Co-Founder & CEO, Nu America Agency Inc.
New York City. Age: 37
In 2001, Brett Wright and music mogul André Harrell created Nu America Agency Inc., a Harlem, New York, agency that offers marketing strategies, as well as advertising, event planning, Web development and research services, to companies wishing to reach the hip-hop generation. The agency already has expanded to Santa Monica, Calif. Operated by Wright and his partner, David Watkins, it draws on its principals’ inherent understanding of urban culture to generate campaign ideas. Sales total between $5 million and $10 million a year.
Wright is a former marketing executive at Uptown Records and a co-founder and chief creative officer of Uptown Magazine. With more than 15 years in the music, publishing and fashion industries, he has his fingers on the pulse of his clients’ target market. Those clients include Tommy Hilfiger, PepsiCo, Courvoisier, The Apollo Theater Foundation,Showtime Networks Television, Luster Products, Sunbeam/Oster and RocaWear.
Wright studied at Long Island University’s CW Post campus in New York but says his first record company job set the tone for his accomplishments. “[It gave me] the vision, drive and entrepreneurial spirit to take chances and control [of my destiny].” The dotcom crash, meanwhile, drove home the importance of having a solid business plan. But his life has been most enriched by his children, he says. “They have given me a focus, a sense of legacy and purpose that is more rewarding and life-affirming than any other pursuit,” he says. And what are the key ingredients of his success? A “high sense of duty and responsibility to family, an unflagging work ethic and an inexorable vision,” he says. “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it,” he observes.
Wright is a board member of the Apollo Theater Foundation, chairman of the board of Hangtags for Humanity and an advisory board member of the Studio Museum in Harlem. To display his culinary skills, he confesses, he would relish the opportunity to star in his own gourmet cooking show.