Q&A with Holly Silvestri, principal, The Ferraro Group

As a former newspaper reporter in San Diego, Holly Lobelson Silvestri is used to demanding bosses and tight deadlines. But about 15 years ago, Silvestri decided to switch from journalism to public relations, opening Impress Communications LLC.

Although successful on her own, Silvestri decided to merge her Las Vegas firm with The Ferraro Group in 2008 as the recession was taking hold. Today, Silvestri is a principal with the firm overseeing strategic public relations and marketing, as well as media relations, community relations and social media.

“Las Vegas is unique with its enormous gaming presence and fairly close-knit business sector,” Silvestri said. “But I don’t believe public relations is any more challenging here than it would be in any other city.”

What do you like best about working in public relations?

Helping our clients strategize and communicate with their audiences is very fulfilling. I like working as a team with our clients to accomplish their goals, heighten awareness and influence their target markets. I also like tackling the challenges of the ever-evolving public relations, whether it involves strategic messaging and positioning, social media outreach, grass-root strategies, media relations and training, crisis communications, charitable giving efforts or special event planning.

What makes Las Vegas unique or challenging when it comes to handling public relations for companies or individuals?

We now live in a world in which means of communication have dramatically changed. The public relations and marketing industry is actively adapting to these changes and will be forced to continue doing so as the landscape continues to shift.

What do you do in your free time?

Free time equals family time. It’s always a challenge juggling a time-consuming career with family life, so I make a point to take breathers and spend quality time with my twin 9-year-old girls and husband. We go skiing and travel, including a few times a year to my hometown of San Diego. I also enjoy writing and plan a series of children’s books if I can ever find the time to put my ideas onto paper.

How did a career in journalism prepare you for what you’re doing now?

I jumped into public relations about 15 years ago after serving as a newspaper reporter in San Diego for almost six years. My journalism career taught me communication skills, honed my writing abilities, allowed me to fully understand the news industry and forced me to explore different stories involving a vast array of people. My exposure in the reporting world helped me to become a more tolerant person with a more worldly perspective. I bring this insight to PR efforts we put forth for our clients.

Are you involved with any local nonprofits?

Since some of our clients are nonprofits — including Nathan Adelson Hospice, Vegas PBS, WestCare and the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance — I am actively involved with their events and fundraising efforts. I am also active with the at-risk JT McWilliams Elementary School. Both personally and through our firm, we maintain a garden at the school and provide financial assistance to many of the needy families there. I think Las Vegas has a big heart, and many wonderful charities exist here. I applaud everyone who can contribute or volunteer to make a real difference in someone’s life.

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