We are thrilled to announce Barbara was honored at this year’s PRovoke SABRE Awards with the Outstanding Individual Achievement award. Every year PRovoke (formerly Holmes Report) recognizes a very small group of established professionals who have made meaningful contributions to our industry. Past recipients have included Richard Edelman, GE’s Beth Comstock, IBM’s Jon Iwata, and Weber Shandwick’s Gail Heimann, among other industry luminaries. The PRovoke team noted that they chose to honor Barbara for her achievement as an entrepreneur, as a global CEO, and as a pioneer in moving the PR industry forward.
“I am both humbled and extremely honored to receive this recognition, I have known others before me who have received this award and remember being so proud of them for being recognized in such a meaningful way,” said Barbara. “I am very lucky to have had the career I’ve had from TV reporter to agency founder to now global CEO of a top 50 agency — but I know luck is only part of it. It’s taken hard work, resiliency and the support of incredibly smart teams and peers. Thank you to all of my mentors and colleagues along the way that have made this journey so incredibly rewarding.”
Barbara started her career as an on-air journalist, then transitioned into the Benjamin Group – a leader in tech communications at the time. Soon after, she joined forces with her two best friends, who had been working with Regis McKenna, to create Eastwick – the first independent, fully tech-focused agency in Silicon Valley.
After 25 years of building her own agency into one of the most preeminent technology-focused communications firms in the country, Barbara’s agency was acquired by Hotwire in late
September 2016. She served just eight months as the CEO of North America, before being appointed to the role of Global CEO – responsible for driving the strategic direction of the business for all of Hotwire’s offices around the world. She now leads a staff of roughly 290 globally across 12 offices in nine countries – on a relentless mission to be the best agency clients and employees will ever work with.
“The biggest vote of confidence you can give an agency partner is a referral, and I’ve referred Barb and Hotwire (formerly Eastwick) more times than I can count over the nearly 10 years we’ve collaborated – referrals that have translated into sustained and successful agency/client relationships,” says Bill Wohl, head of brand & communications at United Rentals. “What sets Barb apart from other agency executives as an innovative business leader comes from her deep experience in her clients’ markets – specifically in the IT industry; she builds and leads unparalleled teams; and she has a unique ability to connect and build trust with her clients.”
Furthermore, Barbara has shifted Hotwire from a largely traditional PR firm to an established integrated communications agency to meet the new demands of today’s C-Suite (including enhanced digital and social media capabilities, content and advocacy marketing, as well as visual storytelling, web services, and analytics).
During her tenure, Barbara pioneered Thoughtful Working, which allows employees to have autonomy and accountability in their roles by working wherever they are most productive – a forward-think initiative that set Hotwire up for success during COVID-19 restrictions. She has also been a champion of mental health awareness by sharing her own stories of struggles with mental health.
Barbara has lived in the Silicon Valley community for most of her life, and giving back is incredibly important to her on both a personal and professional basis. She has done extensive volunteer work with the YMCA and Habitat for Humanity for many years. She has also worked with Amore Ministries building houses in Mexico, and served as a Girl Scout troop leader.
Barbara is a strong supporter of non-profit organizations such as D-Rev and the Women’s Start-up Lab with in- kind communications services. Working with non-profits helps the Hotwire team leverage their skills and expertise to give back to the community with tremendous impact. Through Hotwire’s Social Impact practice, Barbara, along with the Hotwire staff, work with non-profits and governmental agencies to help drive their digital and social media strategy, media relations, influencer engagement, and creative campaigns.
Her advice to other women in business? Be brave and know you’re enough – smart enough, funny enough, pretty enough, kind enough. Also, know the power of your network.