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PR Girl Manifesto & Hold The Press with Fatou Barry

PR Girl Manifesto, Hold The Press + Kombucha with PR Pro Fatou Barry

Episode 29 – PR Girl Manifesto & Hold The Press with Fatou Berry – Podcast Transcript

 


SPEAKERS

Fatou Barry, Lexie Smith

 

Lexie Smith 

Hey guys Lexie here, travel enthusiast, lover of puns, pizza and wine connoisseur and founder of THEPRBAR inc., and you’re tuning in to the Pitchin’ and Sippin’ Podcast, from behind the scenes interviews with the media to honest conversations with other PR pros to a look at inspiring brands and entrepreneurs that are rocking the world of PR. In this podcast, we talk tips while taking sips and talking about all the things that make those in the world of PR tick. Let’s get started. Welcome to season two of the Pitchin’ and Sippin’ Podcast, we are kicking things off with the one and the only Fatou Barry, a Guinean-born, NYC-raised cultural strategists best known for her work in communications and community building. Fatou is the founder of AB Media Group, and also the founder of PR Girl Manifesto, a digital community of over 40,000 women in the communications field, the community works to reimagine the PR and Comm space while supporting its constituents through access to resource, fellowship and mentorship. Her work is influenced by her desire to bridge equity gaps for young women of color, she has created several spaces to grow and nurture this community by sharing knowledge and experience to generate opportunities. This includes the launch of Hold The Press, a grassroots initiative, co founded by Fatou that calls for action, accountability, and transparency in the public relations industry for black people. In today’s episode, we talk about how to build highly engaged community,  the next major call to action that is needed in the PR industry and the world. And really how anyone from a single comms professional to a founder to a global agency can support the Hold The Press initiative. I fan girl pretty hardcore, because as you will see, I’m a huge Fatou fan. And in true Pitchin’ and Sippin’ fashion, we wrap things up by talking sips. So for those of you who are listening for the first time, welcome, or to our longtime listeners who have patiently awaited for the drop of season two, I’m so excited to say that it is officially go time. Once upon a time I woke up and randomly had about 200 new followers on Instagram. And that is 100% thanks to today’s guest. Fatou, first thank you for the shout out on Instagram. You absolutely not just made my day but my interns days because they were tasked with helping me grow my channel. So you made them look real good. And then second, yeah, thank you for agreeing to come on the show. I’m so excited to have you and we’re going to talk about all things AB Media, PR Girl Manifesto and Hold The Press. But first, I’d love to learn a bit more about you outside of work. When you’re not busy taking over the world. What else do you do for fun?

 

Fatou Barry 

Well, first, thank you for having me. I’m so excited to be here. And when I’m not taking over the world…I’m sleeping, I’m sleeping and binge watching Netflix most likely, but honestly just trying to rest. Rest is something that like, it’s just super important to me to prioritize in my own life. So I when I have downtime, I’m just like, Alright, do not fixate on doing something like what is going to be the most restful thing that you can do right now. So you’ll probably find me again, like bingeing on Netflix, reading, taking a walk in a park, just things that like really helped me slow down.

 

Lexie Smith 

Okay, so what are you bingeing? What are some suggestions?

 

Fatou Barry 

Okay, so, I’ve been watching Who Killed Sara, on Netflix. And it’s this. It’s an international show, of course, dubbed in English, but it’s just been so interesting to me. And my friend was actually watching it and she kept talking about it. My boyfriend was watching it. I was just like, Alright, everyone’s watching this let me like catch up, and I just was like, wow, this is like a masterpiece. I’ve been watching that. I’ve been watching a lot of Teen Wolf. I don’t know if I’m like embarrassed to admit that or not,

 

Lexie Smith 

don’t be embarrassed

 

Fatou Barry 

watching a lot of like Teen Wolf free ones. What else am I watching? I just watched that new movie with Amanda Seyfried, too. That’s supposed to be like a thriller like horror and just was

 

Lexie Smith 

Seen and heard.

 

Fatou Barry 

Have you watched it yet?

 

Lexie Smith 

I watched that this weekend literally. Yes. So good.

 

Fatou Barry 

The ending. I was like, all right.

