Meet the Collective

When you collaborate with Steven James, you access not one company but a wealth of passionate people whose experience and network of expertise is second to none.

We’re here. We’re ready. Let’s get started.


Jim Pavone

Managing Partner

Meet Jim Pavone, Managing Partner

Steven James is the vision of Jim Pavone, a successful Rochester business owner and pioneering entrepreneur. Named in honor of his late uncle, Steven James Pavone - the man who started their thriving company YPC Media which serves over 4000 clients - Jim has constructed with Steven James a full-service multi-media company to meet the commercial marketing needs of companies and organizations large and small, while also pivoting to create original content for mobile devices, computers, televisions, and motion pictures.

Jim's idea was to assemble the best collection of talent that he could, a pool of individuals with experience in foundational sectors of the economy, both public and private - media communications, public relations, entertainment, real estate, and education to name a few.

Our Team

Get to know the rest of our amazing collective!


Nick DiBella

Creative Consultant

Nick is an award-winning writer and director whose self-taught knowledge in filmmaking began at the Eastman Kodak Company where he created films for Kodak's Entertainment Division. There, he produced dozens of marketing films showcasing motion picture products and won the prestigious Golden Hugo Award for Sales and Marketing for his work on Kodak's EXR campaign.

On the feature side, Nick's screenplays Runnin' Home and Address Unknown were produced for cable TV and his spec script, Chasing Bobby Jones, was sold to Warner Bros. Other produced screenplays include Kart Racer (2002), released by MGM and broadcasted on ABC Family, and Cherry Crush (2005) released on Showtime.

Recently, he directed the inspirational drama King's Faith (2013) released worldwide by Sony Provident, and the psychological thriller Wildflower (2016) currently in release worldwide by Sony Provident and Faith Street Films. He is a member of the Writers Guild of America.


Brian Coughlin

Creative Consultant

Brian is a multi-talented artist who is familiar with many of the various facets of the arts community. In the theatre, Brian has performed in over forty plus productions and has directed a wide variety of plays including Death of a Salesman, Proof, The Normal Heart, August: Osage County and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

Over the last several years he has spent time freelancing as a Writer, Producer and Director on a variety of film and video projects for the Eastman Kodak Company, Great Atlantic Pictures, Markethold Productions and the Rochester City School District. Brian has also worked on several feature length films written and directed by fellow Rochesterian, Nicholas DiBella, the most recent being, King’s Faith and Wildflower.

Brian is also an accomplished graphic artist and award-winning singer songwriter who performs regularly throughout the region and is the creator and host of the long-running Rochester music series, Songwriters in the Round.


Bart Durkin

Cinematographer & Editor

After freelancing in the film industry as a gaffer and camera operator, Bart joined Kodak in 1997 and served as staff Cinematographer for 10 years. During that time, Bart taught Cinematography Workshops in Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia.

Drawing upon his skills and relationships with industry leaders, Bart continued his career in the film industry by opening his own production company and crewing on feature films. We keep him around because he’s a Swiss army knife of filmmaking, and he’s also a pretty decent tech.

Let’s put it this way… If we were stranded on a island with nothing but bamboo trees and minerals, we’re pretty sure Bart would get us out of there safely.

Note from Bart:  We would all perish quickly in that scenario.


Chris Hart


Chris was the senior cinematographer for Kodak's Entertainment Imaging division for many years. In this position, he was responsible for producing and shooting marketing films used in launching every new motion picture stock that Kodak introduced since the late 80's.

In addition, Chris has taught cinematography workshops for film students and industry professionals in over twenty countries around the world. He left Kodak in 2011 and since then has shot numerous commercials, dozens of videos for healthcare clients and an independent feature.

With his eye for well-designed lighting and composition, Chris creates consistently remarkable images. Coupled with a good sense of humor and calm intensity on the set, his work ethic as a cinematographer is a great asset to any production.


