From Social Media at CNN to Editor in Chief at Glamour, Samantha Barry Remains a Storyteller

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  • From Social Media at CNN to Editor in Chief at Glamour, Samantha Barry Remains a Storyteller

Samantha Barry’s diverse, globe-trotting professional path in communications may have had its start at a radio station in Dublin in the early aughts, but she thinks her career began to unofficially flourish much earlier than the experiences she has listed on LinkedIn.

For Barry, her knack for telling stories is hereditary and a cultural given—birthed in Cork.

“I’m Irish,” she laughed. “Storytelling is inherent for us. If you grow up in an Irish household, you live or die by whether your story was a good one.”

Before having Adweek Brand Visionary Anna Wintour as a boss, Barry traversed multiple continents and tackled multiple platforms, all for a common goal of getting a good story out there. Previously, her most prominent role was as head of social media and senior director of strategy for CNN, where she managed all of the company’s global social media teams for nearly four years.

As Glamour’s editor in chief, Barry wants to ensure that the brand continues its nearly century-long legacy of serving as a safe space for women to feel represented and heard in the publication’s stories—whether those are more lighthearted subjects such as red carpet fiascos or lady-fronted films, or about more serious, traditionally “taboo” subjects such as finances, domestic violence or fertility.

“One of the things that drew me to this job was that its tagline in the ’40s was ‘For the Girl With a Job,’” Barry explained.

That inspiration is evident in one of Barry’s passion projects at Glamour—the She Makes Money Moves podcast, which aims to guide women through their relationship with money, touching on subjects such as appropriate beauty service tipping etiquette to prenups.

Though the magazine has been celebrating women since the end of the Great Depression, the way stories about women have been told have radically evolved during Barry’s tenure.

“When it comes to women’s lives, whether it’s fertility or finance or relationships, we can and do tell really powerful stories because we have a right to play in a larger market for women,” she said, emphasizing that it’s her goal to continue the tradition.

Big Mistake 

“Expecting to stay within the confines of my job description in my first few jobs,” Barry said.

Lesson Learned

Barry realized that going over and beyond your official job title, as well as showing your passion for trying new things, can help you grow immensely.

How She Got the Gig

While Barry had a bevy of accolades and a wide breadth of professional experience under her belt, she considers her clear vision of how to grow Glamour and engage with women on important conversations across all platforms the golden ticket to the Condé Nast publication.

Pro Tip 

“Soft skills are still super important in most workplaces (no matter how digital the world has become). Pick up the phone, go for a coffee, build an IRL relationship,” Barry advised.

This story first appeared in the March 9, 2020, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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