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Annual Meeting & Board Elections









All chapter members in good standing as of September 30th, 2016, are invited to the chapter’s
Annual Business Meeting. This is the official annual meeting whereby members vote on officers and directors-at-large for the coming year, approve any proposed Bylaws changes and/or approve any other important business items requiring approval by the chapter members.

Members, in order to ensure your voice is heard, it is important to attend in person or to complete your proxy ballot online so that each vote can be transferred to an eligible voting member in your absence.

2016 Annual Business Meeting Details & RSVP/Proxy Ballot Instructions
Nominations by Petition
Slate of Proposed Officers & Directors

The RSVP/Proxy Ballot Form is now closed. Thank you for your responses.

Please contact the Chapter Office at 212.228.7228 or  Read more about the call for nominations


Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Starting promptly at 8:00AM, at

Anchin, Block & Anchin
1375 Broadway (Btw 37th & 38th Streets), 23rd Floor
New York, NY

All members are encouraged to attend this meeting. However, if you are unable to attend in person, you must complete your proxy ballot no later than Wednesday, October 12th, so that your vote may be transferred to the Executive Committee or to another PRSA-NY member in good standing.


Additional nominations may be made by written petition signed by at least ten (10%) percent of the members of the Chapter and filed with the Secretary at least ten days prior to the annual meeting. Completed petitions must be submitted in writing to no later than Saturday, October, 8th.


In accordance with Article IX, Section 1 of the Chapter Bylaws, the following Nominating Committee was appointed by the President with the approval of the Board of Directors: Linda Krebs (Chair); Natan Edelsburg; Sharon Fenster; Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA; Tiffany Guarnaccia; Kellie Jelencovich; David Rosen; Michael Rinaldo; and Art Stevens, APR, Fellow PRSA.

In accordance with Article IX, Section 2 of the Bylaws, the Chapter membership is hereby notified that the Nominating committee has nominated a slate of officers for the open positions for the Chapter year beginning January 1, 2017 and approved by the Board.  Click here to review the biographies for the 2017 Slate of Officers and Directors.


One-Year Term expiring December 31, 2017

Olga González, FGA DGA
CEO & Founder, Pietra PR 

Sharon Fenster
President, Fenster Communications

Vice President (Marketing)
Helen Shelton, M.S.
Senior Partner, Finn Partners

Vice President (Membership)
Joan Cear
Senior Vice President, Kellen Communications

Vice President (Programs)
Emily Simmons
Account Supervisor, Ketchum

Gary Bridgens
Project Assistant, APCO Worldwide

Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA
President, Germinder & Associates

 Immediate Past President
William F. Doescher
President & CEO, The Doescher Group, Ltd.


One-Year Term expiring December 31, 2017

Director (Senior) – Marketing
Aimée Ricca
Marketing & Communications, SMPTE 

Director (Senior) – Membership
Lynne Scott Jackson
President & CEO, Millynneum Inc. 

Director (Senior) – Programming
Natasha Carroll
Director Consumer East, Havas Formula 

Director – Past President Ambassador Program
Michael Rinaldo
Executive Vice President & General Manager, dna Communications

Director (Senior) – 15 Under 35
Rob Bratskeir
Executive Vice President, 360 PR

Director (Associate) – 15 Under 35
Kellie Jelencovich
Senior Account Executive, MSLGROUP


Two-Year Term expiring December 31, 2018

Director – Finance
Natan Edelsburg
Senior Vice President, Media, Muck Rack & Shorty Awards

Director (Associate) – Big Apple
Angela Chitkara
PR Track Director, Branding + Integrated Communications Graduate Program
The City College of New York (CCNY)

Director (Associate) – Marketing
Tori Fernandes
Director Global Media Relations and Issues Management, Nielsen

Director (Associate) – Membership
Meredith Ulrich
Office/Account Coordinator, Affect

