Oklahoma City’s Brenda Jones Barwick among top honorees at Women in Communications conference

The Association for Women in Communications (AWC) presented its 2015 Headliner Award to Brenda Jones Barwick of Jones PR at its national conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

Brenda, from Oklahoma City, has 35 years of public relations experience at the highest levels in Washington, D.C., politics, European diplomatic relations and with Fortune 500 companies. She was vice president of public relations for the Southwest’s sixth largest advertising agency, Ackerman McQueen, where she planned and coordinated campaigns for the Dallas Cowboys and Six Flags before establishing Jones PR in 2001.

Brenda is former vice chair and current member of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber board of directors.

She is also an active member of Women Impacting Public Policy and served several years as a national delegate to the Public Relations Society of America International Conference.

Brenda earned public relations national accreditation in 1999. 

She is an active member of AWC and her involvement spans more than 20 years.

In wide-ranging remarks after receiving her honor, Brenda credited the leadership style of President Ronald Reagan, for whom she worked throughout his presidency, with influencing her profoundly. She recalled fondly one of his rules of operation, including during the years she worked for him in the White House personnel office: “It’s remarkable what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

She said Reagan operated with an “open and inclusive style.” Among other things, he “purposely credentialed young conservatives to become leaders in their home communities by giving them extraordinary responsibilities. However, he wanted all of these young conservatives to take their Washington, D.C., experience and leave – go back home and be a leader in building strong communities – whether it’s in business, non-profit work, science, technology, school boards, city councils.” 

Her remarks focused on lessons learned in the communications industry, and practical advice to young professionals, women and men, on hard-work, networking and other professional counsel.

After working at the White House, Brenda worked for several years with the Department of State, including at the U.S. embassy in Switzerland, working there for both Reagan and his successor, George H.W. Bush.

She returned to Oklahoma after the first Bush presidency, eventually founding Jones PR, which has become one of the nation’s most respected public relations firms.

The Association for Women in Communications 2015 National Conference kicked off with the AWC Matrix Foundation Advancement of Women Award.  

The keynote address was given by Nanette Braun, chief of communications and advocacy at UN Women, an organization mandated with advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality worldwide.

Braun’s luncheon keynote address was part of the AWC Matrix Foundation’s presentation of its Advancement of Women award to UN Women and Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. The award recognizes the organization’s global efforts to increase women’s leadership and participation, enhance their economic security and opportunities, and end violence against women, a human rights violation affecting as many as one in three women and girls.

The conference concluded Oct. 10, with presentation of the AWC International Matrix Award to Tory Johnson, a weekly contributor on ABC’s Good Morning America. Tory is the founder of Spark & Hustle, a unique, hands-on program to help current and aspiring women entrepreneurs turn their passion into a profit. 

Her 2013 bestseller, The Shift, details how she lost 62 pounds in a year and she just released her new book, Shift for Good

She curates and presents the popular Deals & Steals segment on Good Morning America.

Founded in 1909, AWC is the premier resource for those working or studying in the communications field. With chapters throughout the United States, AWC offers opportunities for professional development, networking and advancement.

Visit womcom.org to learn more.  

NOTE: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.