For Kara Elyse Henderson, age is only a number

By Tonya McMurray

When Kara Elyse Henderson, founder and creative director of Mindful Media LLC, entered the Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council’s 2021 Idol of the Year pitch competition, she found herself in the familiar position of being the youngest company in the group.

Mindful Media
, founded in 2020, is a boutique creative agency specializing in digital content creation for individuals, brands and organizations.

“We’re often one of the youngest groups present at the table, engaged in conversations with or pursuing these clients who are renowned locally, nationally or even globally,” Henderson said. “Being selected as the MBE Idol for 2021 was a reinforcement that to be young is a strength. We know that doesn’t – or shouldn’t – automatically reflect inexperience. Now we’re confident that others and decision-makers do, too.”

gives minority business enterprises the opportunity to deliver their best five-minute pitch to a panel of supplier diversity professionals and business leaders who provide feedback and advice.

MBEs can brag about their business, gain exposure, find new clients and tell their story as no one else could,” said Carol Thomas, chief of staff for SMSDC. “Entering MBE Idol demonstrates their dedication to their company and their willingness to creatively engage in new marketing, branding and PR strategies to grow their business. Win or lose, they will come away from the pitch competition with new ideas, a more polished elevator pitch and new connections.”

said Thomas, SMSDC President and CEO Karen Box, SMSDC MBEIC chair and board member Deborah Treviño and others were important mentors throughout the process.

“They sought to ensure we walked away with skills and resources that could help us following the competition,” Henderson said. “This opportunity forced us to hone in on the most effective way to share our capabilities and show that we have value.”

said Henderson was able to use the MBE Idol process to develop a strong and effective pitch.

“The MBE Idol Class of 2021 had exceptional MBEs participating,” Box said. “They challenged and encouraged each other throughout the competition. Kara’s final presentation had the ‘wow’ factor, exclaimed one of the judges. She had taken the feedback given by the judges throughout the competition and incorporated it into her final presentation. The result was a relevant, clear and concise outstanding noteworthy presentation.”

Henderson said she believes a key to her success in the competition was concisely and authentically conveying both Mindful Media’s capabilities and its mission.

Mindful Media was founded on the values of quality, equity and sustainability, she said. Henderson had worked as a model while attending the University of Texas at Austin and noticed the lack of diversity in the teams with whom she worked.

“A lot of the people who were brought in by these brands and organizations to generate content did not look like me,” she said. “We were not the same gender. We were not the same ethnicity.”

As a teaching assistant at UT-Austin, she knew there was a pool of diverse talent. She founded Mindful Media soon after graduating to provide greater opportunity for a wider range of talented artists. More than half the firm’s staff are minorities.

Mindful Media has clients across multiple industries but focuses on companies looking to make a positive impact through advocacy, empowerment and education. It has delivered content for Stepping Into Service and Black Voters Matter, Everybody Studios (a minority-owned firm promoting health and wellness through movement), Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Make Music Day Austin, which builds community through music. 360 Agency Berlin, an advertising agency that primarily promotes sustainable brands, previously invited them to collaborate on a project.

"Mindful" was a very intentional choice when we were thinking about the name,” Henderson said. “We’re mindful about the people and the clients we partner with. We especially enjoy those projects where we’re able to elevate people, organizations or brands that truly seek to have a positive impact in their local community or in the world.”

To learn more about Mindful Media, visit


Tonya McMurray Kara Elyse Henderson Mindful Media LLC Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council 2021 Idol of the Year pitch competition SMSDC’s MBE Idol MBEs Carol Thomas Deborah Treviño lack of diversity Mindful Media Henderson Black Voters Matter

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