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Meet Carli Brinkman of Carli PR and One World Associates in West Palm Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carli Brinkman.

Carli, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
For me, I pretty much knew that public relations would be my life’s work before I actually knew there was a name for it. I loved the media world – consuming news, understanding the news cycle and how and why stories trended, what made things “newsworthy,” it all fascinated me. I took journalism courses in college at the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and that’s when I discovered public relations as a career path and knew immediately that it was where I belonged within the industry.

After college, it was off to Manhattan, where I worked in the Bloomberg administration as a press officer for the City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation, then as associate director for public relations for NYC & Company- the city’s official tourism and major events marketing arm. I absolutely loved life in the city, but when I was offered the opportunity to run the communications department for Palm Beach County’s official destination marketing organization here in South Florida, I couldn’t pass it up.

Through these positions, I had the honor of leading the PR efforts on such incredible projects as the redevelopment of Washington Square Park. Christo and Jean-Claude’s The Gates for Central Park, the development of the NYC High Line, the new Yankee Stadium, the Brooklyn Bridge’s 125th Anniversary, and the 400th Anniversary of the Founding of the City of New York, to name a few. I was blessed with the opportunity to travel the world through my career- through my positions in tourism PR and also because I spent several years as director of air service development for Palm Beach International Airport, which had me traveling to every pocket of the globe meeting with airline decision-makers regarding new, potential routes to South Florida. Shortly after the birth of my first daughter in 2014, I launched my own consultancy, Carli PR, with the two-fold goal of pursuing my personal passion to build a roster of clients that inspire me, and to create a more balanced and flexible work/life ecosystem.

I’m very proud to say now six years later, that I’ve achieved that goal. Carli PR is a successful consultancy, supporting the best and most worthy clients (I love you guys!! All of you!!) I am inspired every day to go to work for them and to earn them the media attention they deserve. I can honestly say I wholeheartedly love my job. But that is not the end of the story of my career. I want to keep going, and I am. My heart is in advocacy work and I desire to use my talents to support the progressive advocacies, campaigns, programs and ideas that can advance missions and support positive change in our society. I am doing this by joining forces with three of the most brilliant and talented women I have ever known and whom I am honored to call my partners, through our joint venture, One World Associates. The brainchild of my former boss, Kimberly Spell, One World will be a cause-centric communications and fundraising agency aimed at elevating the voices of advocacy that ring loudly for the advancement of humanity. Together, we all play a role in creating a future that is not about us vs. them… but all of us acting as one to create a better tomorrow.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The journey is never easy. But as a working mother with two young girls, I knew to anticipate that. I am very grateful that my career has allowed me to work from home while raising my babies, but managing it all is not easy and I’ve learned to be okay with the fact that I will never get it perfectly right. Both my one-year-old and now almost seven-year-old were raised getting their diapers changed while Mama leads a conference call, taking their bottles while she sends out an email with her free hand, or getting rocked in their rocky horse with her foot while she conducts a Zoom meeting. We live in a society that pushes out very stark, contrasting images of what a woman can accomplish in her life- she can either be the tough professional type or she can be the gentle maternal type. And the “new world” we’ve had to adjust to has certainly not done any favors for professional women, who have disproportionately left the workforce since the COVID-19 pandemic. For so many working mothers, including myself, this also means we will be work-from-home co-teachers this school year, which throws another ball in the air to juggle into the mix.

But with every challenge comes an opportunity to realize your strength. I learned some time ago that I could survive just about anything. When the road ahead seems long and daunting, I focus on the next quarter-mile, then the next, and so on. When former Michigan State’s head coach Nick Saban was worried about his player’s confidence and fear ahead of an impending game, he turned to the university’s professor of psychiatry Lionel Rosen, to talk to the players about focusing on one step at a time. He told the players that the average play in football was only seven seconds, and if they could just focus on being successful seven seconds at time, they would eventually win themselves an entire football game. This metaphor helps me through some of the greatest obstacles of my life.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am a public relations consultant and strategist, meaning I work with my clients to devise a plan to communicate who they are to their audience and public at large, primarily through media storytelling. But also by working with them to create campaigns, programs, events, and collaborations that align with their vision, brand and ethos that help them tell their story and provide them the opportunity to generate positive exposure and overall awareness.

Through Carli PR, I am very proud to have built a reputation as a trusted communications professional who works hard for her clients and uses well-devised strategic planning to yield results. Earned media is tricky. You cannot simply tell the news media that you are newsworthy. You must be newsworthy. And if you are not, you must figure out how to authentically insert yourself into the conversation that is the current news cycle. To do that requires strategic thinking, and that is where I come in.

But I am most proud of the work we hope to accomplish at One World Associates. At One World, we will go beyond communications, to bring together a unique offering of skill sets to take the visions for advocacy and cause-centric missions from ideation to execution. Providing everything from creative and vision development, to impact investment and fundraising, to crisis management and media relations, our team at One World will take a mission and make it a movement that creates real change. I could not be more excited about what our team is building and our vision for the impact our work will have in its ability to create social change.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I grew up around a very big family in the same small town in Connecticut that my Sicilian great grandparents immigrated to in the early 1900s. Summer days were spent with my sister and our dozen cousins, building sandcastles on sandbars in the middle of the ocean off the Connecticut shore, diving for mussels off floating docks in freshwater lakes, and building tree forts in our grandparent’s wooded backyard. My grandparents would cook all day on Sunday for elaborate spaghetti dinners for their six children and all of their families. The two of them argued back and forth all day, but in the kitchen, it was a silent dance between them, and the result was pure, unimaginably delicious traditional Italian cuisine, enjoyed together by our family.

When you’re young, somehow even the good days go by slowly, and I have so many poignant, crystal clear memories from those days that bring back the exact feeling of being a child- carefree, curious, innocent, safe. When I watch my girls play, sometimes I wonder if they’re experiencing those same emotions and I wonder which among these moments will become memories for them one day. It is one of the reasons I decided to launch my own consultancy. I want to be in their memories. I want them to remember that Mama was always right by their side.

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