Our Astonishing Experts
Paula Conway – President, Founder
In 1997, Astonish founder Paula Conway opened up her first office on 42nd Street in the John Houseman Theatre. Still a graduate student at Columbia University — and having served as a Broadway Press Agent with Richard Kornberg Associates and Boneau/Bryan-Brown — Paula began representing creative clients including The Broadway Kids, the Kathie Lee Gifford Christmas Special and The Church of Stop Shopping.
With Weber-Shandwick Paula managed a wide variety of accounts: Microsoft Teletubbies, GE Home Appliances, Renaissance Cruise Line, Sunbeam Grills, and NASCAR events. A Vice President at Rubenstein Associates, clients included technology start-ups, investor relations, Weight Watchers, The Duchess of York, Tony Robbins, Al Roker, The Museum Company, and many high profile New York City events including technology panel discussions at the 2000 International Cannes Film Festival. With her own agency, clients have included a myriad of celebrities including ABC’s Dani Johnson, former Bachelor Lorenzo Borghese and Royal Pet Club, world renowned surgeons, food and consumer goods. Paula has been contracted with ABC Television a client for more than six years.
Initially a freelance writer for Good Housekeeping magazine, Paula has since contributed to The New York Times, New York Post, New York Daily News, Boston Herald, The Robb Report, and In Style magazine among many. She was a syndicated beauty writer and the travel editor for Fashion Wire Daily, travel editor for Living Fit magazine, and editor-in-chief for Delight! magazine.
The Beauty BUYble: The Best Beauty Products for 2007 was released by Harper-Collins in November, 2006. The Beauty BUYble was featured on Good Morning America, The View, Fox & Friends, and in numerous high profile print publications including People magazine and USA Today. Paula’s second book, The Everything Calorie Counting Cookbook, was published by Adams Media in 2008. Paula published three consecutive books with Riverdale Ave Books: Throw a True Blood Party, and two editions of Dead Sexy: The Walking Dead Fan Guide to Zombie Style, Beauty Parties and a Ghoul Lurching UnLifestyle. A celebrity hair styling book with Oscar Blandi and Kelly Ripa, is currently under completion with Wiley Publishing.
For American Airlines, Astonish has produced a web-based TV Show, Secret Spots & Hidden Gems, and unique travel and lifestyle content for AA websites worldwide under Conway Confidential.
Paula as an intern in the White House under George W. Bush senior, and again briefly under the administration of William Jefferson Clinton, she holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University, and a B.A. from New York University. Astonish is the culmination of years of creative work in entertainment, public relations, publishing, writing, and producing. Although Astonish may look like a PR firm, in reality it is a strategic media agency and the result of Paula’s years of eclectic experiences and passions.
John Conway – CEO
John Conway is an author and attorney with more than fifteen years experience with media, advertising,entertainment, publishing and intellectual property law. John worked for private firms and major corporations such as General Electric, Time Warner, Subway Restaurants, Pernod Ricard, Sanofi-Synthelabo Pharmaceuticals,Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer, American Airlines, Nestle and Barnes & Noble. John drafted and negotiated production, licensing, merchandising and advertising deals with such industry players as A&E/The History Channel Networks, ABC/Disney, Hallmark Entertainment, Sony, Warner Brothers, Paramount, NBC, PBS, HBO, Fox, and numerous independent production companies. John focuses upon the strategic development, organization, branding, protection, licensing and commercialization of corporate intellectual property assets both for domestic and international markets. He has been involved in all aspects of the design or redesign and execution for such brands as PLAVIX®, AMBIEN®, SEAGRAMS®, CHIVAS REGAL®, SUBWAY®, LIFE®, REAL SIMPLE®, GERBERS®, EDISONLEARNING® and the PORTABLE PROFESSOR™.
As a writer, John published several books on history, as well as published several titles about constitutional law. He has served as a historical consultant for several History Channel/A&E Networks and Discovery Networks programs specializing in medieval history and the British military from the seventeenth through the early nineteenth centuries. He has published articles on travel, history and politics. He lectures on law, media and ethics.
John holds his JD from the University of Baltimore where he studied intellectual property and entertainment law, and has degrees in history from Southern Methodist and Oxford Universities.
Stacy Callahan – Vice President
Stacy Callahan brings nearly 20 years of public relations experience, including media placement, event management, strategic planning and creative development. She spent 11 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment, most recently as director of East Coast Field Operations, where she was responsible for all east coast publicity and promotional campaigns for major films. There she managed all east coast press junkets and media relations for red carpet events and premieres. Over the past seven years as a publicist consultant, Stacy has represented clients in the entertainment, food and beverage, health and wellness, lifestyle and non-profit sectors with many successful national placements, most recently including Fox Business News, USA Today, Fast Company, Forbes and Cosmopolitan. Stacy is also a freelance writer with the New York Daily News and working on her first book about the best practices for small businesses and startups with media.
Dave Fuller – Vice President of Development and Government Relations
Dave Fuller is the Vice President of Development and Government Relations who has worked in the political, nonprofit and academic sectors prior to working at Astonish. Dave has worked on more national, state and local political campaigns than any sane person. He served a term on the Stratford Connecticut Town Council. He has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History at Adelphi University and attended Fairfield University for graduate studies in communications. He currently lives in Fairfield County and enjoys wearing Polos and boat shoes.
Rick Neil – Associate Vice President
Rick Neil has developed and implemented communications campaigns on a global basis for 12 years across a variety of areas including consumer, corporate, entertainment, sports, business, technology, travel and lifestyle public relations. Rick is a media relations specialist whose strategic and results oriented approach has helped build dozens of world-class brands. Rick holds a B.A. in Business/Mass Communications from University of Florida
J.P. Hoornstra – Executive Editor
Within five years after graduating from college, J.P. Hoornstra was covering the National Hockey League for nine newspapers, had written about sports and travel for several national periodicals, and was credited as a musician on the same LP as two of the original Doors.
Over the years, J.P. has interviewed a range of subjects that include rapper Snoop Dogg, entertainment mogul Peter Guber, director Peter Berg, actor Kiefer Sutherland, several Hall of Fame athletes, and experts in medicine, psychology, architecture and business.
Currently living and working in Los Angeles, J.P. covers the Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball for the Southern California News Group. He curates AllPuck.com and edits content for other Astonish properties including Conway Confidential, A Delicious Dish and Green Bride Guide.
Stephen M. – Editor
Stephen M. is an award-winning editor. He has also written many high-profile screenplays and books. He prefers not to be seen, or heard, but when content needs to be edited, he’s the man. The only man.
Alex Weinrauch – Digital Media Manager
Alex Weinrauch is responsible for all digital media for Astonish, including web design for both Astonish and Astonish clients, branding initiatives and branding collateral. He also oversees all social media efforts for Astonish and Astonish clients. Alex is a graduate of Binghamton University’s School of Management in New York.
Alyxandra – Assistant Account Executive
Alyxandra began her career with Astonish as an intern and was recently promoted to Assistant Account Executive. While working as an intern she juggled a full time job with Bank of America while also going to school at night for her BA in Communications on a merit-based scholarship, and raising a family. To say that we were impressed with Alyxandra when we met her is an understatement; she is definitely our kinda gal. On her days off she enjoys reading, writing poetry and children’s stories, playing softball and adding to her collection of Pinterest fails.