Be the Leader/Thanks Hofstra

A few weeks ago I traveled to Baltimore (by Amtrak! woo!) for the Eastern Communications Association Conference at the Hyatt representing Hofstra University, PRSSA, and PRestige Agency.  I was registered as a speaker for the “Charting New Directions for PRSSA: Innovators, Explorations, and Adventures” along with other communications students.  The panel itself turned into a casual dialogue about the  frustration that all student-run organizations face: motivating other students.  As the VP of Development, Recruitment, and Media for PRestige Agency, I have had my fair share of challenges this past year.  After being asked what I thought were required qualities in a leader, I answered that not only does a leader need to be motivational, organized, and professional, they must serve as a mentor for younger students.  Students in undergrad are looking for advice and they turn to their peers first.  A strong leader is some one that others want to emulate, and it comes down to having a balance between the professional and personal.

Today was my last day of class at Hofstra University.  I graduate on May 16th with Latin Honors Distinction, an Associate Honors Degree,  a full resume, and much more wisdom than when I first walked onto campus four years ago.  Time and time again, I have been challenged to stand true to my identity and beliefs, defending myself and demanding respect when necessary, and learning to extinguish conflict when it approaches.  To my friends graduating, I would like to know if you can imagine your first day as a freshman, if you had any idea of what you were going achieve in the  following years.  I cannot.  I am astounded, dumbfounded and proud of what I have accomplished.

This past week I had to find my successor for my Vice President position.  Interested candidates emailed their resumes and cover letters and had an interview a few days after.  I based my decision on the strengths of the two candidates and if the position would allow them to build upon their existing talents.  Not only am I very excited and happy about the decision, but I cannot wait to see what next year’s E-board will do.  During both  interviews I discussed what I thought were necessary habits when dealing with people.  By coincidence, my advice was influenced by  How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (a purchase made after my friend Emily Meithner raved about it).

Because you should buy the book yourself, here is simply a tidbit.

Fundamental Techniques In Handling People

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.

    It never helps to surround yourself with negativity.  People will always respond much better when you praise their strengths, not criticize their faults.  The time and energy spent complaining about a situation is time and energy wasted.  Save yourself the heartache and stress, become more positive and use your time otherwise spent complaining constructively.

  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.

    No one can ever tackle a project by themselves.  In a collaborative effort, every person involved is valuable to the team.  There have been times when I have been so frustrated about  a campaign with PRestige, I wanted nothing more than to throw up my hands and give up.  However, with the motivation I received from my team and their unending dedication, everything was accomplished.  When you recognize and appreciate some one else’s work, they will continue to perform at a high level.  At this time, I want to thank Alyssa Bertuzzi, Nick Schweers, Aqlesia Sahle, Marise Montrose and Hilary Franklin, members of next year’s E-board and committee for last fall’s “PRestige One Year Anniversary”, from the bottom of my heart.  Without your ingenuity and dedication, nothing I wanted to accomplish this year would have happened.  I am so proud to see how you have all taken on your positions with such enthusiasm. To feel that I have had some influence on you is one of the things I am most proud of in my career at Hofstra.  I am more than confident to leave something I have worked on for three years in your hands.

  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

    You will hear more people saying “you can’t” than “you can”.  Less people will want to see you succeed than those who don’t care one way or the other.  The only person you can hold responsible for your achievement is yourself.  When some one tells me something is impossible or too difficult, my stubbornness makes me want to prove them wrong.  I like challenges because they test you, and if you meet that challenge, you will reap the benefits.  The most driven people are the same way.  They see a problem and they want to solve it.  People who are smart, thoughtful and inquisitive will need to be mentally stimulated.  So challenge other people constructively, more so that they can grow from it.

And that’s the end.  At tomorrow’s last PRestige All Staff meeting of the year, my successor will be announced, and my duties for the agency will be over.  After a few last papers and projects, my adult life starts and the world is an oyster.

Many people and their influence have affected me and in some way led me to this point today.  I wasn’t valedictorian at my high school and I may not have a larger platform than this blog to do the following.