 

Lexie Smith 

I don’t know how I feel we won’t ruin it for you guys. But let us know how you think you feel about the the ending. And by the way to say that you’re Don’t be embarrassed about Teen Wolf, I had a twilight life size poster in my room probably till the age of 18. So if anyone needs to be embarrassed, or

 

Fatou Barry 

I’m right there with you, because I just bought and finished of the new Stephanie  Meyer’s, Edwards point of view, because teenaged me was just like, yes, you need this book in your life. So

 

Lexie Smith 

yes, young adult fiction. Big, big fan over here. Literally, we could probably talk about 500 more things non related to PR. But let’s talk about how you got to being the powerhouse that you are today. So take us back. How did you get started in the world of PR?

 

Fatou Barry 

Yeah, it was really, I want to say it was unexpected might not be the word. It was very nonlinear. If it wasn’t like a straight shoot, when I was in middle school, wasn’t middle school? might have been middle school or high school those years, a close friend of mine actually was a part of a Disney Channel franchise, but he was from Canada. And so his, I guess, entrance into like, the United States market was a little bit like, confusing for him. And his mom, who was also his manager. So she asked if I could like support, doing things that I was already doing. So back in the day, I was big on street teams. So if there was a you know, fan base that I was obsessed with, I was a part of a street team. And so a lot of it included, like, you know, building out fanpages whether it be my space, like coordinating, like who thinks…things are like, like super low level. And now that I think about it, the fact that she gave that much responsibility, or she believes in like a preteen teenager that was is like Okay, wow. But I remember her telling me that I should go to school for marketing, or PR. And I was just like, I don’t know what this is. I’m going to be the next Anna Wintour. So I’m going to go to school for fashion merchandising, and minor in journalism, or creative writing, which is what I did. And I hated it, like, absolutely hated it did a year in the fashion program at my school, and was just over it. And I was just like, what else can I do? So I went to my, you know, those college counselors that kind of like, help navigate you through your collegiate career and was like, these are the things that I’m interested in. You know, what, what does this look like for me to switch my major. And thank God had just been taking Gen Ed’s mostly at this time, so they wouldn’t like back me up too much. And the first thing that came out of my conscious mouth was PR, you should join the camp program. I think that should be a great fit for it. At this time, I was also on the fashion Students Association. I was in multiple community organizations, and I was also very active in my residence hall. So I was transitioning into being an RA the next year. So all of these things that he felt were things that I was already doing, that would be a good fit for a PR professional, he recommended to me and I was just like, Alright, let’s try it out. Did it I went to school in Buffalo. And if you’re from Buffalo, or if you’re from any of like those northern New York cities, and you know, there’s not much like much opportunity, just because they’re like college towns. So when you’re looking to do things like public relations, you really have to hustle and you have to find opportunities of your own. So while I was an undergrad, I interned every semester, I would come home back to New York. I’m originally from New York City, and intern there and one of the semesters during my junior year. I got reached out to by this woman who was at Iconix Brand Group. Iconix owns a licensing to Mark Ecko Cut & Sew, Rocawear, Artful Dodger, so a lot of like big fashion lifestyle brands. And she asked me if I wanted to be a social media coordinator, because she stumbled on the blog that I had started when I was a fashion major about menswear. So very like again, nonlinear. When I was like, Sure, let’s do it. Like I’m in college like this could be a cool gig, something to put in my portfolio was actually like a contract or like Freelancer job. So I was in charge of Ecko Cut, Mark Ecko Cut & Sew on social channels, and was doing that while still being a full time student, and post grad, they offered me a job. So again, in the digital space, but while there, I was like I’m just was really like adamant about like, putting myself in the PR department as well. So making sure that I was getting to know who is the director of PR who was writing on what account and like really just transitioned my way into that space. And that was one of my first like, really cool PR gigs. Was there for some time, ended up leaving went to do PR and digital for a denim brand that was based out of Australia but wanted US presence left there and actually did restaurant PR and marketing for a chain in New York City for like an Italian like artisan restaurant. So they had a restaurant, they had a shop that source artisan goods from like Umbria, all these places in Italy. And then they also had like another alimentary. So like a marketplace did a lot of like, work there for about two, three years. And then just really decided that it was time for me to go out on my own. Because all the things that I was doing, while I loved like the experiences and the opportunities, I didn’t feel like I was doing the type of like, PR industry work that I wanted to. And I also felt a little bit limited like Yeah, I love PR but I also love like digital marketing, social media, also love brand management. So it just seemed like a right time to, to do that. And to explore what that looked like for myself.

