By: Maddie Brightman
When not coordinating membership, speaking at a public relations or government contracting conference, or attending a monthly board meeting, Anita Brightman serves as the President at her own advertising and public relations agency in Bel Air, Maryland.
Anita started A. Bright Idea 17 years ago in what is now her 11 year old’s Star Wars themed bedroom. She watched her business grow from a one-woman shop, to a thriving enterprise with over 30 employees and offices on both the East and West Coast.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Anita’s dream of a public relations career began right here in Charm City. At the age of 13, Anita started her life’s passion, providing public relations services for her father and his colleagues at Armco Steel. Carrying on her training through branding, writing, strategic planning, and pleading the case of the underdog, Anita developed her PR skills and found her calling in the professional world.
Anita attended public school in Baltimore City including the all-female Western High School. She graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in mass communication, and later earned her masters in publication design at the University of Baltimore. Still a strong supporter of her alma mater, Anita currently serves as the professional advisor for the Towson University PR group.
Seven years after beginning A. Bright Idea, Anita received her Accreditation in Public Relations and recently submitted an application to the PRSA College of Fellows.
Anita began her professional public relations career in the defense sector, supporting the U.S. Army chemical weapons disposal program. As a government public affairs contractor, she spent her days writing and collaborating with various graphic artists on logo concepts, newsletters, brochures and exhibits. Anita still works on this project today, along with many other government clients including, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Defense Education Activity and the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, among others.
A recipient of many awards during her 21 years in the business, she uses a creative and personable approach to generate success for both herself and A. Bright Idea. Some of Anita’s notable achievements include the 2007 Harford Award, Top 100 Minority Business Enterprises in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and the American Communication Professionals Spotlight Award. Anita and her team have also been consistent winners at PRSA Maryland’s Best in Maryland Awards.
Outside of professional life, Anita enjoys spending time with her family. Her daughter is following in her footsteps studying communications at Penn State and her son is an aspiring actor. The family has a pair of Dalmatians that are always at Anita’s feet.
Anita loves to garden and to cook. Channeling her home-life role model, Martha Stewart, Anita is never afraid to try bold recipes in the kitchen. While baking is not her specialty (she always burns the bottom of baked goods), many love her coq au vin, veal chops, artichoke dip, or braised short ribs.
In a throwback to her goth filled teen years, Anita is an avid fan of 80’s music, Anita has been caught singing along to Billy Idol or Duran Duran when driving her children from event to event. Not a stranger to the sports field, Anita spends countless hours on the sidelines cheering on her kids, Madison and Parker as their biggest fan.
One of four girls, Anita enjoys spending time with her sisters. Also cooks, she and her sisters frequently share recipes and try new recipes on the family.
When it’s time to relax, Anita likes to clean. She loves to vacuum! However, when she really takes a break, Anita and her husband of 20 years, T.J., enjoy spending time in their Bel Air, Maryland backyard or on the West Coast surrounded by the vineyards of Sonoma County. Anita can be found enjoying some of her favorite California wines accompanied with a plate of cheese and charcuterie.