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Side Hustle Spotlight – Karen Taylor Bass


Karen Taylor Bass, a St. John’s University alumni,  author, and public relations expert empowers business owners to reach their goals. 

Karen Taylor Bass


Karen Taylor Bass, 41, still remembers her early years growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, during the country’s glory days. At the time, living in a country run well by powerful people of color was a confidence building lesson she’d never forget. The other thing she never forgets is the words of her mother, grandparents, aunts and uncles who repeatedly told her, “all things are possible with hard work and Jehovah,” says Bass, a wife and a mother of two. “I still follow that mantra today,” Bass adds.




Today, as president of Taylor Made Media and a highly-sought after PR expert and motivational speaker in her own right, Bass credits her formal and informal education for crafting her into the person she is today. After a successful PR career, executing campaigns for Digable Planets, D’Angelo, Jill Scott, and Ray Allen (NBA great) to name a few, Bass went solo. She launched her own PR firm, and then set about branding herself while on a global mission to help entrepreneurs harness the power of public relations to reach their full potential. Today, she is an author of a new book, "You Want Caviar, But Have Money For Chitlins" A Smart Do-It-Yourself PR Guide For Those On A Budget, and host of a popular online radio show. 

But first Bass cut her teeth at college, earning her bachelor’s degree at St. John’s University. “I am a first generation college graduate, so there was not much guidance and knowledge on the college selection and application process. I like to think I paved the way for others in my family. Also, my guidance counselor was an old nun, who was not well versed in HBCUs or media related focused programs—so I had to figure it all out,” says Bass, who currently lives in Valley Stream, Long Island.  But figure it out she did, graduating with degree in Communication Arts and a minor in Business. 

Truth be told, Bass’ business education started long before she began her higher education.   “My mom and stepfather owned an ambulette business and I worked at the company during my first 2 summers of college. I witnessed firsthand the freedom, accomplishments, successes and trying times of becoming an entrepreneur.  Working for them was my on site MBA degree,” she says. 


Once Bass got to college, she made the most of it by getting involved in extra-curricular activities, such as serving as president of the Black Women’s Committee, getting involved in student government, working as a radio DJ and reporter for the school newspaper. “The extra-curricular groups really prepared me for life after college,” Bass says.  Then came the all important internships at places like Spike Lee’s Forty Acres & A Mule, BlueNote Records, Double Xxposure PR—they really sealed the deal for her post-college professional success and groomed Bass to become a leader in the field of PR. “I learned to understand the importance of one’s network and net worth,” Bass says. 


“College definitely helped prepare me for life and taught me to always have a “back-up” plan,” Bass says.  Plus, Bass continues to learn inside and outside the classroom. “Each year I take classes in PR/business at the New School, the Learning Annex; and other continuing education programs to navigate my career and stay on top of the changing industry,” she says.  

In the end, Bass offers this sage advice: “In life you must continue to challenge yourself, and that can be formal education, street knowledge or travel. And always read, read, and read.” 


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