I’d like to thank:

Professor Ellen Frisina (for helping me make my schedule during Freshmen Orientation and convincing me to be a pr major), Professor Victoria Geyer (for your guidance, patience, and good advice), all of PRestige (especially the 5 members of the One Year Anniversary committee), all of PRSSA past and present (especially Rachel Zabinski, PRSSA President when I started and one of the first pr professionals I aspire to), all of the DJs at WRHU (and all the listeners), all the painters, photographers, and designers I have met in Calkins Hall (all eccentricities and quirks aside, you all inspire me), all members of Progressive Students Union (for challenging my principles and perceptions), all occupants of the “Mineola House” at one time or another, the 2009 Rubenstein Intern Dozen (where would we be without each other? under a desk), all the students who studied abroad in Venice January 2009 (especially my roommates Ashley Melo and Erin Willett) all educators and administrative staff at the Long Island Children’s Museum (the best job I will ever have), all the literature professors I have had, the occupants of “Corn Hole”, and every student I have had class with or had the pleasure of meeting these past four years, and all those who live the “Trife Life”.

Thank you for the adventures of the past few years.  Let’s see where the next four take us.

Jumping on the Bandwagon: Yay for Facebook, Nay for Twitter

When reading Sandra L. Beckwith’s Publicity for Nonprofits: Generating Media Exposure That Leads to Awareness, Growth, and Contribution , I was struck with how I agreed with the opening introduction of  Chapter 5: “How Will You Say It In Media Materials?”.  The chapter focuses on the process of selecting the best media tools for campaigns.  It doesn’t take years of professional experience for one to understand that certain tools are more applicable and practical depending on the campaign and the messages one is trying to implement.  I find this is concept can be neglected when a certain trend in media causes practitioners to jump on the latest over-hyped tool: specifically, Twitter and other social media fads.

We have seen in the past year how brands have been quick to jump onto the current trend of the moment and the results of an online presence that danced with the fine line of being present and being obnoxious.  The most misunderstood tool of social media today is Twitter.  Twitter is a tool best implemented when one-on-one communication would suffice between company and consumer.  Twitter has proved to be excellent at networking and customer service.  However, I feel that there is better success when an online community is created, especially with nonprofit organizations.  Two necessary components for a successful online community are the abilities to built relationships and share information.  Twitter does not suffice in these two areas; a platform such as Ning or Facebook is much better to encourage dialogue about your company, service, or product.  Such platforms encourage relationship-building and lead to permanent success.

Some companies get left behind because of an imbalance when it comes to having a substantial online presence.  My New Media professor, Tom Klinkowstein of Media A, was discussing online presence with me last week and said regarding social media, on average two years of active social networking is needed in order to be digitally distinct.  While this may be surprising to people who enjoy the instant gratification of popular platforms such as Twitter, it must be remembered that we are moving into The Networking Age.  Meaningful relationships take time to develop and last.

PR Lessons from the Music Industry

Drink Up Buttercup playing thier acoustic set at CMJ's Happy Hour at Brooklyn Brewery

Last week I had the opportunity to attend CMJ Music Marathon in New York City.  I was able to sit in on the panel called “Being Your Own Label: Taking DIY to the Next Level”, which focused on how today’s struggling musicians often have to be thier own label and rely on their own means for marketing and publcity.  The moderator was Chris Schlarb (Founder/CEO of Dubshot Records) with a panel of the digi savvy: Gian Caterine (CFO Tunecore Inc), John Lavallo (Music Attorney, The Takeout Group), Yancey Strickler (Cofounder, Kickstarter), and Peter Van Ness (President

I was outnumbered since a majority of the audience in the room were independent artists searching for help in promoting themselves.  I am fairly sure I was the only person in the room interested in doing the “dirty work” that musicians didn’t want to do.  I have always been a firm believer that if you are in marketing or public relations, you need to follow the course of the music industry to see where the future of media and consumer behavior is headed.

Here are some key concepts to understand about the independent musician today that also apply to a smart business sense:

  1. Napster did not kill music business, music business killed music business. You are your own worst enemy. Be smart about the business choices you make and keep the customers in mind.
  2. With modern technology, an artist can do their own production and sound recording at home. Technology is making things much easier.  When it comes to PR, it’s best to limit outsourcing as much as possible – be a Renaissance man, learn to do it yourself, design and technology is not scary.
  3. One should not get into music to be rich, you will not make money.  Be an artist if your ultimate goal is to express yourself. If you are a working artist today, you will constantly be working uphill.  If you are in public relations, you are working as much as the media and as often as people communicate – which is always.
  4. The Internet, great as it may be, will not solve all problems.
  5. There will be no more huge rock stars/You will not always get your press release in the New York Times.
  6. There are separate skills for being a musician and other skills for running a business. Learn how to balance both or find some one else to do it.  Pay attention to that which you excel in.
  7. Often, gaining national exposure is too much “noise” for the consumer/listener. Consumers no longer want to be “pushed at” – they would much rather search on their own.  It’s a PR practitioner’s job to find that audience who had a vested interest in what you are promoting.
  8. Too many profiles on too many social networking sites devalues yourself.
  9. It is more important than ever to connect with your fans.  Your fans are the ones sharing your music with others/Your customers are most important; thier perception of the company/organization is the most important one.
  10. Fans are less likely to purchase CDs; but they will pay for live performances – the initial product if you will.  If you have faith that the product/service/organization you are working for has quality, you must work to make sure the initial message/product does not get lost.


