WASHINGTON: General Motors and Amazon Web Services alum David Albritton has launched his own consultancy, Nineteen88 Strategies.
The decision to leave corporate public relations and strike out on his own was an easy one to make after Albritton's daughter was diagnosed with leukemia in March.
"It was the hardest gut punch I’d ever experienced," he said. "But it was immediately clear what I needed to do to be able to be as flexible as possible to help her get through this crisis."
So Albritton quit his job as VP of communications at Amazon Web Services that he had started in December 2020 in favor of starting Nineteen88—named after the year he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy.
"When you start doing the analysis on your life, like what we've all done during COVID-19, you find what's important and what you really feel like your purpose is," Albritton said, adding he'd always toyed with the idea of leaving corporate PR to start his own company.
To start, Albritton will focus on providing clients with a mix of public relations, DE&I and business strategy consulting, with the hope of transitioning into executive coaching, leadership development and public speaking over time.
Mentoring has always been an important facet of Albritton's 30-plus years of work. With Nineteen88, he hopes to develop PR professionals at all levels.
"But mentoring tends to be having one conversation, lending your wisdom and expertise, and it doesn't necessarily go beyond that," he said. "There really needs to be a series of engagements so you can measure and update as needed."
Currently, Nineteen88 is a one-man operation, but Albritton has a number of partners who have already started to plan with him about which specialties the consultancy can offer.
"I hope to become a force multiplier for CCOs and senior agency professionals to help their teams develop their skills, improve their business acumen and expand strategic thinking and planning," he said.
Before joining Amazon Web Services, Albritton worked at General Motors for five years, most recently as president, lead executive and general manager for GM Defense.
When Albritton took the role of president at GM Defense in 2018, it was his first non-comms position in more than two decades. Before that, he was executive director of product development and international comms at GM Defense and GM’s executive director of global product comms.
Earlier in his career, Albritton was VP and chief communications officer at Exelis, one of two companies spun off from ITT. Exelis was later acquired by Harris. He was also media relations director at Raytheon, comms SVP at the Caraway Group and VP for field and media comms for United Way of America. Albritton has also worked at HP and Sears and was a public affairs officer in the U.S. Navy.