We love our members, so we’re highlighting them in our Members Only series. District Fray member Sara Morgan is a PR entrepreneur who helps brands and businesses shine brightly. Become a member at districtfray.com/subscribe.
Everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame, and we’re all famous to at least 15 people. But if you want your name in the news for the good things you’re doing, you need to talk to Fray member Sara Morgan, a PR pro and founder/CEO of Eleven Eleven. Morgan’s work is driven by her many years of experience in and around the media sphere, her penchant for spinning a keen yarn and her pervasive spirit of generosity. She took time out of her hectic year-end schedule to share her story, her philosophy and what she loves about being a Fray member.
District Fray: How would you describe what you do for a living?
Sara Morgan: Being a publicist is multifaceted, but the overarching goal is to secure earned media coverage on behalf of our clients, meaning getting and keeping them in the news. Each individual client’s needs are different, so every engagement is different. We back out each client’s unique goals and tailor our strategy accordingly. Goals could include elevating the personal profiles of the team, supporting events/activations, attracting new customers, raising investor awareness or securing awards.
Who are your biggest clients/customers?
If by biggest you are referring to the size of the company/team, I believe Atlas Restaurant Group and Knead Hospitality + Design are our largest restaurant groups. But many of our other restaurant groups, like Seven Restaurant Group for example, are continuing to expand rapidly. It’s fun to see our clients growing so quickly.
How did you get started on your current professional trajectory?
Long story very short, I studied broadcast journalism and was on the media side of things, moved into startups as a co-founder of an e-commerce platform and used my journalism skills to secure us press coverage writing for HuffPost, MSN and PureWow. This allowed me to see the impact of earned media on a company’s bottom line first-hand, but it was a full-time job. When we raised our Series A funding, I hired a PR firm and was disenchanted with the traditional PR process. I set out to create a firm that ran more like a newsroom than a PR agency. February will mark 10 years since starting Eleven Eleven, and it has been an incredible journey.
What was your most significant turning point?
My most significant turning point was around my five-year mark and followed my first experience doing restaurant PR. My brother was the co-owner and co-executive chef of Maydan at the time and asked me to do their PR. It was my entry into the food and beverage space. I immediately fell in love with it and haven’t looked back since. There are so many incredible stories to be told. It’s not just about the food and beverages. I have never seen a vertical be so directly impacted by earned media as the hospitality space. I love how purposeful and impactful it makes our work feel. Seven Reasons was my second restaurant client, and it was also an incredible experience. It has been all word of mouth since then and now 90% of our portfolio is hotels/restaurants. I am very grateful.
What advice would you have to your undergraduate aged self?
There is nothing you can’t do if you are driven, passionate and give yourself permission to take risks. Always trust your gut. It’s never wrong.
What’s your definition of success?
Achieving success to me means you are fortunate enough to do what you love for a living while staying true to yourself and kind to others.
What do you most enjoy about being a District Fray member?
I love the lens through which District Fray sees D.C. The content is unique and spans a variety of verticals and areas of interest. The events are always dynamic and feature a nice crossover of smart, driven, passionate people who make up the unique fabric of the DMV.