Thursday, March 29, 2018

LGBT Bold Introduces Mona Elyafi of ILDK Media

First, tell us about your business. What does your company do? What markets does it serve?
ILDK Media is a boutique PR company based in Los Angeles. It specializes in LGBTQ+ PR campaigns, Entertainment PR and special events. Staying at the forefront of change, ILDK has been instrumental in making LGBTQ agendas move into mainstream culture. Every LGBTQ PR campaign has, in its own way, aided in the empowerment of our community and contributed to changing the conversation about gays, lesbians, and/or transgender today. Some of our clients include: The Dinah Shore Weekend, Tello Films, ClexaCon, BackLot Bash, Rainbow Fashion Week, Brave Trails, social justice advocate and transgender activist Michaela Mendelsohn, among many others.

ILDK’s message is particularly important at this moment in American history with a Trump administration that is continuously acting in a hostile way towards the LGBTQ community; and for those feeling demoralized by recent politics that seem to prioritize men’s contributions over women’s. I, as both a woman entrepreneur and a member of the LGBTQ community (married to my wife for the past 4 years), have continuously been committed (under the ILDK marquee) to amplifying women’s voices through pitches/stories; and supporting the LGBTQ community by championing campaigns focused on social & political causes directly affecting it. Working hand in hand with clients to champion social and political causes that directly affect our community, we cultivate long-term partnerships with a variety of associations including GLAAD, HRC, Equality California, The Trevor Project and the LA Gay & Lesbian Center.

Next, tell us a little about yourself. What inspired you to start your own business and/or head down this path within your own company?
I was born in Beirut Lebanon and immigrated to Paris, France in 1975 when the civil war started. I was raised in Paris, benefiting from a mix of both a European and Middle Eastern culture. With a Muslim father and a catholic mother, I grew up exposed to both religions - its traditions, celebrations and beliefs. I moved to Los Angeles in 1990 to pursue a BA in Political Science. I then left LA for New York City, where I attended New York University to complete a Masters in Liberal Arts (with a minor in Journalism). Upon returning to LA, I started working at Sunshine Entertainment pushing and promoting the top 2 artists on the label: The Movement (“Jump”) and Grammy nominee Skee-Lo (“I Wish”). After years working for some of the top entertainment PR agencies in Los Angeles (including The Lee Solters Company), I took a leap of faith and launched my own PR firm, ILDK Media, in 2004.  I named my company ILDK after my grandmother’s initials because she was my role model and mentor; she epitomized the very definition of women empowerment and to this day, while she left us 15years ago, she continues to be my muse and inspiration.

The main objective in using my influence as a publicist, was and still is to not only empower women, but artists as well, exuding a genuine passion for their artistic craft and professional vocation. The saying that a publicist is a storyteller speaks volumes. The fact that you can pluck someone from near obscurity and thrust him/her into the spotlight with the right narrative is an immensely meaningful notion to me. My continuous goal is to be an inspirational trailblazing voice in my community by telling stories that act as a catalyst for change and move both the media and the public towards a more inclusive mentality.

I have been very fortunate to work on many LGBTQ projects that have focused on uplifting our community, teaming up with some incredibly talented individuals that I am proud to call my clients. From transgender activist Michaela Mendelsohn (Transcanwork), Mariah Hanson (The Dinah Shore Weekend), Christin Baker (tello films), E. Jag Beckford (Rainbow Fashion Week), to Marlene Forte (The Fosters, Familia), among others, these are all LGBTQ PR campaigns that spark more than a dialogue about diversity and equality, they’re also leading the mainstream headlines making front-page news. To have media institutions – whether it be Forbes, LA Times,, NY Times, CNN, to name a few - give your LGBTQ clients a mainstream platform to tell their stories to the world helps pave the way toward acceptance because it puts a human face on sexual orientation and gender identity. At the end of the day, the most rewarding aspect of my profession is the knowledge that I, via ILDK, am involved in the very process of helping to change minds and hearts.

Do you have a project or goal you're working on now in order to take your business to the next level?
One of my projects is to connect with other mainstream entertainment companies whether in films, TV and/or music and work with them to make sure they have embraced a culture of diversity and inclusion.

What have been some of the challenges in achieving this goal?
The main challenge is time. It takes a lot of time to research these companies and make sure you get the right person to connect with. It's difficult but not impossible. I just need to find more time to do so while still pushing the PR campaigns of my clients.

What is the biggest mistake, if any, that your customers are making?
One of the common mistake clients make is not staying on message. it is a crucial element to every PR campaign - the art of communicating exactly what you set out to communicate in the first place.
It’s about consistency, clarity and focus. When clients stay on message, they are able to communicate exactly what they want their audience to know and are then able to deliver a clear, powerful and irresistible call to action. Ultimately staying on message ensures that your message gets across.


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