"Strive to create and achieve what makes you happy. Entertainment is when the creator is so in-tuned with his or her passions that they unlock energy that captivates and moves another." -Portia Mazone-Carroll-
I am originally from South Minneapolis, MN, but grew up between Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. My mother was a single parent who had me at the age of 16. I transitioned between living with different family members every couple of years until I graduated high school. I never wanted to be a product of my circumstances, so I pushed myself academically.
After high school, I attended Florida A&M University (FAMU) where I received my B.S. in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations and my Master’s in Criminology. I come from a family where several members are already entertainers and/or work in the entertainment business. Therefore, I have always been exposed to the hectic life of show business. The love for the law and music has always been instilled in me, and throughout my journey, I tried to find ways to bridge that gap. I wanted to learn more about the behind the scenes of the recording industry, so I earned a certificate in Music Recording from FAMU, in addition, I also received a certificate in Music Essentials from New York University (NYU), Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. I continued my education at Emory University School of Law where I obtained my Juris Master’s degree in Intellectual Property Law while continuing to work on my Juris Doctor degree. I am a member of the National Association of Record Industry Professionals (NARIP), the Recording Academy and ASCAP as a songwriter and publisher. I am the owner of several different businesses that range from entertainment consulting (Econtii Music Group), education (Sports, Music & Entertainment Summit), social justice (CNC Equity Partners), to beauty and wellness products (Noel Yaun). In 2018, I started transitioning into doing more within tv and film and I most recently, worked on season 2 of the Emmy-winning digital series “Giants,” as a Music Supervisor. Giants has been picked up on major networks such as Cleo TV, a new Comcast network from TV One, and BET+, available on all streaming platforms. In 2019, I was nominated for Best Soundtrack at the Indie Series Awards for my work on Giants. I continue to follow my passions and do what makes me happy.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business?
How did the idea for your business come about?
I initially started my music consulting business because I was a songwriter and I needed a business foundation that would make me legit in the world of songwriting. Over the years I have evolved the company. Econtii Music Group (EMG) is an entertainment consulting firm based in Atlanta, geared towards assisting professionals who are seeking project guidance in the entertainment field. EMG specializes in legal research, branding and connecting you to the resources you need in the entertainment industry. Other businesses that I have founded and/or developed have all been built because, there is a need for the service to be in society, or I have had an unsettled passion project in my mind that needed to be release. I am the Co-Founder of the Sports, Music, & Entertainment Summit (SMES), along with my business partner Jahi Rawlins, we noticed a void in education where students or professionals did not have access to opportunities in the entertainment sphere.
In 2015, SMES was born, a one-day summit featuring panels, workshops, and a networking mixer that provides education and networking opportunities for students and professionals interested in breaking into the entertainment field. In May of 2020, George Floyd, an African American man, was murdered by Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis Police Officer and three other officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as bystanders recorded on their smartphones. Floyd’s violent death, combined with other recent tragedies including the death of Georgia’s Ahmaud Arbery and Kentucky’s Breonna Taylor, protesters took to the street to call for justice. In July of 2020, I founded CNC Equity Partners, a firm designed to look at social justice issues affecting the African American community and provide solutions and/or resources to African American communities that are affected the most. CNC is also engaged in providing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) resources to institutions and structural organizations which need DEI training.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
It has defiantly not been a smooth road, if any entrepreneur tells you otherwise, they are lying or have a magic genie in their back pocket. Sleepless nights, precious moment’s loss with family or friends, frustrations of not being at the level you think you should be, sacrifices that you must make to reach the goals you want, all come with the different roads to success. Challenges would include “it takes money to make money,” and when starting a business and maintaining a business, you have the ups and downs if when money fluctuates from month to month.
A lot of your own money is put up to make your dreams a reality, applying for grants, crowdfunding, investors, and loans are all a part of how an entrepreneur finances a start-up business. Another challenge is being a woman in the music industry/legal field or just being a female boss in general and having to continuously prove your worth in a male-dominated profession or space. I put my best foot forward everyday and keep my head held high, to remind myself no one is built like me, I designed myself. If you keep a good worth ethic and have integrity about yourself, there will always be temptations in life, people will test your spirit, but if you stay consistent, in your own lane, and provide quality products and/or services, your character will speak for itself and that’s how you sustained longevity in business.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
The books I am currently reading are below:
1. 500 Social Media Marketing Tips- Author, Andrew MaCarthy
2. 99 Negotiating Strategies (Tips, Tactics & Techniques Used By Wall Street’s Toughest Dealmakers)- Author, David Rosen
My recommendations include:
3. Music Money And Success (The Insider’s Guide to Making Money in the Music Business)- Authors, Jeffrey Brabec & Todd Brabec
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
All the time! I can hear my family now saying “Portia, you don’t have to be broke to have a business.” Their words use to frustrate me so much because I knew the vision God gave to me, others could not see it, but the vision was not meant for them it was meant for me. Sometimes it helps if one quiets all the noise in the background and just focuses on what they are trying to achieve. Your family loves you ultimately and does not want to see you struggle in any type of way however, the road to riches is not a well paved straight path, there is going to be bumps in the road that you have to keep pushing forward.