Stefani Drake

FOUNDER / LEAD STRATEGIST - DRAKE STRATEGIES

Stefani is a strategy consultant + speaker with over a decade of experience working in the US government, international NGO space and with nonprofits. Currently on the UNDP's Roster of Communication Experts in Subsaharan Africa + certified in Google Analytics, Stefani is an analytical thinker and thoughtful storyteller who works with nonprofits + humanitarians to define who they are, elevate their influence and broaden their impact through strategic communications, branding + advocacy. Stefani lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, twin girls and rescue dogs.

What hobbies, causes, or activities are you passionate about aside from your work?

I'm a fierce advocate for social justice and spend time as a mentor in a low-income part of North Charleston, South Carolina. I don't often post about this because I want the motive to be pure and to continue to develop relationships, not resume boosters, but it is something that has changed my life and opened my eyes to the privilege that I have been born into. I'm also passionate for undocumented people and families. I recently took my toddlers to a rally to stand up against family separation and was moved to tears by the stories being told. And finally, I've been actively working with refugee communities for 12 years and partner with social service organizations to welcome new families to the communities where I live and work.

What’s something you do at your business that’s "weird" and not commonly done?

I don't do cookie cutter proposals or processes. Every client is treated as a unique individual and I start with their data, examine what is and isn't working, who responds and doesn't respond to their message, and craft a unique communications strategy around the opportunities that exist just for them. I've never replicated something for another client and instead make space to find their unique brand and message.

What inspired you to start your business?

My family. I moved to Charleston, South Carolina 4 years ago, having left Washington, DC where I had a great job and opportunities. I thought I would instantly find a job in this new town and instead, found myself unemployed for a year. So I started freelancing. During that time, I was unexpectedly pregnant with twins, and wanting to spend time with them, and not pay the outrageous cost of daycare for two infants, created Drake Strategies so that I continue telling stories about others and also be present with my family. Fast forward to a year after their birth, one one my daughters experienced significant gross motor delays and had 6 therapy appointments a week to get her to catch up and learn to walk. That journey would not have been possible if I didn't have the flexibility of being an entrepreneur. I'm so grateful for this changing economy and the ability to work from a physical therapists office or my home.