Women Worth Watching 2015

Jeanne C. Finegan, APR

HF Media’s President Sets the Standard for Legal Communication Outreach


web HFMedia_FinneganFor the past 25 years, Jeanne Finegan has been recognized as a distinguished legal notice and communications expert. She is a leader in her field, planning and implementing mission-critical, high-stakes, legal communication projects ranging from FTC government enforcement actions, class action settlements, product recall, and crisis communication, including consulting with the Consumer Protection Safety Commission to make product recalls more effective. Today, she is president of HF Media LLC,

Jeanne’s early career as a broadcast reporter and market researcher gave her a unique lens on business and communication—to be thorough and thoughtful, to look at all the angles, and to always support your decisions. This created a basis for her multifaceted career in legal communications, sales, and marketing, starting with the founding her own communications firm, which was later acquired by one of the largest legal administration firms.

Joining that firm as a senior corporate executive, she developed high-level sales infrastructures, business cases, and corporate branding strategies. She also contributed to a more than $100 million buyout of a major administration firm.

“…if you focus on doing the best job you can every day, the rest falls into place.”

“Starting my own business was a huge leap,” said Jeanne. “My best take away from the experience was that you can’t win every time out, but if you focus on doing the best job you can every day, the rest falls into place.”

Jeanne is accredited in public relations (APR) by the Universal Accreditation Board, a program administered by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and has served on examination panels for APR candidates. Additionally, she has served as a volunteer judge for the prestigious PRSA awards.

As the first notice expert to integrate social and mobile media into court-approved legal notice programs, she continues to set the standard for modern legal communication outreach. Her efforts have also been praised by many federal courts.

Certifications: APR, Accredited in Public Relations by the Public Relations Society of America and the Canadian Public Relations Society.

My First Job: working as a reporter for KBZY radio.

What I’m Reading: “Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing” by Douglas Van Praet

The most important quality a woman leader should have is…


The career advice I’d give my former self:

Don’t be afraid of adversity, it makes you stronger. Don’t draw boundaries of “I can do this” or “I can’t do that.” That thinking creates limiting walls and can have a negative impact on confidence. Instead, look at the possibilities each situation presents. You never know where your career path will take you.

Words I live by:

Respect: Good leaders don’t dictate, they seek information instead of demanding. They ask about other viewpoints and weigh all the options. Humility: No one is perfect or has learned it all. Don’t be afraid to seek the advice of others. Please and Thank You: Both go a long way.

The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…

…honestly, I don’t know that I would change anything. I have had good experiences and valuable experiences. Some of the valuable experiences haven’t necessarily been “good” experiences, but they have been formative and important. Don’t rest your self-esteem in what others say about you, confidence comes from taking control and creating the value in yourself.

When I really need to focus on a project, I…

…keep detailed notes on all my projects from start to finish. Many of my projects are extremely detailed and time-sensitive. That way, when I do need to be laser-like on a project I don’t miss any of the nuances.

My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…

…starting my own business. The best takeaway – you can’t win every time out, but if you focus on doing the best job you can every day, the rest falls into place.

Being a woman in my profession has been…

…challenging, but the gender barriers haven’t been that daunting or insurmountable. I have found that doing your best, every day, to deliver high quality work will always be recognized.

I’ve learned that failure is…

I don’t use the word failure. If you don’t succeed, you have learned what doesn’t work, and then you can sharpen your thinking the next time. I try to use every challenge as an opportunity to learn and make my company, myself and my team more innovative.

I maintain a healthy personal life by…

…being with my horse. Everyone needs a healthy, quiet place to get out of their heads, relax, rejuvenate and just live in the moment. I forget about things that I thought were problems. It’s a meditative experience helps to keep things in perspective and recalibrate my thinking.

I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when…

I love research and working on exciting challenges – finding the answers to tough questions. It’s been a common thread throughout my career, moving from a reporter, to market researcher, to advertising and public relations. To me, there is nothing better than when a client asks, “how can I do this?”