sally-and-ginaWhenever I visit a new place, I love to find an in-the-know local who can give me the scoop. On my second trip Sydney, I was lucky enough to be introduced to publicity powerhouse Sally Burleigh, who’s just about as in-the-know as you can get in this city.

Owner of her own namesake PR firm, Sally is one of Australia’s most well-connected and in-demand publicists. Since launching SBPR fourteen years ago, she has accumulated a diverse and impressive portfolio of clients, including global brands like Armani, M.A.C., Estée Lauder, and Chef Jamie Oliver. Her work spans media, hospitality, entertainment, corporate, fashion, and celebrity PR—so as you can imagine, she knows nearly every influential player in the Australian cultural sphere.

Over the BEST oysters and Champagne at the Morrison, Sally opened the gates of Sydney to me. I learned about CAMILLA (9 and counting caftans later, Glenn has not forgiven her), the best shops, bars, and restaurants in town, and made some prime reservations on her introduction. Later I visited her showroom in Sydney’s adorable Surry Hills neighborhood, where I got an inside look at samples from some of Australia’s best labels.

sally-quoteThe third time I was in town, I met Sally at one of my new favorite restaurants, NOMAD, to find out how she became one of Australia’s biggest publicists. Sally began her career working under legendary magazine editor Ita Buttrose, who was named Australian of the Year in 2014. “I started as a PA, and she recognized that I wasn’t a PA.” Sally told me. “She noticed that I was skilled in networking and communications, so she put me in PR to develop that talent.”

After a strong start at a prestigious publication, Sally worked overseas, and then came home to a PR position at Australian cable giant FOXTEL. Television was a passion, and she was thrilled by the opportunity to launch a number of premium channels and plenty of novel programming.

“My favorite one was called ARENA, it was an arts and entertainment network,” said Sally, “We did a show similar to ‘The Fashion Police’ way before anyone was doing anything like that. We had a lot of groundbreaking content for the medium—it was so much fun.”

sally-officeHaving gained invaluable experience at Foxtel, Sally moved on with the intention of working overseas again. Before she could pack up and leave, however, it seemed life had other plans. “After I left Foxtel my phone would not stop ringing. That’s when SBPR was born, 15 years ago this year.” Sometimes your moment comes when you least expect it.

Follow Sally on Twitter @sallyburleighpr and Instagram @sbpr_ to stay up on Sydney culture.


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