Tanya Lee Perkins — Building brands and businessesMonday, July 12, 2021
TANYA Lee Perkins decided that she would bet on herself and start her own marketing business at the start of the pandemic, and she has been winning ever since.
She is no stranger to either marketing or sports, as she is well known and respected in both industries across the region. Her brainchild, LEEP Marketing, has quickly emerged as a comprehensive marketing agency for small and large businesses, and one of the leading sponsorship management and brand-building consultancies for local and international athletes and influencers. Having the best of both worlds means that she has to be on the ball at all times, but she doesn't mind. She tells All Woman that she is comfortable because she is on home turf.
“I'm at peace,” she said. “I wanted the freedom that entrepreneurship affords and to do meaningful work in an area I believe I can make the most impact. That same energy I put into building other brands over the years, I wanted to pour that energy into my own business.”
Lee Perkins has worked in various capacities with athletes across several disciplines, including cricket, track and field, and football. Her illustrious athlete management roster includes 19-year-old 'sprintcess' Briana Williams, who was signed to Nike, Grace Kennedy, and Digicel over the past year and heads to her first Olympics later this month. Another client, international footballer Damion Lowe, was just signed as Digicel's newest ambassador.
“I have additional announcements to come with respect to my athlete roster. I'm excited about what we have been able to achieve so far, with much more to come!” Lee Perkins divulged animatedly.
It's almost hard to believe that it's just over a year ago that Lee Perkins decided to branch off on her own. After spending over a decade at Sports Max TV, with her last role being vice-president of marketing, she took up an opportunity on the north coast.
“I had relocated for a job in Montego Bay,” she shared. “But it was a tough adjustment living in the second city and working in an industry that didn't align with my passions for the first time in my professional life. Six months later I made a decision to return to Kingston on a burning desire to bet on myself!”
By cleverly combining her maiden name and the first letter of her new surname, and leveraging her bountiful insight and social capital, Lee Perkins was back in the game. It takes grit, stamina, and perseverance to go the extra mile as an entrepreneur, but Lee Perkins is fuelled by her passion to get projects across the finish line and constantly improve her personal best.
“Most people who know me would say I'm highly self-motivated. I've always been,” she said. “I like making an impact and ticking off my list! My mother reminded me recently that even during my summer holidays I would wake up at dawn and make a daily schedule of what I wanted to do, then tick them off as the day progressed. Is that crazy? I like structure.”
She often remembers other parts of her childhood that have moulded her into the woman she is today, like how her parents encouraged her curious mind with books, how lively and loud the discussions were in her home, and how much she enjoyed watching sports, especially cricket, with her dad as a child.
“Education was highly valued in our household, and my mother taught us to speak up and be honest, always,” she said, smiling as memories raced across her mind. “I remember my sisters and I spending many hours at the parish library getting lost in books.”
Lee Perkins had many aspirations as a child, with dreams of becoming a lawyer, author, journalist, motivational speaker, and Nobel prize recipient. After graduating from St Hugh's High school, she applied for law school.
“But I didn't make it into law school, so I enrolled in political science at The University of the West Indies (UWI) instead,” she shared. “I lasted a day before I got cold feet and switched to English and philosophy.”
She later received a scholarship to pursue a master's in gender and development, which is one of her most treasured academic achievements. She has had numerous other accomplishments since then, and her 14-year track record in corporate Jamaica speaks for itself. She prides herself in her work, and encourages other women to do the same.
“Ensure your work is superb as it will speak for itself and open doors for you,” she encouraged. “Guard your reputation well — people work with people they trust. Don't take shortcuts and never play small.”
A part of playing big for Lee Perkins means helping to dispel the notion that women do not like and are not interested in sports.
“I think women loving sports can be seen as not typical, but it really is — women love sports, women play sports, and women work in sports. I am one of those women,” she said.
She added that, while she has a wealth of sport knowledge and experience, she also gets to flex other muscles with LEEP, as it is a full suite marketing consultancy that also provides services to corporate companies and small business clients.”
“This pony does many tricks,” she said cheerfully. “I think many would be surprised to know that a lot of the marketing and PR [public relations] consultancies I do have very little to do with sports.”
The vivacious converstionalist is eager to see the back of COVID-19, as it has meant that, so far, most of her work has had to be done from home, which can get quite monotonous.
“So, recently, I started setting aside one day per week for networking and catching up with friends,” she shared. “When I take a break from working, you can find me either watching or debating sports in WhatsApp groups, trolling Michael Jordan fans on social media, listening to 90s music on YouTube, or working out.”
She is firm in her belief that fortune favours the brave, and is confident that with her fearlessness and resilience, good things are definitely in store for her future. While the law degree and Nobel Prize have so far eluded her, Lee Perkins, a published author, is still checking off goals from her list.
“I want my legacy to be such that others can say, 'She wrote books, built noteworthy sports brands, her athletes were successful, and she made her mark.' I pride myself on doing solid work.” she said confidently. “I would also like to be known as someone who positively impacted the lives of those I worked with, and who created an avenue for bonafide sports marketers in Jamaica and the Caribbean. I want to be associated with great brands!”
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