Linze Rice felt empowered at NIU to live her life fully and openly, particularly when it came to promoting LGBTQ causes.
The alumnus, who graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, has taken that empowerment and launched her own public relations, communications and photography firm. Through Pink House Media, Rice aims to share inspiring stories and pitch those stories to media contacts.
“My goal is to help uplift the positive stories of people working hard to make change in the world, especially in my hometown area of DeKalb County,” she said. “I want to help empower and uplift all those good stories I know are out there, people I know who are doing amazing things.”
While at NIU, Rice worked at the Northern Star as a reporter, earning an Ally Award for her coverage of LGBTQ topics. The Ally Award is given to individuals, departments and groups who have done something positive for the LGBTQ community.
She wants to bring that same positivity to her new business.
“We definitely want to work with women-owned businesses and highlight the success women are having, as well as LGBTQ organizations, or those who contribute to LGBTQ causes, and make a concerted effort especially to be working with those businesses and telling those stories,” she said. “That’s definitely one thing that is important to us and what we do.”
Growing up on a pig farm in the Genoa area, Rice said she never imagined launching her own business in Chicago.
She credits her time at NIU and working for The Northern Star with giving her the inspiration to pursue her passion for writing.
NIU recently ranked in two “best” lists created by the Campus Pride Index, a national nonprofit working with researchers to generate national standards and assessment tools for LGBTQ-friendly institutions of higher education. With a ranking of four out of five stars, NIU was among a list of 60 of the 2018 Best LGBT-Friendly Online Schools, as well as a list of 25 of the 2018 Most Affordable LGBTQ-Friendly Online Colleges.
Rice has nothing but praise for her time here.
“The year before NIU, I had recently come out as a bisexual and queer to most of my friends and family. It was kind of an awkward thing to do,” Rice said. “By the time I got to NIU, I was like, ‘I’m going to live openly and fully and just be myself.’ I wrote columns about being bisexual and about different women’s issues and race issues and mental health issues.”
A couple years after graduation, Rice worked as a reporter and producer for DNAinfo.com Chicago, covering the city’s far north side Rogers Park and Edgewater neighborhoods. DNAinfo.com was shut down in November of 2017.
Rice then worked briefly for a small public relations firm, while building the confidence to strike out on her own.
“I need to go out there and make my own dreams happen. I think I have what it takes to at least hustle and give it my best shot,” she told herself.
“I would encourage everybody to follow their dreams,” she said. “Life is not a straight line and even when things might seem like you don’t know where things are headed, just keep at it and keep grinding at it and you’ll get there.”
Rice named Pink House Media after the Edgewater Beach Apartments building in her Chicago neighborhood.
“It’s a completely unique historic big pink building that everybody sees when they’re driving on Lakeshore Drive,” she said. “I just kind of became obsessed with it. It symbolizes standing out and being yourself.”
The building represents the underlying theme of her business, as well as her own way of living.
“Find what’s special about you and own it,” she said.
“There are so many incredible things organizations are doing today, but often I find companies aren’t sure how to talk about themselves. I help them suss out the most interesting and unique angles of their work, then create a shareable story and connect them with journalists.”