Last night was the last time I work as DJ for WRHU’s “Airwave” .  Other than a few creepy phone calls, it was entertaining to go back and dig up some of my favorite songs from the past year. 

I highly recommend everything highlighted in orange. 

The Boy Least Likely To When Life Gives Me Lemons, I Make Lemonade
Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip Thou Shalt Always Kill
The Decemberists Valerie Plame
Fol Chen Winter, That’s All
Women Group Transparent Hall
Chester French C’Mon (On My Own)
Coconut Records Nighttiming
Mike Bones One Moment’s Peace
Royskopp Happy Up Here
The Kills Sour Cherry
Miniature Tigers Tell It To the Volcano
MGMT (Justice Remix) Electric Feel
Camera Obscura French Navy
Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band Anchors Dropped
Obits Two Headed Coin
Akron/Family River
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart Young Adult Friction
Harlem Shakes Strictly Game
The Thermals Now We Can See
The Mae Shi Run to Your Grave
Fever Ray When I Grow Up
Born Ruffians Hedonistic Me
Amanda Palmer Runs in the Family
Islands Creeper
Her Space Holiday This Truth Hurts So This Should be Painless
Lyke Li Dance Dance Dance
Hot Lava Blue Dragon
Crystal Castles Courtship Dating
Depeche Mode Personal Jesus
Calvin Harris Marry Making at My Place
Animal Collective Peacebone
Blue Giant Blue Sunshine

Today is my second to last day at Rubenstein Associates, Inc. Today I managed to watch last week’s The Office ,

find a sweet video

, and provide commentary about Star Trak signed Chester French and where they get their catchy yet sleezy and pretentious lyrics (hint Pharell started Star Trak) though Twitter.


Pat on the Back indeed.

to make myself feel better, i’m listening to OC mixes.

I’m convincing myself it’s summer while it’s 35 degrees out.  My three main tactics of doing this are wearing nowhere near the amount of appropriate clothing for the weather (skirts and no gloves and such – get your mind out of the gutter), eating a bunch of fruit (and also avoiding getting scurvy), and listening to OC mixes.  If you are a humble individual, you are able to acknowledge they are smalls works of wonder.  There is something about the pleasant surprise when a mainstream abomination of a soap opera at night for teens you loathe (LOATHE) has sweet mixes with your favorite artists.  I won’t lie…The 88’s “How Good It Can Be” has gotten me through some tough times….
Was reading yesterday on Gawker about the abomination of prominent media outlets writing about indie artists.  Outlets such as NY Mag and the New Yorker have recently had articles about indie musicians ( i talked about the NY Mag article about Neko Case a few weeks ago) that try to find some deep connection between the artist and some higher meaning.  Frankly, what makes most indie artists great is that they don’t care about media coverage or how often they are in the spotlight on a national level.  Half the articles in question are profiles on the artists when they don’t have a new album coming out nor going on tour soon.  What you have is a bio about the struggles the artist go through.
Personally? I dont’ care about a musician’s daddy issues or how they feel insignificant in the universe or that being adored by fans is just “too much.”  I want good music that serves as an escapism (i.e. my requent listenings to OC mixes this week — which does have “indie artists”)  and that’s it.  Also – sorry to get all digital age, but the only time I need to know a brief bio about an artist is during my Airwave slot, and I don’t want to look through back articles of the New York Times.  Wikipedia is fine by me.

Steve Rubel has written about the greatest secret of the century — TWITTER IS BLOWING UP! Rubel claims the attraction to twitter is it’s disorganization, celebrity following, and you can both be anonymous yet show personality.  In the last month, every time I get a new notification that some one is following my Twitter, it’s also the most UN-likely person imaginable from a previous life.  I wonder…why do you…random person from high school….want to follow my tweets talking about pr and how only getting three hours of sleep may not be the best idea?  I often feel obligated to follow some one right back — especially if they know me and where my home is.  Now, I get to follow their tweets about drunken debauchery from many states away.  Awesome.
Will Twitter suffer from the annoyance of Facebook, having obscure people follow you, or complete strangers?  Another complete stranger started to follow me this morning – but at least he’s cute and has shaggy hair.
I bought tickets for this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.  this will be my third year attending.  This year I opted for the three day pass, being convinced by the presence of Yo La Tengo, The Vivian Girls, Grizzly Bear, and The Walkmen on the lineup.  I will be living in Chicago this summer, so I have been itching to see if I could actually intern in the Pitchfork offices (gah how alt and indie of me!).  Sent an email two days ago, haven’t heard yet.  I will wait a week until the angry messages start appearing.

