Women of Courage by Morgan Obidowski

On Wednesday, May 8, our team was fortunate enough to attend Lutheran Settlement House’s Women of Courage awards and breakfast. It was a celebration of not just courage, but resilience, strength and the power of women to create a community that lifts us up and allows us to see the best in ourselves and each other.

We urge you to watch this video that profiles the five honorees and to give to support the mission of Lutheran Settlement House. They are currently $2,500 away from their $15,000 fundraising goal. The campaign ends in May, and every dollar helps support a family in need, an adult seeking a GED, a woman looking for safe haven or a senior citizen seeking community. Donate now.

It’s called balance. #IWD2019 by Morgan Obidowski

The theme of International Women’s Day 2019 is #BalanceforBetter.

Balance starts at home. Better yet, it starts in the bathroom. The 532 billion-dollar beauty industry is dominated by men. Less than 30% of “personal care” companies have women in leadership positions. As of 2017, Coty, the parent company of dozens of fragrances, OPI, Philosophy, Rimmel and many more subsidiaries had zero women on the board and zero women executives. Revlon, whose subsidiaries include Almay, SinfulColors, CND and American Crew, had a board comprised of one-third women. And zero women executives.

This is an industry that is fueled by women. We have the purchasing power. We are buying toner, serums, concealer, dry shampoo, perfumes, lotions and lipsticks at rates that dwarf men. Yet, men are the ones reaping in hundreds of billions of dollars. I won’t even get into the why and the how this industry (a recession-proof one, at that) even exists in the first place but I am happy to tell you how to put your hard-earned money in the hands of smart, talented and brave women-led beauty companies.

Bonus! These companies are cruelty-free, too, because if you’re already making one good choice, go ‘head and make one more. (Fun fact: women-owned cosmetic companies tend to be safer because we are the ones wearing them and don’t want to put weird unknown stuff on OUR FACES.)

The Lip Bar. Super pigmented colors that are vegan, affordable and sold at Target – what more do you want?

H2O+. Face, body and hair care created with the idea that pure water is the most important first step to any product.

Oyin Handmade. Jamyla Bennu runs Oyin with her husband, Pierre, but we’re letting this one in because she started natural hair care line on her own in 2001 – and we love a good business/love story. P.S. if you have a squirmy kid that screams bloody murder when you comb their hair, go buy the Oh my glide! prestyling detangler right now.

Elate. Elate is at the heart of the conscious beauty movement and as they say: “the opposite of kindness is not cruelty, it is inattention.” So, pay attention. And make smart choices that push us to #BalanceforBetter.

At Food Shelter, we believe in balance. We believe in balancing our client roster. We believe that operating a women-owned business and employing other women is a step toward balance and we believe in work/life balance. It may be cliched, but a critical part of leading a balanced life is self-care. So next time you want to treat yourself to a new nail polish or fun lip gloss, remember it starts with us.   

A Conversation with Molly Given of Metro Philadelphia by Ellie McGarvey

One of the biggest challenges a publicist can face is finding the right person to tell their client’s story. As outstanding as a pitch may be, it’s not doing anyone any good if it’s sent to the wrong contact. For that reason, we at FSPR are always eager to pick editors’ brains to see what news, trends, or events are catching their attention. Molly Given, Features Editor at Metro Philadelphia, met up with us to talk about seeing her name in print for the first time, her process when deciding which Philly events to cover, and what she looks for in a pitch.  


Did you always want to be a journalist? How did you get started in the field?

I did actually always want to be a journalist, since I was a kid I had journals filled with writing and stories. When I got to college I knew I wanted to study it, and when I got out of college, it’s not the easiest field to get a job in right away, so I just freelanced for a lot of different places. A lot of times you don’t really get paid for that, but you get a lot of experience. So then, after eventually building up my résumé, I landed a job at a website. I always wanted to work for a paper though, so I kept that in mind and then I got the job with Metro Philly. The first time I saw my name in print, it was kind of a dream come true. 


When it comes to Philly news and events, there’s always so much going on – how do you decide what you want to cover?