 

Lexie Smith 

Wow, wow. Okay, so, so many questions. What is so clear is that people throughout your whole life have obviously seen a very natural talent in you for relationship building and management and coordination. So major kudos, and that’s clearly transpired into what you are today. So let’s talk about PR Girl Manifesto first because that’s who gets credit for you coming into my life. So for those not familiar what tell them you know, first guys get on it. What is PR Girl Manifesto and how did that come to be?

 

Fatou Barry 

Yeah, so PR Girl Manifesto. It’s an inclusive, like digital community. And I guess now it’s like an industry platform, which is kind of like still weird for me to say. But essentially, we’re on a mission to make communications more accessible by providing not only a community, for those who are like seeking to just network across and network with other professionals. But those who might have an interest in the industry are looking to learn more. When I graduated again, went to a school, majored in PR still felt very underprepared, though, when it came to real life, like actually doing the work of everything that I had learned, and I think that that’s something that’s common for most people, I’m seeing like a lot of stories. I went to school, I had a great calm program. Some of them are, you know, accredited, but what the industry looks like right now is not what I’m learning in school. So I was in that position and realized that the only reason I knew how to do these things I was learning was because I was in the right rooms, right. So there was that there was this, this idea of or that this idea, this reality, that not all information was accessible. And I wanted to make that more accessible, but also feeling a little bit isolated when I first graduated and not having a PR community and wanting to curate, curate and create community, among PR professionals. And also, I think the most important was just there weren’t many spaces, where I saw myself being reflected back at me, whether it be senior management, whether it be like co workers, or even just like the the clients that we were working with. And I wanted to make sure that there was a space that people felt like they could come and show up as they were, which is a big thing for us. PR Girl Manifesto, we’re not really me, like I hate to try meeting people where they’re at. So for us, it’s more so like, show up as you are really wanting a space that was like, Hey, this is a diverse industry. Like I’m a young, black immigrant Muslim woman, I’m in PR, I’m looking for experiences that speak to who I am. And there might be someone out there and like, maybe not the same background, but who has, you know, a similar diverse background that wants to see something different than what was this the standard? And I think, in many ways, is still the standard, but shifting of the industry, right, right now.

 

Lexie Smith 

Yeah. And we’ll come back to that topic in a little bit. That is very, very important. But first, I do want to say that something that is really unique about the account on Instagram, specifically that you’ve created is how engaged it is. And just to catch everyone kind of up to speed on some of the numbers. You know, your account right now has around 40,000 growing every day, and they are so engaged, I mean, proven by the 200 new PR people that followed me in two hours from your account and I wasn’t even on like the first page of that post. It was like page four. So how did you go about growing such because it’s it’s so much more engagement is what we should be striving for rather than the vanity metric of a you know, large number and you have that how have you cultivated such an engaged community and it also how long has that taken?

 

Fatou Barry 

Yeah, so I think for the your first question, cultivating that community, I think it’s always because I’ve said toward the community. So when PR Girl Manifesto, like first came into fruition, this is like 2014 2015, there weren’t community building wasn’t really as big as it is right now. Like, now we know it’s a lead generation tool, it’s a marketing strategy, all these things, but when I created it, and when I, you know, was looking to build community, it was just that, like, I centered the community, there’s never like a, you know, oftentimes people will, will promote the community, but it’s meant to, like, engage people into something else. For us, it’s just that. So our bottom line is always, how many people  are we like, actively helping? How many people? Are we impacting? How are we connecting with people? And I think that has kept us honest, because it’s made sure that like, we don’t engage with our community members as like followers. We, I don’t, I don’t think I’ve ever called our community followers, because they’re not to us, like, we really are a community where people that come from different backgrounds have a shared love of a certain industry or certain craft, and we really aspire to, like, engage with people one on one, we do our best to, like consistently respond to people to like, check in on who’s in our community, right? So it’s not just like, Hey, I’m following this platform, or I like this community, but we follow people back, we engage with them as if it was a personal account, because that’s really what it is. It’s a human, you know, it’s a brand that I want to be human, and I want to remain human. So I think it’s been that it’s been keeping the community centered, it’s been looking at the code, like the needs of the collective versus what we’re trying to fulfill. And having those two things really be our Northstar, I think has really helped with cultivating community engagement. And I’m just like, I’m not when we’re producing content, whether it be with our creative team, or if it’s me, or if it’s anyone else, like the main thing is just like, is this relatable? Like, is it relatable? Is it accessible? Do people feel as though like they actually understand what it is that we’re trying to get out there? And are we checking in on our community? What how are we fulfilling their needs? So that has helped? That was the first question, why did I forget the second question so quickly?

