In Remembrance: Steve Haweeli, Member, Supporter, Friend

In Remembrance: Steve Haweeli, Member, Supporter, Friend

With profound sadness, the Fair Media Council recognizes the loss of an extraordinary member and friend of our community with the recent passing of Steve Haweeli. He was a frequent contributor to our programs, where his enthusiasm for sharing and his generous spirit always ensured something memorable was about to happen.  We are grateful for having had him as a community member for decades and for all of his efforts to move FMC forward. 

“Steve Haweeli was a tremendous person with an enormous heart. He was highly skilled, always engaged, and totally committed to whatever situation he faced. We will always be grateful for all he did to make our community a better place and for being a friend,” said Jaci Clement, CEO and Executive Director of the Fair Media Council. 

In commemoration, here is a repost of an interview with Steve in 2016, along with a recent workshop he did for FMC to help media relations pros level up. See for yourself how special he was. May he rest in peace.

WordHampton Boss Steve Haweeli shows off his art-The Interview, Fair Media Council
WordHampton Boss Steve Haweeli shows off his art -The Interview, Fair Media Council

The Interview, 2016: Life, Haweeli Style 

Let’s get a few things outta the way, straight away: The surname’s of Lebanese descent. He knows not of summer vacay. His Instagram feed will make you hungry.

WordHampton boss Steve Haweeli is one of the region’s most notable PR guys for good reason: He mixes up marketing savvy with business acumen as easily as he served up cocktails back in the ’70s.

As the force behind Long Island Restaurant Week, Haweeli has helped breathe new life into local establishments during the off-season by creating a formula for people to go out to eat as often as they are hungry: Put together an enticing prix fixe menu, keep it under 30 bucks, and put it all online so diners may plan a strategy of Italian tonight, Japanese tomorrow and hey-let’s-try-that-new place on Thursday. The concept has paid off by pumping tens of millions of dollars into the local economy, and it is now emulated across the country.

REEL TIME: Haweeli goes fishing

Haweeli’s promotion of great chefs and restaurant opening nights across the region results in a foodporn-filled Instagram feed (check it out yourself: @haweeli) and being able to find new ways to donate to area food pantries.

While WordHampton’s work goes into high-drive during the summer, the boss finds ways to decompress with early morning swims and painting prolifically enough to hold his own art shows.

Want to know more? Read on…

FMC:  What are the 3 best things you’ve done in your life?
SH: First, be a father to my son. Next, operating a mobile soup kitchen on behalf of my church known as The Midnight Run to feed New York City’s homeless. Now, it’s about
learning how to pray and do it daily.

FMC: What mistake did you make that turned out to be your best learning experience?
SH: Not joining the traditional work force right out of college. Instead, I got involved in the restaurant business during my 20’s and early 30’s. While it afforded me the chance to travel 19 countries, try a couple of grad schools, and raise hell, it set me back in terms of savings… I had no focus. That said, I found my niche when I was 38 when I started WordHampton and have enjoyed reasonable success and abundance since. Late bloomer, right?

FMC:  When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up, and why?
SH: A teacher. Because all my aunts and uncles, and my Mom and Dad were all teachers.

FMC:  Why do you do what you do?
SH: I love PR, helping clients, working with the media.

FMC:  What’s your guilty pleasure?
SH: Morning swims (in season) at Maidstone Beach in Springs in East Hampton

FMC:  What gives you hope for the future?
SH: A sunny sunrise

FMC:  What’s your idea of happiness?
SH: Peace of mind in terms of relations, finances and emotions

FMC: Coke or Pepsi?
SH: Neither – I quit drinking soda

FMC:  Who was the most influential person in your life?
SH: The Rev. David Lowry of Christ Episcopal Church. He helped me as a young man, but also helped get me into Hamilton College where I made a dozen life-long friends.

FMC:  Favorite restaurant?
SH: Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton

FMC: Last book read?
SH: The Sellout, by Paul Beatty

FMC: Where do you get your news?
SH: The New York Times (online), Facebook, Instagram, Yahoo

haweeli blues
GOT THE BLUES? Haweeli art.

FMC:  What five people, living or dead, would you want to have dinner with?
SH: My Dad, my grandmother Haweeli, my son, my Aunt Julia, Jesus

FMC:  Favorite drink?
SH: Hampton Coffee’s organic peru norte coffee

FMC: What’s the biggest misconception people have about you?
SH: That I’m gruff

FMC:  Define leadership.
SH: Leaders lead. They decide and do.

FMC:  What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
SH: Fighting cancer while revenues declined and figuring a way up and out.

FMC: What’s your choice of superhero superpowers?
SH: I’d like to be invisible.

FMC:  What’s your idea of success?
SH: To be respected by our clients, our peers and to be comfortable in my own skin, no matter what.

FMC:  What’s the best business advice anyone ever gave you?
SH: Follow your passion and the money will follow.

FMC:  If you weren’t you, who would you want to be?
SH: Derek Jeter

FMC: What’s your current state of mind?
SH: Hopeful and determined.

FMC Workshop Featuring Steve Haweeli, 2022

WATCH on YOUTUBE: Fair Media Council Communications Workshop with Steve Haweeli: Pro Tips from a Top Strategist, Media Relations

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