There is an old expression that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. For Ronica Cleary, founder and CEO of Cleary Strategies, LLC, hard work, preparation and perhaps a bit of luck led her to where she is today. After a successful career in television journalism, she’s using her own professional experiences to help corporations thrive in today’s media climate.
Ronica grew up in New Jersey and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering. With a job offer in technical consulting, she wasn’t looking to pursue a master’s degree, but a scholarship award as a result of winning Miss Philadelphia and the opportunity to attend Drexel University was an offer she couldn’t pass up.
Always interested in television and journalism, Ronica thought she’d try it out and figured she could always return to the engineering field later. She earned a Master of Science in Public Communication and from there, her professional life began to take a different direction.
While studying at Drexel, she got a taste of working in the field of television. She was a cooperative-education (co-op) student at a CBS television affiliate as well as at Comcast Newsmakers. Although she loved Drexel’s co-op program, she was unsure if television was the right field for her and began a position at Monster.com in their Make it Count program.
Early in her professional career she also worked as an adjunct professor of communication at Drexel and as an Associate Director of Development for the university.
Ronica was settling into her career in a traditional day job, but a chance meeting with a former mentor creating a new television show called Chasing New Jersey led her on a new path.
When he asked me if I was interested in getting into television and being part of the show," explained Ronica, "I didn’t think anything would come of it.
But Ronica was hired for the show (changed to Chasing News) and it aired in New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey on their Fox stations.
It was an incredible place to start a career in TV," she added. "Especially since the program aired in the number one and number four markets.
Ronica’s job at Chasing News eventually led to covering New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who was planning on running in the 2016 Presidential election. Covering Christie day and night as he traveled around the United States fostered Ronica’s love for political reporting and led to yet another opportunity. This time it was a job offer to work in Washington D.C. as the Fox affiliate’s political correspondent. Ronica made the move to D.C. to begin covering the 2016 election.
It was a remarkable time in American history and a remarkable time to cover the White House briefing room,” Ronica said proudly. “Before this, most press briefings were only shown on C-SPAN. Now people actually knew the reporters by name.
According to Ronica, getting the job was a little bit of luck and good timing.
It was fortuitous because normally, a lot of local stations wouldn’t even have a white house correspondent,” she explained. “It was such a unique time in the country, which made the job even more special and meaningful.
During her time as a reporter in D.C., Ronica also became pregnant with her second child. Eventually, balancing life in television and motherhood became very demanding.
I loved my time in the industry and made great friends there,” said Ronica. “But as our family grew, I was looking to find more of a balance.
By founding Cleary Strategies, LLC in 2018, Ronica was able to take her experiences in front of the camera and on campaign trails to help her clients find their own stories and deliver them to the world. Ronica’s core team includes four women who specialize in an area of Public Relations (PR), along with a few others who work in editing, ghostwriting and more.
As a full-service PR agency," added Ronica, "We make it possible for our clients to successfully share their message and preserve their image.
A key part of what Cleary Strategies does is help businesses earn media placements and exposure. Their clients have been featured on such programs as Good Morning America, CNN, Fox Business and ABC News, to name a few. “When I first transitioned to being a publicist, I didn’t know what it would feel like to put other people in front of the camera,” said Ronica. “Then I realized that it was what I was meant to be doing. I fell in love with pitching, booking and placing people with meaningful stories or expertise on the news.”
What perhaps is the most meaningful in Ronica’s work is her #ClearyCares division. “We launched #ClearyCares to provide pro bono PR support to those with limited resources but important causes that deserve media attention,” she said. Some past and present #ClearyCares clients include Ukrainian voices, Zachary Root & his Usher 1F Syndrome Cereal Challenge, Grands Stepping Up and the Miss Philadelphia organization.
This summer marks the fourth year that Cleary Strategies has been in business.
I didn’t realize all these amazing experiences would take me to this,” she said. “I really feel like this is what I was meant to do.
For more information about Cleary Strategies and #ClearyCares visit www.ClearyStrategies.com.