Director (Associate) – Programming
Jacquie McMahon
Account Executive, Ketchum

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Biographies of Nominees for 2017 PRSA-NY Board of Directors

Rob Bratskeir currently serves as Executive Vice President and Creative Director at Boston-based 360 Public Relations, where he heads up the agency's New York office. His experience with blue-chip marketers spans numerous categories, including food and beverage, spirits, travel, toys and games, retail, personal care and consumer health.  A longtime proponent and practitioner of integrated public relations, Rob leads development of campaigns that meld earned, digital and social media, built on platforms that capture brand essence and inspire consumer action. Previously, Rob was Executive Vice President and Partner at Bratskeir & Company, a mid-sized, NYC-based firm acquired by MDC Partners, and founded a consultancy that provided counsel to top agencies and directly to clients. He formerly served on the PR Council’s Agency Management Committee.  Rob lives in Greenwich Village with his wife and two children, and counts softball coaching for Peter Stuyvesant Little League among numerous kid-focused extracurricular activities.

Gary Bridgens is a project assistant based in APCO Worldwide’s New York office. He supports client work across a variety of industries and practice areas, including corporate communications, public affairs and crisis communications. Gary is a key member on teams working both internationally and domestically to map stakeholder strategy and achieve client goals. He has provided crisis and litigation communications support, as well as corporate thought leadership and social responsibility counsel.  Prior to joining APCO, Gary served in senior leadership in his university’s student-run communications firm. He has completed internships with an integrated communications firm and a Washington D.C.-based trade association; Gary has worked for two political campaigns, including Gov. John Kasich’s campaign for President of the United States.  Gary is the former Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) National Vice President of Chapter Development and is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) New York Chapter and New Professionals Section. He is a recent graduate of The Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, where he studied strategic communications and political science.

Director at Havas Formula in New York, Natasha is passionate about integrated communications and leveraging the best from PR, creative, media, experiential and social to deliver excellent campaigns for her clients.  She is currently the Senior Client Lead for Jaguar Land Rover, managing work across Automotive and Lifestyle. Her previous experience spans a range of sectors and she has worked for a number of leading organizations including Moet-Hennessy, Yahoo, Google, Capgemini, SAP, United Nations Foundation, Mondelēz International and Reckitt-Benckiser.  Natasha joined Havas Formula from Red Agency, part of Havas PR Australia, where she was a core part of the Senior Team which led the agency to its best years on the awards front – named Agency of The Year for four consecutive years in Australia and Asia Pacific. She has managed several award winning campaigns and was also an individual finalist in the 2015 Campaign Asia PR Awards and the 2015 B&T Women in Media Award.  In Australia, she sat on the NSW Council for the Public Relations Institute of Australia and regularly participated in mentoring initiatives for junior professionals. 

Joan Cear is Senior Vice President, Kellen Communications. Joan manages the communications teams and client programs in the company’s New York and Washington, DC offices.  She draws upon 25 years of PR experience and a journalism background to develop and manage integrated media programs that promote, protect or defend the agency’s clients, including many trade associations representing entire industries.  Joan joined Kellen in 2011 from G.S. Schwartz & Co., where she was a managing director. She is the former owner of The Wachsman Cear Group, a PR agency that merged with G.S. Schwartz & Co. in 2001.  Joan has also held PR posts in the utility and hospitality industries and is a former reporter.  A member of PRSA-NY’s Board of Directors since 2014, she is the current vice president of membership. Joan is also past president of New York Women in Communications Foundation and current vice chair of the SUNY Oswego School of Communications Media and the Arts Advisory Board.

