Barbara Bates, Hall of Femme 2020

Global CEO, Hotwire

What word would you use to describe your childhood and why?
Lucky. Lucky to have the parents I had, to grow up in Silicon Valley, one of the most prosperous places on earth. I had the opportunity to do anything I wanted.

Do you have a nickname? Explain.
My childhood nickname is not appropriate for public consumption! People just call me Barb.

Tell us about your most embarrassing fail. How did you recover?
When I was TV reporter at a small station in the Midwest, sometimes I wouldn’t have a cameraman in the room during the broadcast. Instead, they would set up a screen where I could see myself so I knew if I was on air. One day I was sitting at the desk waiting for the 6pm news but the screen was tilted away from me. Not sure if I was on air or not, I leaned way over the desk to see the screen and was in fact live, sprawled across the desk. In those situations, you just have to make fun of yourself. Humor is a great equalizer. 

What fictional female character (in a book or movie) has always inspired you?
Harriet the Spy. She was spunky, brave, really curious and a little quirky.

Any real-life women or men you look up to?
Not so much one person, but I really look up to a certain type of person. Someone who might not have been as fortunate in life and could use every excuse to not be successful but they find the way through hard work and ambition to break through and achieve great things. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of young folks like this in my career. It’s really inspiring to witness. 

What’s something about you no one knows?
I was a blackjack dealer at Harrah’s in Tahoe during college.

Favorite song and why?
"Wide Open Spaces" by the Dixie Chicks. It’s about a young woman who sets out on her own and blazes her own trail.

Tell us about your hobby.
This is a trick question for me because my girls don’t think I have enough hobbies outside of work. I love cooking and drinking good wine with family and friends, and I love to travel.

Finish the sentence: To ensure career advancement and pay parity for women, I will continue to…
...provide leadership opportunities for women in my organization and educate my teams across the globe to be more aware of unconscious bias.

What is it about this industry that frustrates the hell out of you?
So many things. The lack of recognition we get for building real value in the businesses we work with. Coming from Silicon Valley, the venture capital community gets all the credit for that. I argue that the communications firms here build just as much value.

When have you seen this industry or your organization really shine? 
I see more agencies really addressing societal issues and practicing their craft for good. In our case, Hotwire has adopted WaterAid as a pro bono effort to help promote the need for clean water and toilets for all humans. There’s a lot of pride in how seriously our team takes this challenge and the effort being put into it.

What is your golden rule at work?
Do the right thing.

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