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Name: Maggie Hallahan

Business: MHPV, a marketing and PR firm

Industry: Marketing & PR

Location: San Francisco, California, U.S.

Reason for starting: Early in my career as a global photojournalist, working for a wide variety of international clients, I hid the fact that I was a woman, using only my first initial: M. Hallahan. Today, with many years of experience in brand photography and video production, I no longer hide my gender. But as a WBENC-certified woman-owned business, I still see bias in the creative industry.

Related: Race, Gender and Business Ownership

How do you define success? Success is happiness and a nice flow with clients and team members.

Biggest Success: Having a family, a community and winning International Awards.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Being heard and getting access to the decision makers. When MHPV added the “Women Owned” logo to our marketing in 2014, we had no new clients for six months. What was up with that? Not flying the flag of being a woman got me work. Flying the flag did not.

Related: Why Hollywood’s Gender Gap Exists, and How to Fix It

This year, Walmart started a new program labeling products from women-owned businesses with a new logo so customers could choose whether or not to buy products on this basis. In a company statement, Walmart said it had surveyed buyers and “found 90 percent of female customers in the U.S. would go out of their way to purchase products from women, believing they would offer higher quality.”

My friend Pamela Prince-Eason, President and CEO of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), said the survey also found that regardless of gender, 18 to 34 year olds are likely to lean toward buying merchandise from a woman-owned company. Pamela noted that, “this is a group that cares very much about causes. “They tend to make consumer decisions on just wanting to be supportive of women-owned businesses as much as they will on quality.”

How can the creative community catch up to these consumers in terms of understanding the value of women-owned businesses? All of us at MHPV have been dedicated to finding the answers.

Who is your most important role model? Connie Chung, Hillary Clinton and Jane Fonda.

Twitter   @maggiehallahan[/box_light]

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Edited by The Story Exchange