H.A. Hang: Jeff Jubelirer

The coolest part of our business has always been our clients. We’re amazed by all they do: CEOs, world travelers, authors, inventors, entrepreneurs, newscasters, artists, pro athletes, musicians, caretakers, and philanthropists.

We launched this series to share the stories of our clients and form connections within the H.A. community. Enjoy!


Home Appétit: I’m excited to learn more about what you do. Sounds mysterious.
Jeff Jubelirer: I'm not used to being on this side of the coin.

What does your company do?
We’re a public relations firm based in Philadelphia. I do a diverse array of work, but I spend more than half of my time on crisis communications.

That sounds stressful.
It’s not all doom and gloom. I work with some great clients in education, healthcare, the camp industry, the non-profit sector and public entities. The job is ever changing.

Where are you from originally?
From the “big metropolis” of Altoona, Pennsylvania. It's quintessential central/western Pennsylvania. I’m still a Steelers and Pirates fan. And I went to Penn State.

What brought you to Philly?
I was in Chicago finishing grad school at Northwestern. Chicago is a great city, but I missed the East Coast. I joined Tierney Communications here in Philly in 1999.

What did you study?
For undergrad, I was a political science major. My father and grandfather both held elected office, so I grew up seeped in politics. My first job was working for a political consulting firm, which is how I got into agency life. I thought I’d be a lawyer, but I really enjoyed the communications and the strategy around campaigns. At grad school I studied integrated marketing communications. It was sort of business school combined with journalism school.

What offices did your family hold?
My grandfather was a local judge. My father was in the state senate and served for a very long time. He holds the distinction of being the longest serving president pro tempore in PA history. I was three years old when he first ran so that’s all I knew. It was very exciting, but not always easy. You don’t have a lot of privacy, particularly in a small town.

You never got the political bug, but your job is politically adjacent.
I saw some amazing things in his career and I also saw some really ugly and personal things. I like being around politics, but I don’t think I’m suited to be in it. And yet I don’t know what possessed me, because I served on the school board in Radnor. I passed the torch in 2023.

When people think of PR, my guess is they think about Lizzy Grubman and Vogue and hotel openings. But that’s not what you do.
A lot of what we do, if we do it well, you don’t see. I’m often called in when the house is on fire. I’m trying to extinguish the flames so to speak without anyone knowing. People screw up. Companies screw up. People can be brilliant at their job but don't know how to put a sentence together. I can help them with that.

How has the job changed?
There’s always been traditional media, but now with social media even if something isn’t true, but it’s perceived to be true, it can have a really negative impact.

I’m sure you’ve helped people out of some tough situations.
It feels good to help people. That doesn’t mean they are innocent. And that doesn’t mean they didn’t make mistakes. But I can track the impact … did they survive? Did the company go bankrupt? Did people quit? Did they get sued? I like comeback stories.

What are some rules you go by when advising people?
Obviously, there’s a big ethical component to what I do. Most importantly, never lie. Take responsibility and accountability if warranted. And there’s not just the crisis, how are you going to recover and live for another day?

I’m guessing not all your clients have houses on fire?
Right. Sometimes they have great things to share with the public or employees and they want to do it smartly and strategically. Or there's a sensitive issue to deal with that doesn’t need to become a crisis. We help clients on an ongoing basis with training and simulations in industries where most likely something will come up—so they're prepared and know what to do. I wish everyone would do that. But if a client calls me and tells me Philly Mag or 6ABC is already at their door, it’s a little late.

Who are some of your clients?
We’ve worked with Temple University, Citizens Bank, the Enterprise Center, the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association, Camden School District, Mastery Charter Schools and the Delaware County Health Department to name some. I also enjoy working with a lot of overnight and day camps in the summer.

Do clients get angry when things don’t go the way you planned?
There are times people look to cast blame, sure. But sometimes no amount of positive stories are going to change that they did something wrong or perceived to have done something wrong. Sometimes a win is when the damage is only 80 percent of the time instead of 100 percent of the time.

It’s an interesting time to be working with universities. Seems impossible, really.
It’s really hard. Recently, with events related to the conflict in the Middle East, you can't win. But you can’t hide. Certainly if I had the playbook I'd be very rich right now!

On a lighter note, where can we find you hanging out? Favorite things in the area?
In the city, I love all the Stephen Starr and Michael Solomonov restaurants. I love Goldie! Love the parks especially Rittenhouse Square. And you can also find me sweating it out on an area tennis court. I’ve been a competitive player almost all my life. I'm also an adjunct instructor at Villanova and love being on campus. I live near Teuscher Chocolates in Wayne, which is owned by the woman who accosted Kylie Kelce. She did not call me, but I would say it was a pretty good apology (although a video would have been better than just a written statement). You see, I’m always watching what other people do when they are in deep you-know-what!

Learn more about Jeff and Bellevue Communications and follow him on X.