I always try to have a variety. Food is a big industry in Philly, so I’ll frequently cover that. There’s a good arts and culture scene, good museums, so I’ll always try to include that. And also…people want to drink. People want to go out! So really, I just try to pick and choose a wide variety and think about what I would be most interested in – if there’s a unique twist on an event, that’s always a plus as well.


What’s your favorite neighborhood in Philly?

That’s a good question! I love the Old City area, maybe because I’m a big history buff, especially within that time period. It’s so fun to go down there and feel like you’re stepping back in time, seeing all the history. It’s gorgeous there too, it’s by the water, and there’s a lot to offer in that neighborhood. One of my favorite spots for sure.


What advice would you give to publicists who want to pitch you?

I would say, have a press release ready, and quotes are always great - from someone who is involved in the event or had a part in making the event happen. Pictures are always great as well. And just put it in your own words, like how you would tell it to a friend. Whatever you find interesting about the event, someone else probably will as well. 


Skills for Your First Job in PR by Ellie McGarvey

I was disappointed to not have a job upon graduation. After a few months of frustrating job interviews, advertised as PR – but really sales jobs – I was aggravated and felt like I would have to settle for a job I didn’t want. When I finally interviewed at Food Shelter I thought, “Whoa, this is an ACTUAL PR job and I want it. I hope they hire me!” Now, six months after joining FSPR as an Assistant Account Executive, I have learned some crucial lessons on what skills are essential to succeeding in PR. 



First, and most importantly, be excited about what you do. Of course, learning the ins and outs of a new job comes with many frustrating moments. It may take longer to master some skills than others. Passion helps to push yourself forward and brings you to a better place in your work, both in quality and upward mobility for future opportunities. It is that moment of pure pride when you land a media placement or complete a difficult project. Without passion, it will be difficult to excel in any job, so find something you truly enjoy. 


Attention to Detail 

A critical lesson I’ve learned is that PR requires a great deal of attention to detail. Always double-check your spelling and grammar, no matter what sized task you are working on. Small typos can make a big difference; carve out time for multiple proofreading sessions. When you feel like you are in a time crunch, check in with supervisors to let them know. They likely will prefer that you take the time to check for mistakes rather than send in work that is sloppily done.


Time Management 

Juggling projects and clients is the reality in PR. Prioritization is fundamental, and with that comes the need for time management skills. I often work off of two to-do lists – one handwritten and the other online - that way I have visuals at all times of what needs to be done and when. Time management also means limiting procrastination. If you are wasting time, it usually means you do not know how to or are afraid to tackle the next big task – so ask some questions and get moving. Budgeting time to fit in last-minute tasks is helpful in being successful with all assignments.  



It is important to think of new, creative ways to capture an audience – finding ways to think outside the box while also keeping up with industry trends. Speaking up and sharing ideas is all a part of the creative process. When you can bounce ideas back and forth with a co-worker, it is easier to develop a successful idea rather than struggling to come up with something by yourself.  Collaboration and teamwork help influence creativity and expand a simple idea into an effective one. 


The Fastest Four Minutes of Your Life: Tips for Broadcast Appearances by Mackenzie Maloney

So you’re gonna be on the big screen! Securing that first broadcast appearance is always exciting, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed as you get closer to the big day. Whether you have a professional PR agency, are working with a freelancer or secured the segment yourself, it’s important to take time to prepare for the unexpected. If you go in feeling confident and ready for anything, you have a much better chance of succeeding than Mr. Wacky.

Fox 29’s Mike Jerrick catches up with Rich Friedrich, Executive Chef of P.J. Whelihan’s to discuss the best tailgate food found at P.J. Whelihan’s

Fox 29’s Mike Jerrick catches up with Rich Friedrich, Executive Chef of P.J. Whelihan’s to discuss the best tailgate food found at P.J. Whelihan’s

Below are a few basic tips.

Before You Arrive

Make sure you know if the segment is in-studio or outside. Location may determine your entire approach, formal vs fun and casual. Either way, dress appropriately to make sure your attire is true to your brand. Stay away from checks or busy patterns, which show up oddly on camera. Brewers and Chefs may opt for logoed apparel while restaurateurs or real estate developers choose a business casual look instead.

Find out who will be interviewing you and do a little research. PR firms typically provide background on recent segments as well as competitors that were featured but doing your own digging may provide an opportunity to discover a common interest or point of conversation to create an easy on-air rapport. Figure out if you have any shared contacts on social media. 