 

Lexie Smith 

Second question was just curious how long it’s taking you to get to the place you’re at today with that community.

 

Fatou Barry 

So we again, we launched in 2014. I want to say, No, it was 2014. I keep saying I don’t know why 2015 is in my head, but in 2014 was when we first created created the and when I say we, I say we because now it’s like not just me. But when it first launched, it was me. So when I first created the account, I was consistent with it, I’m gonna be fully transparent. I was like, I did my best to be consistent with it. But there’s like a good eight months a gap where I kind of just fell off, right? So it’s that’s been 2014, let’s say part of 2015 16 17 18 19. Yeah, we’re about to be seven years in this thing. Yeah. Which is wild to think about, grateful for it. But yeah, we’re about to be seven years within just cultivating community, and it’s had ups and flows. So there have been moments where I think we’ve done a good job at nurturing the community that we have, and haven’t seen any, like crazy exponential growth. But what I found is that, like, it’s really just about continuing to provide value. So that’s been the priority, how we provide value. And when we provide great value it you can see it in like how the community grows. So like, if we put a really great piece of content up, we’re gonna gain, you know, like 100 followers, and just keeping that again, front of mind, helps accelerate, but we have been on this road for some time,

 

Lexie Smith 

I think that’s helpful to hear it, you know, it’s not something that was just achieved in a blink of an eye overnight. It’s taken work and consistency, and it has grown. And while I’ve mentioned your Instagram account, I do want to say, I know it’s beyond that. So how can people interact with your community? Aside from just the Instagram account?

 

Fatou Barry 

Yeah, so we are one Instagram, we’re on LinkedIn, we, of course, have like our website, we’re on Twitter, we’re on all the platforms, I will say that we typically focus on where our audience lives at. And that’s mostly like an Instagram or LinkedIn or our website, but that’s how people can engage with us. We have some things coming up that I’m really excited to announce like, hopefully, in a couple of weeks that everyone will may be made, like privy to, or no, but yeah, there’s some stuff coming up. But right now we’re just on the Digital’s, we’ve done a conference before in partnership with another organization. So that’s been an opportunity for people to connect with us in real life. Of course, things look different in the last like year and a half of the world doing something interesting, like COVID and just everything that’s you know, that happens as a result of that. So we were doing in real life and we hope to get In real life, you know when everyone is safe and hopefully like vaccinated or we get over this, so we’ll we’ll do that. But for right now we’re digital first.

 

Lexie Smith 

Hey guys, Lexie here interrupting the show really quick to drop a note. Did you know that in a study produced by Nielsen, it was reported that PR is almost 90% more effective than advertising? Well, it is, I swear, Google it. So if you’ve been enjoying learning about all things, pitching and sipping, I wanted to give you an official invite to visit my website, theprbarinc.com spelled t h e p r b a r i n c .com. To learn even more about how you might be able to work with yours truly to increase your influence, impact and revenue with PR. If you’re not sure where to start on the site, consider booking a free consultation. All right, I’m done back to the show. Okay, so you segwayed perfectly into what I want to talk about next, which is because I need we need in the world needs to learn more about Hold The Press, I do want to start by reading a statistic to tee everyone up that I found on your site. So according to Harvard Business Review’s analysis of the Federal Labor Statistics, it found the PR industry to be 89.7%, White, 8.3%, Black, 2.6% Asian, and 5.7% Hispanic or Latinx. On that note, please tell everyone, what is Hold The Press and what is its mission?

 

