Anita Brightman

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I reflect on my own journey. I feel our paths reveal themselves to us if we are open to any possibility. In 1996, I took a leap of faith and left my job with a large defense contractor, a comfortable position, to start A. Bright Idea. I took this risk because I wanted more control over my schedule and to advance my career at a quicker pace.

A new mother, I was scared to step out of my comfort zone, but knew I needed to do it.

Starting from scratch, I built ABI motivated by the voice in my head, saying, “I will not fail.”

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First, I made a plan and followed it. I needed to build a clientele. When things clicked, I worked to replicate and improve processes. When I encountered challenges, I looked for ways to improve, such as building checklists and refining processes to avoid future obstacles. The lessons I learned outside the confines of my comfort zone created the foundation of the A. Bright Idea way and guides how I work to this day. I continue to stay the course, keep my head down and keep marching. Working day by day, I forge ahead and persevere, striving to maximize my potential and create opportunity for others.

I did not set out on this journey with the intent of growing A. Bright Idea into a coast-to-coast, multi-office agency. But by building up my team with brilliant, capable people, something enduring was created. In all endeavors, especially creative ones, collaboration is key. Every day with our combined talents, the ABI team pushes through challenges and identifies opportunities to create innovative ways to support our clients, engage audiences and change conversations.

Directors of A. Bright Idea
Women of A. Bright Idea

The past and present power of the women in our industry, combined with collaboration and creativity, make a positive impact on our families, communities and workplaces. I look forward to all we can achieve and remain steadfast in my commitment to moving the industry forward, investing in the next generation as they create their paths and find their voices.

Anita A. Brightman, APR, Fellow PRSA

by Katie MacNichol

2020 also marks the 100th anniversary of the American Advertising Federation of Baltimore (AAFB). Established as the auxiliary to the men’s-only Advertising Club, the organization flourished thanks to a group of women who wanted their own voices heard amidst the growing advertising scene in burgeoning Baltimore. Just like A. Bright Idea, its creation came out of a desire to make an impact.

Over the last century, AAFB facilitated and connected communications and advertising experts spread out across the Baltimore market, creating and helping generations of professionals grow into the best in the industry.

Our industry relies on empowered team members who feel confident enough to share their ideas and mentors who are readily and enthusiastically willing to provide support.

Every day I see the amazing creative contributions of women in the field and think about the progress since AAFB’s founding. Just like those women who founded AAFB, Anita created a space for all of us to use our voices. Because of her experience starting ABI and the lessons she learned, we can truly make a difference.

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How to Position Your Business for Success

December 2011

Expert Advice on Budgets, Marketing and More

In today’s uncertain economy, successful businesses are implementing strategies to ensure their long-term success. Whether it’s increasing budgets for growth or crafting effective marketing, I95 BUSINESS probed three business owners for ideas on how to position for success.

Positioning for Growth
Anita Brightman, president of A. Bright Idea Advertising & Public Relations, positions her 19-person firm for growth. With offices on both coasts, Brightman’s agency expansion is due to large federal contracts, small business brand development and environmental remediation projects. Brightman also deals with companies and clients who want to do more with shrinking budgets.

To read the full article, click here:



It is almost Father’s Day.  It’s a joyous and sad day for me. I started A. Bright Idea in 1996, a few years before my father died from a brain tumor.  I often wonder what he would think of the life and business I’ve created? Although he never had the opportunity to tell me, I trust he would delight in my business acumen, strong work ethic and my pull yourself up by your bootstraps mentality.

Anita, Father and Sisters
Visiting the Tool and Die Shop at Armco Steel for Family Day. Pictured left to right: Tina (Zarachowicz) Malamphy, Barbara Zarachowicz, Joanne (Zarachowicz) Cooke, Barbara Tiffine (Zarachowicz) Bouloubassis, Jerome Zarachowicz, Anita (Zarachowicz) Brightman.

A. Bright Idea was born in many ways because of my father, Jerome Zarachowicz. He was a tool and dye maker and also worked in the furnace room at Armco Steel. It was a physical job in demanding conditions that left him exhausted at the end of a single shift, and empty at the end of a double. He engrained in me that with direction, hard work and a positive attitude, anything is possible. Instead of reveling in an accomplishment he’d always set the bar higher. (Um, that might also be the reason I’ve got issues with perfectionism…)

One year, my father decided to run for a position with the Union and their ticket was called, “New Direction.” I was probably 12 at the time and happily helped design a series of posterboards with red, white and blue markers that he displayed at the plant and in the back windows of his rusty, blue, Chevy Suburban.  He was energized and talked about the campaign at the dinner table, a time usually reserved for silence after a hard day at work.  My father and I strategized about how they could increase turnout at the elections and established a shuttle service to the union hall.  I loved the connection that election created between my father and me. One day while making a poster, he suggested that I get involved in public relations.  It was likely just a passing comment because he thought I had a knack at drumming up publicity; however, it had a lasting effect.

That decision path continues to impact my family. I’m delighted that A. Bright Idea provides such a wonderful opportunity for my own family.  My husband joined the agency almost five years ago, right around Father’s Day. Working in sports marketing prior to that took him away from home much of the day and phone calls, emails, and client dinners and events filled up the rest of his evening. Work still dominates much of our lives.  Ask our children and they will tell you that we’re always talking about A. Bright Idea.  The dinner conversations about client campaigns are reminiscent of the dinner conversation I had with my father about the election.  He’s still with me.

Happy Father’s Day, to my husband, T.J., my father-in-law, Cal, and the staff and significant others of Team ABI.