Know Why You Are There

Understand the goal of the segment. Are you promoting a new product, opening a new restaurant, is this a trend piece or national holiday (real or made up food day)?  Are you there not only as a representative of your company but the industry as a whole? If so, you may need to update yourself on critical issues such as tax credits or upcoming legislation that stand to affect your industry.


Message Exercise

Now that you have your goal, focus on the message. At Food Shelter, we provide individualized worksheets that prep clients for appearances, working through messaging, identifying any potential stumbling, and highlighting any props or materials necessary to make the segment come alive.


As the founder or spokesperson, you know your brand better than anyone, but the challenge can be expressing benefits or ideas in a precise, easily digestible manner. It takes practice (often known in the biz as “message exercises”) to develop a few quick lines that come naturally to describe your company, brand or big idea. You can say something a thousand times in your head but until you hear it out loud, you may not identify critical mistakes, such as forgetting to include the name of your brewery or company.

To reinforce the point above, at Food Shelter, we tell our clients to say their company name at every opportunity.  See what we did there? 

Lastly, don’t forget to smile and check your posture.

And Just Like That - It’s Over

Segments are exciting and fast paced. Unfortunately, basic manners can get lost along the way. This opportunity should be treated like any other high-level meeting. Be gracious no matter what. Don’t forget to thank the host. If you completed a food or product segment, make sure you offer something to the crew. It’s always a good idea to leave product in the green room, either for interns and newsroom staff or even the next set of guests.   


Your unofficial “gritty” guide to the holiday season in Philadelphia by Mackenzie Maloney

Philadelphia loves its Christmas traditions – from the ice rink in Dilworth Park to the classic Macy’s light show, some things never change (not that that’s a bad thing!). If you’re a longtime Philadelphian, though, you might be looking for some alternatives to the typical holiday happenings. The FSPR team dug up some fun, unique, and dare we say, “Gritty” holiday activities that are slightly off the beaten path.

Die Hard Christmastime Reading at Tattooed Mom, December 10

Welcome to the party, pal. It’s well established at this point that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and Tattooed Mom has put together an excellent cast of Philly actors to do a special Christmastime reading of the beloved action film. The event is free, but all donations and proceeds will benefit Theatre Contra's 2018/19 season. First come, first serve!


Art Star Holiday Market at Cherry Street Pier, December 15-16

If you’ve been meaning to check out the recently opened Cherry Street Pier, this is the perfect excuse! The Art Star Holiday Market, open for one weekend only, will feature 30 curated vendors, all selling handmade goods that make for perfectly unique gifts. Find something for everyone on your shopping list while supporting local artists and vendors.  The event will also include Photos with Santa, a gift-wrapping station, and make and takes!



Yuletide Cheers & Beers, every Thursday November 15 - December 27

This tour, organized by Historic Philadelphia, will transport you back in time to the winter of 1777, when the British were occupying Philadelphia. A Red Coat soldier provides a tour of four cozy pubs, with a unique perspective on the American Revolution at every stop.



Miracle on South 13th Street, November 28 - January 1

For nearly 20 years, residents of the 1600 block of South 13th have welcomed visitors to take in their truly spectacular holiday lights display. Each household has a unique style that inspires the decorations and adornments that they choose. You can drive down to South 13th (this block is located between Tasker and Morris Streets), but we recommend visiting on foot for the full effect. 




A Conversation with Camille Mola of Positive Publicity Blog by Mackenzie Maloney

At Food Shelter PR, we’re lucky enough to work with a number of creative and talented influencers, whose social media platforms reach thousands of followers throughout the Philadelphia area and beyond. We sat down with Camille Mola (@camille_mola), a Philadelphia-based blogger behind Positive Publicity Blog, a lifestyle blog that strives to inspire others to create, go after what they want in life, achieve their goals, and, of course, be positive. In addition to blogging, Camille works full-time as the PR and Communications Manager at an Opera Training Academy in Philadelphia, a position which combines her two biggest passions, Singing and PR. She is a proud Penn State alum, where she studied public relations. Below, Camille gives us an inside look into the creative life of an influencer!



