Public Speaking Workshop: American Red Cross Youth Leadership Program

When Lilliana Sherwood from the American Red Cross approached the PRSSA executive board at St. John Fisher, asking if we would like to help out with their Youth Leadership Program, we couldn’t turn down the opportunity! For this Youth Leadership program, we were asked to run a workshop regarding public speaking. As our executive board is comprised of four Media management majors, we were eager to begin working on this project that is right up our alley.


For the workshop, high school students from Monroe County schools came to St. John Fisher. Allison Rudy, Olivia Rotondo, Jade Rood, and Gianna Sarkis, along with the help of our PRSSA chapter advisor, Professor Arien Rozelle, led and facilitated the workshop. We decided that a mock press conference, about a fictional tornado that has struck, would be the perfect way for the students to practice public speaking while discussing communication in a disaster situation, tying in the learning objectives of the Red Cross.

We began by discussing public speaking: the importance of it, as well as the difficulties a speaker may face. Our audience of 24 high school students was lively and involved, sharing their insights with the room. We then watched an example press conference, and broke off into two classrooms, then again into two groups. Making sure each student got an equal chance to speak. For our activity, each student was either a member of the City of Rochester Mayor’s office speaking to the press, or a member of the press, asking questions and probing for information.


The students were engaged and enthusiastic, making the activity fun for us and for them. While the students participated in the press conference, the facilitators recorded it so that we could watch it afterwards. This gave the students a chance to learn from, and get feedback regarding their public speaking. The workshop went quickly, and smoothly; it was a great success!

Thanks to Lilliana Sherwood for asking us to lead the workshop, as well as the rest of the Red Cross Volunteers who helped with the activity.


Author: Allison Rudy



Social Media Week


A couple of St. John Fisher’s Media and Communications students created and ran Fisher’s first Social Media Week. The week long event featured speakers Monday November 14th through Friday November 18th, ranging from personal branding to social media analytics, and everything in between. Everyone on campus was welcome to attend, and each night had an impressive turn out.

The students that founded Social Media Week, Ashley Grates and Rachel Zalewski, are part of Fisher’s student run agency The PRIMA Group. With the help of other members of the group, namely Alexandra Hristodoulou, these students reached out to many Media professionals in the Rochester area, having them featured in events throughout the week.

Leah Stacy and Pete Wayner speaking to their captive audience.

The week started with a Brand Yourself workshop on Monday, featuring Rochester professionals Leah Stacey: Communications Professor at Nazareth College and Co-founder of Upstate Social, and Pete Wayner: Content Manager at Dixon Schwabl. They spoke about how to get noticed, being known for something, and staying consistent to create a top notch personal brand, and starting now!

Tuesday featured Jess DiLuglio: Social Media Manager for Dixon Schwabl, and Jim Mignano: Senior Account Executive at Text 1oo. They were featured in a Jobs in Social Media panel, where they talked about what they do for their jobs on a daily basis, and some of the most important aspects of a job in social media. They finished with advice to the audience about things that will make us stand out when applying for jobs in the social media field.

Craig Troskosky from Edelman Intel.

Craig Troskosky from Edelman Intel spoke at Wednesday’s Social Media Week event, discussing analytics, how important they are, and how to best use them when working in social media. He even used St. John Fisher’s very own Professor Arien Roselle’s social media accounts to demonstrate just how powerful a tool analytics can be, and showed how we all have an influence online.

Thursday night Rachel, Ashley, and Alexandra hosted a St. John Fisher Alumni Panel, which featured Mandy Bly: Account Coordinator at Launch Team Inc., Jill Alaimo: Account Assistant at Tipping Point Communications, Andrew Knoblauch: Social and Digital Media Supervisor at Dixon Schwabl, and Katrina Busch: President at Roberts Communications. The alums answered various questions about starting out and getting noticed in the workforce, what they do at their jobs now, and what they look for in interns. The panel provided lots of insight, and valuable advice to the audience of current Fisher students looking to make it into the same fields.

From left to right: Mandy Bly, Andrew Knoblauch, Katrina Busch, and Jill Alaimo.

The week was capped off with a Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media panel comprised of Ashley, Rachel, and various students from Nazareth College. They talked about not sharing too much online, and the best ways to use social media to your advantage for communicating with professionals. The event ended with a discussion between panel and audience members about best uses of social media.

