The Millennial Maven: Fatou Barry, Founder of PR Girl Manifesto

The public relations industry can be very tough: it’s full of tight deadlines and is consistently ranked as one of the most stressful industries. However, like in any profession, there are some who make the tough parts look easy. New York City-based PR professional Fatou Barry is one of those people.

Born in Guinea and raised in NYC, Fatou is a PR professional, strategist and visual marketer. She has worked with brands like Mark Ecko, Rocawear and many more. A millennial maven and entrepreneur, an early affinity for strategic thinking came to Fatou early. “I’ve always been good at it, but never knew it was something people could do professionally,” she explained.

That changed around 2007, when a friend of hers was cast in the Disney Channel original movie, “Camp Rock.”  The catch was this friend is from Canada and didn’t have a Hollywood team behind him like the rest of the cast. His mom, and manager at the time, recruited Fatou to help on the team. It was her first experience in public relations and gave her a taste of what PR and branding is.

As a result, Fatou spent several years behind the scenes of tours and concerts before she was 18 years old. In college, at the University of Buffalo, she learned more about digital marketing and interactive media. Since then, she has enjoyed standing at the intersection of strategy and creation and has forged her own path.

Now, Fatou is the founder of PR Girl Manifesto and co-founder of AB Media Group. PRGM is a niche digital community of communication professionals and offers concentrated services. In contrast, ABMG operates as an agency and specializes in brand design, digital marketing and event activation. “I’m just like every other millennial entrepreneur: trying to get everything done in a day,” she said.

In an industry that relies heavily on goal-setting, Fatou has many plans for the rest of 2018. She’s taken some time to restructure what PRGM does and is excited for the coming months. “We’ll be more aggressive in programming,” said Fatou, a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur. “We love to provide experiences for our tribe so we’re going to do more at the collegiate level, more takeovers and Q&As. We’ll also be focusing on people who want to go into communications in general.”

Working with people from varying industries means that no two days are ever alike. That’s part of what Fatou loves about her job: seeing what everyone brings to the table. “Everyone has a different ‘why’ and I love honing on what that is,” said Fatou, who is a natural storyteller. “I love just working with people and clients in different industries. They give you a taste of different industries.”

To say Fatou is busy is a massive understatement. She’s so busy, in fact, that sometimes Fatou has to remember when to ‘turn off’ the boss mentality. “We’re all human beings first and I think sometimes it’s hard for people to remember that,” said Fatou. “Sometimes, it’s hard for me to take care of business and take care of myself, too.”

Despite challenges, Fatou finds comfort in the little things. “What helps me is reminding myself that I’m human and to be gentle with myself,” she said. She also sticks with an inspiring community, which makes a lot of sense given the nature of PRGM and ABMG. “My business partner (of ABMG) is one of my good friends and seeing her drive inspires me. I have to make sure I’m in spaces where people are inspiring me. I come from a small, West African family and girls who look like me, don’t do what I do. So, I use that as inspiration to do and be the best I can.”

All in all, we love the work Fatou has done and the community that she has created. In the spirit of community, she gave some advice for those looking to break into the industry. “Just do the work and throw yourself into the industry. It’s hard to pinpoint what PR looks like sometimes; it’s really easy to fake it, but don’t. Be committed to learning and building a strong foundation. You can always learn more and that will propel you.”

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