2022 Women in Print and Promo: Nenette Gray, Lemonade Creative Marketing LLC
Chief Lemonade Maker
Lemonade Creative Marketing LLC, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Nenette Gray isn’t your regular CEO. She prefers to be called chief lemonade maker and is here to help brands “squeeze every drop of potential” for their success. As the head of Lemonade Creative Marketing LLC, Gray works hard to secure long-lasting relationships with corporate and institutional clients. Got a marketing problem? Gray will solve it. Have a trade show coming up? Gray will take your display to the next level. Need higher engagement rates? Gray will make sure your messaging is fresh.
“Nenette has a unique way and style when it comes to connecting with clients, strengthening their brand with her professionalism, creativity and eternal optimism,” her nominator said.
That very optimism is why Lemonade Creative Marketing exists today. Before launching her successful promo career, Gray worked in marketing management in the energy industry and later, pharmaceutical sales. On the side, she began providing screen-printed shirts for class and family reunions.
“I did this, as well as marketing consulting for small businesses part-time, until I was laid off from my full-time job in the pharmaceutical industry,” Gray shared. “Once the layoff happened, I decided to turn the lemons of losing my pharmaceutical job into lemonade. I started Lemonade Creative Marketing in September 2010 and we’ve been making lemonade ever since.”
Gray finds joy in helping businesses, but her kindness also extends to her peers. According to her nominator, Gray is active with industry boards in assisting others with projects, ideas and advice. In addition, she has lent her voice to make the promo sector more inclusive for all by collaborating with PPAI’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee.
As supply chain issues and a lingering pandemic try their best to sour the mood, rest assured, the Gray twist will sweeten it up.
Her Proudest Career Achievement
In 2020, Lemonade did a pivot to provide necessary protective equipment to our clients and community. We were fortunate enough to be in position when ExxonMobil needed masks to send their workers back into the plants. They were very pleased. They featured Lemonade for our work with them in their Global Sustainability report that they publish annually highlighting work done around the world.
On Working in a Traditionally Male-Dominated Industry
I felt challenged when negotiating pricing. Male-owned businesses would typically be given slightly better prices.
Who Inspires Her
Although she died in 2014, Maya Angelou continues to inspire me with her words of hope, triumph, passion and courage.
Her Job Advice to Women
Bring your unique spin to the table. Evaluate the market and what is currently being offered. How can you make it better, more impactful or more efficient? If you don’t have anything to provide but a commodity, you won’t be successful.
Her Biggest Lesson Learned
All clients are not good clients. Be sure to define what an ideal client looks like. If all the client is interested in is the lowest price, they may not be a good fit as they jump ship to the next company who costs a nickel less. Be willing to “fire” a client that is causing you to lose money by being overly demanding or is being a PITA (pain in the asparagus).
Her Upcoming Goals
Professionally, I want to be finished with the build-out of our in-office lemonade stand. This will serve as a gathering place for clients to come in to discuss projects and be served freshly squeezed lemonade. Personally, I’d love to travel to Iceland to experience the Northern Lights.
How She Thinks Companies Can Attract and Retain Female Talent
Offer flexible work schedules and pay commensurate with their experience.
What She Wants People to Know About Her
I am in it to win it! I am very determined to succeed. Success to me is measured by how many people I’ve helped along the way.
How She Recharges
I love to go hiking. Being out in the solace and quiet of nature helps me recharge. Also, getting weekly massages helps ease the physical tension and helps me reset.