All throughout the week, the events were being live tweeted with the hashtag #SocialSJFC, and snap-chatted using a filter created by Ashley Grates. All in all, St. John Fisher’s very first Social Media Week was a grand success, and we hope to see it grow in the years to come.

Written by: Allison Rudy
Photo Credits: 
Social Media Week Logo: Ashley Grates
Brand Yourself Event: Arien Rozelle
Analytics Event: Alexandra Hristodoulou
Alumni Panel: Jake Allen 

Government Relations

Our chapter was pleased to have James Smith, Jessica Alaimo, Patrick Flanigan, and Donald Starver from the City of Rochester share insights on government relations. The four work in the Bureau of Communications and Special Events and made an interesting panel with their various backgrounds. Director, James Smith has had experience with both sides of political parties throughout his career. Donald Starver, Deputy has experience with business and marketing. Jessica Alaimo, Press Officer and Patrick Flanigan, Interactive Media Editor wrote for the Democrat and Chronicle.

When talking about the city’s messaging James mentioned how it’s crucial to be proactive and reactive. James and his colleagues said they are proactive by staying ahead of negative stories. They do this by thinking of positive visual stories, trying to defend the indefensible, and keeping negative stories short. Reactive responses and events tend to get the most headlines and attentions, this is why they require all tools and assets since you are starting with a disadvantage. As in any field, there are certain events you can’t predict that you must react to. Patrick, stated how as government practitioners you often have to consider things from a worst-case scenario. Regardless of the story the number one rule is to remain truthful, it is important to establish credibility so people have faith in the government.

Government communications and public relations are all about the messages that will drive your research, communication, programs, development, etc. In order to keep audiences engaged, keep a consistent platform. Don’t switch your messaging. Within their department every story has a connection back to the mission of the city. Although the strategy and goals for developing the city of Rochester haven’t changed, the tactics for communicating and supporting have, as Donald stated. Cities are dynamic therefore they are constantly changing. In order to keep communication interesting visual hooks and repetition are used.

Jessica ended our panel by saying her job makes her feel she is making a difference in the community everyday. This is because they create more jobs, safer neighborhoods, and create better educational opportunities for those in Rochester, NY.

For an internship with the city of Rochester go to

What’s your type?


Last month, we hosted a chapter meeting to discuss the different personality types and how to communicate in business. We invited guest speaker Karen Sims, the Vice President of People and Development at Dixon Schwabl Advertising in Rochester, NY.

Karen comes from a background in PR, which transitioned into a career in human resources when she discovered her love for internal culture efforts and assessment.  Following this passion, she introduced ‘Companies are people, too,’ a culture quiz that is administered on a company wide basis to determine personal overall culture personality types. This personality assessment generates a Myers-Briggs personality type for each individuals at Dixon Scwhabl, which they post outside their doors with a list of recommended communication practices. As a company, Dixon Schwabl is ENFJ- The Enthusiast, by no surprise given their energetic and fun culture. Ultimately, this assessment is used to celebrate everyone as individuals.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality assessment that classifies individuals as an indication of basic preferences. Based on the test results, each individuals is given a 4-letter personality type. The first digit labels E or I, based on your level of extroversion or introversion. This indicates how one recharges; whether you gain energy from being around others as an extrovert, or by being alone as an introvert. The second letter indicates how one handles situations with an S for sensing, or a P for perception. Third, we examine a person’s approach to getting information or facts and label it either J for judging, or F for feeling.

To better understand our own personalities and that of our peers, we decided to take the assessment ourselves! Each member in attendance took the test at, and we took a moment to discuss.

Many of our members were shocked by the accuracy of their results. As we discussed, we explained our own preferences based on our personality types, and compared them to learn more about the various perspectives. We also discovered that some people’s types do not necessarily correlate with how others perceive them. For example, one member who was seemingly extroverted by the opinion of his peers, resulted to be introverted!

Understanding the different types of personalities and their preferences, we discussed communication and leadership tactics. As business communicators, we need to understand how to best approach situations with many different types of people. We learned that sometimes, we need to work in different ways with different people to accomplish the same goals. Karen Sims enlightened us with how this has benefited the culture at Dixon Schwabl, and we were glad to share this perspective with our members to take into their own professional experiences!

Thank you to Karen Sims for leading this session, and all of the members who attended with interest and energy!



Written by Alexandra Hristodouloul, Chapter Co-President 2016

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.