Sharon Kunkel

Marketing Director

Sharon is a passionate storyteller who believes that social media really is about being social. As many of her clients will attest, she is an excellent listener with a keen sense of which marketing trends and social media platforms will maximize her clients’ messages most effectively. She takes an innovative, results-oriented approach in creating campaigns and strategies that engage the target audience, build followers and most importantly build lasting relationships.

Her experience in education, writing, business management/leadership, and integrated marketing has equipped her with a powerful skill set which includes detailed research in choosing key demographics, aligning advertising spends with campaign objectives and assessing campaign effectiveness. Currently, Sharon represents a diverse population of small business owners, professionals and non-profit organizations. While their messages may vary, the goal is always the same: let’s tell your story!


Jennifer LaRose

Media Planner/Buyer

With over 20 years of experience on both sides of the agency business, as a media rep and as an agency owner, Jen brings a unique perspective to Steven James. She has an appreciation for what it takes to put together an effective marketing campaign for her clients, as both their fiduciary as well as their Creative Director.

Jen has a passion for brainstorming ideas for clients that will make a difference in their business and change people’s lives. Advertising is really about motivating people to take action based on a need, and Jen loves the challenge of connecting ideas with emotion. Bringing those ideas to life through various media is her passion and she’s not afraid to be held accountable for delivering results. Bring her a challenge; she’ll turn it into a creative opportunity at Steven James.


Paul Root

Content Developer

Paul has crafted and delivered customized communications for public and private organizations for the past twenty-five years.

An award-winning writer, Paul’s career has included developing and implementing recruitment and retention marketing programs for the Rochester City School District's Workplace Education Programs, as well as similar duties for high school and college programs that include every public school district in Western Monroe County.

Paul has written and edited professional presentations, books, plays, and feature-film scripts that have earned him membership in the Writers Guild of America. He is excited to bring his talents as a content developer to Steven James and collaborate with such a highly talented group of individuals.


Katie Dahl

Senior Web Developer
& Optimization Specialist

Katie believes a good website should be the perfect blend of beautiful design and authentic storytelling. She loves creating sites that capture the heart of a business. Katie specializes in WordPress and loves the ability to create simply stunning websites on this platform.

Katie is passionate about learning, and when she's not designing new websites for Steven James, you can find her reading & researching new strategies for website success. Staying up to date on current design trends & best practices is extremely important to her. She is always looking for new & innovative ways to tell your story on the web.


Abigail Leonardi

Graphics & Marketing Strategist

Abbey Leonardi has a passion for advertising, design, and storytelling. Combining a creative mind with a background in business and technology, she brings a unique perspective to the table at Steven James. She believes that building relationships through interactive social media is the future of advertising.

Abbey has experience both in agency, in house, and with B2B clients. She comes to Steven James with a bachelor’s degree in Advertising & Public Relations with minors in Digital Business and Psychology. She is also a talented graphic designer, providing Steven James with another imaginative innovator to craft your marketing campaign.


Brianna Dioguardi

Social & Branding Strategist

Brianna Dioguardi believes that social media is a malleable outlet that can benefit any business’ online presence. Her bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications and Digital Media from St. Bonaventure University gives her vast experience in exactly what online strategies can benefit a business based on their desired goals.

Brianna’s eye for graphic design paired with her experience in writing and blogging makes for the perfect combination when creating and implementing content. Social media is the ideal medium for reaching a target audience in an efficient, innovative and measurable manner. She is ready to show your business that telling your story has never been so achievable.


Jess Pavone

Social Media Specialist Intern

Jessica is our current intern from the State University of New York at Fredonia, studying Communications/Public Relations with a minor in Business Administration. As a lover of people, she thoroughly enjoys communicating with others, catering to the needs of clients, and helping others understand just how powerful the use of social media can be.

She believes that interning at Steven James is giving her the perfect opportunity to use her skills and passions to help others "tell their story." Through the use of social media and the strong influence of photo and video, Jessica is excited to be constructing such material to better communicate just how important, unique, and resourceful our clients are.