A Contagious Entrepreneurial Spirit
Trice Rias-Thompson’s energy is contagious, and she has a spirit for entrepreneurship that continues to bring her success. Trice is a 2012 alumna of Purdue’s Selling and Sales Management program, and she holds the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Today, she is a Managing Producer at a company called Studio 71 in Los Angeles and is the co-owner of Trindi Media Group. She even continues the DJ business she started while at Purdue; most recently, she did an event for the Jim Henson Company!
Trice began her journey at Purdue in the College of Liberal Arts. At the advice of her academic advisor, she enrolled in a sales course, which led her to the College of Health and Human Sciences. She was already taking entrepreneurship courses and realized this was a perfect fit. The Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation also helped her find internships every semester while at Purdue.
When asked about the value of the entrepreneurship program, Trice said, “The certificate has helped me identify ways to create a second stream of income for myself.” She adds that the program taught her how to find a need in search of a solution and how to provide that solution as a service. She also learned the value of always doing competitive analysis. “You can learn so much from your competition’s pitfalls,” she said, “which informs your ability to create and offer a product or service that’s more convenient for the customer.”
Purdue’s Entrepreneurial Learning Community became what she considers a network for life. Thanks to social media, the community of students had connected before she ever stepped foot on campus. As a freshman, Trice set up a recording studio in her dorm where she recorded her first album. She also bought her own equipment and taught herself how to DJ. Her business started when Dr. Martia Brawner King, from Purdue’s Office for Student Life, hired Trice to DJ her wedding. This was the start of something amazing because Trice went on to DJ weddings all over the country. Many of the newlyweds, Boilermakers!
During Trice’s time at Purdue, she was also a resident assistant in the dorms, President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, and an intern for Purdue’s Marketing and Media. She was involved in the Black Student Union, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, and intramural sports. She recognized a need for a music organization and began the Boiler Music Group. All of these activities provided a network that she still taps today. Trice lost her father during her senior year and her Purdue community stepped up to provide support. Trice says, “Purdue was the single best decision I made in my early adult life. It gave me a sense of belonging and community that made all the difference in the world! It was a dream college experience.”
In 2021, Trice was working remotely for Radio One in Indianapolis. She wanted to become a leader in podcasting and her wife wanted to get into acting, so they picked up and moved to Los Angeles. After arriving, she became aware, via LinkedIn, of a managing producer role for Studio 71, a German-owned talent management company that signs and manages talent. Studio 71 helps social media influencers manage YouTube, TikTok, and other communication channels. Often, influencers don’t have time to manage the business side of things because they are too busy creating content. At the end of the day, this collaboration creates a win-win for both parties because of the financial success it brings to the influencers.
Trice’s consulting company, Trindi Media Group, is a business that she and her wife started together. The company offers content creation, including commercials, TikToks, and voice-overs for audio books. Trindi Media Group also advises those wishing to monetize their businesses.
Trice always wanted to have a successful podcasting career. During the pandemic, podcast listening increased 40-50% because people became accustomed to watching and listening to news and entertainment at their leisure. Trice observed this shift from radio to podcasting. Today, listening to podcasts has become a daily habit for many, and podcast advertising has exploded. Businesses want to invest more and more through this communication channel, and companies such as Spotify, recognize the need of advertisers to understand their audience.
When asked what advice she would give students or even her former self, Trice said, “Don’t be afraid to fail! Purdue is a place where so many people are tinkering with different things that you shouldn’t be afraid to start something. Find people with whom you want to do things like competitions.” She added, “Comparison is the thief of joy. Discipline is a form of self-love. Make your bed. Read non-fiction every day. Generally, feed your brain. Doing this will help you show up better in the spaces that you care about, and when opportunity knocks, you’ll be ready!”
Trice credits the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation program for much of her success and appreciates that so many of her instructors believed in her ability to pursue her entrepreneurial career. She feels that Purdue made her fearless in chasing her dreams. Trice is very proud to call herself a Boilermaker because she believes Purdue provided a foundation for her success and helped her build a valuable network.