For Founder Brianna McKinney, giving back is all part of the experience.
By Kelly E. Lindner, Photo courtesy of Bloom Communications
Brianna McKinney started volunteering with her mother at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals when she was 9, walking dogs, cleaning and doing whatever else needed to be done. For McKinney, president and founder of Bloom Communications, all experience is valuable, whether good or bad.
“You can learn from any situation and any person,” McKinney says. “I’ve learned some of my most valuable lessons from people that didn’t even know I was learning from them.”
She learned the value of giving back early on, thanks to her experience with the SPCA.
“I, of course, wanted to take every dog home,” she says with a laugh.
She also volunteered for the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, filing and helping in the of office.
“Volunteers have a huge impact on the health and well-being of a community,” McKinney says. “I would hate to see what Austin would look like without volunteers. There are so many community needs that would go unmet.”
Throughout high school, she continued to volunteer for many organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, through which she helped families in Oklahoma clean up their tornado-devastated homes.
“This was my best volunteer experience, though not my favorite, since it was emotionally rough,” McKinney says. “But it makes you appreciate what you have and realize that nature, disaster and illness don’t discriminate. Misfortune can fall on anyone, regardless of background or income.”
Prior to starting her own company, McKinney spent 10 years in the hospitality field, including as the manager of a downtown restaurant before graduating magna cum laude from the University of Texas with a degree in sociology and later working at a few startups.
“I think anyone who wants to have a career in consulting should spend at least some time in hospitality. You learn to work and interact
Brianna McKinney and Bloom Communications staff member Allison Williams volunteer at the Central Texas Food Bank mobile food pantry.
“With all types of people in a wide variety of situations,” McKinney says. “If you’re good at it, you also learn how to deliver an unmatched customer experience.”
Ready to expand her own experiences to include entrepreneurship, McKinney founded Bloom Communications in 2012 to bridge the gap between marketing and PR for nonprofits and for-profits that give back or want to create a strategy to give back to their communities.
“Making organizations I believe in more successful puts fire in my belly,” McKinney says. “The nonprofits receive a 30 percent discount on all services, which results in a 30 percent donation to that organization. Bloom also makes a local and global impact by investing 10 percent of its pro ts to our communities: 9 percent to local Austin and Portland nonprofits and 1 percent to Kiva, an international nonprofit microlender that aims to alleviate poverty.”
Remembering her own experience as a young volunteer, McKinney also incorporates nancial giving into her company’s marketing campaigns and gives Bloom staffers two days off a year to volunteer at a nonprofit of their choosing. Though Bloom is currently only a staff of three, McKinney says her fellow Bloomers completely share and demonstrate the company’s core values, which is something you can’t teach.