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Celebrating Sixteen Years as an Agency of One

I’m reprising a post from the anniversary of The Barber Group two years ago. I’ve updated the “years” and added another picture but the spirit of this post is definitely still one I celebrate. In the past two years, I’ve moved back to the Pacific Northwest where it’s wonderful to be closer to family and the winter are mild.

June 1 is a milestone for me. It’s the day, 16 years ago I opened the door to The Barber Group. But the journey really didn’t start there.

42 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.

38 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 16 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 James is a junior in college and Thomas a proud graduate. 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 16 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 | 2017-04-20T00:50:23+00:00 June 1st, 2016|Sundry|0 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. 


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