Fatou Barry 

Yeah, so Hold The Press is an advocacy group. First and foremost, it’s also a call for action, accountability and transparency in the PR industry and, and calm as well for black people. So when it came out, of course, I’m a black woman. So I have delivered personal and professional experience of a black woman. And so I know what it means to look how I look and to exist in this industry, and how things are different for those who don’t look like me and how things the reality of what it is to people who do look like me. So last summer, we all saw black squares. And it was almost insulting, I think when you are a black person in an industry that has such a big diversity gap and has had a diversity issue for so long seeing brands, agencies and firms that are notoriously known for being not the most like positive or best environment for a black professional postings about standing in solidarity with their black community is hypocritical. And it’s insulting. So Hold The Press is again, co founded, I have three other amazing co founders that are black woman who are within the PR industry as well. They work at agencies, and it’s like a pretty good perspective of like those who are in house those someone has their own agency, as well as just like having different professional experiences. So we came together and really talked about like, what how we were feeling right, seeing all of this. So collectively, how we were feeling to, like, if we were going to not say anything, what that would look like or what that how that would like affect the industry. Because the thing about PR is that because so many of the people who are responsible for crafting messages for for pushing campaigns, and all the components of PR are mostly behind the scenes, it’s easy for people to hide behind words, because you’re not seeing a front unless your front facing spokesperson like you’re not really knowing or, or seeing who’s behind all of the messaging. And in most cases, messaging is being put out about communities of color, without people from communities of color in those rooms. So we knew that something had to be said, and it was just a matter of what and how. So what we did is we will open it up to our communities, our respective communities to, you know, suggest or recommend agencies that we reach out to, but we also had our own Listen, we had and we went through and really did the research of identifying who posted a black square, you know, and asking, What does your leadership look like? What are your diversity numbers, because it’s not enough to post a black square and it’s actually hypocritical to, you know, say that you’re gonna engage in this and knowing that your leadership, knowing that your that your professional environment is not a positive one, knowing that you don’t have any black people within your, you know, your firm or agency like we’re gonna call it out. And I think that that’s the first step right? transparency is a first, accountability is another step. And both of those things were lacking. So that’s what Hold The Press is and that’s where it I guess it was birthed from. And over the last year we’ve been collecting diversity numbers. We’ve been working With a series of amazing organizations that are advocating, you know, for progression of BIPOC professionals as a whole, in the industry to, to really figure out how do we measure, right? How do we measure this standard? How do we hold people accountable? And how do we engage and commit to real work?

 

Lexie Smith 

Fatou, do you mind speaking a little bit more specifically to the asks and requests that you made of the agencies in the industry?

 

Fatou Barry 

Yes, of course. So when we reached out to these agencies and friends, we asked for their organizational diversity breakdown, we asked for the current number of employees who were black, and the number of employees who are POC, so people of color in executive roles. And we also asked them to separate it, because one thing that we were seeing in other, you know, like call outs, or I guess other requests for diversity is that people were lumping all POC executive roles together to make their numbers appear higher. When asked about like, how many black employees you have, so we asked for those to be separated. We also asked a number of client accounts that they had, that were black owned, or person of color owned, again, asked for the separation of numbers. And then we also asked him for action plans. Because we know, again, that’s where the accountability bit comes in. The transparency is in numbers, the accountability is so clearly there’s an issue here, what are you going to do about it in terms of our requests, and one thing that we really wanted to be adamant about was being able to provide suggestions or solutions, in addition to like, asking for this information that we were so some of our requests were that agencies visit historically black colleges and universities to be able to recruit like tier top tier talent from there with the commitment again, to expand outreach. Beyond that, because we know that, you know, black students are not just that historically black colleges and universities, we asked that they consider developing a training program for black men and woman and just rotating like participants in different sectors so they could find their specialty, we asked for the restructure if the agency has less than 30% of black women, men are POC and executive roles. We also asked to develop support, and fund more employee resource groups and affinity groups. And then there was the ask of creating policies in place to ensure equal pay. And this then the accountability, again, to include both black and people of color led media publications in their outreach versus just in multicultural programming. And then one of the the additional things or the last thing, yeah, was that we asked professional PR organizations to sponsor 123 Award entry for black owned agencies, because that was something that we were finding, as well as that there is.. it’s cyclical, right, so you don’t get no, you either don’t get opportunity, or you get opportunity. But then the appeal, like your talent isn’t acknowledged, because all these things in our industry that set the standard or the parameter for what agencies are what professionals you need to work with you to get into, if you are a small agency, and you cannot fork up like that money to submit just a nomination. That’s not to say you win the award. And there’s an additional fee on top of that, when do you ever get recognized? Right? So that’s something that we wanted to make sure that we put in there because our asked to with Hold The Press was to make sure that what we were asking for and how we were, you know, showing up was as inclusive as possible. So that we weren’t just targeting people who were in agencies or who worked in house, we wanted to make sure that people who, you know,  black professionals and black PR pros who had their own agencies who were on their own, also had that avenue and had that support from Hold The Press.

 

Lexie Smith 

So how was the response?

