907.529.2391 | mary@barbergp.com

Reflections on Life’s Journeys

June 1 is a milestone for me. It’s the day, 14 years ago I opened the door to The Barber Group. But the journey really didn’t start there.

40 years ago this month I graduated from high school having spent two years working on the school newspaper and learning a true love for writing. Oh, we also staged the first of its kind 24 hour event to raise funds for a nonprofit…because we thought it was cool.

36 years ago in May I graduated from college having learned how to think in an analytical and strategic manner. We organized a fundraiser for a friend in a horrible accident, because it was important to help another. Oh, and I still loved to write.

I could keep the timeline going with a list of professional, personal and community milestones, but I won’t bore you. Suffice it to say each job I had or nonprofit organization helped taught me different skills with two common threads:

Knowledge and smart thinking are very powerful.
Doing the right thing is always the best route.

Since moving to Alaska in 1991 (another milestone — married 23 years ago this month), I’ve continued to embrace those lessons. They are even more important today as we see so much in the world where people don’t always do the right thing for our world and, maybe because I don’t think they’re doing the right thing, they aren’t really thinking smartly either.

In the 14 years since forming The Barber Group, I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing clients and friends here in Alaska and around the world. The relationships built are amazing and I cherish each one. The work we’ve done has, in many ways, made the world a better place for those affected, but it’s also always been done…because it’s the right thing to do. Some highlights:

  • Lisa Murkowski’s write-in campaign for US Senate in 2010 – because Alaska needed her leadership in the Senate.
  • Alaska SeaLife Center Invitational in 2001 – my very first project so always one that’s key. We also raised more than $60,000, turning around a failing project in just six weeks.
  • Olequa Farm website and communication – because it’s my brother’s farm and family is always first.
  • Alaska Communications Connections – telling the story to employees of a company that really does believe employees are the key to success. Yes. Any day.
  • Anchorage July 4th Celebration – because a city with a huge heart but no celebration of the country’s independence just wasn’t right. Creating a day to celebrate our diverse cultures? Yes we can, and did. This is no longer my project but I’m still very proud of the tradition we established.

But I have to say these all pale in comparison to the two young men I was raising while serving aan independent consultant. When I opened the doors, James was entering first grade and Thomas third. Today as sophomores and seniors in college they are ready to take on the world, emboldened by all they have learned. I like to think some of my strategic thinking might have rubbed off.

What will the next 14 years bring? Who knows? But I do know the road will be fun and together we will learn, think wisely, and support each other along the way. Together we can grow and help our world do what’s right…because it is.



By |2017-04-20T05:22:26+00:00June 2nd, 2014|Strategic Communications Planning/Counsel|4 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. KirkHazlett June 2, 2014 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful compilation of memories and milestones, Mary. You truly have done some amazing work on behalf of clients, as well as for and with your family. Thank you for sharing this with those of us who are honored to call you our friend and colleague. And may the next 40 years be even more remarkable!

  2. kamichat June 3, 2014 at 2:42 am - Reply

    I loved reading this. As a Mom of three, I can tell you that my solo consulting career is mostly for their sakes. Nice to see someone on the other side. Whatever is next for you, I am certain you will rock it.

  3. Lisa Gerber June 3, 2014 at 7:16 am - Reply

    Wow! June is a big month for you, clearly! 🙂 It’s fascinating to watch how each experience layers on top of the next to inform who we are now. Loved reading yours. and excited to watch what’s next!

  4. KellyeCrane June 3, 2014 at 8:49 am - Reply

    I love how you tie your business values into your broader views of the world and family, Mary. Congratulations to a shining Solo PR example and a leader in the public relations industry!

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