Bernadette Giacomazzo of G-Force Marketing & Publicity On Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Uncertain & Turbulent Times
Don’t shit where you eat — keep it professional and remind them that the common goal cannot be met if things get messy on a personal level.
As part of our series about the “Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times”, we had the plesure of interviewing Bernadette Giacomazzo, CEO of G-Force Marketing & Publicity.
Bernadette Giacomazzo is a Harvard University-certified, and NYC-based editor, writer, photographer, and publicist with a career spanning more than two decades in the entertainment industry. Her work has been featured in People, Teen Vogue, BET, HipHopDX, XXL Magazine, The Source, Vibe, The Los Angeles Times, and more. She is also the author of The Uprising Series and is the CEO of G-Force Marketing & Publicity, which has been featured in The Hollywood Reporter and has obtained film, television, radio, and print placements for blue-chip clients all over the world. In addition to releasing her poetry chapbook, Aquarius Rising, on Nightingale & Sparrow Press in December 2022, Bernadette released In Living Color: A Cultural History on Rowman & Littlefield Press in February 2023, and will release The Golden Girls: A Cultural
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I’d always wanted to be a journalist, but I honestly wasn’t sure how to get started. At the time, the Internet wasn’t as omnipresent as it is today, so I just had to “go with the flow” and go wherever opportunities took me at the time. It was just a lot of grit, piss and vinegar…and a determination to “make it,” no matter what it took. I never had to compromise my values to get where I needed to be, but there were a lot of sacrifices I made along the way.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I was first getting started in the entertainment industry, I went to cover a concert at Dave Glicker’s Downtown in Farmingdale, NY. (The Downtown is now Croxley Ale’s.) Because I was a late bloomer, I didn’t get my first boyfriend until I was well into my 20s, and my boyfriend at the time happened to be both in a band and a part-time bartender at the Downtown. We’d gotten into a fight, and to “get even” with him (or so I thought…), I decided to stay close to the other bartender on duty and just order shot after shot of tequila.
Now, I’ve never been able to hold my liquor — I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs, and my idea of “a lot of drinks” is two glasses of red wine at dinner — so you can imagine how well taking all those shots went over. Suffice it to say I woke up in a lot of pain with a lot of regrets — and I’d made a fool of myself in front of the band I was supposed to be covering at the venue.
I learned right then and there that one of the most important rules of the entertainment industry is, don’t shit where you eat. That means that you need to keep your personal life and your professional life separate — don’t date people in your industry, and don’t ever compromise who you are to stay in this industry — if you want to survive.
And to my credit, after my first boyfriend and I were through, I held true to those ideals…and I think that was the key in keeping me sane and alive and thriving after all these years.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I’ve had so many mentors, bosses, leaders, and co-workers along the way that have always uplifted me and encouraged me to keep going. I’ve been very lucky in that way. I couldn’t possibly name them all after 20-plus years, but they’re out there, they’re appreciated, and I shout them out every chance I get on my social media pages.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose-driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your organization started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?
From the beginning to today, the purpose was always to find success being true to yourself and your ideals. And that’s something that will never change.
Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion. Can you share with our readers a story from your own experience about how you lead your team during uncertain or difficult times?
I don’t want to get too personal about this but suffice it to say the following: I could be going through hell on Earth and you’d never know it unless I really trust you. And the people I really trust aren’t in this industry.
There have been many times that I’ve gone through the worst possible hell that a human being could go through — near-fatal disease, death of loved ones, abusive relationship — and I just kept pushing, no matter what, and I kept inspiring others to keep going and follow their dreams. That’s the only way to be, I feel.
Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the motivation to continue through your challenges? What sustains your drive?
All the time. And then I remind myself who I am and what I achieved.
What keeps me going? My nephews, my niece, and the people I care about “in real life” (who, again, aren’t in “the industry”). I want them to be proud of me. And that keeps me going.
I’m an author and I believe that books have the power to change lives. Do you have a book in your life that impacted you and inspired you to be an effective leader? Can you share a story?
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Abraham Lincoln had to deal with all sorts of nonsense in his presidency — everything from incompetent generals to people who outright hated the fact that he wanted to abolish slavery and worked overtime to undercut his efforts. But instead of assembling a team of cronies or people who agreed with him, he assembled a team of people who were in opposition of him, and in opposition of each other.
And in the end, it was their differences that made their team so great, so effective, and so history-making.
I think about that a lot when I have to deal with people who are the exact opposite of who I am — and I don’t just mean politically (although I don’t really give a shit about what’s going on in DC, because I believe change is effectuated in our own communities and not by engaging with politicians on either side of the spectrum). I don’t want to just deal with people who are just like me — because there’s nothing they can teach me that I don’t already know. I want to deal with people who aren’t like me — because then I can learn something, for better or worse.
What would you say is the most critical role of a leader during challenging times?
To be steady, calm, firm, and consistent. They have to be the captain of the ship, and they have to encourage others on the ship to work together to make it a beautiful sailing.
When the future seems so uncertain, what is the best way to boost morale? What can a leader do to inspire, motivate and engage their team?
Meet them where they are. Try to find what motivates them. Is it money? Is it fame? Is it their family?
Everyone has a “why” — and if you want to make someone feel important, if you want to really motivate them into being the best version of themselves that they can possibly be, find their “why” and remind them of it every day.
Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should do to lead effectively during uncertain and turbulent times? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Find your “why” and remind yourself — and your team — of it every day.
- Don’t shit where you eat — keep it professional and remind them that the common goal cannot be met if things get messy on a personal level.
- Be prepared to adjust the sails of the ship as needed, when needed.
- Don’t be afraid. Everything will be okay in the end — and if it isn’t okay, it’s not the end.
- Above all else, be yourself, and don’t ever compromise your ideals.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“I may process moments and thoughts differently, but it does not mean that I feel any less than you.” — It’s from Star Wars: The Bad Batch, and people who are like me will get its meaning. What’s understood doesn’t need to be explained.
How can our readers further follow your work?
You can follow me on Threads and Instagram at @BG_Takes_Pics, on Twitter at @BGWritesStuff, and on TikTok at @BernadetteGiacomazzo. (I don’t have Facebook.) You can also hit me up on my website at www.bernadettegiacomazzo.com
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
Bernadette Giacomazzo of G-Force Marketing & Publicity On Five Things You Need To Be A Highly… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.