Filomena Fanelli, CEO/Founder
Impact PR & Communications’ Founder Filomena Fanelli is something of a publicity hound—particularly when it comes to getting the best media exposure for her clients.
She excels at what excites her, and that’s exploring the details of each client’s business to find the best, most unusual vein to mine for publicity. She loves storytelling and delves eagerly into company culture and context to determine what’s new or makes a client unique among competitors. Then she finds a fresh way to make it stand out in the overwhelming clutter of the media scene. Clients say she simply “gets it.”
Filomena got her start nearly 20 years ago at Rubenstein Associates, where she quickly rose through the ranks to become a vice president. Recognized as a top publicist, she worked on some of the firm’s major real estate accounts, representing Atco, Belz Enterprises, The Beekman Regent, Chartwell House, Faith Hope Consolo (at both Garrick-Aug Associates and Douglas Elliman), Grubb & Ellis, Lansco Corporation, Studley and others.
Today, she channels that energy to lead her own agency and help a diverse array of clients plot memorable events, secure speaking engagements, land leadership articles, craft sharp website content, engage in meaningful ways on social media and, of course, get their names in the news. Since its launch nearly five years ago, Impact PR & Communications has worked with noteworthy companies, from the No. 1 family-owned residential real estate firm in the Northeast to the nation’s best-selling hard cider brand. The firm specializes in the hospitality, food and beverage, corporate/professional services and not-for-profit sectors and its work has been widely recognized. In 2017, the agency was honored with a Gold Stevie Award for Women-Run Workplace of the Year – 10 or Less Employees, an international recognition.
Being an entrepreneur is something of a family tradition, according to Filomena, who was named an ATHENA Leadership Awards Program honoree in 2018 for her exceptional leadership, collaborative ethic and commitment to advocacy. She also was a “Forty Under 40” recipient in 2015 for her business leadership. She says she gets her commercial acumen from her father, a former small business owner, but the gift of being able to listen and problem-solve comes from her mother, a social worker. Her parents also gave her a love of the fresh air and green of the Hudson Valley, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.
Filomena is an involved member of the community and enjoys volunteering with various Hudson Valley nonprofit organizations. She serves on the executive committees of the Women’s Leadership Alliance and the Public Relations Society of America’s Counselors Academy. She was on the Board of Hudson River Housing, where she serves on several committees, as well as for Family Services, The Arc of Dutchess and HDSA Team Hope Walk – Hudson Valley. Previously she sat on the PR and Marketing Committee for Special Olympics New York Winter Games, was a community advisor for The Daily Voice and hosted HVNN.com’s news show, “Business Newsmakers.” Filomena has presented for the Public Relations Society of America and is a frequent guest lecturer at Marist College, where she also has taught public relations writing as an adjunct professor.
Kate Wark, Executive Vice President
With 17 years of public relations experience, Kate brings a creative and fresh approach to her role at Impact PR & Communications. She is a trusted resource for media, her clients and colleagues, and her thoughtful and results-driven approach to the job are her hallmarks.
Prior to joining the Impact team, Kate worked at Quinn and held senior management positions at Mower and Carolyn Izzo Integrated Communications. A specialist in the lifestyle public relations space, Kate has driven the PR campaigns for Coney Island Brewing Company, Rosewood Bermuda, Capella Hotels & Resorts, The Roundhouse Beacon and more, garnering award-winning results including Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Adrian Awards in Bronze, Silver and Gold, and a Media Relations Award from PR Daily. She has an affinity for grand openings, product and service launches and re-positionings, and has spearheaded external communications campaigns for major brands across the globe in the food and beverage, travel and hospitality space.
Kate has served as a judge for the HSMAI Adrian Awards, and lends her time to her local church, elementary school and Meals on Wheels of Ridgefield. An avid photographer, voracious reader and involved community member, Kate was born and raised in the Hudson Valley. She now resides in Connecticut with her husband and two daughters.
Karen Maserjian Shan, Account Manager
After writing for magazines, coordinating marketing for a software development company and working as a freelance journalist, most notably for the Poughkeepsie Journal newspaper—for whose Living & Being magazine she won a 2012 New York News Publisher’s Association Award for Excellence for feature writing—Karen joined Impact PR & Communications in the fall of 2014 as a consultant.
Now account manager with the Impact team, Karen enjoys the fast-paced routine of managing and servicing various accounts with her teammates, including finance and banking, real estate and construction, medical, healthcare and wellness, non-profit and other clients.
