Barbara is an award-winning communications, crisis, issue and business management professional with 25 years of experience bringing strategic insights and solutions to public, private and international organizations in the food, beverage, consumer packaged goods and consumer lifestyle sectors. As a consultant, Barbara specializes in helping clients protect, build and drive value for their companies, product or service offerings, reputations and brands. She counsels executives, builds high-performance teams, and develops differentiated and winning strategic positions.
Respected for her communication skills, crisis and rapid response capabilities, media know-how and business acumen, Barbara’s expertise includes custom media training and executive coaching, corporate and brand leadership strategies, stakeholder engagement, resonant targeted awareness initiatives, stage gate analysis and planning, and strategic alignment.
Crisis and Issue Management: Risk Assessment and Crisis Planningl Team Development and Training l Avoidance, Readiness and Containment Strategies l 24-7 Urgent Response and Containment l Recall Support l Mock Drills and Scenario-based Training l Spokesperson Readiness l Incident Debrief and Recovery
Media Training and Executive Coaching: Media Strategy and Messaging l Custom Spokesperson Readiness l Executive Coaching and Presentation Refinement l Speechwriting l Media Management l Media Briefings and Appearances
Communications and Branding: StrategicPositioning and Message Alignment l Corporate Communications l Brand-building Strategies and Workshops l Marketing PR Solutions l Company, Brand and Product Launches/Restages l Breakthrough Concept Development l Customer, Channel and Consumer Campaigns
Strategic Alignment: Assessment and Gap Analysis l Value Mapping l Strategic Program Design l One-Voice Alignment and Integrated Communication Solutions
Business Planning and Management: Corporate Governance and Leadership Strategies l Stakeholder Relationship Management l Influencer Programs and Alliances l Stage Gate Analysis l Mission Integration and Marketing
Relevant Career Highlights
- Stratagent Corp., Founder, President and COO – Consultancy specializing in corporate and brand strategy and crisis and reputation management to serve established and emerging companies and brands with major emphasis in food, beverage, and consumer product or service offerings. Developed unique models for risk avoidance, team readiness and lightning speed rapid response. Created process flow maps and decision trees designed to streamline management processes throughout the global enterprise or among multiple divisions and corporate holdings. Successfully managed stakeholder relationships and communications during high-profile industry or corporate events. Developed specialized media training protocols and tools and managed proactive media outreach. Led successful corporate leadership and brand positioning initiatives. Drove measurable reputation and brand value within highly complex environments and scenarios.
- Omnicom Group, Porter Novelli International, Executive Vice President, Operating Committee Member – Global management, integrated marketing and public affairs consulting firm. Founded and led global Consumer Marketing Practice of over 100 professionals that achieved highest growth and revenue ranking companywide. Acted as lead consultant to CPG and food and beverage clients within full-service portfolio. Carried out successful issue and crisis planning for consumer and business-to-business companies and provided specialized public affairs consulting. Developed and taught companywide training initiative designed to realign corporate offerings around high-impact marketing principles, developed strategies that helped clients achieve stronger competitive advantage and measurable bottom-line success. Spearheaded over 20 successful product and service debuts, managed multi-million dollar budgets and pioneered a strategic model for global and domestic launches designed to generate opportunities for increased sales and revenue growth. Led strategic realignment and stakeholder engagement initiatives for Fortune 100 companies.
- Euro RSCG, Creamer Dickson Basford, and Howard Rubenstein Associates, Senior Vice President — led corporate and marketing initiatives that surpassed projections and boosted share of voice and market share. Directed and grew marketing public relations division and revenues. Honed superior media relations, writing and spokesperson mentoring skills, achieving cover and feature story placements in high-profile global media outlets.
- Office of the Attorney General and State Legislature, State of Wisconsin – Acted as press officer, spokesperson and public information director for the Wisconsin Attorney General/Department of Justice for consumer affairs. Wrote and published over 100 bi-weekly newspaper columns, appeared on scores of radio and television informational programming and interviews, and developed public-private partnerships. Acted as principal consumer advisor and liaison to the US FDA, USDA, FTC and Department of Education. In collaboration with state and U.S. attorneys, spearheaded stakeholder outreach, researched legal precedents and supported public policy development.
- At the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, working with internal subject matter experts, served as lead consultant in the development of an interdisciplinary, globally-applicable issue and rapid response planning and management process that is now successfully utilized to respond to a wide-range of critical events.
- At Hershey Foods, created and refined a first-time intra-company risk assessment and crisis management process template designed to surface issues and risks as well as train executives in containment and resolution strategies.
- At Chiquita Brands International and Fresh Express, created successful customer relationship management schematic and plan. From the ground up, built a global crisis plan and management process, trained and mentored executives and provided advanced media training for upper management and third-party spokespersons. Devised risk assessment process and metric that has helped the company successfully steer through potential facility, regional, global and industrywide events. Supported recalls, food safety and quality events and operational challenges throughout the supply chain. Partnering with corporate communications, helped drive and support stakeholder engagement projects, corporate leadership initiatives, global announcements, innovations priorities and research-driven programming. Designed and implemented the Fresh Express Fresh Produce Research Summit, the first research-based industry gathering focusing on pathogen mitigation strategies for leafy greens.
- At Dow – AgroFresh, developed global, multi-layered issue management and strategic outreach effort that diffused attacks, re-established key stakeholder relationships, including regulatory, and protected critical reputations. Subsequently, led internal steering committee in brand repositioning effort, messaging platform development and strategic alliance-building.
- At Kellogg Company, developed public-private partnership programs and national high-profile public platforms designed to reach influencers and showcase the robust Kellogg research and public affairs programs.
- At Ore-ida Foods, working directly with an on-site integrated marketing team, created and directed a highly visible and successful consumer campaign designed to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Tater Tots by asking kids to record why they – and their town – should be named the biggest Tater Tot lover in the USA. Awareness, visibility and sales soared during the contest timeframe.
- At H. J. Heinz Company, introduced food media and influencers to new flavors at a Valentine’s Day private tasting and party held at a media-worthy New York City venue that also answered the question “Why do French fries heart Heinz ketchup?” The integrated campaign also featured point of sale merchandising, in-store contests, retailer tie-ins and consumer elements, broke new product sales projections and also increased sales for the flagship ketchup product.
- At Coors Brewing Company, ensured that the company and Coors brand would shine bright and that influencers nationwide would hear important positive leadership messaging via a multi-year, multi-layered mission marketing campaign entitled “Literacy. Pass it On.” In this award-winning campaign, Coors Brewing, celebrities like Smokey Robinson, Cher and Danny Glover, and Literacy Volunteers of America, joined together in a grassroots, big-hearted and worthwhile initiative. In addition to boosting brand recognition and driving sales, the program proactively engaged the Coors bottling and distribution network throughout the nation and achieved significant goodwill among opinion leaders, the regulatory community and all Coors associates.
- At Gillette Company, spearheaded the unprecedented public relations launch of Gillette Sensor – hailed by Fortune Magazine and investors alike as the “single most successful product launch in the history of mankind” – as well as subsequent Sensor family product launches conducted simultaneously in 26 countries simultaneously. Due to the success of the launches, products were typically sold out, or well on their way to meeting winning sales projections before even the first ads began to appear.
- BA, Political Science and Public Administration, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
- Issue Management Council, Board of Directors
- International Association of Business Communicators, Board of Directors
- Reputation Management/Inside PR, All-Star in Marketing Communications
- Industry Awards, 9 major awards for excellence in communications, crisis management and media relations
- Guest Lecturer, high-profile national forum and seminars with subjects including brand management, national media relations, and integrated marketing communications