We are so excited to share that our leader, Amanda Parker is named one of Indianapolis’ Leading Women in Business in the September issues of O, The Oprah Magazine, Entrepreneur, Fortune and Forbes. Find out what three things inspired her to launch the decade-long success (thus far) of Collective Alternative.
In 2008, the culmination of three things created a perfect storm that launched the decade-long success (thus far) of Collective Alternative.
At the age of 20, Amanda Parker was diagnosed with a rare blood disease and was told she would suffer a fatal stroke by the age of 21.
“My neurologist told my dad to pull me out of college, take me home and ‘get my affairs in order,’” Parker says. “What affairs? I was 20! I begged my dad to let me stay and try to graduate.
“It was an emotional roller coaster, for sure,” Parker continues. “I remember thinking, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow, so I don’t really know anything that anyone else doesn’t. But in reality, it’s something so easily ignored by so many, and I was no longer allowed to live in ignorant bliss. I was challenged to examine my life, evaluate my choices, and prioritize my time.”
“Fast forward 10 years. I was beating my life expectancy, graduated, and working in the marketing industry,” says Parker.
On numerous occasions, Parker was told she was “too vested” in her clients and their success. “I found myself asking my clients, family, friends, anyone who would answer me, why they went to work every day,” she says. “I’d get an array of answers, but all had one common denominator: It was for a personal reason. To put their child through college, to pay for the roof over their head, to provide a better life for their family. So why was it so wrong that I put so much of me into my clients, into creating solid relationships that would transcend a concept or a campaign?”
Realizing there was a greater need to personalize the experience, to be accountable for results and shared objectives, Parker conceptualized a better way to market.
“I started Collective Alternative in September of 2008—right before the worst economic crisis in two decades,” Parker says. “I was ignorantly optimistic that I could help small, local business owners not only survive but excel beyond their competition.”
The hard part? People weren’t advertising. They were saving every penny to save every job they could. Parker was driven to get creative.
“Going out and telling people who weren’t spending money why they should be—and why they should be spending it with me—was definitely a new skill I had to learn,” she explains. “On top of that, I was only 31 and female. There weren’t a lot of business owners wanting to listen to me tell them how to market their business. I had to be good, and I had to prove myself.”
Since starting Collective Alternative, Parker has helped small businesses thrive and has established many as leaders in their industries. She was named “2016 Avatar of the Year” by the Indianapolis chapter of NAWBO® and her firm has been ranked as “One of the Top Public Relations Firms in Indianapolis” by the Indianapolis Business Journal for four consecutive years. But, the reason her business has grown exponentially over the past decade? She understands business is personal and never takes a day for granted.