August is National Black Business Month, devoted to supporting and celebrating Black-owned businesses across the country. In honor of National Black Business Month, and as part of TD's ongoing commitment to support the Black business community, please enjoy these stories and insights.
In the bustling world where event planning and politics meet, Rose Staram has carved out her own unique business path, blending her passion for creating memorable experiences with her extensive background in taxes and politics.
As the founder and CEO of RoseMark Production, a prominent event planning company based in Boston, Rose has orchestrated some remarkable gatherings in recent years.
Where it all began
Rose has had an inspiring journey, overcoming challenges, and pursuing her passion, benefiting from the role played by her relationship with TD's Commercial Bank and her dedicated relationship manager, Chris Sylvestre, Retail Market Manager for Boston.
Rose's entrepreneurial story began two decades ago when she started out in the world of tax accounting. While still practicing as a tax accountant, she seized the opportunity to pursue her true passion — events and politics.
“When I started out, I had a mortgage and everything else,” she said. “And the work was good, but it was ‘government money’, which is typically more about gaining experience than making bank.”
For nine months each year, Rose dedicated herself to volunteering and joining political campaigns, working alongside influential figures like Deval Patrick, Martha Coakley, and Mike Capuano. Her experiences behind the scenes and the electrifying atmosphere of high-profile events were very attractive to her.
It wasn't until 2010, when Rose had the chance to join President Obama's reelection campaign, that she realized she wanted to make a significant change in her career.
Inspired by Michelle Obama's words during her book tours, which she supported, Rose decided to take a leap of faith and transition into event planning full-time.
Her journey gained momentum when she collaborated with a business mentor she had met during Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. With his guidance, Rose honed her networking and sales skills and built a successful event business.
Despite her impressive resume, Rose faced challenges as a business owner, woman, and a person of color in a competitive industry. The process of selling her services to new clients who were unfamiliar with her work proved to be an ongoing struggle.
“When I started, I had the heart, but not the experience,” she said. “My mentor graduated to a sponsor, vouching for me,” she said. “One client referred me to another, and then another. So, it came full circle.”
However, she found solace and support in her allies, including the Red Sox, meet Boston’s Convention and Visitors Bureau Head Martha Sheridan, Mayor Michelle Wu's office, and, notably, TD Bank. Through her relationship with her TD Bank relationship manager, Chris, Rose found a valuable advocate and financial partner.
“Rose is a consummate entrepreneur and she has built an amazing business,” said Chris. “We are proud to support her as she grows.”
The COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented challenges for RoseMark. With events at their peak, the sudden halt due to lockdowns threatened to undermine all the progress Rose had made.
However, Rose's adaptability and innovative spirit allowed her to navigate through this difficult period. Recognizing the potential value of virtual events, Rose shifted her focus, providing online experiences, virtual parties, and conferences.
This flexibility kept her business alive and led to her involvement in the Biden inaugural, as her expertise in virtual events became a specialty.
"The pandemic was a killer for a lot of event companies," said Rose. "But we embraced the virtual landscape and adapted quickly. Our flexibility and willingness to explore new possibilities kept us alive and helped us land significant projects like the Biden inaugural. It was a moment of realizing that we could overcome the obstacles and continue to deliver exceptional experiences."
Reflecting on her successes, Rose takes pride in the growth of her business and the ability to employ a talented team of consultants.
Through collaborations and strategic partnerships, RoseMark has gained recognition and expanded its client base. Rose also acknowledges the significant role played by her allies in propelling her forward and generating new opportunities. Notably, TD Bank and Chris have been instrumental in providing financial support and establishing connections that have helped RoseMark flourish.
Visions of growth
Looking to the future, Rose envisions expanding her business beyond political events and rallies. She aspires to explore other industries, such as the book industry, where her expertise in event planning can benefit authors and business leaders seeking to reach their target audience.
By venturing into new avenues and offering more diverse and exciting experiences, Rose aims to continue growing RoseMark while still embracing her passion for creating unforgettable moments.
Rose's relationship with Chris and TD Bank has spanned over a decade, from their initial connection through tax accounting to their current partnership in supporting RoseMark's financial needs. Their collaboration began when Rose sought a local bank to assist her with her business.
“Chris had advocated for us and helped us build a strong relationship with the bank, which ultimately benefited our business,” said Rose. “I can't thank him enough for his support and guidance throughout the years.”
Looking ahead, Rose envisions further growth for RoseMark, expanding her reach and collaborating with individuals and organizations that value her expertise and commitment to excellence. With her entrepreneurial spirit, strong alliances, and the ongoing support from TD Bank.