At first glance, Wake Forest University alumnus Kevin Mallary is unassuming.
But the Mallary Creative Group founder and creative director is unapologetic in his quest for success.
“I would like to be a powerhouse in advertising,” he said. “I may be sweet and warm and kind, but I just want to dominate. I want to succeed and I want to grow.”
Mallary founded MCG, which offers graphic and web design and development services, last year when he was a graduate student at Wake.
“I pretty much walked across the stage (at graduation) and said to myself, ‘Okay, I am now my own boss, for once in my life.’ It was overwhelming, yet gratifying and humbling,” said the Orlando, Fla. native.
Despite his veritable success, things have not been easy for Mallary. Born 16 weeks premature, he entered the world at one pound, eight ounces and profoundly deaf. Over the course of his childhood, he would undergo three dozen surgeries, but Mallary, the youngest of four children, said he never lost his ambition or drive. In fact, his life experience made him even more resolved to succeed.
“I view my work and our work as a tribute to overcoming — that is paramount,” he declared. “Whatever the obstacles this company may face, we take them on directly, with class, with utmost professionalism and with a lot of ingenuity and with a lot of passion and creativity. We try to solve problems in a way that innovates.”
Mallary has made a habit of beating the odds. As an undergrad at Wake Forest, he joined the marching band.
“Being profoundly deaf, the trombone is the most difficult instrument to play (but) … I picked it up; it was pretty easy for me,” he related. “I loved every second of it. It was also one of those overcoming adversity moments, me proving to myself that I could do it.”
His hearing impairments have given him a keen sense of the importance of the work he is doing through MCG, Mallary added.
“I have a very, very unique perspective about communication, what communication involves and why it’s important and how to reach your audience in the most effective way possible,” he stated. “…Listening is crucial, and because I have to do it that much more, that’s what gives me an edge. Because I have to look a client straight in the face to understand what they need, I pick up on so much more, and I’m able to deliver a better product as a result.”
The company is now home to four interns, who help Mallary serve a growing number of clients at the company’s Brownsboro Road offices. Intern Anthony Tucker, a senior information technology major at Winston-Salem State University, said he has learned a lot from working with Mallary over the last month.
“His creativity is so phenomenal,” Tucker remarked. “The way he thinks about things is so much different from the average person. He just has a way of coming up with something that the average person doesn’t even fathom. It’s really cool.”
Tucker, 39, says Mallary’s upbeat attitude and can-do spirit are contagious.
“Just being around this young man is really helping me. The way he approaches things, the way he looks at things, that right there is more valuable than anything you can pick up in a book,” said the father of two. “I told Kevin he’s going to change the world with his views and the way he is. He had challenges growing up, but it was all for a purpose.”
Mallary Creative Group represents Mallary’s second foray into entrepreneurship. The 24-year-old co-founded his first company, Blazing Eagle Productions, along with his friend, Bryan Thomas, at age 16. The company produced television commercials for agencies and auto dealerships in his hometown, including one spot that appeared at the National Auto Dealers Convention in 2005.
Jennifer Stern, owner of Note Worthy, was one of Mallary’s first local clients. Stern, who opened her second fine paper and gifts store on Robinhood Road in August, said she has recommended Mallary’s work to other business owners on several occasions.
“I think he does a great job. He’s creative and he always goes above and beyond,” Stern said. “I just think he’s a great person. He’s easy to work with, he’s creative. I just like him as a person and I’ve enjoyed doing business with him.”
Mallary is determined to make his company a major force in the industry and not let the setbacks he’s experienced keep him from achieving that goal.
“I made a promise to myself from an early age that no matter what I did, I would strive for excellence, because God really blessed me and gave me an opportunity to be here and I don’t ever want to take that for granted,” he said. “I want to make the most of what I’ve been blessed with.”
Learn more at http://mallarycreativegroup.com.