 

Fatou Barry 

Not surprising, not surprising at all. It’s really interesting, because even in our outreach, we were told police, by individuals of organization of these firms. We were told that they people didn’t have to give us our numbers, because who were we and I believe out of all of the agencies that we reached out to about 40 responded, and some of it was like lip service, you know, so we weren’t surprised. But the whole thing was that we wanted people to be if you’re not opening right about the things that you like, try to sweep under the rug or the things that you’re trying to hide, how can you ever really address the problem? If you don’t want to admit that there’s a problem? So I’m not asking for numbers? It was the accountability piece, of course of like, hey, like, this is performative. Your post…you’re posting a black square, but does your company ethos, right, does the environment that your black professionals like exists in every day support this? It was that but it was also like let’s see the numbers so that everyone can like realize exactly where we’re starting from because black professionals and I think people of color, who are professionals, we know because we live it, but I think there was a moment here, where it was important that everybody in the industry was made aware of exactly where we were at, you know, as, as an entire communications industry, specifically in this space of PR, so that we could start to do the work, we could at one, get real with ourselves, that work has to be done. And inside the process of doing the work.

 

Lexie Smith 

So depending on when this episode airs, it’s gonna be either just around or just past one year, since you first put out a call for accountability. And you just briefly mentioned, you know, kind of the initial response. I’m curious now, today, one year later, if the ask in the request is still the same, has it evolved? Is it kind of a combination of both? Where do we go from here today?

 

Fatou Barry 

Yeah. So we’re about to be one year, I think the assets remain the same. I think what has what has changed that I think what has changed is that in this time, we have merged with 600 & Rising, which is an advocacy group that’s doing similar work in the advertising and marketing space. And we’ve been working with other organizations to come together again, with this measurement system, right? How do we like hold the industry? Well, how do we create an industry wide standard, so that things don’t bother the cracks? So that you know, we’re not essentially grouping all these experiences together? So where do we go from here? I think there’s still a ton of work to be done. But now we have engaged, more engaged and more willing participants to a degree. And now we’re really trying to get footing and what it looks like, what how can we measure success, right, in this call for action, I think last year, when we launched this thing, of course, we were very passionate, but we just really like wanted to get the information out there. And so now we’ve done that. So now it’s really this industry wide standard. It’s amplifying and making sure that the voices of black professionals are heard. And it’s also making sure that we are holding ourselves accountable as we hold our partners and people accountable to creating more accessibility for black and POC professionals within the industry. So I think that’s where we are now. There’s stuff coming down the pipeline with that, too, that we’ll hopefully be able to announce soon as to what that looks like for us as Hold The Press, but where we are is really like the the strategic steps to move forward. Now, what are what do those look like? And how can we create those steps so that, you know, they’re, they’re applicable to everyone?

 

Lexie Smith 

And this might be coming out in your announcement so maybe you can’t answer but I just want to speak to for anyone listening who maybe you know, they’re not in the executive level of big time agency, is there something in a smaller way that they can do today? That is helpful or progressive towards, you know, the call to action and the cause?

 

Fatou Barry 

My biggest thing, I think, when thinking about like, how people can can support and continue, I think specifically and I’ll and I’ll say this, too, though, people, professionals, anyone that might be listening that is not black or you know, doesn’t identify as a person of color is standing in the gap, right? I think it’s really, really extremely important. We hear a lot about like, Okay, listen, you know, listen and amplify. But how do you stand in the gap. Last summer, when everything kind of like, was happening with the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, we had a conversation with our community, because our community is a diverse one, which means that we have people of all backgrounds. And one of the things that we really talked about was, in this moment, if you want to support if you want to be an ally, you stand in the gap, right? When you see it’s like New York, I’m from New York. So we’re like, we have those new york city like announcement, if you see something, say something, and it’s very much that. We’re asking people in this industry to be accomplices, right? Don’t be… an ally means I empathize with you. I’m here, like, but that’s not always enough. An accomplice is someone who’s committed to doing the work with you. So my biggest thing is being able to stand in the gap like when you’re in situations are when you’re in rooms. Or if you walk into a room, I think Ellen Pompeo said it best. And she was talking about her own experiences as a as a as a white actress. When she walks into her room, and she doesn’t see like diversity, or she doesn’t see people who don’t look like her. It makes her uncomfortable. And she speaks up about it. That is a way that you stand in the gap. I think it’s easy to be passive when something is not happening to you or you don’t necessarily know or have the tools or you feel like you don’t to be able to like support it or not change but something as simple as that as being like, Huh, this media list like does not look like diverse. Have you sourced like, you know, where are you sourcing your vendors from? Are any of these vendors like from agencies or companies that are black owned A person of color or like really like indigenous, like indigenous own things like that those questions, you might, you know, you might not think it does a lot, but it does a lot, because now you introduce the reality that there’s diversity lacking. And now you’re holding the people around you and yourself accountable to figure out how to change that, how to rectify that situation.

