Being a powerful woman in the communications industry seems like an oxymoron, especially when most PR girls are expected to be agreeable, demure and friendly. Fatou Barry is attempting to break that stigma with her company PR Girl Manifesto. As a woman who hustled her way from gigs to launching her own PR and media agency, Fatou has not only mastered being the alpha woman, but she is helping other women in media and communications learn how to balance being a BAUCE and being themselves. As a PR maven herself, Fatou makes sure she continues to teach and empower women while still enjoying the best parts of life. In this interview with BAUCE, Fatou shares how she got into the communications industry and talks about the impact she wants to have in the world.
What specific need in the media industry did you want to fill for women?
Fatou: Women were being judged on their age and race in the workplace. Our work was being closely looked over by higher-ups. I got frustrated with this and knew we, as women, needed a safe space for our work and to get knowledge of media and communication. PR Girl Manifesto was first created for women in public relations but turned into a platform for women in communications all across the board like digital media and much more!
What difficulties do you find yourself encountering while growing your business, PR Girl Manifesto?
Fatou: Oh man, our biggest encounter when first starting PRGM was when we first began, we didn’t know exactly what we wanted to do. After taking time to evaluate what our platform would be, now we’re working on how to monetize it. How do we monetize the platform we’ve created and scale it in a way that makes sense? That would be our biggest encounter right now, making sure we’re putting out great content and getting monetized on our platforms.
What can we expect from PR Girl University?
Fatou: Ah, PR Girl University is an extension of PRGM. We felt like we weren’t targeting our women in college. A lot of women in college who are majoring in communications aren’t getting the knowledge and tools they would need post-grad. During college, a lot of personal development occurs and we wanted to make sure we created a safe space and community for our college girls. We want to give the real narrative of communications to them while they’re in college, before they reach post-grad, and don’t have the resources to pursue their career. So we’ll be building up communities there and providing courses that reflect the pace of public relations is now outside of colleges.
What would you say your ultimate goal is with PRGM?
Fatou: I would say my goal for PRGM is to be an umbrella company. We want to keep expanding and adding extensions on. We want to be international! We had our ManifestHER conference this year that feature[d] amazing women across the communications industry. There’s so much we want to do for PRGM and ways to help our women in the communications network and educate each other.
When it comes to networking, what has been your best strategy?
Fatou: While networking, I would say not be afraid to slide in someone’s DMs! A lot of my business relationships were formed by one of us sliding in the others DMs and just telling each other how we liked the work they’re doing and wanting to connect. So shoot your shot! Also, I find that a lot of times when I first meet people, they’re so ready to hand you their business card right away and it kind of comes off as if that’s the only reason you’re speaking to me. Develop strong relationships with people.
What does being a Bauce mean to you?
Fatou: Being a BAUCE to me isn’t about a title or just a ‘oh you own a business, you’re a boss’. I think it’s more of a girl knowing what she wants and doing what she needs to achieve it.
How did you come across the opportunity to be the PR for Base Butter?
Fatou: Yes, I actually didn’t run across Base Butter. I came across the owner, Chantel. We slid in each other’s DMs and decided to meet up on National Margarita Day. Shortly after she approached me with the opportunity to be her PR for Base Butter. It felt right and it still, to this day, feels right. It’s an amazing company, everyone on the team is amazing! I’m very glad to be a part of such a great company.
What’s can we expect from you, as an individual, in the near future?
Fatou: Well, my friend, Melissa Alam and I have created this company called AB Media Group which is a minority, female-based company that specializes in helping women of color brand their businesses with brand design and digital marketing. I am also opening my first clinic in Guinea. The clinic is an attempt at providing a safe haven for women and children in Guinea who are victims of domestic abuse that don’t have anywhere to go. The majority of developing countries in Africa do not have clear laws that protect women in children who experience this horror.
As a survivor orphaned by domestic violence, it’s been something dear to my heart for years. In the last year, my adoptive mother and I have been in the process of building a safe haven and clinic that we hope will begin the process of providing women and children with a place they can call home and feel safe. We’ll be officially announcing the project in Q2 and providing avenues for people to support and donate to our programming.