Karlaa Gregory (Williams), a Newport News native, is a Digital Marketing Analyst at one of the top gearmotor companies in the US. Karlaa served as the Epistoleus or Historian/Public Relations Officer of the Norfolk Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc for seven years. Since her induction into Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., in 2011, Karlaa has always desired to better brand herself and the chapter. Upon graduating from Old Dominion University in 2012 with an honors degree in Public Relations & Communications, she continued interned at local Susan G. Komen office and later, in 2013, was offered a position at Seton Youth Shelters. After three years of improving her skills, she joined Liberty Tax's Social Media Team in the Digital Marketing Department. As life happens, Karlaa soon found herself as the Digital Marketing Analyst at Sumitomo Drive Technologies in Chesapeake, VA.
Karlaa is the best kind of different. She's boisterous, friendly, fashionable, and always trying something new. Whether it's dragging me to a new brunch restaurant, or implementing something new with the Digital Marketing experience--Karlaa is a self-proclaimed "nerd" (or Blerd, if you're hip.) Other than Harry Potter, Karlaa is an avid fan of Star Wars. One quote perfectly explains her vision of innovation and strategies of success comes from the great Jedi Master, Yoda.
"Try not. Do or do not. There is no try."
A quick Google search shows some interesting interpretations of Yoda's famous quote:
`1) "If you don't try, then how can you ever do? Who can be perfect at anything the first time they try?"
2) "There's no such thing as trying. You either do it, or you fail."
3) "Don't just try, either do something or don't even start."
Karlaa does not quit and faces every challenge given. She always tells me that Marketing changes every day. There will always be a new algorithm, a new marketing channel, and new marketing strategies. While everything doesn't always work...you'd never know unless you try. She calls it "breaking things." Once she finds something that works, Karlaa will break it and make it better.
Karlaa has a vision in mind to do better consistently. She has a love and passion for supporting small and local businesses. Her freelance consulting company focuses on helping Hampton Roads small companies like The Hoot All-Natural products, Adrienne Nicole Productions, and Habitat for Humanity SHR. It's never been all about money, and she has a desire to see these companies flourish. She's always open to chat about ideas and business strategies over coffee. Karlaa's love for helping people goes past just making a dollar. She openly took a pay cut because of the Pandemic. She believes in being fair. If they can't sell their goods and services, why pocket their money?
Her big heart comes from her upbringing in downtown Newport News. Many people took chances on her when she didn't have the experience or money to repay them, and she's been paying it forward ever since.
In her professional life outside of freelancing, Karlaa has a unique gift of making the most boring topics into something interesting. She took a chance...and it worked. My favorite blog she crafted was about The Avengers and their possible tax returns. You can read that here: Her content at Liberty was always funny, engaging, but still informative. She scheduled content around pop culture (live-tweeting the Grammy's) and blended famous memes attached to a strategic call-to-action. Have there been times when she failed? Absolutely--but she never lets it keep her down. After a fun Happy Hour at Baxter's, and a pep-talk, she pops back up and finds the lessons from her failure. That's Karlaa.
Karlaa has a big heart and love for the community. No need to "pull out the tiny violin," but Karlaa's upbringing is what drives her to help others. She grew up in Aqua Vista Apartments in downtown Newport News with her grandmother. They consistently relied on non-profits and other organizations to stay afloat. From bill assistance from the Salvation Army to being an Angel Tree kid to fee waivers for her application ODU--she was always thankful. She understands that life doesn't always turn out the way we dream, but she's never let it hold her back.
Her giving back started the moment she started at ODU. Her ROTC Instructor at Warwick HS frequently asked her to come back and speak. Her high school pulled students from the same neighborhoods she grew up in. Karlaa would tell them different options in life like college, military, or trade school. She wanted to make sure they knew that just because they grew up "in the hood" that they didn't have to stay there. She still keeps in contact with some of the students and helps with professional resources.
In 2011, Karlaa joined Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc who's mission is to enhance the quality of life for women and their families in the U.S. and globally through community service, civil, and social action. Their goal is to achieve greater progress in education, health awareness, and leadership development.
She was a member of the Theta Chi chapter at ODU then moved to the Norfolk Alumnae chapter after graduation. Her organization focuses on helping women and children with activities like an annual shoe drive for Samaritan House, raising funds and awareness for Breast Cancer, and holding baby showers for mothers-in-need. Karlaa wants to embody the giving spirit of those who helped her in life, and she has a lot more giving to do.
Karlaa currently resides in Virginia Beach with her husband and fur-child, Luna.
Other job titles: Whovian, Pokemon Master, Ravenclaw c/o 2009, Duel Master, Rebel Fighter Pilot and State Alchemist.
Favorite pattern: Cheetah & Leopard print
Favorite past time: Shopping at Ulta and relaxing at home.
Favorite band: The Backstreet Boys