 

Lexie Smith 

Thank you, thank you for sharing that I think. And I love the example that you gave, and standing in the gap becomes much more achievable. In the way you you talked about it. And you know, people doesn’t need to be something on a grand scale, meaning not everyone’s an actress listening, right. But like something in your day to day life. If you see something, you know, not turning a blind eye to it. Thank you. Where can people for Hold The Press go to learn. I know, there’s so much more information. There’s a phenomenal video, I’ll put that in the show notes. Where can they go to learn more?

 

Fatou Barry 

Yeah, so we have our website, holdthe-press.com. So essentially, anything that we do, like we just push through there first. So if you’d like to learn more about Hold The Press, if you’d like to reach out and see like how you know, if you’re interested in supporting or working with us, if you go to holdthe-press.com. Everything is their contact form information agencies that we’ve reached out to our black and PR series that we just released, all that will be there.

 

Lexie Smith 

Perfect, thank you. Two more kind of questions. And literally, I can keep you here all day. I’m having to monitor myself for times and so much, I want to get into real quick shift gears back to PR you also, because you already don’t do enough, have an agency. So I just really quick want to give you an opportunity to acknowledge that and give a quick rundown of who you serve. And yeah, what kind of services you offer,

 

Fatou Barry 

of course, so AB Media Group. So it’s actually a multi disciplinary agency, I… So when I quit, when I decided that I wanted to do this agency thing, I knew that I didn’t want it to just be calm, I didn’t want it to just be PR. And that’s because I felt like it was an opportunity to speak to like, all of the parts of myself all the things that like not only that I enjoy doing for clients and for other people, but that I’ve really spent the last year Well, last year last decade, really getting good at so it’s a multidisciplinary agency, where it’s the intersection of creativity, culture, and community. And we are at these intersections, because these are the three things that we really try to focus on. When we work with clients. And we work with brands, we want to use the most creative, like resources, we want to look at things from an innovative point of view, we want to make sure that we’re keeping culture at the root of it, that we’re honoring, you know, just the many various cultures that make up the melting pot in our daily lives and community, as you can tell communities a big pillar of anything that I do. So how do we not how do we not only help propel brands forward or build brands? But how do we build community around brands? Right? How do we how do we get brands to think of their brands as like, not just a product and not just a service, and not just a company, but a real opportunity to to like rally people and to make change. So a lot of our clients are, you know, brands that are driving social progress. They are black owned businesses, they are immigrant owned businesses. So we’re, we’re really intentional about that stuff. In terms of services, we have an array, we have a an amazing creative team that does a lot of branding, content and production, a lot of like really great visual work. And then we also have a lot of strategy work that we enjoy doing. So try driving around campaign strategizing around initiatives, getting businesses and our clients to kind of merge this social impact into their day to day. And then of course, what most people I think, no we are, which is the more to just book comms in terms of public relations. So we have that as well. It’s a shout into the dark of like the agency that I I think I would have loved to have worked at when I first may might have started in the industry. So that’s kind of what got funneled into that

 

Lexie Smith 

beautiful I mean, I literally created a company named THEPRBAR because I was so annoying. I just wanted to do it. It was me It’s my company.

 

Fatou Barry 

And that’s how you do it. Because whatever you build is an extension of you know of who you are and the things that you love and that you want to put out into the world. So I love that. I love that you named it that.

 

Lexie Smith 

Thank you I appreciate that. Where can people learn about at media and hire you?

 

Fatou Barry 

Yeah, yes hire. I love it. Um, so if you go to abmedia.group, that’s our website URL. And then across social platforms, we are heyabmg. So that’s Hey, and then ABG.

 

Lexie Smith 

Yeah, awesome. Again, we’ll put that in the show notes people, so don’t feel like you’ve discouraged write it down. One more question which I have 500 more but this one’s very important to this podcast. So we’ve been talking about pitching and a lot of stuff. Now, what can we find you sipping? So what is your favorite beverage? Either alcoholic or of course non alcoholic?

