Deidre Malone, president/CEO of The Carter Malone Group, LLC., is joined by U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Don Graves (left) and Under Secretary for Minority Business Development Donald Cravins Jr. after winning The Minority Marketing and Communications Firm of the Year award. (Courtesy photos)
Deidre Malone, president/CEO of The Carter Malone Group, LLC., is joined by U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Don Graves (left) and Under Secretary for Minority Business Development Donald Cravins Jr. after winning The Minority Marketing and Communications Firm of the Year award. (Courtesy photos)

By Wiley Henry

MEMPHIS, TN – In 2003, Deidre Malone stepped out of her comfort zone as a successful marketing executive and with one client launched The Carter Malone Group, LLC, or CMG, a communications and public relations firm.

The combination of hard work and client satisfaction over the years has earned the firm several honors and awards including a recent national award: The Minority Marketing and Communications Firm of the Year.

CMG was nominated for the national award by the Mid-South Minority Business Council (MMBC) Continuum, an economic accelerator for stage II Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises that partners with municipalities, agencies, corporations, and various levels of government.

“I was excited that we were nominated with firms across the country, specifically minority firms: African American, Hispanic, and Asian. It was a true honor for us,” said Malone, president/CEO of CMG. “And then to find out that we won, we just couldn’t believe it.”

Malone accepted the prestigious award on Sept. 21 at the Hilton Washington DC National Mall The Wharf during the National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference, Sept. 18-24.

“When I told my husband Patrick that I was going to leave my good corporate-paying job to start The Carter Malone Group, he said, ‘Honey, do what you do.’ And I’ve been doing it now for almost 20 years,” said Malone during her acceptance speech.

Hosted by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), “the MED Week Awards are the highest level of national recognition that a U.S. minority-owned firm can receive from the Department of Commerce.”

“We are proud to have one of our MBDA Business Center clients acknowledged amongst the elite firms being recognized nationally for the quality work that they provide

on a local, regional and national scale,” said Jozelle Booker, operator of the Tennessee MBDA Business Center and president/CEO of The MMBC Continuum.

The MMBC Continuum operates the only MBDA Business Center in the state of Tennessee under the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“I’m excited for the firm, but I’m excited for MMBCC as well,” Malone said. “This is their first national award. I’m really excited for Jozelle (Booker) and her team and just excited to be a part of that history.”

Malone is in good company with other minority “firms of the year”: Tecma, Minority Export Firm of the Year; Piping Technology & Products, Inc., Minority Manufacturing Firm of the Year; Onyx Enterprises, Inc., Minority Construction Firm of the Year; LilliiRNB, Minority Emerging Technology and Industries Firm of the Year; Curacubby, Minority E-Commerce Firm of the Year; GC Green Consulting, Minority Veteran Owned Firm of the Year; and H.J. Russell & Company, Robert J. Brown Minority Business Enterprise of the Year.

Also, Champions of Minority Business Development honors went to Erica Y. Miles of Wells Fargo, Access to Capital; Ralph Sagaille with The Walt Disney Company, Distinguished Supplier Diversity; John F. Robinson with NMBC, Inc., Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award; Tom Espinoza with Raza Development Fund, Access to Capital; Jason Trimiew with Meta, Advocate of the Year; and Robert F. Smith with Vista Equity Partners, Abe Venable Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Since its founding, CMG has served 342 clients, according to the firm’s website, and provides services like branding, community engagement, government relations, video production, creative services, social media development and media training.

CMG also has been tapped and received at least 40 awards. The Minority Marketing and Communications Firm of the Year award is CMG’s crowning achievement to date.

“We’re doing all right,” Malone said.