CEO Stories: Communicating Success

Sandy Hillman
CEO of Sandy Hillman Communications

Sandy Hillman on her rise as the “impresario of urban America” and the challenges and opportunities she’s faced as a trusted advisor to the public and private sectors. Listen to the podcast below to hear her inspiring story of how she became a female entrepreneur.

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City Makeovers

Baltimore needed an image makeover in the 1970s. Sandy Hillman was essential to the city’s revitalization. In her role as executive director of Baltimore’s Office of Promotion and Tourism, Hillman garnered favorable attention for successful projects such as the waterfront Harbor Place Development. In 1984 Hillman entered private practice to boost the branding of other cities. She insisted cities required strong public-private partnerships to launch and sustain improvements, and she went beyond the traditional approach of catering to conventions and meetings, by also targeting leisure travelers.

Corporate Leadership

After seeing how much mayors varied in quality, Hillman shifted her focus to public relations and advertising. She joined a firm that grew substantially and became its CEO before realizing that she preferred running a boutique. In 2007 she founded Sandy Hillman Communications. Her clients have ranged from historical museums to household products. She’s noticed that companies with good leaders are better positioned to communicate internally about mergers and acquisitions.

Women In Mind

Hillman believes that while women and men can both add value in leadership positions, their styles tend to differ. As a leader she’s sought to manage her teams with an understanding that female employees are often also homemakers and caretakers, which includes demands that male employees may not face. For instance, she’s been a working mother for almost five decades and began her career when that was a rarity. Hillman says flexible work environments can allow women to excel given these factors.

About the Series: Featured stories from the intersection of the free market and entrepreneurial success. Here we speak with leading CEOs, academics, philanthropists and up and comers on their contributions and perspectives on the American economy.

About Ray Hoffman: Ray Hoffman, a veteran business journalist, is highly-regarded for his news and analysis features and insightful CEO interviews. Representing BusinessWeek on air for twenty-one years, Mr. Hoffman was the morning business news voice on the ABC Radio Networks from 1995 to 2006. Mr. Hoffman also represented The Wall Street Journal, on air, for eleven years. His daily WCBS CEO Radio feature was recognized by the New York Press Club as best radio business news report in both 2012 and 2015. In this podcast, Mr. Hoffman invites some of America’s most dynamic CEOs to share their stories as business builders and perspectives on free enterprise.