Written by Hanna De Hoyos

Shilpa BakreShilpa Bakre is a Senior Communications Manager at the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau (Austin CVB). She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin. Her career in the field of marketing spans nearly two decades. She has had her feature, web, academic writing, photography, and design published in various professional and academic publications.

Tell us about your career path.

My experience ranges from cultivating marketing and public relations endeavors for a contemporary arts museum. I also managed elaborate marketing communications efforts for four consecutive Olympic Games—and winning an Emmy for my role as an associate producer and writer for NBC. I also worked as the director of media and public relations for a top-five U.S. Olympic sport and orchestrated a celebrity product endorsement for international soccer player Pele. Other opportunities include developing complex public relations and marketing platform for a multi-million dollar downtown development project and negotiating a $1.5 million dollar sponsorship deal.

What is your current role at the Austin CVB?

At the Austin CVB, I am the Senior Communications Manager where I oversee public relations endeavors. In my two years, I have led more than 100 press tours with visitors from all over the world to enable growth of the tourism industry for the city of Austin; which is an estimated $6.3 billion in economic impact, providing 53,900 jobs. In the process, I have also secured well over $150,000 in partner support and provided them with substantial exposure through prominent press coverage.

Tell me about an initiative you created at the Austin CVB.

I assisted with various crisis communications endeavors, including messaging for the SXSW tragedy and helped initiate the creation of the SXSWCares Fund, which has raised $250,000 to date in donations.

What made you pursue a career in communications?

I have always believed that as professional communicators we hold a great deal of responsibility to ensure that all information is delivered in the utmost efficient way. Often, our positions promote understanding and shed light on complex issues that can bring people together. I come from a journalism background and it has always been very important to me that information be disseminated to the highest standard of integrity and truth.

I chose this profession to be relentless in my pursuit of truth (in all things), both the real version and my own perception. The delicate and complex combination of both is what is true. The truth is well beyond right and left, conservative and liberal, or Republican or Democrat. The “true” truth is justice and the thing that resonates and reverberates deep in your soul with no necessity of defense or explanation. Truth never has to be defended! It just is. This is why I chose this profession and this continues to keep me engaged.

What brought you to Women Communicators of Austin (WCA)?

I was searching for group of tenured professionals to network with, learn from, and share ideas. Several respected people within the industry recommended the organization.

Anything interesting you would like to share?

I have been fortunate enough to live all over the world including both U.S. coasts, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, India, Australia, and for the last decade in Austin.