Karen’s deep roots in the mid-Hudson Valley and appreciation for business stem from her family’s business, Arax Photographic Studios, the mid-Hudson Valley’s premier photographic service provider, studio and retailer for 80 years. She earned her fine arts degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and after returning to the area, became a founding member of Children’s Writers of the Hudson Valley, a regional organization devoted to the development and professionalism of children’s book authors. Additionally, Karen sits on the communications committee of Arts Mid-Hudson that engages and promotes the arts throughout Dutchess, Orange and Ulster counties and is an active member of the Millbrook Literary Festival committee.
Karen lives in Poughkeepsie with her husband and two kids.
Cheryl Sloofman, Senior Account Executive
A news fiend and voracious reader, Cheryl relishes the strategy and planning involved in PR. Determining how a client’s story weaves into the news cycle, looking for unusual or compelling angles and helping clients stand out among their competitors are some of her strengths. As a senior account executive with the Impact team, she manages and services accounts, including real estate and construction, non-profit, finance and banking.
Raised in New York and now residing in northern New Jersey, Cheryl earned a master’s degree in public relations and marketing from Boston University and a master’s degree in education from New York University before taking time off to be a stay-at-home mom for her two sons. She resumed her career as a public relations consultant in 2008 and joined the Impact team in 2014. Cheryl is involved with Action to Cure Kidney Cancer and likes to run, hike and indulge her inner bookworm in her spare time.
Kristin Delia, Senior Account Executive
Kristin Delia, a long-time Dutchess County resident with deep Hudson Valley roots and a passion for the region’s unique culture and history, is at home as a senior account executive at Impact PR & Communications. Clients benefit from her industry acumen, social media savvy, and zeal for the profession, which she puts to work to contribute fresh creative ideas, craft and execute strategic campaigns, and secure top-tier media placements on their behalf.
Before joining the Impact team, Kristin was on the fast-track at Carolyn Izzo Integrated Communications, a Rockland County-based agency, where her knack for the PR business brought her from an intern to account coordinator to account executive. She spent those years managing events and conducting client communications and media outreach for a variety of well-known brands, including Coney Island Brewing Co.; The Roundhouse in Beacon, New York; Mexico Grand Hotels in Los Cabos, Mexico and Opal Apples, among other food and beverage, tourism and hospitality, and lifestyle clients.
Her passion for travel has led her across the world, inspiring her to spend her student years interning at a 5-star hotel in Lake Como, Italy, and, following graduating magna cum laude from Niagara University’s College of Hospitality & Tourism, working front-of-house at a luxury hotel in Westchester County. Combining her hospitality prowess with her love of storytelling and media made for a natural transition and, as they say, the rest is history.
In her spare time, Kristin enjoys the company of her family and friends, scoping out the best local restaurants and traveling near and far.
Michelle Obligado, Account Coordinator
Michelle joined Impact PR & Communications in 2016 after spending 16 years at IBM in the human resources department, where she liaised with and advocated for consultants making their way through IBM’s extensive consultant certification program. She also led implementation and training efforts related to business software.
An integral member of the Impact team, Michelle’s impressive interpersonal skills and technical savvy, along with her attention to detail and follow-up, make her an essential support person for her colleagues and Impact’s clients. From issuing press releases and tracking placements, to following up with clients and coordinating reports, Michelle enjoys the fast pace of the public relations world.
Born in the Bronx and raised in Westchester County, Michelle has been a Dutchess County resident for 13 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Pace University and serves on the board of directors at Community Nursery School in Poughkeepsie.
Michelle lives in the Town of Poughkeepsie with her husband and three children. In her off hours, she enjoys running, playing soccer, keeping fit at the gym and reading.
Michelle Martinetti, Marketing Consultant
A crackerjack media professional, Michelle works closely with the Impact PR & Communications team on marketing initiatives, social media calendars, eye-catching graphics, email newsletters and more for the agency’s diverse clients.
In addition to her work at Impact, Michelle serves in a development role with the Hudson Valley non-profit Angels of Light that supports children with serious illnesses, handles marketing assignments for other community businesses and creates and sells event accessories.
She is an active community volunteer and sits on the Board of Directors for Kickin’ Back, a 501(c) (3) organization that helps adolescents in underserved communities, and on the selection committee for The American Heart Association’s BetterU Challenge, a wellness program.
A lifelong Dutchess County resident with brief stints in Brooklyn and the Albany region, Michelle graduated from Marist College with a bachelor’s in Public Relations. She lives in Poughkeepsie with her husband, Phil, and their son, Luca, and enjoys reading, concerts, wine tastings and entertaining family and friends.