PRSSA National Conference


A few weeks ago, members of the Tom Proietti Chapter of PRSSA and the student-run firm, The PRIMA Group, took off for Indianapolis, Indiana with tightly packed bags and purses spilling with resumes and business cards, with the opportunity to attend the PRSSA National Conference, “The Crossroads of Public Relations.” With the support of our school and local agency, a group of six students and one faculty adviser attended the conference:  Olivia Rotondo, PRSSA Chapter Co-President, Alexandra Hristodoulou, PRSSA Chapter Co-President, Claire Sauter, PRSSA Secretary, Claire Lupi, The PRIMA Group President, Alexandra Ormond, PRIMA Account Executive, Jade Rood, PRIMA Marketing Associate, and Professor Arien Rozelle.

In just our three days there, the conference offered a multitude of insights and opportunities for us as students and as leaders of Fisher’s PRSSA chapter and student-run firm. Over the course of intensive and helpful resume critiques, chapter development workshops, keynote speeches and panels, personal and industry-related discussion sessions, networking opportunities, and PRSA International Conference exhibition and speaker events, we filled out pages upon pages of notes, tweeted until we ran out of characters, collected over 60 business cards, and connected with over 120 other PR students and professionals around the country. Some of our favorite workshops and sessions informed us on the process of writing a “killer” job application; knowing “what works and when” for campaigns and candidates in political PR; and how to create the “perfect experience” for an audience when planning events.

We aren’t just bringing back notes and business cards, though. We have ongoing email communication with professional contacts, resumes that are more refined and quantified than ever, and to-do lists of chapter developments such as fundraising ideas and mentorship programs.

Our appreciation for the opportunity to attend PRSSANC 2016 in Indianapolis can never be expressed enough. We would like to thank the Media and Communication Department for its continuous support and facilitation of professional opportunities for students to engage in. A special thank you to Eileen L. Lynd-Balta, Assistant Provost, for her care and investment in student and club development, and Professor Arien Rozelle, for accompanying us at the conference, for advising our Chapter and firm, and for challenging
us to reach for more. Finally, thank you to Roberts Communication for your generous support of our clubs and students, and for allowing us the opportunity to present our conference insights and experience with the agency.

Interested in learning more about each session we attended, the keynote speakers, and the connections we made? Check out our twitter @SJFCPRSSA and the hashtag #PRSSANC.


Leading Ladies Love First Annual Lead #LikeAGirl

By: Alexandra Hristodoulou

Celebrating strengths, building skills, and speaking with experience professionals.

The first annual Lead #LikeAGirl was hosted on Wednesday, March 30th by PRSSA and The PRIMA Group for young women studying in the fields of media and communication, marketing, and business at St. John Fisher College. With the support of the Media and Communication Department, and the time and efforts of the planning committee, Casey Cuthbert, Alexandra Hristodoulou, and Rachael Zelewski, Lead #LikeAGirl brought together over 20 young women for a leadership training session and a fabulous professionals Q&A panel discussion.

Lead #LikeAGirl was established in celebration of National Women’s History Month, with the mission “to empower young women with the skills to speak assertively, reframe challenges, and celebrate strengths as they begin their journey to leadership in the professional workplace.” The PRIMA Group and PRSSA here at Fisher have all female e-boards, and are made up of over 80% women, which demonstrates the importance of hosting events like this one. The goal of the event was to embrace the abilities of our young women and build a stronger understanding of where we stand as women in the workplace and how to overcome any obstacles that our gender may pose on our future opportunities.


The night began a session instructed by leadership trainer and founder of Thrive Potential, Miranda Wilcox, a strong and knowledgeable woman who engaged the audience as she spoke about choosing to use assertive communication tactics when faced with the natural  urge to react in a passive or aggressive way, instead. Thanks to our brilliant and active group of young women in the audience, this session became an open and conversational session that addressed real-life instances and situations, bringing the lessons to life through multiple perspectives.  Through discussion, the students were able to discuss different leadership and communication tactics and ideals, which built greater understanding among academic peers, as well.

As the night continued, the enthusiasm grew. Invigorated by the beginning leadership session, we began the dynamic and energetic panel with professionals from various areas of the field of communication. Sitting on the panel was the notably (and proudly)“spunky” Amanda DeVito, who has been a professional in the advertising and communications world for over 15 years with different start-ups and other endeavors, and currently loves her leadership role as Vice President of Engagement at Butler/Till. Also, we had the young and beautiful Katelinn Ryan Pellett, the Vice President of Programs at Causewave Community Partners, formerly known as the Rochester Ad Council, where she has successfully progressed her leadership positions throughout her 8 years with the not-for-profit organization. And last but certainly not least, we were given the writer’s perspective, with the cool Sheila Rayam, the Community Engagement Editor from Rochester’s token newspaper, the Democrat & Chronicle.