I get frustrated when people do not respond to my emails within an hour of sending them out.  I then remember that while I get up at the crack of dawn, they are still sleeping, or they don’t have a need to check their email every hour like me, or they are one of those lucky people with wonderful lives of ease.  Do those people exist?

summary of past week in journalistic style

  • n41203281_31410419_41470492Press for the TriBeca Film Fest is in full force.  Press releases are sent out on what feels like an every other day basis.  Reb says “I go home every day with a migraine from staring at a computer screen for hours on end.”  The image of a T-Rex on her desktop is “sometimes the only light inside the small dark cave called the intern room.”
  • clockIt is recommended to have regular sleeping patterns in order to maintain a stable life.  Reb, avid student and overall workaholic with ADD, averages between 4 or 5 hours a sleep a night, but at no fault of her own.  Just last night, a fire alarm was set off in her building due to the brilliance of one female Hofstra student who believed it was a great idea to straighten her hair at 2 am.
  • airwaveIn an attempt to connect her knowledge of social media and her stint as WRHU Airwave producer, Reb is following suit of two of her DJs and is maintaining a Twitter account for her show.  The username is WRHU_Airwave and followers can tweet in requests or other comments .  Reb has also created an Airwave Facebook group to increase listeners as well, labeled WRHU Airwave – Your Source for Indie and Experimental Music.   Last night proved difficult to tweet and reply to followers on account that Master Control died and she had to run back and forth between the studio and archive room.
  • dumpsterReb has also procrastinated applying for internships, due in part to the fact she must determine whether she will reside in Chicago or New York this summer.  Chicago provides affordable living expenses with intelligent older sister, part time jobs galore, valid internships, and a possible gig as an illustrator for a children’s book.  When thinking of the possibility of living in New York this summer, as a full time intern during a recession, Reb envisions herself eating bread from the dumpster behind Dunkin’ Donuts.  Anyone can see it is a difficult choice.

Isn’t it much more fun to NOT write in formal manner?  Even in journalistic style I can be witty.

I finally converted my blogspot to wordpress.  I need to toy with the design of the site but I feel I deserve a pat on the back for accomplishing a goal I had been thinking about since last fall.

I planned to learn how to use WordPress and general website design by forcing myself to take on an independent study this semester, where for credit I have to create a blog for Hofstra’s student-run agency PRestige.  I plan to have the official debute of that in roughly a week and a half.



the opportunities are endless for all walks of life in Australia

Friday I had to go to an event for the Times Square Alliance. Gage/Celemenceau Architects presented a sculpture to Times Square, a “valentine”. Zales also sponsored a contest where five couples had to profess their love to one another. The couple who professed the best received a 2 carat diamond ring. Not bad. My job was to spot anyone with a camera who vaguely resembled some one from “the media”. Towards the end of last week, New York experienced turbulent winds and Friday was no exception. I was standing outside for about two hours, lost feeling in my baby toes, but oh how it warmed my heart so hearing all the poems and songs about love. In my head I couldn’t help thinking about how it was technically only the 13th.

The sculpture will be on display on Duffy Square until February 22.

What do you think of it’s beauty?

My friend Mike and I were discussing what boundless opportunities were before us if we graduated from college and DIDN’T find a job right away in NYC. One option was Australia. I like sunshine. This discussion prompted another about the third best band in the world – The Kinks.

I’m on standby

David Binkowski, SVP of Word of Mouth Marketing for MS & L Worldwide, spoke at Hofstra University’s Monroe lecture hall tonight as part of a special speaker event series. The event was organized by HAMA and PRSSA as a way to educate students about not only to acknowledge social media, but how to utilize it to further their careers.

For myself, every point that Binkowski made only validated what I have been wondering all week: “where am I actually going with all this?” I have been programed since birth to follow the right path: to be in these clubs, to read about this, to learn about this, basically following what others have recommended. As I was sitting at Rubenstein today, staring at the same master circulation list, it dawned on me: for the first time, there is no set path to follow. I have to carve out my own way, but somehow I can’t limit myself to following just one passion.

