When Dalisia Brye was 27, she was homeless and pregnant. After her son was born, struggling to find work and suffering from post-partum depression, it was a dark time in her life. Four years later, she is fulfilling her dreams as CEO of a thriving PR firm and has worked with some of the biggest names in music and fashion in Memphis.
How she got there was through shear grit, determination, and a leap of faith. Plus, there was one person who kept her going through it all.
“[My son] was my main encouragement to follow my dreams,” Brye told The Epoch Times.
A Dark Time
In 2012, Brye had returned to her home town of Memphis, Tennessee, to be with her fiancé, and set about ambitiously building up a career in PR. She was doing well, but the relationship suffered and they ultimately broke off the engagement.
About four months later, she had an “up and down” whirlwind romance with a new boyfriend and became pregnant. Unbeknownst to her, he had a heroin addiction.
As soon as she found out, she knew she had to end the relationship.
“The only thing that I could think about at that time was my son. He was someone that I really, really wanted. Something that I felt that the Lord truly blessed me with,” Brye said.
“Protecting him from day one was my concern, so because of that I definitely made that my priority as far as exiting the relationship,” she explained.
Pregnant, scared, and with nowhere to go, she sought refuge where she could. She was homeless for 7 months during which time she gave birth to her son.
Fortunately, Brye was able to land a telecommunications job at Comcast before his birth. The position allowed her to get on her feet, and provide for her newborn son. Furthermore, a relative opened their doors, and provided her and her newborn son with a safe place to stay.
Her son’s birth in January 2014 was a joyous occasion, but she developed post-partum depression. Furthermore, at 11 months old, her son required heart surgery as a result of pulmonary stenosis. She had to leave her job at Comcast to attend to her son. The mounting stresses of her situation were almost unbearable.
“My son is going through heart surgery. I’m homeless. The process of trying to find a job at this point was really hard because at the time I had no vehicle,” Brye recalled.
A Leap of Faith
In 2015, she got a job as an account manager at a large Fortune 500 company.
She was incredibly good at her job, closing multi-million dollar deals with companies such as Nintendo and Williams-Sonoma.
Even though she had come so far, she didn’t feel a complete sense of fulfillment. She’d had to shelve her career dreams when she became pregnant; now it was time to pursue her true passion: journalism and marketing.
“It was just something that had to be done for the sake of my happiness. Therefore, I just had to incorporate that in my life,” Brye remembered.
So one day, she left her corporate office for lunch, and didn’t return.
She reached out to executives at a local weekly newspaper called the New Tri-State Defender. They recognized her passion for writing and communication and gave her a job as a reporter. She was soon excelling in that job as well.
“That was the start of my life changing from that point,” she recalled.
And that’s also when all the pieces of the puzzle came together for Brye.
“I figured since I was really good at closing deals, and that I was really good at writing and journalism, I said how can I include these two entities?” she remembered thinking.
Brye did a lot of research, and realized the combination of the two fields amounted to public relations—her first love.
She began freelancing for music artists and fashion designers, and started working for more and more clients. Her experience and access to media contacts gave her a leg up to provide her clients with a public face.
Her first client was Sheila Jay, a fashion designer who was the headliner for Memphis Fashion Week in 2017.
After building her own network of clients, Brye founded her own public relations firm—Dollface Public Relations—in October 2016. She was only 30 years old.
“I had always had said by the time I was 30 I wanted to be a business owner. For that to actually come into fruition at the age of 30, was for me … I cried about that,” she said.
In the span of only three years Brye had gone from being a homeless single mother to an award-winning CEO of her own public relations firm.
“I’m extremely happy to be able to now say that I’m a successful business owner coming from absolutely nothing,” she said.
She’s also extremely grateful to Memphis and its many organizations and institutions that have helped her along the way.
“Because of the city I am who I am,” she said.
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