 

Fatou Barry 

Yes. What I’ve been… what I’ve been drinking. So it’s actually like Ramadan, so I’m not drinking anything.

 

Lexie Smith 

Nothing is the answer. That’s the first.

 

Fatou Barry 

Nothing. Yeah, I’m drinking nothing, but I’ve been kombucha and I might be like random

 

Lexie Smith 

No, I’m a huge see what I have people can’t see I’m drinking kombucha as we speak, while recording this podcast

 

Fatou Barry 

Kombucha has been that girl for me. Like health aid, I’ve also been like trying out these random brands that are at Target when I go so yeah, a lot of kombucha

 

Lexie Smith 

I this is like there’s no kombucha sponsor for this podcast. But kombucha has changed my life and that sounds very dramatic, but it changed my gut health

 

Fatou Barry 

No, it’s real gut health is so like is a is a serious and real thing. And I just wish we talked more openly about it because we need to but kombucha, like again kombucha is that girl like there can be a brand tagline

 

Lexie Smith 

you should go trademark that because if someone’s already kombucha is that girl. Do you have a favorite? You said health aid, is that your favorite brand, would you say?

 

Fatou Barry 

So far, yes. I really like that. I think it’s a Pink Lady. Yeah, the Pink Lady is good. I enjoy that. The Ginger Lemon one too I’ve enjoyed. I have another brand. I just can’t remember the name. It’s in the fridge but I just can’t remember what it what it was. And I that was really good.

 

Lexie Smith 

I was looking around my office because I have my think I think it’s health aid. My favorite one is the cayenne cleanse. You ever tried that? It’s so good.

 

Fatou Barry 

Oh, no, I have not tried that one. But I should. So, yeah, I’ve been drinking kombucha… Um, tea, tea. I’ve been doing a lot of that because by the time I breakfast, um, it’s nighttime, so I can’t drink coffee. Yeah, I’m like, I’m trying to eat and sleep. But yeah, that has been… That’s why I’ve been sipping. Yeah,

 

Lexie Smith 

Kombucha. I love it. Okay, last little question. You know, we told them, where to learn more about Hold The Press. We told them more about your agency, but we haven’t given a shout out to where they can follow you. And learn more about PR Girl Manifesto.

 

Fatou Barry 

Yeah. So PR Girl Manifesto, we are PRGirlManifesto across all platforms. And then our website is http://www.the, it has the in front of it, prgirlmanifesto.com. So that’s where you can find us. We are on the interwebs, we respond, We slide DMs, we do all of that we have fun.

 

Lexie Smith 

I just want to say thank you for not just being on the show. But for everything that you are doing for this industry. For this world. I mean, I am floored by you, serious girl crush,

 

Fatou Barry 

I really appreciate that. It means the world again, like I think a lot of the things that I do just come from a place of like, Man, I wish I had this or man like I know that there’s someone out there that needs that. And when you when you’re in it, you’re in it. So sometimes like I don’t always like I don’t always like am able to receive like something what you just said I’m getting better at it. But I really do appreciate that and I’m just so grateful that you would want PR Girl Manifesto, you’d want myself on your podcast. I love it. I listened to a few episodes, so great, so relatable and like it’s great. So this is a proof if you ever need an endorsement, It’s here. Yeah, thank you for allowing me to like just be a part of the podcast and for holding space for all of these discussions and yeah, appreciate it.

 

Lexie Smith 

I’m going to let you get back to being a super woman and ruling the world. But thank you and if you’re ever on the west coast, let’s go get kombucha or something.

 

Fatou Barry 

Um, yes, yes. The West Coast is calling my name. I was there like right before the pandemic so I’m like, I gotta go back.

 

Lexie Smith 

Well, I’d also like to get to the east coast one of the…you know

 

Fatou Barry 

oh please when you’re here come Yeah.

 

Lexie Smith 

Well, thank you so much and have a wonderful I guess, evening

 

Fatou Barry 

it is yet seven o’clock here. 7.19 .

 

Lexie Smith 

Cheers. Hey guys, if you are enjoying the Pitchin’ and Sippin’ podcast, please do me a huge favor and leave a review wherever you are listening. If you want to connect with me to learn more about THEPRBAR inc., You can do so on Instagram @theprbar_inc or you can check out my website at theprbarinc.com. Cheers

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