Author - Lecturer - Strategic Communications Adviser

We Should Be Challenging the Veneer of Niceness, Not Embracing It

Date - December 14, 2020

By Jennifer R. Farmer

 We live in a society that is more preoccupied with appearing nice than actually doing that which is kind. Appearances are important, but substance is undervalued. If we were truly concerned with doing kind things, elected officials would prioritize the common good over political wins, and philanthropic organizations would fund Black women-led organizations to the extent they do white-led ones.

The dynamic I am highlighting is simple: There is a veneer of niceness that sometimes suggests personal and institutional commitments to racism.  But veneers can hide what is underneath. This is particularly true for persons who fancy themselves liberal or progressive. By virtue of claiming this label, many believe their work is done. After one anti-racism workshop or one inter-racial relationship, they believe they have arrived. This is exemplified by people who don Black Lives Matter flags yet ignore the conflict between their professed beliefs and daily behavior or by people who consider themselves inclusive yet surround themselves, hire and network with people who look just like them.

But each of us lives and breathes in a society that is racist by default. That means that deconstructing our mindsets must be ongoing and longstanding.




Blog Posts

The Media is Still Contracting. Now What?,

By Jennifer R. Farmer At the end of 2019, I wrote an article titled, “The Media is Contracting: Now What?” We are a few weeks away from 2021, and guess what? The media is still contracting. There have been more jobs lost in the media industry this year than there has been since 2008. Accordin


By Jennifer Farmer Date - December 16, 2020

In Today’s Media Landscape, Opinion Essays Are a Communicator’s Best Friend,

It is becoming more challenging than ever to secure earned media, or media one doesn’t have to pay for. Not only do public relations pros outnumber journalists 4 to 1, but journalists are increasingly asked to do more with less. Further, it appears the media is consumed with the latest offering fr


By Jennifer Farmer Date - July 21, 2020

Upcoming Events

Nothing from January 23, 2021 to April 23, 2021.

“I have decided to show up fully and authentically. I trust you will do the same. May you find what you need in one of these books.”Jennifer R. FarmerExtraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Step-by-Step Guide. Order now from Berrett Koehler or your favorite book seller.   First and Only: A Black Woman's Guide to Thriving at Life and Work. Pre-order now from BroadLeaf Books or your favorite book seller.


Jennifer R. Farmer is a leading professional in communications strategy. For over 15 years, she has made her mark in social justice movements, working with entities as varied as PICO National Network, Advancement Project, the Service Employees International Union, SEIU District 1199 (WV/KY/OH), Obama for America, the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus and the Ohio Department of Transportation (in the administration of Gov. Ted Strickland). She is the founder of Spotlight PR LLC whose mission is to develop high-impact communications workshops and trainings.

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Testimonials and Endorsements

Jennifer Farmer is one of the smartest and most talented communicators I know. She’s passionate, knowledgeable and relatable about her work. Plus, when we spent time together, she made sure I never ate alone.

Ari Berman, Contributing WriterThe Nation

When we worked together in the Forward Together Moral Monday movement, Jennifer Farmer skillfully heard me. She allowed me to be myself, while teaching me and the NC NAACP staff foundational communications techniques.

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, Founder, Repairers of the BreachThe North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP,The Forward Together Moral Movement

I loved this book. It is smart, practical and filled with personal examples that underscore the author’s central message: there are concrete things you can do to promote your organization with or without a large budget. Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget is required reading for anyone wishing to use strategic communications to make a difference.

Celinda Lake, PrincipalLake Research Partners

Jennifer R. Farmer is more than a public relations expert, she is an organizational change agent. She has a laser-focused ability to guide teams to realize, utilize and maximize their collective abilities towards taking their company to the next level. From management coaching to strategic planning, Jennifer will help any team cultivate a culture of success.

Nina Turner, PresidentOur Revolution

I sincerely appreciate your work and having you as a team member. You have helped me grow and sharpen my focus for this journey. Thank you. Love and Respect.

Michael Render, pka Killer Mike, Activist, Rapper and Businessman