These fantastic and energetic women spoke as an inspiration to those in the audience, as they honestly and openly discussed their career paths, transitioning through leadership roles, addressing conflict, overcoming difficulties, and leading #LikeAGirl. Students left with positive impressions of the event, one attendee answered our anonymous survey, stating “I thought Lead #LikeAGirl was extremely beneficial. Everything was put together very professionally and every guest that we had was amazing.”


With the first annual Lead #LikeAGirl as a success, The PRIMA Group and PRSSA express many thanks to all of the individuals who made it possible– the panelists, the attendees, and the Media and Communication Department. Next year, these groups look forward to building this empower event to be event bigger and better!

Super Bowl Ad Review

Last week our PRSSA Chapter had the pleasure of having Tom Proietti, Resident Scholar in Media, Dominick Annese, Customer Intimacy Consultant, and Tony Conte MCC Professor of Business for our Third Annual Super Bowl Ad Review. Throughout the night we analyzed majority of the advertisements both locally and nationally. A few of the favorites were Axe, UR Medicine, and Colgate.

The Axe commercial “Find Your Magic” was a favorite because the messaging behind it told viewers to be confident with themselves. Camille Audette, PRSSA President, pointed out how Axe has grown up with its users and matured from the stereotypical muscleman the brand used to be centered around. Our guest Tony Conte said “It doesn’t matter if you have a big nose, go for something.” Find out what makes you unique and own it.

It’s safe to say UR Medicine “UR My Sunshine” tugged at (almost) everyone’s heartstrings. It was amazingly well done and beautiful. Our audience agreed it did not have the feel of a local ad (no offense Billy Fuccillo). Golisano Children’s Hospital wants to be known as not only the place for medicine but also a place for comfort during a family’s hard times.

Colgate’s “Save Water” commercial was an “absolute Touchdown” as told by Tom Proietti with the call to action hit right on the head. The commercial focused more on the planet instead of the product. One of our members, Chloe Smith, expressed how she believes advertising is selling the brand more than the product. I wonder if as an audience we are beginning to relate Colgate to helping the planet instead of just being an oral health care product.

As a whole the general consensus was that the ads this year were not as strong as past years and that we also can’t stop singing “Puppymonkeybaby”, thank you Mtn. Dew.

Sharing Our Success

Today is the second day of finals week at St. John Fisher College, meaning only four more days until the campus empties out while everyone heads home for the holidays. It is important to reflect on EVERYTHING you have accomplished over the course of the semester, because according to American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey: “We do not learn from experience … we learn from reflecting on experience.”

So, taking this advice, we decided to create a post reflecting on what we have accomplished over the course of the semester.

This semester, our PRSSA Tom Proietti Chapter, led by Co-Presidents Allie Guido and Camille Audette, Secretary Alexandra Hristodoulou, Treasurer Olivia Rotondo, and Faculty Adviser Arien Rozelle, focused on the objective of raising awareness of the chapter in an effort to attract new members.

Several strategies were implemented throughout the course of the semester with our weekly meetings, partnerships, social media presence, and continuous learning in order to meet our goal.

We had weekly meetings on Thursdays from 6:30-7:30 pm where we had local PR professionals share their knowledge and insights on different fields of PR, including: Tourism and Travel PR, Sports PR, Festival PR, PR in the Arts and Fisher PR Alumni.

Additionally, we collaborated with our on campus agency, The Prima Group, and held our 2nd annual Meet the Media Series, an interactive panel about the relationship between journalism and public relations. We had four panels held in Professor Rozelle’s classes, plus a Thursday evening networking panel that drew nearly 40 students and featured seven panelists. We then worked again with The Prima Group, to host a Butler/Till workshop called “How to Advertise and Get Noticed Through the Clutter,” where we learned all about the art and science of advertising during political seasons.

Not only did we collaborate with our on-campus agency, but also with local colleges, Brockport and RIT, as well as PRSA Rochester. Together, we organized and then toured Martino Flynn and The National Strong Museum of Play and met with PR pros at each location.

Then, in November, we were able to send four members to the PRSSA National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia thanks to the help of our MAC department and the School of Arts & Sciences. E-Board members Heristodoulu, Rotondo and chapter members Chloe Smith and Sarah Fredendall attended. They were able to bring back endless knowledge on public relations, because they experienced agency tours, professional development workshops and seminars, chapter/firm development sessions, living legends of PR panels, keynote speeches, networking events, career exhibits and a CNN tour.

Finally, we created a major presence on social media! We began not only tweeting during our meetings but tweeting content throughout the whole week about events going on at Fisher or just articles we wanted to share. We now have over 500 followers. We also began blogging a recap after every meeting or event that our club held. We then would share all of our blog posts on Facebook which increased our frequency and, as a result, our followers and traffic increased.

This semester has definitely been one for the books and I can’t wait to how we can achieve more in the Spring semester.

