Marie St. Fleur, St. Fleur Communications
3/31/2017, 6 a.m.
St. Fleur Communications is a boutique public affairs group specializing in community engagement and grassroots outreach. Based in Boston and serving clients across the country, the firm, founded by Marie St. Fleur works with individuals, community groups and associations in the public and private sectors, providing workforce development and building strategic partnerships.
The first Haitian-American elected to state office in the United States, St. Fleur brings over 30 years of leadership to the fields of early education, workforce development, public policy, criminal justice and human rights.
St. Fleur is the former CEO and President of a state-wide nonprofit. She spearheaded the formation of the influential Put MA Kids First coalition, securing increased investment in early education and care in Massachusetts for two consecutive fiscal years.
St. Fleur served as chief of advocacy and strategic investment for the city of Boston. She served as the state representative for the 5th Suffolk District in the Massachusetts State House for 11 years starting in 1999. There, she led the establishment of the Department of Early Education and Care. St. Fleur was the first woman to serve as vice chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
She launched St. Fleur Communications in 2016.
1: What made you decide it was time to go into business for yourself?
Closing the opportunity gap remains a passion of mine. Creating a bridge between education and employment is my focus. Timing is everything. My children are grown. I can take this calculated risk to broaden my experience beyond public service and the nonprofit sector. St. Fleur Communication allows me to continue to do work that matters, collaborating with others to create new solutions, and have greater control of my time and income.
2: You have a range of skill sets including legislative experience, education policy expertise and business assistance. What kind of clientele would benefit from your services?
St. Fleur Communications works with organizations public or private, including higher education, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, trade associations seeking to provide equitable opportunity to earn a living wage to a growing segment of our citizens who cannot get there through traditional career ladders.
3: How do you help clients build strategic partnerships? What experience do you bring to this field?
St. Fleur Communications works closely with clients, conducts qualitative research on challenges they face and convenes key partners to develop solutions that are based in evidence and driven by best practices. We create customized strategies to reach desired results. My experience as a lawyer, legislator and nonprofit executive has provided me a rich background and experience to communicate ideas, problem-solve, build consensus and meet a client’s objectives.
4: What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
It allows me to stay curious and learn. Each challenge provides a new opportunity to connect with people and make a difference.
5: Was it hard building up a base of clients? How do you get referrals?
Building a client base is a work in progress. Given my focus it is more quality vs. quantity. The relationship must work for my client and me. Word of mouth has been effective thus far.
6: What did it take to launch your business?
I am a service-based sole proprietorship. My startup costs were minimal. I have a home office and often operate from a client’s space. The most critical steps were seeking advice from others who have had a similar career experience, taking time to plan and setting clear goals.
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