Welcome to the next episode of our PR series, “Her PR Journey.” Today, we have an unstoppable guest who impresses with her experience, professionalism, and intriguing PR cases – Fabiana Barcelos.
In this installment, join us as we delve into the dynamic world of PR with Fabiana, exploring her remarkable journey, insights, and captivating PR stories. Get ready for a compelling discussion filled with expertise and inspiration from the fascinating realm of public relations.
A Conversation with PR Maverick Fabiana Barcelos
PRNEWS.IO: Can you share your journey from being a journalist to founding Ares Comunicação and becoming a reference in the field of event public relations?
Fabiana Barcelos: I’ve always been passionate about journalism, and I decided on this career path during my third year of college when I discovered my love for being a press manager. Prior to graduating, I had an internship opportunity with a major Brazilian company called Nacional Expresso. However, I only stayed there for two months, as I received another offer from Unitri University, where I spent the next two years. After completing my degree, I worked at another university for four years, as I wanted to establish a solid foundation for my career. While owning my own business was a longstanding dream, I knew I needed more knowledge, experience, and a strong professional network. During this time, I worked in various communication roles and pursued an MBA at USP (São Paulo Federal University). This marked the beginning of Ares Comunicação, as I served as a consultant for a local drugstore chain and two well-known bars/clubs, integrating management and marketing for almost two years, which greatly satisfied my clients. It was then that I felt ready to start my own venture.
However, upon analyzing the market, I noticed many agencies offering similar services, and I wanted to stand out. Recognizing Uberlândia as a hub for significant national events, I decided to focus exclusively on press management for events when launching Ares. That’s how Ares was born.
On January 28, Ares will celebrate its 16th anniversary. We’ve had our share of success, managing up to 34 accounts simultaneously. However, a year ago, for personal and professional reasons, I chose to work with a select few large clients, allowing me to provide individual attention and share my extensive knowledge in press relations. Current clients appreciate and value the importance of press relations, as well as my expertise in crisis management.
With this new strategy, I can take on more teaching responsibilities at the university where I lecture. Additionally, I have the flexibility to conduct courses, workshops, and lectures in my field.
PRNEWS.IO: With 15 years of experience in communication, how have you seen the landscape of public relations and content marketing evolve, especially in the context of events in Uberlândia and the surrounding regions?
Fabiana Barcelos: Today, I observe that individuals and businesses are much more prepared, truly understanding what press relations entail and the tangible benefits they bring to businesses. The media landscape has undergone significant changes, and the approach to press relations is no longer the same as it was 15 years ago.
Nowadays, there is a proliferation of paid media and the influence of social media influencers. Personally, I have always embraced the evolution of this field. I’ve never been resistant to change. I prefer to stay tuned to trends and shape my work in a way that continually yields positive outcomes for clients using this exceptional tool which is press relations.
PRNEWS.IO: You’ve provided media coverage for events in various areas such as culture, sports, technology, and product launches. Could you highlight a particularly challenging or rewarding project that stands out in your career?
Fabiana Barcelos: It might sound cliché to say that every job is important, but that’s genuinely what I believe. Each client or project teaches you something that you can apply very soon with another client or job. Let me share an example: having expertise in press relations for events in my city and region led me to the Brazilian University Sports Confederation – CBDU, where I organized national and international sports events. The knowledge gained from working with sports at the CBDU now benefits me in my current role with Praia Clube, one of the prominent sports clubs in Brazil and worldwide. This is just one example. I’ve always believed that you don’t waste any of the lessons you learn. I’m someone who values every opportunity.
PRNEWS.IO: Being a woman in the public relations industry, what unique perspectives or challenges have you encountered, and how have you navigated them throughout your career?
Fabiana Barcelos: I believe there is indeed a positive evolution regarding being a woman in this field. However, we still have a long way to go. I recall two clients who let me go simply because I was pregnant, assuming that my productivity would drop by 80% (this was the figure I heard from one client, a prominent businessman in my city). Another incident involved a client whose leadership collectively asserted that women didn’t understand football, leading them to terminate the contract with me. This decision was made even after I had hired a man specifically to handle the day-to-day operations for that client.
