Rose Castronova was Chief Financial Officer of Hill Holliday's New York office for most of my 18 years at the agency. And I can say without an nanosecond of hesitation, that she was one of the finest human beings to ever call Hill Holliday home.
After a long illness which she fought courageously, Rose passed away late Friday evening.
I first met Rose when our office was in the "Lipstick Building" at the corner of 53rd and 3rd and we serviced clients like Rolling Rock, Labatt's, Coopers & Lybrand, Waterford, Minolta, Priceline.com, and Motrin. While her card read "Chief Financial Officer," Rose was the heart and soul of the office; she was part President, part HR Director, part Staff Psychologist. She was as honest and trustworthy as a colleague can possibly be. Rose understood how our business works, and not just financially. She could instinctively distinguish good creative work from mediocre, she could tell when a client relationship needed nurturing, and she knew who was doing the pick and shovel work and who was coasting. And she never hesitated to speak her mind about anyone or anything. Rose bled Hill Holliday green (to those of you new to the agency, we used to have a lot of green around here), and she was as critical to our success in New York as any other person.
Rose had a wonderful sense of humor, and a thick Queens accent. She communicated in shorthand, with a twinkle in her eyes. She had nicknames for most of the senior team. There was Crazy. And Breezy. And Dr. Doom. If you're wondering if she had a nickname for you, the answer is "yes." If you want to know what your nickname was, the answer is "no." (Since she never told me my nickname, that's only fair.)
Rose loved Hill Holliday. And the feeling was mutual. But nothing matched the love that Rose had for her family, including her daughter Michele and her beautiful grandchildren Caitlin and Liam. Rose's funeral is tomorrow, May 1, at 10:45 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church in Wantagh, NY.