From Orlando Business Journal: Treva Marshall Shares Lessons, Advice on Surviving COVID Challenges
Treva J. Marshall

Our president, Treva Marshall, was featured in an Orlando Business Journal Q&A story about businesses surviving the pandemic. From our agency starting just a month before 9/11 and now, on the heels of our 20th anniversary, we fight through the pandemic, Treva shares her sincerest lessons and insights about today’s times for a business owner.

Treva Interview

Treva J. Marshall, president and founder, TJM Communications Inc.

TJM communications Inc. is ready for 2021 for several reasons, and none of them have to do with Covid-19.

The Oviedo-based boutique travel- and tourism- focused public relations firm will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year. Since starting in 2001, the firm has always stayed small with President and founder Treva Marshall at the helm and a handful of staffers, Marshall told Orlando Business Journal.

Still, doing business in challenging times isn’t new to the firm. TJM Communications started in August 2001 — just weeks before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which halted air travel for a while back then. At that time, she focused on how the help her clients rebound, Marshall said.

“Success isn’t always about excess; it’s sometimes about simply weathering the storm.”

Here, Marshall talks a little bit about 2020, what she learned and what lies ahead for TJM Communications:

What have you learned about your business and yourself? I’ve learned the true measure of success is how you navigate the tough times, not the good ones … that’s easy.

Any regrets from this year? As a child, my mom said to me one day, “I’ll never penalize you for trying your best.” But the operative word was “try.” This year has shaken me a number of times, but I tried to lean on everything I know to press forward. It’s been a lot of sweat equity and it wasn’t easy. So, do I have any regrets from this year? No. I tried my best.

What challenges still lie ahead for TJM? The pandemic is still upon us. We don’t yet know the full extent of how it is going to reshape our industry, so we remain challenged but hopeful about navigating the continued uncertainty.

Is business good enough now that your firm can sustain the likely possibility Covid effects stick around most of next year? We’ve been fortunate to add to our client roster in the last few months, but I consider it an ongoing effort to maintain our sustainability.

What percentage of TJM’s business has returned to pre-Covid levels? Very few companies can tout being at pre-Covid levels, particularly in the travel industry. We have been able to retain clients and bring in some new business, so we are pleased with that.

What is the latest count of employees at TJM? My primary goal was to do everything I could to maintain my staff. Thankfully, we are still a team of five. Employment has remained the same.

How has your leadership style evolved since Covid-19? I have always considered myself to be a compassionate leader. It startles me when I see so many examples of people who feel leadership excuses them from being empathetic. I am emerging from this pandemic even more fully assured that compassion is a key component of good leadership.

What will you do differently heading into 2021? In 2020, the pandemic forced us into a maintenance strategy. For 2021 – which happens to be our 20th anniversary year – we are preparing to roll out a brand refresh and are going to be laser-focused on a growth strategy.

Richard Bilbao
Digital Producer/Senior Staff Writer
Orlando Business Journal


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