Meet Michelle Soudry Founder of the Gab Group
Michelle Soudry started her boutique publicity business in her garage four years ago at age 26. She started the agency 3 months after the birth of her daughter Gabrielle as a necessity for her and her family. “After I became pregnant the salary I was making at my previous employer just couldn’t even cover the costs of childcare for me to go into work” “I really had no other choice but to think of something that would work with my new responsibilities as a working mother and family breadwinner.”
Her story is a totally can-do story that can inspire other women and mother’s out there who feel trapped, and her story involved tremendous sacrifice both as a mom and a working professional.
Soudry is a true Alpha Mom- and a clear example of the shift in motherhood these days. More and more studies indicate that women have hit the workforce in greater numbers than ever before and women are trumping men as the breadwinners of the family.
When Soudry moved to Boca she knew nothing about the area and worked her way up in three years time (what is now seven years time) to where the firm is now regarded as the most highly sought after brand specialists and special event planners extraordinaire.
When she set out to create The Gab Group she didn’t quite have it all figured out, creating an agency hybrid that hadn’t existed before without any business partner in the field that could help or offer expert advice. A publicist by trade, she cleverly named the firm “The Gab Group” as a double entendre for new daughter Gabrielle and having always had possessed ‘the gift of Gab’.
“When you are an innovator, the top is a lonely place,” Soudry explains. “You work on uncharted territory and trial and error based on your driving gut talent/feeling is your bible”.
Soudry’s secret to success I the workplace was her undeniable talent to turn even the most humbug item into a hot necessity for both consumer and the media. She’s known to have a ‘midas touch’ when it comes to marketing and brand positioning and her creative strategies have yielded dollars of success for her followers and clients.
But besides just dishing advice, Soudry herself delves in as a creator and product developer too. Soudry is the creator of the $17,000 Diamond Pacifier which she gifted to Brad and Angelina Jolie and was inspired by Donald Trump. Her client at the time, was a simple pacifier company called It’s My Binky – the product was a $5.99 pacifier that moms could personalize with their child’s name on it to avoid toddlers sharing binkies at play date.
She knew the client had big goals and aspirations for national recognition and was figuring a way to get them there. When talking to producers at The View, they revealed that Donald and Melanie Trump would be making guest appearances for a baby segment.
Michelle wanted to send through a big package of binkies to the show for on-air feature but stopped herself when she realized that Donald Trump wouldn’t really have any need for a $5.99 pacifier. She began to think of what she could do that would stir some attention.
“Donald Trump loves everything dipped in gold,” said Soudry/ “I couldn’t think of a more appropriate gift then to create a gold dipped pacifier to present him with on behalf of the pacifier company.” The reality was that the creation of the gold dipped pacifier (first real size diamond pacifier in the world – there is currently a miniature one hanging on display at the Smithsonian that was created in the 1970’s by a famous artist known for creating a gold Monopoly set) took months as Soudry wasn’t happy with the first prototype so the next biggest celebrities to be pregnant were Brad and Angelina Jolie.
And so, Soudry earned her own special moment in celebrity and media history by gifting baby Shiloh with the first baby to ever have received a $17,000 diamond pacifier.
Uniqueness is the drive that sets Soudry apart from her peers. A sheer desire to make an impression and set a path that others were too afraid to take or just didn’t think of is what she’s known for.
“There’s incredible satisfaction that comes from knowing you thought of something her had the guts to do something that no- one else had done before, and the concept worked,” she says.
Achieving a healthy balance of work and family life is a constant that she strives to achieve. Her story is a reminder that the plight of professional women sometimes and oftentimes is putting others before personal gratification and that being a female business owner is a complete challenge all of its own.
She could have stayed working from home without the big gamble of creating an agency but she went for the bigger dream and much bigger sacrifice. ” My objective was to always to get to the top purely on self achievement- no false legs up, and without needing to sleep to the top as they say,”.
But hard work comes with long hours. Soudry currently puts in over 120 hours a week on average to get her agency to where it needs to be.
Since launching the company in 2004, The Gab Group, once a boutique public relations firm, has grown from a one woman show to a fast paced 10-person PR conglomerate in east Boca Raton offering services beyond the scope of corporate, fashion, lifestyle, restaurant and celebrity public relations including event media driven marketing, model bookings, and an up & coming fashion television program. To say the least, this South Florida scene queen does it all.
The Gab Group’s unique ability to generate unprecedented buzz for clients has stemmed into the creation of a new standard of extravagance for Palm Beach and South Florida events. Soudry and her agency have earned recognition for being behind the most highly anticipated and over-the-top soirees that amidst the flashing cameras and television crews, feature outlandish entertainment, couture runway shows and aerialist performances, attract celebrities and supermodels galore alongside South Florida’s movers & shakers. The agency was recently awarded the 2008 Bronze Adrian Award for national PR excellence from the prestigious Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI). The competition, renowned as the “Oscars” of travel and hospitality marketing, recognizes the best public relations campaigns in the global hospitality arena. Additionally, The Gab Group was just named one of the 2009 “Best Places to Work” by the South Florida Business Journal.
“Success is sweet,” says Soudry, “but the biggest payoff is knowing that your hard work is really amounting to making a difference in someone’s world. It truly is difficult to be a working mother and learning how to set the right balance between work and family is always the constant struggle that I face. I hope to one day really strike the perfect balance and I hope that other women out there can be inspired to go after their dreams with my story. ”
For more information visit The Gab Group at www.thegabgroup.com