Q&A with Melissa Warren, managing partner for Faiss Foley Warren

Melissa Warren describes herself as “competitive by nature and blessed with high energy, good health and incredible drive.”

After graduating from college in less than three years, the Utah native jumped into the public relations field with both feet, eventually landing in Las Vegas in 1990 at DRGM, where she met Helen Foley and Linda Faiss.

The trio set up their own public relations and government affairs agency in 1998, and Warren is now the managing partner of Faiss Foley Warren, or FFW.

Warren has overseen public relations for the master-planned community of Summerlin for nearly 20 years, and FFW added breadth and diversity to its client list by championing the revival of downtown Las Vegas.

She also represents local nonprofit organizations and high-end retailers, and FFW’s government affairs division, headed by Foley, plays a major role in the Nevada political scene.

Despite the recession, FFW has grown 40 percent over the past two years and now has 14 employees.

“Public relations is a more cost-effective way than advertising to promote and keep a brand’s name in the public eye,” Warren said.

The firm recently established a division that promotes clients through social media and produces video content in-house.

“The industry is constantly changing, which has forced me to keep up,” she said. “The ‘work hard’ philosophy — which I practice — has paid off. It’s been a great ride.”

How would you describe your position?

I spend about 25 percent of my time overseeing the operations side of the firm: managing, hiring and developing new business. But, since I’m an admitted workaholic and put in at least 70 hours a week, I still have time to be a top producer and give my clients the level of service they deserve.

What’s your involvement with downtown redevelopment?

FFW moved downtown in 1998, before downtown was cool, and we’ve been here ever since. In 2005, we became involved with Newland Communities, the developer of Symphony Park, and we’ve morphed into the go-to downtown agency, working with the City of Las Vegas Economic and Urban Development Department to promote all of downtown. We also represent the Downtown Las Vegas Alliance, a consortium of about 50 businesses. We’re planning their second annual Rediscover Downtown Day on Sept. 28, to encourage locals to discover all that’s new downtown.

How have you been promoting high-end retail in Southern Nevada?

For more than 12 years, I’ve overseen public relations efforts for General Growth Properties’ portfolio in Las Vegas, including Fashion Show, The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, the Meadows Mall and others. I also work with GGP on some national contracts for the 140 malls they own. We’ve developed a template for a fashion blog that will be used by established bloggers in 20 cities, and we manage a huge online library of high-res fashion images for use by their malls across the country.

How are you involved in community activities?

I strongly believe in community betterment through local nonprofits. FFW has several nonprofit clients, and we help connect companies with local nonprofits and vice versa. We also get involved with helping our clients’ favorite charities. On a personal level, I’ve been a member of the advisory board for Nevada Ballet Theatre for 12 years, and I’ve served as the chairman of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Southern Nevada for three years.