907.529.2391 | mary@barbergp.com

Ten Years Ago Today…

The Barber Group became reality. After 22 years working for someone else, I opened my own public relations and communications consultancy. But this post really isn’t about the numerous accomplishments and the clients I’ve helped through crisis. Instead, it’s about the primary reason I went into this venture in the first place. It’s a reminder of what’s important in life.

James and Thomas Barber, Summer 2000

James (left) and Thomas Barber in the summer of 2000.

I started The Barber Group to give my two boys, Thomas and James, the support they needed to grow into future leaders. To help them through school and extra activities. And, to allow them the change to spend lazy summer days hanging out in the neighborhood with their friends instead of traipsing off to day camps. At the time my husband was in the Alaska Air National Guard and we knew he was facing overseas deployments at an increased rate. All these factors and, quite honestly, the desire to see if I could make a go on my own, played into the decision to open The Barber Group.

I think it worked out pretty well so far. Today, Thomas and James are strapping young men who are good students, athletes and leaders. Thomas is already an Eagle Scout and James likely will be by the end of the summer. More important to me and my husband is that they are caring and thoughtful people. I don’t want you to think there haven’t been challenges and there aren’t many moments of the normal teen issues in our house because there are. But, our ability to put the focus where it makes the most difference for so many years is paying off for us.

Along the way, I’ve been a strong advocate for my communities through volunteer service. I’ve been a regular fixture in the classroom and serve the Public Relations Society of America both locally and nationally. Currently I’m also on the Alumni Board for Whitman College and I’ve led various local nonprofit efforts. Of course, I’ve also done a lot of work for clients of which I’m very proud.

But as I begin the next ten years as an independent communications consultant, I think it’s important to reflect on what’s important in life…family.

James (left) and Thomas Barber checking out the scene; summer 2009

By |2018-03-18T23:01:09+00:00June 1st, 2010|Leadership & Networking|12 Comments

About the Author:

Mary Deming Barber, APR, Fellow PRSA, runs a strategic communications consultancy where she helps clients understand how to integrate new media into traditional communication programs. Mary has counseled clients in Tacoma, Anchorage, San Francisco, Oregon, and Colorado for nearly 40 years working with a variety of food organizations, several agencies, and as a key team member on two successful US Senate campaigns. 


  1. @PaulaJohns June 1, 2010 at 8:54 am - Reply

    First off, congrats on your 10 successful years in business! I had to comment on your post, because my own situation is so similar to yours. I also started my own PR practice 10+ years ago, and my two young sons were the primary factors driving my decision to go solo. For all the reasons that you stated, that decision has paid off in spades. My boys have grown up to become fine young men, and I will be forever grateful to have found a career that has enabled me to balance family priorities with professional goals. Bravo!

    • mary June 1, 2010 at 8:59 am - Reply

      Thanks Paula. Congratulations to you as well on your fine young men and business success. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the “financial” and other professional markers we can forget what’s really important. I’m also glad to have the affirmation there are others out there with the same priorities.

  2. Amy Cook June 1, 2010 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Congratulations, Aunt Mary. I hope one day to be a successful working mom myself. Right now it’s baby steps for me until I find my right path. Thank you for the inspiration.

    • mary June 1, 2010 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      You have your focus where it needs to be right now Amy…on that beautiful baby. Keep it there and it will pay huge dividends. Thanks for checking the blog.

  3. Gini Dietrich June 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    First, congratulations on making it this long! I’m really proud to know you and to be part of your PR family. Secondly, you have such an attractive family and you should be proud! My nephews, like my brothers, all are in Scouts and being Eagle Scout is an accomplishment not many young men achieve today. You should be very proud not only of your business success, but also your family success!

    • mary June 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much Gini. I have really enjoyed being in this profession for the past ten years and it’s because of the relationships with professionals across the country. The Boy Scout mentions are especially great for my boys to see as they move through the process. It’s a monumental achievement and one of which all Scouts should be proud.

  4. Nick Lucido June 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Mary, congrats on the successes! It’s incredibly motivating to see someone who can balance everything, yet even more motivating to see the successes in between, too. Cheers to many more successful years.

    • mary June 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      Thanks Nick. You know you’re on the right path too. I look forward to great things from you this year as PRSSA chair and for the rest of your career. Thanks for checking in on the blog.

  5. indrani June 2, 2010 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Proud of you Mary. Juggling work and raising kids and keeping home is no easy task. Well done, and thanks for sharing.

    • mary June 2, 2010 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks Indrani. That means a lot coming from a college pal.

  6. Angela Gonzalez June 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    Congratulations Mary! You have a lot to be proud of. You are an inspiration. Here is to another great 10 years!

  7. Karen Swim June 4, 2010 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Happy Anniversary and congratulations on 10 years of success in life and business. What a blessing to have such a wonderful family and the ability to really be present in their lives. Wishing you 10 more years of happiness and success!

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