New York (March 22, 2011) – It was a “Golden Celebration” on March 8, 2011, as family, friends, colleagues and people throughout the food industry gathered to celebrate Anita Fial’s more than 50 years in food communications, which culminated with her tenure as president of Lewis & Neale (L&N) for 23 years. L&N is the leading communications agency devoted exclusively to the marketing of food and beverages.
More than 120 people attended Fial’s retirement party at CRT/tanaka’s New York office, including long-time clients, food editors from consumer and foodservice magazines, chefs and the many people whose lives and careers have been touched by Fial.
She will now serve as a senior consultant at L&N and CRT/tanaka.
“Anita has been a mentor to many and a PR industry giant, especially in food communications,” said Mark Raper, chairman and CEO of CRT/tanaka, which acquired L&N as a wholly owned subsidiary in 2009. “She will be missed. But we look forward to accessing her wisdom and expertise as a consultant for many years to come.”
A highlight of the evening was the presentation of a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the International Foodservice Editorial Council (IFEC) in recognition of Fial’s long-time involvement and role in helping the organization grow for more than five decades.
Following the award presentation was the announcement of a scholarship established by CRT/tanaka and Lewis & Neale in Fial’s honor, to be administered through IFEC for continuing education in food communications. To date, more than $9,000 has been raised for the scholarship fund.
From the test kitchens to becoming president of L&N, Fial’s career in food communications has been one of constant learning and growth. She joined L&N 57 years ago after earning a home economist degree from Cornell University. Since then, the agency and Fial have represented numerous associations, regions and countries in promoting consumption of high-quality food while educating consumers, retailers and chefs about qualities and benefits.
Fial transitioned into account work at L&N after spending several years as a test kitchen assistant, in which she delivered products to the growing number of food and home publications in New York and made regional television appearances throughout the country on behalf of clients.
These roots provoked a deep interest in teaching a new generation of professional women and young mothers how to prepare simple, yet delicious meals using fresh and authentic foods. Today, the agency continues to utilize its in-house test kitchen for recipe development, tastings, contest judging and events. L&N’s focus on food, specifically produce, has mirrored Fial’s passion to help people eat better, enabling her clients to grow during her years in the industry.
“Always have pride in what you represent, and the enthusiasm will come naturally,” Fial said. “I have always seen myself as an educator, perhaps because of my home economist schooling.”
In 2008, L&N was acquired by the independent public relations and marketing firm CRT/tanaka, headquartered in Richmond, Va., where the staff that Fial has mentored continues to work for clients that have been with the agency for more than 30 years.
About Lewis & Neale
Lewis & Neale is the leading communications agency devoted exclusively to the marketing of food and beverages to consumers, foodservice operators, retailers and food manufacturers. The agency provides clients with extraordinary value through carefully crafted and budgeted programs that launch and reposition products, enhance image, change attitudes and build demand. Because of its singular focus, Lewis & Neale delivers the research, strategy, creative and flawless execution expected of a large agency – with the attention to detail and value-for-dollar of the finest boutique agency. More information about Lewis & Neale is available at www.lewis-neale.com.
Headquartered in Richmond, Va., with offices in Norfolk, New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., CRT/tanaka features four integrated specialties – Health, Corporate, Consumer and Interactive/Social Media. Known for its whatcanbeSM workplace culture and approach to business, the agency has been recognized with more than 300 national and regional awards. The agency was recently named #1 Best Place to Work in Virginia (small business category) by Virginia Business magazine and Best Companies Group. Clients include Air New Zealand, American Physical Therapy Association, BISSELL Homecare Inc., Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System, Cambria Suites, Charles Schwab & Co., Council for Responsible Nutrition, Council of Better Business Bureaus, Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, Girl Scouts of the USA, Network Solutions, Sprint Nextel and Wines from Rioja (Spain). More information about CRT/tanaka is available at www.crt-tanaka.com.