●      How did you get your start in the influencer realm?

○      I actually began blogging initially to record memories while studying abroad in college. Fun fact, Positive Publicity was first called An American Girl in London (a very clever name!). And as a PR major in college, blogging was a frequent topic in many of my classes. After graduation, I really got the blogging bug; I began learning as much as I could, started joining online communities and began meeting and collaborating with other bloggers. Receiving that first email in your inbox of a brand wanting to work with you is the most amazing feeling! Seeing the growth of this blog has made me want to work that much harder. 

●       What do you think is the biggest draw to Philadelphia?

○      Where to begin? I truly believe that Philadelphia has everything you could want in a city. From dining and sports, to history and culture, Philadelphia has it all. Being a Philadelphia-area native (shout out to Delco), I might just be a little bit biased. After speaking with people who have moved to Philadelphia, I noticed a common theme about their favorite thing about the city. It’s that Philly has a small city feel while being in a major city. It has a nice balance of having everything you could want in a large city, but not having the overwhelming hustle you may find in other cities. I have a series on my blog called Philly Finds, which focuses on things around Philadelphia I’ve recently checked out or am looking forward to. Each time I work on one of those posts, I’m reminded just how amazing this city is.

●      What advice do you have for bloggers who are trying to get their start?

○      This is a question I’ve actually been getting a lot recently! My advice is always to be your authentic self, collaborate and engage with others, and don’t compare yourself to what others are doing. Don’t get discouraged if things aren’t moving at a pace you’d like them to be; keep working hard and that hard work will pay off. And if you’re unsure about how to start your first blog post, begin by writing what you know. Pick that topic you know you’re an expert in and just write that first post. Everyone is knowledgeable in a certain topic; be excited about sharing that knowledge!

●      What’s your favorite neighborhood in Philadelphia, and why?

○      So many to choose from; they’re all so unique! But I love South Philly so much, specifically the East Passyunk area. It’s a food paradise! In the summer, it’s filled with people dining on the sidewalks, and even in the winter the streets are filled with people admiring the holiday lights. It has that old-school Italian Philly charm, which reminds me of home and my family.

●      What advice do you have for brands who are trying to work with you?

○      Whenever I work with a brand, I strive to be as communicative as possible. I love working with brands that are clear in what they’re looking for, can provide a unique and interesting experience that my readers will enjoy, and communicate well – these are things I also aim to do when working with bloggers in my full-time job. A brand collaboration is that much more successful when everyone is on the same page. Food Shelter PR is the best at this ;)

An Homage to International Women's Day by Lorraine Gimblett

Let’s take this time to celebrate the ways we observe International Women’s Day (IWD) - not just on its yearly global holiday, but every damn day.

At Food Shelter, we pride ourselves on being a women-owned business which employs a team of talented ladies. We’re a group that celebrates each other’s achievements and uniqueness. Regardless of age, experience or job title, we mentor each other and share  knowledge and experiences, recognizing we have more in common than differences.

Over the past year, women’s rights dominated the news with reports of misconduct from high level execs and entertainers, causing a ripple effect of women speaking up about their experiences and gaining the courage to end their silence.

While we could spend days talking about pay gaps and harassment, we’d rather focus on our future and how as a group we are evolving now, more than ever, and celebrate the theme of IWD 2018: #PressforProgress.

Here’s our short list - a brief nod to the growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support surrounding gender parity and sexism.  We’d like to celebrate them for well, what should be the obvious reasons.

·      Meryl Streep

·      Michelle Obama

·      Catt Sadler

·      Chrissy Teigen

·      Hillary Clinton

·      Savannah Guthrie

·      Geena Davis

·      Alicia Keys

·      Issa Rae

·      Sheryl Sandberg

·      Melinda Gates

·      Ilana Glazer

·      Abbi Jacobson

·      Serena Williams

·      Ashley Graham

·      Margaret Booth *

·      Roxanne Donovan *

Cheers to strong (and might we say, badass) women: may we know them, may we be them and may we raise them.

This year’s International Women’s Day will be on Thursday, March 8. We hope to see you out there celebrating.

**paved the way and were instrumental to the co-founders of FSPR for which they are both eternally grateful