MAC Presents’ Marcie Allen Says Great Things Rarely Come to Those Who Wait

For Marcie Allen, work means nothing without having something meaningful in your life, and for her, it’s all about family and the being a role model for her step-daughters and other young women in marketing and music. Marcie shares some of those important lessons that guided her successful career and brand business.

Tell us about what you are doing now.

MAC Presents is practicing what we preach about keeping our mission focused. We connect artists, brands, and fans in meaningful ways from branded content to experiential marketing and events. We take the time to look back every now and then at how far we have come. But we do not dwell there for long. We are excited about what’s ahead.

How did you get to where you are today? 

First, I worked my ass off. I am not trying to glorify 80-hour work weeks, but the truth is that I ate, slept, and breathed work for years. Music is also in my DNA. My grandfather was a famous DJ from Tennessee who taught me the value of hard work. So, the answer is two-fold. Hard work + working the room = success. I am still here because I am not afraid to pivot after hitting a brick wall and reinventing myself. Finally, I do not accept no as an answer very easily, unless I can sense the deal we are trying to strike is not a match. Then, I am not afraid to walk away. Life is too short to spend weeks, months and years on deals that start as hard labor and never improve. About those long work weeks: that is not sustainable. I value work/life balance and the mental health of my employees. We want to enjoy the process- not just the destination. We are all creatives, and creatives cannot bloom year-round every single year.

“I value work/life balance and the mental health of my employees.”

What pivotal moments did you face along the way?

One of the most pivotal would be working with The Rolling Stones in 2013 for their 50 and Counting Tour with Citi. But on a day-to-day basis of being an entrepreneurial woman in the music industry, the most pivotal moments have arrived when I least expected them- that is what makes a moment a milestone. For me, it was having a family (and becoming a step-mother seven years ago) to share my successes and disappointments. At the end of the day, all of the awards and successes mean nothing if you do not have real substance in your life. I am proud of myself for persevering through the peaks and valleys of business ownership. I am most proud of the opportunity to be a role model for my daughters, my daughters’ friends, and other young women in the industry. That is what keeps me coming back for more these days.

What do you see as the major opportunities and challenges for women today?

The same challenges remain for women in 2019 in terms of the pressures of being a wife, step-mom, daughter, professor and entrepreneur. I will say that the past few years have been transformative in terms of female empowerment. I believe that many of the egregious workplace issues and behaviors have been exposed, and, as a result, women are in a better position. We can thank many very brave women for creating an environment that our daughters will thrive in.

What solutions or advice can you share?

“Patience may be a virtue in fishing and family life, but it normally has very little to do with success in business.”

Be bold and take chances. Great things rarely come to those who wait. Patience may be a virtue in fishing and family life, but it normally has very little to do with success in business.

Who helped you in your journey, and what advice did they give you that really shaped your thinking?

My aunt Bebe has always been my North Star– guiding me when I wasn’t sure which way to go. I had amazing support growing up in Nashville. At Harpeth Hall School, I was surrounded by confident women and girls who were going places. I often call on the social and academic lessons I learned as a young woman at Harpeth Hall and am forever thankful for the start that was provided to me at that special place.

What one thing would you have done differently early in your career if you had the right bit of advice?

Wow, tough one… I have always been bold, but I think that I would have benefitted from being less hesitant to switch directions and try new things. Knowing what I know now, I would take more risks and make more mistakes. That’s how we learn. I might have moved my company from Nashville to New York earlier if I had the gift of hindsight. My employees and friends will get the humor in this one too, and this is the only place I will ever admit it: I should have probably gotten rid of the flip phone a little bit sooner than last fall.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, money or talent would be no object, what would you be doing?

I would be a photographer traveling to remote corners of the globe.  I find a lot of peace behind a camera. Teaching would be my part-time job when not traveling. My class at NYU Steinhardt is one of the best things that has ever happened to me — an unexpected detour on the road map.

@lgranatstein Lisa Granatstein is the editor, svp, programming at Adweek.