40 Under 40 2016: Jessica Casano-Antonellis

VP, communications, Vimeo, 37

Tech PR isn’t for wimps, and operating in the ever-hot online video space, can be even tougher. But Jessica Casano-Antonellis, who spent a decade as an account director at tech PR behemoth Text100, makes it look easy.

The 37-year-old Brooklyn-based PR pro leads global media relations and communications strategy at video sharing and streaming site Vimeo. She’s done so over the last several years as the company has placed big bets, leaning into creators, video quality, and original content, and clinching deals with the likes of HBO while eschewing ads altogether, almost unheard of for anyone in the content business.

Reporting to CEO Kerry Trainor, she’s been on the frontlines as Vimeo rose to 45 million users. She leads the PR, events, and production teams, and oversees and develops programs with its ever important creator community. She spearheaded the creation of its recent multi-pronged Share the Screen initiative to support women filmmakers close the wage gap, and she launched Vimeo’s first original series, High Maintenance, which earned praised in the press and was sold to HBO the next season.

Casano-Antonellis jumps in on product launches, original programming, and brand partnerships, too – her impact is felt companywide. Colleagues describe her as smart, creative, and engaged, but also revere her for her honesty and tenacity as the company has fought to carve out a niche in a field with plenty of deep-pocketed competitors such as YouTube, Amazon, and Netflix.

"Prior to joining Vimeo, the company had very, very little presence in terms of brand awareness, reach and media placements," notes one colleague.

Perhaps the diversity of her PR background plays a role. At Text100, her client roster included MTV, Bravo, Shazam, CNN, The Weather Company, and Kayak. For the latter she served as the external spokesperson, making regular appearances on it behalf in the media, and led communications strategy and execution around its 2012 IPO.

- The highly sought-after speaker regularly joins industry events and panels.

- Casano-Antonellis is an activist on several issues close to her, including LGBT rights, parenting and infertility awareness.

- She serves on the advisory board for Lola Travel, a travel app.

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