ABBY FANELLI
FOUNDER & CEO

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WAABEL Start-Up Studio is led by Abby Fanelli, who applies a commonsense approach and strategic eye to guide purpose-driven minds toward greater outcomes. Known for outside-the-box thinking and game-changing questions, she specializes in moving groups through change and translating challenges into opportunities. Abby began her career developing policy and programs for high-impact organizations in the education and arts & culture sectors before transitioning to the consulting world. For more than a decade, she worked alongside Hugh O'Neill – the former Deputy Secretary under NYS Governors Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo – at the New York-based economic development firm, Appleseed. Under Hugh's mentorship, she honed an approach that is equal parts empathetic, motivational, and practical while supporting a national portfolio of high-profile clients, then advanced into leadership roles in marketing and communications for mission-forward organizations.  Motherhood and family are central to her story as she balances chaos, builds a patient and thoughtful communication style, and works through the challenges, frustrations, sleeplessness, successes and failures of everyday life. She believes in people and seeks to build capacity for those who dream big and imagine a better world.