Linda Rosanio learned her earliest lessons about business from her parents, Anthony and Nancy Catelli. In 1946, her late father founded what is now known as Catelli Brothers Inc., the Camden-based provider of lamb and veal products. Her mother, who is now 80, kept order in a house with seven children.

The training has served her well. Rosanio, 52, heads the Star Group of Cherry Hill, one of the largest advertising and public relations agencies in the Philadelphia region, where business is soaring so much that it hired 100 people last year alone. In addition, she also owns Catelli Ristorante in Voorhees, which Zagat readers call one of the top restaurants in the region for Northern Italian cuisine. Rosanio also is active in civic causes, serving on the boards of the Pennsylvania Ballet, the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter, and the Garden State Discovery Museum.

In an interview with PhillyInc, Rosanio discussed her family, her business interests and her take on the local and national economy.

Q:

What did you learn about business by growing up in such a large family?

A:

We had to learn how to work together. I have numerous partners. I am able to let them do their thing. You have to be able to have other people have the limelight and do what they do. I learned that from being able to share with my siblings.

Q:

Did your father encourage you to go into business?

A:

He was kind of an old-fashioned Italian father. Once, I got a promotion that was mentioned in the Bulletin. . . . He never said a word about it. (Then later at a later family gathering) he took the clip out from his wallet and showed it to my brother. . . . The most important thing I learned from him is the value of people. He totally appreciated them and showed them the highest level of respect.

Q:

Is it a good time to be in the advertising and PR business when there is uncertainty about the economy?

A:

Some people will cut marketing back or they will become a lot less aggressive in that area. . . . It only hurts their business more. I couldn't say we are seeing a downturn at all. If anything, things are holding or increasing.

Q:

Do you have an advantage competing against larger firms or global advertising and PR companies?

A:

We really just answer to ourselves. We can turn on a dime. We can make decisions faster. We have people knocking on our door every day who want to get out of multinational agencies.

Q:

Are there any similarities between the advertising and restaurant businesses?

A:

I find it to be very fascinating that they are similar. You have these artists [chefs] who prepare the food and people up front to present it. . . . The two pieces have to work together. It's not different in an ad agency. People need to have synergy to have great work.

Q:

Is there anything the Philadelphia area can do to improve its business climate?

A:

We're very slow to get out of our own way. We need to have more business groups that can advocate for development. . . . We have got to get the waterfront developed. It took 13 years for the Convention Center to be built in Philadelphia. Just the whole development process in Philadelphia is very antiquated.

Q:

Have you ever thought of running for political office?

A:

Everyone always asks me that. I think I can be more effective in the role that I am in.


- Jonathan Berr

Read the whole Q&A and other posts at www.phillyinc.biz.