Natalie Boden: Lasting Legacy
Natalie Boden’s successful creation of her own PR Agency continues her family’s longstanding history of entrepreneurial endeavors
There was never a need for a crystal ball or fortune teller to predict Natalie Boden would run her own successful business one day. All one needed to do to gain that foresight was look at the work ethic she adopted at an early age.
Boden is the president and founder of the Miami-based Boden, a cross-cultural communications agency that specializes in public relations and helps businesses in their effort to drive conversations, build communities and inspire cultural leadership. The agency was founded in 2006 as expert in the Hispanic market. That specialization helped the agency land some of the biggest brands in the country as clients, including McDonald’s and Target.
“It was founded from the deep rooted passion for storytelling,” Boden said. “But we have morphed into an agency that can tell stories regardless of language. I feel particularly lucky that we were born from that passion for the press and what makes a good story.”
Boden’s entrepreneurial spirit wasn’t developed in college or even high school, but when she was just seven years old. At the time, she had a lemonade stand and then spent her youth working at her parents’ store in Honduras. Her work ethic didn’t stop in college either, where she worked part-time jobs all the way through, all while playing volleyball and tennis.
“There were no free Saturdays for me. I was always working,” she said.
While there’s no proof that entrepreneurship is hereditary, it definitely runs in Boden’s family. Not only did her parents run their own store, her grandmother did too. She started a textile shop in the 1960’s and 1970’s in Honduras and ran the operations as a single mother of three.
The long line of entrepreneurship made it no surprise that when Boden decided she was going to open up her own business, too. It also was not much of a surprise that her family was 100% behind her when she made the announcement to them.
“I come from a family that didn’t bat an eyelid when I said, ‘I want to own my own business. I want to be ambitious in what I do.’” Boden said. “My father especially, not just my mom (was supportive). They said, ‘Go ahead, you can do it.’”
Her family was right. She turned her interest, storytelling, journalism and public relations into an agency that named to PR News’ Top Places to Work in PR List last year. She was also recently named to PRWeek’s 2017 Champions of PR list and received the Business Leadership Award from the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“(The PR News’ Top Places to Work) was big; out of all of the awards that we have won in this industry, I think that was our proudest moment,” Boden said. “Because if you’re a majority female company and you’re one of PR News’ best places to work, that means we are giving the kind of flexibility and building the culture people want to stay at.”
That flexibility includes maternity leave; a benefit Boden couldn’t give herself when she first started her agency because she was running the operation solo.
“The duality of motherhood and career was a difficult one for me in the sense that somewhere in the back of my head, I felt I had to stay home and tend to the children,” she said. “That has been my biggest challenge. This is a duality many women struggle with. I believe all women are entrepreneurs. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have a paycheck. It means you’re a woman of work.”
A lot of Boden’s ability to move forward in her successful path comes from her father. He never gave her formal life or career advice, but her family traveled often, which gave her a larger sense of the world growing up. That influence stayed with her and encouraged her to do big things and to be in touch with what’s happening in the world on a larger scale.
Today, Boden’s mentorship also comes from those that work at Boden. Working with them lets her learn new things every day, either by their actions or their philosophies.
“Mentors come in all shapes and forms. For me mentorship came in the form of my parents’ example; today I’m inspired by the team we have built.”
When it comes to where the agency is headed, Boden wants to continue on its track of Hispanic leadership and be a leader in the female segment. It is also important to her that the agency
maintains a culture that makes people want to stay.
“Being a leader is not about you,” Boden said. “It’s about giving other leaders the tools to continue to grow and lead in their own careers.”