It’s a skill set that served her well when she launched Ferox Strategies in February 2018 after working for top lobbying firms in D.C. In a matter of months, she went from two clients to 10. Antelo doubled revenue within a year and surpassed $1 million in revenue with clients including major chain retailers, spirits companies, wellness brands and amusement parks. And she made sure to hire a Republican, knowing that to walk the “hear all sides” walk and survive for the long-term, she had to have a bipartisan firm. An employer of five with her own balance sheet to consider, Antelo was gearing up for election season when Covid hit. The happy hours, networking and hallway chitchat came to a screeching halt. The vacuum of in-person connection has proven to be Antelo’s biggest professional challenge.
“I’m in the relationship business. I get intel because I went to a party and overhead something. Now, I sign up for every Zoom I can,” she says. “During a recent Zoom meeting, a congressman jokingly said to me: ‘Wait, Cristina, you don’t have a question? You always have a question.’ I’m going to wear that comment as a badge of honor.”
The day after D.C. shut down in March, Antelo got what she worried might be a bad sign: A client called, ending the relationship. She was prepared and stayed focused, negotiating with new clients and hustling to show current ones that the pandemic had not muffled her advocacy. Since then, six new clients have signed on, Disney among them.