Forty-five years ago, Barbara Spector Yeninas made the leap from maritime journalist to owner of a public relations agency aimed at the industry at a time when females were rarely seen on the waterfront.
Today, Cranford, New Jersey-based BSY Associates Inc. is not only an award-winning PR and advertising agency but an industry event planner, association manager and crisis-communications specialist.
“At industry events, I would be the only woman in attendance—not an enviable position when the only other female around was the entertainment, usually a stripper,” Yeninas recently recalled. “To say that political correctness was not a priority then would be an understatement.”
Think about this: Yeninas decided to fill a PR need she recognized during her daily newspaper career on Aug. 1, 1974, when Jennifer and Michael were the most popular baby name; the number one song was “Annie’s Song” by John Denver; and Richard Nixon was still eight days away from resigning as president.
“We started as a communications company explaining and covering the nascent container shipping revolution as it was unfolding before our eyes,” says Yeninas. “… I saw a role for what we could provide. This is a meat-and-potatoes industry and those involved were making decisions about billions of dollars of investment in ships, equipment, terminals and training. They did not have the time or inclination to get involved in the nuances of promoting themselves. We were there to do so. I hitched up my skirts and went for it.”
Here’s to another 45, Barbara!