SPOTLIGHT: Brandi Boatner
Manager, Digital & Advocacy Communications, IBM
Brandi Boatner is an award-winning digital communications professional and public speaker based in New York City. As a member of the IBMer Communications team (employee/internal communications), Boatner supports key initiatives for the Transformation and Culture function, including social media support for the SVP of Transformation and Culture and digital engagement for diversity and inclusion channels. She leads initiatives that drive employee advocacy through social activation and continues to serve as the lead for social justice communications known as Emb(race), IBM’s response in combating implicit bias, discrimination and racial inequality.
In late July 2020, Boatner was named one of the top 20 B2B Influencer Marketing experts to follow by TopRank Marketing as. Boatner is a two-time Hall of Famer having been inducted into the Loyola University New Orleans School of Mass Communications Hall of Fame, known as the Den of Distinction, and was the youngest member ever inducted. She was also honored and inducted into the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Hall of Fame.
Five Questions for Brandi:
1. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO JOIN THE NYWICI BOARD OF DIRECTORS IN THE ROLE OF CO-VP OF THE STUDENT PROGRAMMING COMMITTEE?
I am so incredibly honored to serve as a board member for NYWICI. I am passionate about mentoring and guiding college students into the communications and PR industry. Today’s college students continue to navigate the profound impact of COVID-19 while employment challenges continue to rise. Before the pandemic, I would travel all over the country to speak at various colleges and communications schools to empower and encourage students to choose a career in communications. Students are excellent communicators who create valuable content every single day. I want to lend my expertise to help guide them as they think about their careers, and this all begins with offering excellent programming so they can be exposed to what’s possible.
2. WHAT PIECE OF CAREER ADVICE DO YOU LIVE BY?
One piece of advice I learned early on in my career is to be able to embrace failure because failure is on the path to success. I’m going to fail. Things will not always work out the way you envision, but I must fail fast, learn from the mistakes and move on.
3. WHAT’S SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
Upon graduating from high school, my major in college was originally pre-med physics, not communications. Of the three sciences — biology, chemistry and physics — I was obsessed with physics and excelled in the subject. I knew one day I would cure the world with lasers. It’s funny how things seem to work themselves out. Also, I have a life-long dream to travel to Mongolia and spend a week at a Buddhist monastery.
4. WHAT IS THE BEST THING YOU’VE WATCHED, LISTENED TO AND/OR READ IN THE PAST MONTH?
I love music all types. This past month one of my favorite groups, Rhye, released a new album after a little hiatus. I am loving all the new songs. Mike Milosh’s voice is one I can listen to literally every single day. I am also an avid reader, so a book I’m really impressed with is Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and the Black American Dream by Blair Imani. Imani is PHENOMENAL. The book is a powerful illustrated history of the Great Migration and its sweeping impact on Black and American culture from Reconstruction to the rise of hip hop over the course of six decades.
In terms of streaming and binge watching, I have really enjoyed this month going back and watching cancelled shows on FreeForm (formerly ABC Family) like “Baby Daddy.” I am so surprised by how much I love this show although it was cancelled after six seasons. The breakout star of the show was Taj Mowery, little brother to superstar twins Tia and Tamera. He is so incredibly talented and funny. I would love for him to have his own show because he’s amazing — and super cute.
5. WHAT 5 PEOPLE, LIVING OR DEAD, WOULD YOU INVITE FOR DINNER (ONCE WE CAN EAT IN GROUPS AGAIN)?
I love dinner parties. I love everything about them — from the guest list, to the venue, to the planning and preparing, to the dinner itself — but I especially love the conversations. I would love to invite Michelle Obama, Oprah, Beyoncé, Garrett Morgan and Chadwick Boseman over for the ultimate dinner party. Garrett Morgan, for those who may not know, is the inventor of the gas mask, sewing machine, T-shaped traffic light and lye hair perm for Black women. Mr. Morgan is one of the hidden figures from Black History who is seldom discussed or recognized.
Connect with Brandi on Twitter @ThinkBluePR, LinkedIn, Instagram and Clubhouse.