It’s important to bring empathy and kindness into everything: Daniela Kelloway, ClutchPR


Daniela Kelloway, founder and president of ClutchPR, and for the past 15 years has been a regular presence at many of the biggest festivals in the city of Toronto. 

She is regarded as an authoritative voice on PR for festivals, entrepreneurs and start-ups. She has spoken as an expert in marketing and PR at Podcamp Toronto, Ryerson’s MakeShift Change Conference, Startup Fashion Week, and the Toronto International Film Festival’s filmmaker Bootcamp.

Daniela Kelloway-Founder of ClutchPR

Tell me about your background. How did you get started on the path to public relations?

I studied journalism and always thought I would be a war reporter, but I ended up buying a burger restaurant right out of school. I threw myself into entrepreneurship. It was called Big Burger, and it was my first baby in many ways. The restaurant life was grueling. To escape it, I began to volunteer at the Toronto International Film Festival. 

 What did you do with the festival?

I asked to be placed in the press office because I love journalism and media. I later became a staple of that press office and learned so much from all the amazing PR practitioners who came through that office. I started to freelance, and it grew to be bigger than that. There are plenty of challenges with any business, but I had no investors or additional support with my own business, so the challenge was how to grow the business in a lean way.

ClutchPR client Cedric Mathieu promotes his film _Turo_ on CP24

 How has your business changed since it was first started?

The media landscape changed immensely over the course of 15 years, and we changed with it. We added social media strategy to our list of services as that became a huge thing. We represented content creators and influencers for a period of time to better understand paid collaborations and execute on more dynamic campaigns.

Promoting the Kultura Filipino Arts Festival on CIUT 89.5 FM

 What steps did you take to grow the business?

We invested in digital tools and analytics to help measure ROI better. Over the years, there have been dozens of changes to the business, and now I’m in the midst of more change, re-imagining ClutchPR as a place that offers more than communications services. Stay tuned.

Daily meditation at the Clutch PR office

 What is a typical day like for Clutch PR?

No day is typical at ClutchPR, but my responsibility is to ensure the clients are happy and the team is happy, and we are doing good work. Currently, I am in the midst of a pivot that should launch in the next few months.

Females in real estate conference

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to start up their own PR business? What do they need to know, especially in 2021?

 My advice is to love what you do and do it with great passion. To get a team of mentors and a board to help navigate the waters of this wild industry. In 2021 the focus should be on digital services and as always, should be focused on relationships. We are still representing films at festivals, but yes, it has changed and is different. One thing I’ve learned is that a pandemic can bring out the worst and the best in people. I find many of my interactions have more humanity in them, and this gives me hope. It’s important to bring empathy and kindness into everything you do. Now more than ever. 

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Ian MacKenzie
Ian MacKenzie
Author: Ian MacKenzie, Toronto, Canada. If you have stories to share kindly email: –
SOURCEClutch PR, Toronto


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