About the Author
Raffaela Marie Rizzo's passions are faith, family, and friends. She devotes her energy to capturing family stories, books, community, genealogy, history, and travel. She is a creative, resourceful, and service-oriented leader with a proven record of accomplishment and success in integrated marketing promotions and communications programs.
Raffaela Marie's writing and communication talents have translated into award-winning image campaigns, grassroots movements, crisis and issues management, constituency-building initiatives, new product development, consumer and trade media relations and outreach, organizational leadership, and team building.
She earned an MBA degree from Jacksonville (FL) University and a BA degree in media studies from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is the recipient of dozens of professional and community awards., including the prestigious Harold Geneen Award and the coveted Public Relations Society of America's Silver Anvil Award.
She brings more than three decades of professional experience to her writing. In addition to her career within corporate America, Raffaela Marie worked in education and later with the NY Times Magazine group in marketing and promotion. She was also a freelance journalist. Most recently, Raffaela Marie served for 12 years as the inaugural President and Managing Director for the National Peanut Board (NPB), a farmer-funded research and promotion organization. There, she was responsible for developing and implementing strategic marketing programs at the national and international levels. Before NPB, Raffaela Marie was with Rayonier Inc., a diversified forest and specialty pulp products company, serving as corporate communications expert and a marketing communications leader.
She currently serves as president in Giro di Mondo, publishing a small hybrid publishing firm, helping authors achieve their dream to be published.
The mother of two adult children, Raffaela Marie has been a lifelong volunteer in the community and faith-based organizations.
Her community passions and volunteering has been focused on literacy, feeding the hungry, and assisting women in succeeding in business. An active member of the American Business Women's Eight-Flags Charter Chapter, she serves as the chair of professional development and co-chair of service to women in business programs. She also has served as past president, authors in Schools chair, luncheon chair, and celebrity author coordinator of the nationally renowned Amelia Island Book Festival (AIBF). She now serves on the AIBF Board of Ambassadors to help get books into students' hands. A former director on the Board of the Boys & Girls Club of Nassau County Foundation, she remains involved as a guardian and serving on the governance committee. She is active in several ministries at St. Michael's RC church, including their feeding the homeless program.
Born in Italy, raised in Connecticut, she and her husband, Mark, now make Amelia Island, Florida, home.