A conversation with Lucy Gnazzo, owner of LM Gnazzo Promotion Strategies

Lucy M. Gnazzo - (Photo / Submitted)

Lucy Gnazzo is the founder and owner of LM Gnazzo Promotion Strategies, a public relations company with a focus on Pennsylvania industries and people.

She shared her passion for telling stories, giving back and promoting all that Pennsylvania has to offer, particularly through her work with the agricultural industry.

Tell me a little about your career. When and how did you get started?

I’ve had a wonderful exciting career. I started after I graduated from Penn State University. I majored in speech communications and broadcasting, and I had a journalism emphasis, as well. The beauty of it was that there were so many opportunities in college to work for pretty much anything you wanted to gain experience in. If you wanted it badly enough and you wanted to connect, you’d dive in, so that’s what I did. From there, I created an internship at WITF and worked on statewide television shows. There was just a lot of action and activity, and it really prepared me to transfer my skills to the next level. So I decided I wanted to then get into public relations. I was in my mid-20s, and I wanted to continue learning and using my passion, which was to tell stories.

How has your passion for Pennsylvania translated into your career success?

I love Pennsylvania. I love Pennsylvanians. I love Pennsylvania stories, businesses, agriculture, which is our number one industry. I’ve had my own business since 2004, and I love it because I get to work with so many amazing people to help tell their story and also help combine charitable work with the work that they’re doing.

Tell me more about your work with the PA Dairymen’s Association and the Fill a Glass With Hope campaign to deliver fresh milk to food banks.

It’s exciting, the 65th anniversary [of the PA Dairymen’s milkshakes at the Farm Show]. When we launched Fill a Glass With Hope in 2015, we were working just with Central PA Food Bank. Here we are getting ready to kick off a brand new campaign for 2018 at the Farm Show, and each year, we add new elements and new promotions. Now we’re working with Feeding Pennsylvania, and its eight food banks within the state benefit from that. It’s just amazing how successful it’s become.

Would you say that spreading awareness about certain causes motivates a lot of the PR work that you do?

I love cause marketing, and I love to see organizations and businesses engaged and giving back to their communities. And a big piece of connecting the public to a campaign such as Fill a Glass With Hope is education. People want to know: Why should I care? Why should I get involved? And you have to help tell that story.

How did you build your network?

One of the most important things in life is who you surround yourself with — individuals who will support you, help lift you up and also help to further enhance the work that you do. It’s taken decades to build that network. Maybe I’m working on a project today with partners and maybe six months down the road, I’m working on something else, and I see that we can connect the dots and strengthen what we’re trying to do. My mantra is “#MakeItCount.” Together, let’s make it count.

When you’re working with a client, do you act as a vehicle to get them to think outside of the box to think of unique promotions?

Yes, absolutely. Anything’s possible. Celebrate your milestones. Engage the public in those celebrations. Everybody works extremely hard day in and day out, and sometimes you have to step back, and you have to really embrace the opportunity.

Can you tell me about some challenges that you’ve faced over your career, particularly as a woman in the field?

One of the biggest things, I think, when you’re young and starting out, you have to build your confidence, and you have to get a seat at the table. I think every young woman starting out has to learn how to tell herself that it takes time.

What advice would you give to other women?

I always say take advantage of mentors to help you along the way. Take advantage of volunteer opportunities to gain experience. Don’t be afraid to dive in and take that challenge.

How can women feel empowered in their work?

One of the joys that I get in life is when I get to collaborate with my colleagues. We enjoy working together on initiatives and projects, and we all lift each other up and create that positive energy around each other and support each other. And as women, that’s so important. I don’t approach what I do as a competition. I am always so proud of the accolades of the work that all of my colleagues gain.

Becca Oken-Tatum
Becca Oken-Tatum is the web editor for the Central Penn Business Journal. She also coordinates and writes for CPBJ's monthly Young Professionals e-newsletter. Email her questions, comments and tips at btatum@cpbj.com.

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