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Generation Next 2016: Kara Ford

Kara Ford

 

Age as of Jan. 1: 34

Title: Vice president of accounts

Company: Abshire Public Relations

Savannah neighborhood: The Landings on Skidaway Island

 

Q: What are your top three business growth accomplishments?

A: I started my career in public relations as an intern at Abshire PR in January 2009 and was promoted to V.P. in January 2015.

A: Earlier this year Abshire PR expanded its client services and created a new company in collaboration with United Web Works Inc. to provide specialized marketing, branding, public relations and Web technology services for clients in the logistics industry.

A: Abshire PR has secured nearly $2 million in media coverage for clients thus far in 2015 and more than tripled our retainer clients since 2009.

 

Q: What are your top business awards/accolades:

A: Generation Next 2016

A: Selected to participate in Leadership Savannah — Class of 2016

 

Q: What are your top three current philanthropic leadership roles?

A: Junior Achievement of Georgia/member of board of directors

A: Savannah Community Foundation /member of Emerging Leaders Committee

A: As part of Abshire’s philanthropic philosophy, we work with a number of nonprofit organizations and provide a high level of personal commitment and in-kind services for organizations such as Senior Citizens, Inc. J.C. Lewis Primary Healthcare Center and Historic Savannah Foundation.

 

Q: What technological or cultural advances are you looking forward to in the coming year or decade?

A: The car that drives itself. I actually love to drive, but how awesome would it be to kick back and take a nap on that boring stretch of Interstate 16 on the way to Atlanta or prepare for a last-minute meeting as your car drives itself to your destination?

 

Q: How will you do business differently in the coming year or decade?

A: In PR, a lot of folks think it’s all about jumping from one fun event to the next and while in some cases this may be true, for the most part, the majority of our work requires many, many, many creative and strategy meetings, tons of writing and countless hours of research.

When there’s so much work to be done, it’s easy to get into a rut day in and day out and just get the work done. However, you can only keep this up for so long before you’re completely drained and the passion is zapped out of what you love.

For me, 2016 is all about honing my craft and dedicating a portion of my time meeting, listening and learning from others in industries outside my own and outside the office.

 

Q: What qualities or assets will distinguish Savannah and preserve/advance our local economy?

A: Savannah’s unique history and the historic district specifically will always be important to our local economy as it is one of the number one, if not the number one, drivers of our tourism industry, which provides countless jobs and millions of dollars for our city every year.

So, it’s crucial we continue to strive for the right balance to help Savannah grow but to preserve her delicate bones in the process.

 

Q: What economic drivers and business sectors promise the most growth in the next year or decade and why?

A: Tourism and logistics are the hot industries for our corner of the world right now. Both are huge markets for growth in the coming decade, especially with the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project finally happening. We will continue to see more growth in the logistics industry, as well as folks coming down to check out what our big-little city is all about.

 

Q: What college degrees will be the most in-demand in the Savannah area and why?

A: I think health degrees will continue to be an in-demand major/degree in the Savannah area, especially with a regional hospital like Memorial here and planning major upgrades and expansion projects in the works.

 

Q: What advice do you have for other Savannah leaders in the coming year or decade?

A: If you can “be your best self every day,” then you will have succeeded. Seems simple, right?

 

Q: What innovation of yours do you hope will be remembered by future generations?

A: I’m not sure if I’d consider myself an innovator. However, I do try to constantly learn, evolve, grow and morph myself into a better version than the last. So maybe that’s innovative.

 

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