cool kids say.
My partner and I wanted to create spaces and places where women could see other women doing it. That’s where the C-Suite Boss Camp idea came from. This whole initiative is about seeing what you want. And, if you do want to be a leader, having the resources and access to women who can help you get to the next level. We had our in-person even pre-pandemic and hearing from those women was so inspiring and refreshing.
Three years ago, you left the nonprofit sector to start your own business. What can you do now, on your own, that you couldn’t do before?
Let me start by saying that I don’t think everybody should be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is risky and a lot depends on you. You have to be truly motivated, even when things aren’t going your way. But, for me, seeing my vision come to life makes it all worth it. Being an entrepreneur gives you the freedom of deciding what your day looks like — when you start it, when you end it, and how you create your work-life balance.
You mentioned that entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. Can you unpack that?
If you don’t have the hustle to endure not knowing if you’re going to get a client and not knowing what tomorrow may look like, entrepreneurship isn’t for you.
Plus, entrepreneurship isn’t for everybody because not everyone wants to lead. In the beginning, a lot of the work is on you. But as you grow, you have to learn to delegate. You have to learn to create systems of delegation and automation. You have to support and highlight your team’s strengths because that’s what makes everybody better. It’s a collective effort.
How do you blend your personal passions with your professional aspirations in a way that’s profitable for your company?
Consulting keeps me happy because I’m passionate about many different things. At the core, I’m doing what I went to school for — marketing and communications. But I’m working with clients from so many different backgrounds that it doesn’t get boring.
I’ve also learned that you want to stay true and authentic to your brand. If it’s not something that you’re authentically passionate about, how can you be an ambassador for it? So, I center my personal and work life around faith, family, and health. As for health, I’ve lost over 50 pounds and maintained it, so living a healthier life has helped me have a healthier business.
My passion for health is why we’re focused on getting into the CBD industry right now. We see all the benefits of CBD. But we also see all the legalities that they face and we think that more could be done to tell a story about how CBD is changing lives.
What advice do you wish you could give your younger self?
Lean on your faith and just be fearless. Life is short — you’re not promised tomorrow. So, go after it. Believe in yourself.
Sometimes being fearless is easier said than done. Is it challenging to take your own advice?
Definitely, but I have mentors in my life. For example, when I started my first business — All In PR in 2011 — I talked to a few people because I was scared. They said, “If you fail, you can still use this as a learning opportunity. Your resume will show that you literally created a business. Then, you use that experience to parlay into something else.” And that’s exactly what I did.
So, taking the leap is easier said than done. However, the mentors in my life have helped me take action throughout my career.
Just because you have reached this goal of founding your own company doesn’t mean your journey has ended. So, what’s something new that you’re learning right now?
First of all, I’m learning to play golf. That’s been a fun and humbling experience for me.
But I’m also learning about the power of learning what you don’t know. So, I’ve joined a forum that meets for four hours every month. During that time, you meet with advisors and delve into business strategy. It’s a professional development opportunity that I’m excited about. I’m looking forward to what that can do for my personal and professional growth, but also my business and team.
You also have your own vlog. Is that something you taught yourself recently?
Yes, I learned that recently. Social media has been its own kind of whirlwind. I’ve been doing social media for others for so long. But now, learning to do it for me has been a very interesting experience. It’s been a great way to connect with people in the community and also with my family members.
I had my family members record an episode of “Family Feud” and it was hilarious. Vlogging helps me not take myself too seriously. I can be a super serious person, especially when I get these goals in my head and I’m just trying to knock them out. But I’m working on trying to be present. I realized that we’re sometimes on autopilot. So, my goal is to be intentionally present when I’m with someone.
Would you also advise your younger self to find mentors?
Yes. Honestly, social capital is so valuable. Most opportunities happen not because you’ve applied on a website but because you know someone. So, it’s important to make those connections but also to be true to those relationships. Treat them well. You never know when your name is being spoken in a room you’re not in or when an opportunity will come.
But it’s also important to add value as a mentee. You shouldn’t always be taking — you should be offering value in return as well. For instance, one of my mentors might be sitting on a board and they may be working on a peer-to-peer campaign for their nonprofit. I might suggest that they use a template on Canva or show them how to make a Bitly link.
I provide mentors with quick suggestions that are super, super simple to implement. It doesn’t always have to be a major lift — it’s the thought that counts.