2022 Prestigious Women Awards Honoree: Helena Poleo

Meet Helena Poleo, President of Influence Communications

Helena Poleo has spent 20 years in communications, starting as a reporter for daily publications and magazines before making the switch to public relations. Her career as a reporter included being a foreign correspondent for Venezuelan publications covering politics, immigration and local news for The Miami Herald, Sun Sentinel and El Nuevo Herald. Poleo made the transition from reporting to media relations in 2008 when she joined City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz as his spokesperson. Poleo joined Diaz’s office at an exciting time when he was President of the United States Conference of Mayors during a Presidential election year. When Mayor Diaz was termed out of office in 2009, Poleo became part of the media relations team for Florida Power & Light before returning to public service as Public Information Officer for the City of Doral in 2010. After creating Doral’s Public Information Department, Poleo decided to apply her knowledge and experience toward opening her own firm, Influence Communications.

Poleo’s experience spans real estate, public affairs, Hispanic and Latin American issues and arts and culture, among others. She leverages her overall skill set as a reporter and her extensive network of press contacts to secure the best coverage for her clients. She participates on live television several times a month as an analyst of political issues as well as the crisis in Venezuela.

A native of Venezuela, Poleo graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2003 from the Journalism School of Florida International University. Helena serves on the Executive Advisory Committee of The Education Fund, is a mentor as part of the Women of Tomorrow and is a graduate of the Greater Miami’s Chamber of Commerce Leadership Miami Program. She recently completed a Women in Leadership Certificate from Cornell University and is a member of the Florida International University Presidents Circle.

WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED IN YOUR CAREER? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THOSE CHALLENGES?

As many other professional women, I have faced obstacles in my career and in balancing work and family life. As a young reporter, I often faced challenges being taken seriously as a young female reporter. Later, I also faced challenges as the spokesperson for the Mayor of one of the most dynamic cities in the country, the City of Miami. As a young woman, it was sometimes difficult to assert my authority and be taken seriously. However, I found that if I remained professional and worked hard, I was able to prove myself and earn the respect I deserved. Additionally, I have been fortunate in my career to have fantastic mentors, both men and women, who have helped me navigate the intricacies of the business and political world.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST MONUMENTAL MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER THUS FAR?

I will never forget making the switch from journalist to spokesperson for the Mayor of Miami. It all happened in a few days. I went from the newsroom of El Nuevo Herald to Miami City Hall. The transition was quick and challenging. However, it opened the door to a brand new career and I will always see that as the pivotal moment in my career.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST PROFESSIONAL MOMENT?

My proudest professional moment was being recognized as Woman-Owned Business of the Year by the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the first female Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Daniella Levine-Cava.

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS YOU GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY?

One of my most gratifying community volunteer work is as a mentor to at-risk high school girls as part of the Women of Tomorrow program. It is a true honor to mentor these young ladies and watch them become strong, successful women. Additionally, I participate in the Florida International University Presidents Circle and donate my time and funds to raise awareness of the Venezuelan plight with Raices Venezolanas Miami and the Venezuela Awareness Foundation.

WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU LIKE THE JUDGES TO KNOW?

I have owned Influence Communications, with my husband Andre Rodriguez, for 11 years and I am proud of the work we have achieved. In that time, we have worked in multiple local, state and national political campaigns, including a presidential campaign. We also have several corporate clients and are able to use our connections to help local nonprofits who assist the community in various areas. This brings me great pride and joy in my everyday work.

SFBW Staff
sfbw@lmgfl.com
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