Put a Fork In It!
Put a Fork In It!
PAFII Episode 7: Filomena Fanelli, Founder & CEO of Impact PR & Communications

About Filomena Fanelli

Filomena Fanelli, Founder and CEO of Impact PR & Communications. Photo by Surprise Photography
Filomena Fanelli, Founder and CEO of Impact PR & Communications. Photo by Surprise Photography

This month’s featured guest, Filomena Fanelli, is the CEO and founder of Impact PR & Communications, Ltd., an award-winning public relations firm based in Poughkeepsie, NY.

With over 18 years experience in public relations, she and her team serves clients from the Hudson Valley, tri-state area and beyond.  Filomena is a true superstar in the Hudson Valley and serves as a board member of Hudson River Housing and a founding committee member of Team Hope Walk – Hudson Valley, the area’s first fundraising walk to help people with Huntington’s disease and those who love them. Filomena has also served twice on the PR/Marketing Committee for Special Olympics New York and taught public relations writing to aspiring public relations professionals and journalism majors as an adjunct at Marist College. 

Filomena was named one of the top “Forty Under 40” by the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, won an Hermes Creative Award for her work, and was named the Junior League of Poughkeepsie’s “Provisional of the Year.” She also has been profiled in numerous media outlets, including the Huffington Post, is an ongoing columnist for trade publications including CommPRO.biz, and is a frequent presenter and guest speaker for organizations including Dutchess Tourism, Unique Ladies of the Hudson Valley and the Dutchess County Chamber of Commerce.

As a proud lifelong Dutchess County resident, Filomena was driven to start her business in her locale after freelancing and working for NYC based firms for many years and finding a serious market demand for PR services in the Mid-Hudson Valley. About 3 years ago (as of the time of the recording), Filomena began to transition from freelancer to CEO/Founder. Now, she has her own office space, 5 employees and multiple interns. Her business has experienced VERY rapid growth.

Our Conversation

In our conversation, we discuss many topics, from her specific experience growing her business, to clarifying what public relations is as a field and how her companies, and others like it, help clients.

A few of the key lessons I picked up are

  1. the true value of taking a super logical approach to business, in order to stay sane and break through fear and the day to day,
  2. that the first step to business success separating your “self” from the business and seeing it outside of your identity,  and
  3. the key to success in business is taking your business seriously, which allows you to see things more clearly and actually take confident and intentional actions.

In the conversation we discuss:

  • how she got her business going;
  • the “right way” to start a business;
  • the value of relationships in building a business;
  • how to not be a slave to the emotional roller coaster and actually get stuff done;
  • a logical approach to determining your value and determining your pricing to be a profitable and sustainable business;
  • why we should all allies in our own field, and not view them as competition;
  • how her role in the business has shifted from freelancer to CEO;
  • her approach to building a good team and effective leadership;
  • a smart approach to hiring – freelance to permanent;
  • where she looks for inspiration;
  • how building client lists is like dating;
  • the differences between marking, pr and advertising;
  • her approach to developing a pr plan for clients;
  • how social media work differs between a PR firm and other marketing/social media firms;
  • simple pr tactics for small businesses;
  • determining newsworthiness and building a pr strategy;
  • how to work with a bigger goal, audience focused approach, and from position of inform and help to grow your business;
  • why we should all take our brands seriously but ourselves less seriously;
  • and so much more!


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