Fierce Friday Feature: Meet Bill Rusu, Pebble Media


As luck would have it, our local coffee shop, StoneFruit Coffee has become a hub for creatives to connect, inspire and conspire together. In my comings and goings, I had the opportunity to see on occasion a man with his camera connecting with local business owners and creatives. I knew of Bill, but I had never been formally introduced. Several months ago, he came up to me and asked if I would be interested in being part of his initiative, Shop Local Mahoning Valley, which was sponsored by Burgan Real Estate. I probably did a happy dance in my chair and gave him a cheers with my coffee. He proposed that he would capture me in several of my favorite elements; writing and instructing Yoga. See his creation below.



His project came together and told such a beautiful visual story of my passions. It was then that the idea for Fierce Friday was born. On the first Friday of each month, I want to celebrate someone who is authoring a fierce life. I want to share a bit of their story with you so that you can look to them as a resource, or an ally in your journey.

I am grateful to Bill for sharing his passion and craft with our community and an even larger audience. Enjoy an email interview so that you can learn a bit more about the man behind the camera at Pebble Media.

Q – Can you tell us a little bit about the vision of Pebble Media for the 2019 calendar year?
A -2019 is all about more–more content, more stories told and more impact on the community. Over the last two years Pebble has had wonderful success focusing on the local business community in the greater Youngstown area, but there are still so many aspects of our town that people don’t know about. In 2019, I want to start sharing information about outdoor living, music, arts, non-profit and human interest stories that inspire people about the future of our community.

Q – Where did your interest in creating visual stories begin?
A – At around ten years old I discovered a love for filmmaking and never looked back. I became enamored with icons like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas and became a student of the art of film. In middle school I started using my parents camcorder to make movies with my younger brother. In high school I took every video production class Fitch High School provided, and at YSU I majored in telecommunications with a minor in journalism. I am asbolutely at my most comfortable and happy when I’ve got a camera in my hand filming something. Although I never became “the next Steven Spielberg” as I used to proclaim twenty years ago, I’ve fallen in love with storytelling and helping people share their passion through video content.

Q – Any projects you’re working on that you’d like to share with our tribe?
A – Shop Local Mahoning Valley is my pride and joy. It’s a weekly web series I created two years ago that features local business owners with the goal of sharing their story and helping introduce them on a deeper level to the Youngstown community. Anyone that’s interested in learning about the best and brightest businesses in our area would love the show and can check it out at or on Facebook.

Q – If someone was interested in working with your company what would this look like?
A -Pebble is looking for organizations or corporations that have a heart for this community and are looking for advertising opportunities, to not only reach a large audience, but also fulfill a mission of propelling our area forward. I would pair them with a series of content, distributed online, that’s tailored to their business, their customers and their goals.

Q – What are you really passionate about?
A – Youngstown/Warren has a bad reputation that is entirely un-earned. This is an amazing place to live, with an abundance of opportunity, culture, things to do, places to go, you name it. We just aren’t presented with that information regularly. We focus too much on the negative things that happen and ignore the positive leaps that we’ve made. We won’t thrive as a community until we learn to love and appreciate the people we have and that’s what I hope to accomplish through Pebble.

Q – What does “Choosing Fierceness” look like in your life?
A – For me it’s stepping outside of my comfort zone and realizing that sometimes I do have to put the camera down to achieve my mission. Sales and business development are newer to me and I’m much less experienced in those areas than I am in content creation and distribution. So “Choosing Fierceness” to me is saying I want to have an impact and leave my mark on my hometown, and it’s going to be hard and I’m going to be uncomfortable at times, but in the end if I can make even the smallest difference it will have been worth it.

Q – What are some of the strengths that you are currently growing as an artist?
A -I don’t believe in status quo, I think “good enough” is never good enough, so I’m always looking to improve on the technical production quality of my work from a lighting, camera and sound perspective but also looking at distribution and what an audience would enjoy and how I can engage with more people so that my art has a bigger impact. My work is so much more about what it means to others than what it means to me so everything I do I try to do it in service of my greater mission.

Q – Do you have any words of wisdom that have been with you throughout your journey?
A – There’s a story I come back to a lot about Edmund Hillary who was the first person to successfully summit Mount Everest. After failing his first attempt he said this, “Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I’ll beat you the next time because you’ve grown all you are going to grow…but I’m still growing!” To me it’s really a reminder that failure is only temporary. You can always learn more, you can always gain more experience and then go at the mountain you’re trying to climb again.

Q – Anything else we need to know about Pebble Media?
A – At its heart Pebble is a guy with a camera, doing what he loves and trying to positively impact the community. Although I hope to grow and build out a staff and produce more content for a larger audience, it will always be my goal to remember that heart and continue giving back.

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