Kith-Ann Excell — Making dreams come true
Kith-Ann Excell

A social entrepreneur, Kith-Ann Maria Excell amplifies the missions of other social entrepreneurs and business leaders with a strong sense of their social responsibility.

"This is a unique approach to entrepreneurship as my sole position is to provide the fuel that these entrepreneurs need to tackle social causes," Excell, 42, tells All Woman. "I pretty much bring their missions to life! I give wings to their vision. I make dreams come true."

Born in St Andrew, Excell attended Holy Childhood High, before moving to Quality Academics for sixth form, then The University of the West Indies, Mona and London Metropolitan University where she read for a degree in psychology.

Her first job was as a travel agent — tired of school, the young woman told her mom she wanted to experience work life.

"My mom is free-spirited and usually goes with my flow, so she said OK. She had to bring me lunch almost every day because I wasn't making any money," she laughed. "I am using the term 'travel agent' loosely as I had zero experience and only sold three tickets for the year that I worked with the company, and all three persons were my friends. But I enjoyed every minute of the experience. I pretty much spent the days providing great customer service and support to my colleagues who had actual customers."

Kith-Ann Excell

It's this great customer service — a reputation for providing very professional, responsive, high-level service — that this international publicist, philanthropist, advocate and leader admits has taken her this far.

"I have never formally advertised my business or services," says the founder and CEO of The Excell Agency, formerly Candlestone Ink Media.

"My clients have played a major role in pushing me further up the proverbial ladder by repeatedly engaging me for business and recommending me to others. My good reputation is what has opened doors and connected me to people who are making small dents in the world — people whose missions are far greater than themselves."

The Excell Agency focuses on public relations and conceptual marketing, and prides itself on making clearer connections between its clients' ideas and people's emotions in the most unconventional ways. The agency boasts a 98 per cent success rate in pitching its clients to the most high profile media outlets in the world.

"I am very passionate about finding solutions to social problems and I put a lot of my heart into serving others," Excell said.

Success for Excell is multi-pronged — it starts with achieving a high state of consciousness.

"It means your happiness is not dependent on circumstance. And this is where joy resides. When you look beyond your circumstance, you can move into the realms of possibility. And life begins and ends with possibility."

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Resilience resides with the belief she has in herself: "I know I have the capabilities to achieve what I desire…what I've visualised for myself. So, despite any circumstance or feeling, I keep going!"

A typical day for Excell starts with an hour of meditation, which includes visualisation, prayer, affirming success for the day... then it's on to cuddles for her grandmother to whom she's a caregiver, then work starts at 8:00 — a big part of her responsibilities being finding opportunities for her clients to win.

"That involves a lot of research, strategy and relationship building. I spend a lot of my time making sure their missions and stories are brought to life and that they are connected to influential decision-makers in their respective industries," she says.

As a social entrepreneur Excell is involved in many meaningful projects; however, she says negotiating with Sony on behalf of a journalist client, is the project she's most proud of.

"My client wanted to bring awareness to the increase in child sexual abuse in Jamaica by screening the Oscar-winning film Spotlight. The negotiations about the cost of screening the film took a couple weeks. Through my sharp, strategic, communication skills, my client saved a lot of money, and I was able to help bring her vision to life right through to the planning and execution of the event," she shared.

"From a philanthropy standpoint, I am most proud of a campaign I created and ran in partnership with the Child Protection and Family Services Agency and Tortuga Rum Cake Company. The campaign, Reach Back Jamaica, was formed to support vulnerable children in State care affected by COVID-19," she added.

"I was able to bring my friends and family together, to support this worthy cause. Together, we achieved exceptional results. We were able to help clothe, feed and educate children in State care during one of the most uncertain periods of their lives."

Not being where she knows she can be is what motivates Excell, along with her grandma, who suffers from Alzheimer's dementia.

"I want to make life as comfortable as I possibly can for her. I would also love to completely take care of my mother and treat her to all the nicest treasures this world has to offer," she said.

For Excell, her biggest achievement has been having complete autonomy over her time, focus and ambitions.

"Through my business, I can help socially-minded entrepreneurs and business leaders actualise their dreams. It's a wonderful feeling to contribute in such an impactful way to the missions of some of the most brilliant and purposeful minds…"

She said while her clients affirm the importance of her role in their lives daily, one particular young man she supervised very early in her professional career stands out.

"I was dumbfounded when he told me that my encouraging him to pursue his dream of becoming a police officer was what pushed him to join the Jamaica Constabulary Force. He is now a high-ranking member in force. I was so stunned when he introduced me to one of his subordinates as the lady that made him realise his dream. That felt really nice to hear."

And with her end goal, a lifelong dream to build an eco-friendly and sustainable boys' and girls' home in Jamaica — a safe space for children who feel unloved and uncared for, she dreams of seeing boys and girls leave her creation to become powerful educators and nurturers for the next generation.

Now, for young women looking to enter the public relations (PR) field, she advises them to take it seriously.

"Reputation in public relations is as important as water is to a fish. You don't get too many chances to blow it. Study social cues. Even though the PR industry is primarily dominated by women, it's still men that run the boardrooms. As a woman in these kinds of settings, you will always be under the microscope. So it would be beneficial to learn about social cues so you can not only read the room, but also give the 'right' impression. Men are natural hunters, so they quickly develop these skills, but it's something a woman, more often than not, will have to educate herself about. Approach whatever you do with diligence and integrity."

PETULIA CLARKE-LAWRENCE

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