Happy Holidays!
– Fisher PRSSA

P.S. We also took a lot of selfies


Thursday, December 3, Carrie Riby and Kristen Lennarz from Butler/Till came to St. John Fisher College to discuss the art and science of advertising during political seasons.

Carrie is the Strategic Planning Director. She is an advertising media professional experienced in all forms of media planning and buying. Kristin is a Digital Strategy Director focused on developing fully integrated digital marketing programs that align to connect with customers and drive measurable ROI. These lovely ladies provided PRSSA and The PRIMA Group with a better understanding of human behavior during a cluttered advertising period.

There are a variety of ways Butler/Till positions their brands during this time. Most consumers are tired of seeing negative or attacking commercials from politicians. This is why Butler/Till uses their advertisements as a sense of relief. They create their advertisements opposite of the political advertisements to make them stand out more.

After comparing product advertisements to political advertisements the tables turned. Carrie and Kristin split us into three groups where we were in charge of creating our own advertisements. It was a lot of fun working with each other and bouncing ideas around. We love how Butler/Till gets our creative juices flowing and can’t wait for them to come back.

To find out about future events, presentations, and other networking opportunities, follow St. John Fisher’s PRSSA on twitter.


  • Treasurer, Olivia Rotondo




12232991_10208290167834943_100683333_nA few weeks ago, the SJFC Tom Proietti chapter was lucky enough to send 4 of our shining eboard members to the PRSSA National Conference in Atlanta, GA– an event that we are all still talking about! We sent Alexandra Hristodoulou (SJFC PRSSA Chapter Secretary), Olivia Rotondo  (SJFC PRSSA Chapter Treasurer), Chloe Smith (PRIMA CEO), Sara Fredenall (PRIMA Director of Public Relations), and our Faculty Adviser, Arien Rozelle.


Throughout the four days at PRSSANC, our members were able to take advantage of many opportunities, including chapter/firm development sessions, professional information sessions, Living Legend panels, keynote speeches, networking events, agency tours, and career exhibitions. From all of these experiences, our member were able to bring back not only greater knowledge and stronger skills, but also plenty of ideas to improve and grow our chapter. Some ideas for chapter development they would like to incorporate at Fisher are deeper connections with the Rochester PRSA professional chapter, a structured mentor program throughout the chapter itself and Rochester professionals, more focus on the needs assessment of our current chapter members, and more fundraising opportunities. What do you think of these ideas?


As our e-board members work to put these ideas into place to improve the Fisher chapter, the Rochester community is excited. In the last few weeks, the SJFC Tom Proietti Chapter has been featured in the PRSSA PRep Online Newsletter ( Just this week, we made the front page of the website! Check it out: PRSSANC (2).png


We would like to thank the SJFC Provost Department, and especially Eileen L. Lynd-Balta (Assistant Provost), for making it possible for our students to experience such an incredible event. A special thanks goes to our adviser, Professor Arien Rozelle, for her attendance at the conference, along with her lasting support and motivation of the chapter, it’s e-board, and it’s members. Also, we send kudos to the exceptional students and professionals who organized or participated in the PRSSA National Conference 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. And lastly, we send best wishes to all of the professionals and students from across the nation who connected with our students throughout the four days, making the experience as enjoyable and valuable as it was.


by Alexandra Hristodoulou

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

CUNwOZBVAAAFd59.jpg-largeRight before the college’s Thanksgiving break, we had a few St. John Fisher College Alumni come in to talk to our chapter. We wanted to know what we should be taking advantage of here at Fisher and what life was like after graduation, what was the most surprising, the most difficult.


We were able to hear advice and gain insight from 2015 grad Zach Cedruly who now works at Black Button Distilling, as well as 2014 grads Julie Rudd from McDougall Communications and Matt Ulakovic from the University of Rochester.


All three speakers had similar advice, that we should all be getting involved during our time here and that there are many opportunities to do so. The panelist was all part has more than one organization on campus, from Marketing Club, to The PRIMA Group to the Cardinal Courier. They said each helped them prepare for their careers by teaching them different things hands on, such as how important it is to be able to write well. Ulakovic even explained how being involved with the paper is what got him hired.


While they all said that students need to be doing internships, Rudd could not stress that enough. She explained how even if you cannot do an internship ask to do an informational interview, tour, or shadow someone for a day. She stated “networking is important and everyone in this area wants to help students so take advantage while you can.” Cedruly said that when “working for a small company you do it all” so you are learning every aspect. He advised students to do an internship somewhere small, or start there after college and learn to grow.


All three stated how the most surprising thing to them after graduation was how you really are on your own. Rudd stated “there is no syllabus for the real world, you make your own due dates.”


If the students took away anything that night it was to ask for help, and take advantage that they are still a student and people love helping students, since they were once in their shoes. Rudd stated how she has a mentor but she’s not always there, it is on you. So, do not be afraid to ask professionals, get involved, and network; if you do this the panelist believe we will all be successful.


Co-President Allie Guido