Bari Love views mentoring as an important tool in creating beneficial relationships.
Afte The Lola member, Bari Love has spent the majority of her career working for various marketing and communication firms, but recently decided to change careers and follow her passion of travel photography. Throughout her time working for firms she discovered the importance of learning from those around her and was inspired by her coworkers. This lead Bari to have a strong desire to create mentoring relationships where she could learn as much as the people she is mentoring. In her free time Bari dedicates time to support her sister, who is autistic, her three grandchildren and several nonprofit organizations.
Location: Morningside, GA
Age: 62 years
What I do: Consulting and Travel Photography
Briefly describe who you are, what you do for work and for fun
First and foremost, I see myself as a wife, mother and grandmother. In the consulting world, I am a storyteller, facilitator, marketer, strategist, crisis manager, communicator, community leader, and connector. Six years ago, after more than 30 years leading marketing and communications firms, I decided it was time to work on my passion, landscape and travel photography.
Share your career story with us including anyone who inspired you along the way
After graduating from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide), I landed my ideal job, working for the ABC-TV affiliate in Birmingham. I was part of a team that launched the first news magazine, PM Magazine. This was a valuable experience in understanding how stories are discovered and told. After a year or so, I was recruited to Southern Living Magazine as an editorial assistant in the travel department. Southern Living taught me the value of brands and how much trust can be earned when you deliver on your brand promise. I traveled the south with incredible photographers and documented those experiences in over 300 articles. From there, I moved to Atlanta and joined a PR firm, using all the media knowledge I gained to support our clients. After spending more than 25 years in agencies, my last full time role was VP of Marketing for the Metro Atlanta Chamber.
My two grandmothers and my mother were each great inspirations. One grandmother, an immigrant from Poland, was a business leader who took over our family’s business after the early death of her husband. The other was a leader in community service. My mom started her own business, and I was lucky to work alongside her for many years.
What does success look like to you and how are you breaking conventional ways of finding success for yourself?
Today, success for me is mentoring women, sharing my years of experience with them and watching them grow. For everything that has changed, there is so much that has not changed for women in the workplace. Unfortunately, the lessons I learned in the work world over 30 years still apply today.
Specifically, how have others helped you in getting to where you are today? Looking back, what have been the most pivotal connections and collaborations?
Perspective is often what I get from others – my mom said, “your tombstone will not say you were the greatest communicator in the world, it will reflect your role in your family and community.” She also said, “you don’t have to do it all today, you have a lifetime to work, but you only have one chance at the success of your family.”
I mentor around the idea that to be successful, you must get outside of your own company or organization and grow through a commitment to your industry, your community and your passion. For me that meant serving as President of the Public Relations Society, President of the YWCA and on the Boards of the Atlanta Photography Group and Leadership Atlanta. Through each role, I not only furthered the organization, but I grew my skills, my leadership style, my knowledge of Atlanta and made lifelong friendships.
Too many women have not had the opportunity to play on teams like our male counterparts.This hinders long-term success because women often don’t understand the role of a coach, the other players, the mental and physical toughness required, the written and unwritten rules and ultimately then, how to move teams forward together.
How do you view mentorship and how has that evolved over the years? What insights can you share with other womxn around mentorship, either giving it or receiving it?
I’ve always believed that the best mentor relationships are two-way — both the mentor and the mentee grow and learn from the relationship. I am so excited to be mentoring Candace Wheeler and Brittany Claud from Vivian & Virginia Ventures and Marilyn Nieves with Suspended Image through The Lola. While I love sharing what I know, I am equally as excited to learn from each of them about issues, concerns or experiences I did not have as a white woman.
What gaps in your networks would you like to fill and what are you looking for in potential role models in your current life/career stage? What would be helpful for you to see?
One of the reasons I joined The Lola was to meet women interested in learning, growing, sharing and making a difference. I’m always looking to connect those interested in getting involved, serving on boards and expanding their network. As such, I would love to hear from members that want guidance in these areas.
Is there anything else you’d like to share that may give us a better understanding of your personal story?
I wish I could tell you that any of my success came because I had a plan for my career. In fact, the few opportunities I took that I thought would “further” my career, turned out disastrous. Over time, I learned I have no patience for the politics in big organizations and that I function best in smaller organizations where I can make a difference. Find a place where you can achieve at your highest level, get good at the things you are good at, and leave behind (or hire for) those things you dislike or are not good at doing. Finally, none of my success would have been possible without the 100% support of my husband and sons, who are my greatest cheerleaders. It’s critical not to go this alone – find your cheering squad!