A native of Flint, Michigan, Tresa Sanders studied both Communications and Marketing at the University of Michigan and New Yorkís Baruch College. In addition to her collegiate studies, Sanders enlisted in the U.S. Navy as an Intelligence Specialist, an experience she credits for her ability to fully understand the importance of discipline. "I believe that joining the Navy early in my life was really beneficial to me as I matured," notes Sanders. "The level of discipline required to excel in the armed forces definitely prepared me for the rigors of climbing the corporate ladder and thriving as an entrepreneur.
In 1990, Sanders decided to switch gears, choosing the fast-paced environment of the music industry as a starting point. As General Manager of Odad Productions, she worked alongside Daddy-O (of Stetsasonic fame), where she was responsible for overseeing all activities relating to production. During her 2-year tenure with Odad, Sanders enjoyed the opportunity to learn and master the inner workings of the production side of the music industry, however, she was eager to explore her creativity, thus the birth of Asert Public Relations. With Odad as her first client, Sanders began making her presence known in media circles and within 2 years, was recruited by industry veteran, Bill Adler. As Senior Account Executive for Adlerís Rhyme and Reason Communications, she continued to strengthen her media contacts and implemented publicity campaigns for a wide variety of artists including blues legend Buddy Miles, funkateer, Bootsy Collins, alternative rocker, Vernon Reid as well as Hip Hop pioneers Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick (the latter for whom she spearheaded the infamous "Free Slick Rick" petition campaign which was an integral factor in his subsequent release from prison).
It is often stated that as one door closes, another one opens Ė such was the case for Sanders in 1996 when Rhyme & Reason shut its doors. Armed with the hope of succeeding as an entrepreneur, Sanders re-focused her energy and concentrated on building a solid client base for Asert, which she renamed Tremedia. Within a short time, Tremedia was hired as an independent publicist to create media campaigns for So So Def/Columbia Records (Jermaine Dupri, Lilí Bow Wow, Jagged Edge, Da Brat, Ma$e and his Harlem World project), Master Pís No Limit Records as well as Roc-A-Fella Records (and their then-budding rap impresario from Brooklyn named Jay-Z). "Venturing out on my own was quite a challenge in the beginning," adds Sanders. "Once I was able to secure a loyal clientele, my primary goals were to cultivate my relationships with the media and strengthen my brand name. Fortunately, my reward for starting small was an income increase of over 500% in the span of 5 years."
Sanders also put her skills to work in the development of a number of community-based and special interest campaigns. In an effort to promote AIDS awareness, she created and managed a customized media campaign based upon Spearheadís single, "Positive," and pooled the resources of both the Center for Disease Control and President Clintonís National Minority AIDS Council. As a result of her efforts, Spearheadís front man, Michael Franti, would become spokesperson for both organizations. In addition, she has contributed her talents to the successes of HBOís "Music Behind Bars," the Palm Pictures independent feature, "Thicker Than Water" and secured placements for the roster of athletes represented by Jermaine Dupriís So So Def Sports agency.
During late 1996, Tremedia was hired as an independent contractor for the burgeoning independent label, Roc-A-Fella Records. Sanders would act as Director of Marketing and Media Relations, proposing and planning publicity strategies and successfully marketing both the label and their now top-selling headlining artist, Jay-Z. In addition to overseeing budgets, Sanders coordinated advertising campaigns targeted to rap, mainstream and trade publications. Upon reaching their first anniversary, Roc-A-Fella Records earned close to $5 million in record sales. Sanders would later accept a 6-month position as an independent contractor with Interscope Records where she worked with artists including Dr. Dre and his Aftermath Records, Blackstreet and NBA-star-turned-rapper, Shaquille OíNeal.
Upon completing her tenure with Interscope, Sanders received a call from grassroots marketing guru, Steve Rifkind. As Founder and President of Loud Records and the Steve Rifkind Company, Rifkind extended an offer that she could not refuse Ė the position of Vice-President of Publicity of his record label. With extensive experience as her guide, Sanders was now responsible for the overseeing a 5-member staff as well as developing strategic media and lifestyle campaigns for the labelís roster of Hip Hop artists. Although she continued to secure print & electronic media placements and book award & television show appearances, she admits that she rarely had an average day in the office. "Working with Loud Records provided me with the ability to be adept at juggling a multitude of tasks at once. Between attending marketing and finance meetings, I would brainstorm with my staff to develop strategic media plans and put out fires throughout the day," she says.
Along with attending to the media needs of artists including Mobb Deep, dead prez and Three 6 Mafia, Sanders is most proud of her work with both West Coast rapper, Xzibit and DJ collective, The X-ecutioners. After enjoying moderate success with his first three releases, Sandersí publicity team lead Xzibitís fourth project with a customized media plan to create buzz before his radio story developed. As a result, he enjoyed platinum success with his fourth release, "Restless," and has since become a household name within the Hip Hop community. She also developed a multi-layered media campaign encompassing national television as well as grassroots, alternative and urban mainstream press for The X-ecutioners, the first DJ crew to be signed to a major label. The group would later make music history by landing at the top of the rap charts with their Loud Records debut, "Built From Scratch." In addition, Sanders formulated a comprehensive system for the 9-member group, Wu-Tang Clan, to ensure that each member received equal coverage during press days, televisions appearances as well as photo & video shoots Ė no small feat, indeed.
As 2002 approached, Sanders again chose to strike out on her own, thus re-establishing herself as an entrepreneur. Looking toward the future, she hopes to broaden her scope to include corporate public relations and marketing into the Tremedia portfolio. "Throughout my career in music, Iíve learned the importance of selling the artist as well as their music, thus creating a life for the client long after their album campaign has run its course. As I continue to learn and grow as an entrepreneur, I look forward to transferring the skills Iíve honed in entertainment to a wider range of consumer-driven industries," notes a confident Sanders. "I welcome such an opportunity."
Tresa L. Sanders is based in Spring Valley, New York along with her son, Drew.