PR Masters Series Podcast, Episode #63 – Barbara Way Hunter, Founder of Hunter Public Relations


PR Masters Series PodcastAbout the Podcast

The Stevens Group has been presenting the PR Masters Series Podcast for two years now.  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 special guest is Barbara Way Hunter, Founder of Hunter Public Relations.



Barbara HunterAbout Our Guest

Barbara Way Hunter was founder of Hunter Public Relations, a New York firm, from March 1989 to December 2000.  She is now retired, but the firm continues as Hunter:, currently with more than 200 staff members.

Ms. Hunter was formerly president of Dudley-Anderson-Yutzy, one of the earliest PR firms, founded in 1908.  She joined D-A-Y as an account executive in February 1956 after earlier experience as as a staff member of Food Field Reporter, a trade publication for the food industry, publicist for Sealtest products at  National Dairy Products Corp. and account executive at Sally Dickson Associates. In 1969, after two of D-A-Y’s partners died, Ms. Hunter and her sister, Jean Schoonover, bought out the remaining partner and grew the business 500% in the next 12 years. When D-A-Y was acquired by the advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather, in 1983, she became vice-chairman of its public relations department.

She left O&M at the end of 1988 and, joined by two partners, formed Hunter MacKenzie Cooper in March 1989. McIlhenny Company, maker of Tabasco Sauce, was its first client. When the two partners departed, she continued the firm as Hunter Public Relations until 2000 when she sold it to five of her top staff members

Ms Hunter. Graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences at Cornell University in 1949.  While there she was women’s editor of the Cornell Daily Sun, president of her sorority (Kappa Kappa Gamma), and was elected to Mortar Board, a senior honorary society. A trustee of the university from 1980 to 1985, she also served on the advisory council of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences :,d is a lifetime member of the Cornell Council.  For five years she was president of her alumni class.  She is a former director of the YMCA of Greater New York.  After retirement and relocation to Walpole, NH, from 2004 to 2008 she served as president of the Point O’Woods Association, a community on Fire Island, NY, and president of the Walpole Historical Society.

Ms. Hunter was the 1984 national president of the Public Relations Society of America and prior to that president of the New York Chapter. She is a member of the PRSA College of Fellows and is a former trustee of The Institute for Public Relations Research and Education.  She is the recipient of numerous presidential citations from the Society, the John Hill award from the New York Chapter and the 1993 Gold Anvil from the national society.  She was chairman of the 1989 PRSA national conference in Dallas,  and founded the PRSA Food and Beverage Section in 1992, She served on the boards of The Advertising Women of New York and the Women Executives in Public Relations.

Ms. Hunter received the Matrix Award from the New York Women in Communications in 1980, the Entrepreneurial Woman Award from the Women Business Owners of New York in 1981, and the national Headliner Award from Women in Communications in 1984,   She was a charter member of the Committee of 200 and is a member of the YMCA Academy of Women Achievers.  In 1976 Business Week named her as one of the 100 outstanding women in business.

Ms. Hunter was born in Westport, New York, on July 14, 1927, the daughter of Dr. Walter and Hilda Way.  She attended The Westport Central School and was valedictorian of her graduating class in 1945. After graduation from Cornell, she moved to Manhattan where she lived for the next 50 years.  In 1953 she married Austin Hunter, and they subsequently had two daughters, Kimberley and Victoria. Their marriage lasted 60 years.