Filomena Fanelli launched her public relations firm with little more than a laptop and her kitchen counter. “When the kids were young, I used to clear Cheerios off the table before a business meeting,” she laughs.
Since she formed Impact PR & Communications five years ago, it’s become a go-to agency for clients in the Hudson Valley and beyond. Impact specializes in the food and beverage, hospitality, corporate/professional, and nonprofit sectors, with clients ranging from Angry Orchard to Astor Services for Children and Families.
Fanelli started out in her 20s working in New York City, moving up from administrative associate to become a vice president at Rubenstein Associates. Later, with young kids at home — she, her husband, and two daughters live in her Dutchess County childhood home — she decided to drop the hectic Manhattan commute and branch out on her own.
What’s your recipe for success?
“Remember that you become the sum of everyone you surround yourself with. Also, stay humble and keep learning from everyone you deal with.”
Fanelli is dedicated to growing Impact’s footprint in Poughkeepsie, where its offices have been based for several years now. She employs an all-female team of six, plus regular contractors and a “rolling roster of interns from local colleges.” Mentorship is a huge part of the fabric Fanelli has woven through her company. She stays in close touch with former interns and students (she taught a public relations writing course at Marist College, and remains a frequent guest lecturer). Fanelli also serves on the executive committees of the Women’s Leadership Alliance and the Public Relations Society of America’s Counselors Academy.
In 2017, the certified woman-owned business won a gold Stevie Award (the female business world’s version of an Oscar) for Women-Run Workplace of the Year — 10 or Less Employees.
Fanelli says: “We like to work with companies whose values align with our own. And I like to say we have New York City skills combined with a Hudson Valley heart.”