If I could share something with those reading this interview, it would be: never compromise who you are or doubt your potential. No one is more or less capable based on gender or skin color, for example. It’s crucial to be aware of what holds value for you so that you don’t find yourself in a place where you don’t belong.
PRNEWS.IO: In addition to your role at Ares Comunicação, you also teach courses in journalism, advertising, and fashion at Esamc. How does your teaching experience complement your work in the field of communication?
Fabiana Barcelos: I’ve been teaching for nearly 8 years, and it’s a rewarding experience to be in a classroom because students inspire me to study and stay updated continuously. Currently, teaching has brought me a strong desire to share my knowledge more extensively, even beyond the classroom. That’s why, last year, I started offering workshops and courses to encourage students or professionals in my field to get more hands-on experience. In my courses, the emphasis is on providing practical insights.
PRNEWS.IO: Your commitment to pioneering and differentiating your work from the competition is evident. Could you share an example of a project where you implemented a unique approach, and what impact did it have on the outcome?
Fabiana Barcelos: I can confidently say that the press relations work I do at Ares today stands out from others in my region simply because it focuses on providing strategy. I collaborate with my clients to meticulously plan each news angle or action. My approach emphasizes quality over quantity, and clients who choose to work with me appreciate this distinction. It’s challenging to pinpoint a specific project or idea I’ve proposed to a client because, depending on the unique plan we craft together, we adjust our course as we observe how things unfold. What I absolutely prioritize is treating each media professional and their requests as unique. That’s my trademark.
PRNEWS.IO: Balancing roles as the Director of Communication at Brasil Por Dentro and running Ares Comunicação must be demanding. How do you manage these dual responsibilities, and what insights have you gained from your experience in the subscription business with Brasil Por Dentro?
Fabiana Barcelos: Unfortunately, the partnership with Clube Brasil Por Dentro was dissolved as I ventured into another business, which is still in the planning stages. This decision extended beyond the professional realm and is influenced by my role as a mother, caring for two children virtually on my own. I prioritize being present for their activities. My 11-year-old daughter runs an online stationery business with two friends, and I assist her with financial matters. Alongside this, I continue to dedicate myself to Ares and my clients, as well as my roles as a college professor and my courses, which I aim to expand in scope in the coming years.
What I want to convey here is that, in most cases, women’s responsibilities extend beyond the workplace, requiring a delicate balance with home life and children. It’s a part of life to take a step back to later take two steps forward.
PRNEWS.IO: As a professional with a strong interest in staying ahead in the communication industry, how do you stay updated with the latest trends and innovations? What role do continuous learning and adaptation play in your career?
Fabiana Barcelos: I thoroughly enjoy keeping myself informed by reading news within my industry, diving into books, and actively participating in events. I follow numerous communication agencies (and professionals) on social media to stay vigilant. Engaging in conversations with people is something I love, and I always observe what’s happening around me. This extends beyond my specific field because I believe there’s always something to learn from individuals across various sectors and backgrounds.
PRNEWS.IO: Could you provide advice for women aspiring to enter the public relations industry, especially those looking to establish themselves as leaders or entrepreneurs?
Fabiana Barcelos: I believe it’s crucial to cultivate strong communication skills and to study and understand what you sell and do. Additionally, it’s important to:
- Build a professional network
- Seek mentorship
- Stay updated on industry trends
- Develop resilience in the face of challenges
- Demonstrate leadership through proactive initiatives
A bit of everything contributes to success in the field, but most importantly, be yourself and be where you’re certain you belong.
PRNEWS.IO: With your international experience in Taiwan and Italy, how do cultural differences influence your approach to public relations, and what lessons have you learned from working on a global scale?
Fabiana Barcelos: Regardless of the country, I always like to understand how each one operates. Even here in Brazil, some media professionals dislike being contacted via WhatsApp, for example. Before initiating any relationship, it’s essential to know a bit about the person, the media outlet, and so on. Prior to our ventures in Italy and Taiwan, for instance, our entire team sought to understand the local culture, such as how a press conference functions, in order to make necessary adaptations.
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