I felt I could relate to Binkowski when he said he enjoyed working and that there is great value in investing in yourself. Therefore, ladies and gentleman, solves the query I have had for years: that while I feel like my time in college isn’t spent doing typical “college activities”, the things I do invest my time and energy in will pay off in the end. As Binkowski said “everyone has 24 hours a day” and it’s up to the individual to use those 24 hours to their advantage.

I also appreciate the point he made that with all the good that social media does, it “can’t replace face-to-face”. The way I see it, I’m both the introvert and extrovert. I find myself in “thinking spells” and would rather absorb and observe. I’m shy initially when approaching people for the first time; I prefer sharing information with others by communicating through writing/print/online (however you would like to view it). The Midwestern Mentality I find in myself (must I always remind everyone my parents were born and raised in SD?) is overly friendly, outgoing, personable, kind, and would bend over backwards for people. There is a way to balance both and cover all forms of networking.

After much teasing, I no longer bring my terrible Staples-printed, business card monstrosities to networking events. I had to resort to writing my info on a piece of pink paper from my Lisa Frank notebook to give to Binkowski. An internship at MS & L this summer would be ideal; I need to be pushed to learn more and invest in learning more skill sets. Hopefully it all works out. Hopefully he doesn’t think less of me that my twitter username was written on a piece of pink paper. Binkowski said generation y has nothing to lose and therefore we can take more risks. I took the risk of coming off as a 12 year old girl.

25 random and obscure things (because everyone else is doing it)

2009 as of far has been eventful – to say the least – and I rarely have time to catch a breath. Between being in Italy during the month of January, starting my internship at Rubenstein, fulfilling duties as Airwave Producer for WRHU, thinking of new ways to develop and promote PRestige Agency, being PR coordinator for FORM, drawing naked people every Tuesday and Thursday morning, working at LICM, and trying to get a life…….just looking at the laundry list frightens me so.

But I always somehow have time for Facebook and judging how popular I am based on wall posts. The trend as of now is to list 25 random things about yourself – frankly, I tried to do that last week and I couldn’t limit it to only 25.

Now is my chance to start blogging regularly again and maybe have people read this regularly as well and the only way to do it is to create a complete picture of myself with another LAUNDRY list of both important/unimportant and interesting/boring tidbits about myself.

1. I secretly love Prince, the movie Purple Rain, and the song Little Red Corvette
2. I’m self conscious about my smile, so I just make faces for every occasion
3. More than once I have gotten the impression that my male professors have crushes on me. Everyone in my CL 150 class last spring would agree with me.
4. Some people would go as far as say I’m interesting, while I really think I’m a big dork who loves Prince.
5. I hate living by myself. I like being around the company of others. The only time I like living alone is when I dance by myself in my room. Which happens sometimes. Very often. Nightly.
6. In all honesty, when people tell me I’m very good at something, there is a small part of me that thinks “yes, I know”
7. I always buy books but never get a chance to read them.
8. My goal in life is honestly just to live well and be happy.
9. People sometimes think when I’m quiet I have nothing to say. I actually have a long running inner dialogue with myself, often about the people around me, that I probably shouldn’t say.
10. I believe in falling in love at first sight. I usually invent a story about some one that I hope is true. Then I will actually talk to them and even if it doesn’t quite match up, I still believe in the story.
11. No matter how old I get, I still always feel and act like an awkward twelve year old girl. I confirm this often with everyday life.
12. I can’t say no to anyone. Ever. I would never want to cause some one unhappiness.
13. I have a phobia about people in full costume. When Kate & Willy are around, I have to look away and walk in the opposite direction.
14. I love James Dean and the idea of Sid Nancy. I know a guy who seems like a combination of both, but because of #11, I have little hope anything will happen.
15. I am finally old enough to admit that my parents are pretty amazing people and I wouldn’t change a thing about them.
16. I wish I could have studied a more scholarly field; actually, I just want any excuse to become a college professor and be the epitome of bookishness.
17. I always wanted to be a rock star. I think I have the attitude for it.
18. I decided there are two types of people in this world: people who are waitresses/waiters and people who bar tend. To wait on people shows great humility. To serve drinks at a bar as a female requires stubbornness and sass. Guess which group I think I belong in.
19. I am anxious for the day that I will date a guy who will teach me to love football.
20. I was so sad when my skull earring broke over Christmas. It felt like a part of me died.
21. I really want to go to Japan. and the Bronx zoo.
22. I need to have at least three pens with me at all times or I have a slight panic attack.
23. I am insanely good at typing. people have commented. and i thought “yes, i know”
24. I was dead set to convert to Judaism when I was fourteen.
25. I miss watching cartoons on Saturday mornings

I promise there is better to come…