The Stevens Group is pleased to present the podcast series that salutes the masters of public relations and revels in their observations, insights and advice to PR professionals. This series is part of the ongoing partnership between The Stevens Group and CommPRO to bring to PR, digital/interactive and marketing communications agencies the wisdom of those who have reached the top of the PR profession. Today’s guest is Barbara Bates, the Group CEO of Hotwire, and the former founder and CEO of Eastwick Communications, which was acquired by Hotwire in 2016.
About Our Guest
Hotwire’s Limitless Leader
Barbara started her career as an on-air journalist, then transitioned into the Benjamin Group – a leader in tech communications at the time. Soon after, she joined forces with her two best friends, who had been working with Regis McKenna, to create Eastwick – the first independent, fully tech-focused agency in Silicon Valley.
Barbara has guided clients to new levels of visibility and success. Her ability to understand market direction and product potential helps companies’ move toward their vision and live out their purpose. Her leadership of Hotwire (and formerly Eastwick) has helped create hundreds of millions of dollars in value for top technology companies by directing their messaging and positioning, as well as building their brand profiles. Under Barbara’s leadership, clients have included Facebook, BMC, Seagate, Dell Software, HP, Adobe and Fujitsu, to name a few.
After 25 years of building her own agency, Eastwick, into one of the most preeminent technology-focused communications firms in the country, Barbara’s agency was acquired by Hotwire in late September 2016. She served just eight months as the CEO of North America, before being appointed to the role of Global CEO – responsible for driving the strategic direction of the business for all Hotwire offices around the world. She now leads a staff of nearly 300 people globally in 12 offices and 16 countries on a relentless mission to be the best agency clients and employees will ever work with.
Furthermore, Barbara has shifted Hotwire from a largely traditional PR firm to an established integrated communications agency to meet the new demands of today’s C-Suite (including enhanced digital and social media capabilities, content and advocacy marketing, as well as visual storytelling, web services, and analytics).
Barbara’s a redhead with a big personality, big ideas and a penchant for pushing the envelope with clients and staff. She’s been innovating the art and science of strategic communications and marketing since leaving a journalism career as a television reporter—adding social media, content strategy, analytics, measurement and visual storytelling to the Hotwire suite of public relations services. Barbara’s commitment to her clients is second to none and she is equally passionate about building a strong positive culture that attracts the best and the brightest talent.
Barbara’s most recent personal awards and accolades include:
- 2019 ICCO Global PR Leader 2020 PRWeek Outstanding Agency Professional Finalist
- 2020 Holmes SABRE Innovative Agency Professional Finalist
- 2018 SF Biz Times Most Influential Women in Business
- 2014 Top 5 Women in PR
- 2013 Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Women of Influence and was listed as of Business Insider’s 50 Best Public Relations People in Tech
- 2011 Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for her impact on Silicon Valley.
Under Barbara’s leadership, Hotwire (and formerly Eastwick) has received a number of impressive accolades in recent years, including:
- PRWeek U.S. Best Places to Work 2020
- Crane’s NY Best Places to Work 2019
- PR News Best Places to Work in PR 2019
- Best Tech Agency – Holmes Report
- Digital Consultancy of the Year – Holmes Report
- Technology Agency of the Year – Bulldog Reporter
- Integrated Agency of the Year – PR Moment (UK)
- Large Agency of the Year – PR Moment (UK)
- CIPR – Outstanding Large Public Relations Consultancy (UK)