Angela Chitkara is the Founder and CEO of US India Corridor (USIC), a strategic level communications and business development consulting practice, serving international and bicoastal companies.  USIC helps clients develop strategic, measurable integrated marketing communications campaigns consisting of public relations, creative, and market research. This interdisciplinary, culturally conscious narrative approach attracts clients around the globe and across industries and sectors through public-private engagement.  The firm has been involved with several pro bono, public-private grassroots initiatives relating to the global water crisis, anti- sex trafficking, women entrepreneurship, and world sacred music.  In addition to her consulting work, Angela is a tenure- track Assistant Professor in the Branding + Integrated Communications (BIC) program at The City College of New York (CCNY) in Harlem.  Ms. Chitkara holds a Masters in International Affairs, Columbia University; a Masters in International Journalism, City University, London; and a BA in Communications, Seton Hall University.  Angela is a current board member with the Asian American Writer's Workshop, a NYC-based nonprofit literary arts organization founded in support of writers, literature and community.

William F. Doescher is president & CEO of the Doescher Group, a communications consulting firm. Prior to forming the Doescher Group, Bill was with Dun & Bradstreet for 22 years, working for seven chief executive officers.  His final position at D&B was as senior vice president & chief communications officer and publisher of D&B Reports. Doescher has been active as a volunteer in the public relations field and with a number of non-profit organizations, and as an adjunct professor and lecturer at a number of universities, including the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, Columbia University, Colgate University, the University of Maryland, New York University, Iona College, and Utica College. A former president of the Public Relations Society of America’s Foundation, he is the current president of PRSA- New York, where he has held several other board positions in past years, including president-elect, chair of the Big Apple Awards Gala, and treasurer.  Doescher also serves on the Board of Directors of the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the Advisory Board for the Newhouse School. He is chairman emeritus of the Scarsdale Historical Society and served as its president for seven years.  He is a past board member of Colgate University’s Alumni Corporation and a former member of the Board of Trustees at Utica College.  In May of 2014, Doescher was awarded the John W. Hill Award, PRSA-NY’s premier award in public relations for leadership in the development of the practice of public relations and demonstration of the highest standards of integrity.  In 2009, he was awarded the Philip Dorf Award by PRSA-NY for outstanding leadership in guiding and inspiring the careers of young public relations professionals.

Natan Edelsburg is the EVP at Sawhorse Media where he's the senior supervising producer of the Shorty Awards (honoring the best of social media) and handles the business side of Muck Rack (where journalists and sources connect). Edelsburg is also the Executive Editor of The Drum's Found Remote where he covers the future of TV and interviews top executives at TV networks about the impact social is having on their companies. He's previously worked on influencer marketing campaigns for Nokia, Showtime, WellPoint, PepsiCo, BIO, A&E and more. Edelsburg’s also worked at 360i, Bain & Company, Showtime and LinkedIn.

Sharon can help you break through today’s media clutter and get you noticed by the press. With more than 20 years of public relations experience, she has built relationships with high-profile media contacts.  Editors, reporters and columnists from The Wall Street Journal to Parents Magazine know and trust her because she understands what they are looking for. Many of the clients who have chosen Sharon to meet their public relations needs are sophisticated marketers.  They include Sharp Electronics, Microsoft, General Electric, UJA-Federation not-for-profit beneficiaries, MSNBC and Merck & Co. Sharon also has extensive experience in working with small businesses and professional practices in fields as diverse as technology, healthcare, law, architecture and psychology. Sharon received her BA Magna Cum Laude from Brooklyn College, CUNY.  Currently, Sharon serves as vp of programs for PRSA-NY and chair of the media relations committee for the Anti-racist Alliance. She is an active member of the New York Press Club.

Tori Fernandes is an accomplished, forward-looking communications and crisis management leader with a decade of experience delivering award-winning communications and public relations campaigns at Fortune 500 companies. Currently Director, Global Media Relations and Issues Management, Nielsen, Fernandes is responsible for managing and executing crisis management campaigns for the company’s key areas of business including television, radio, consumer products and digital, globally. In this role, she provides guidance and counsel to Nielsen’s media relations teams in 106 markets around the world with proactive efforts and reputation management issues. Fernandes operates as copywriter, editor and content curator for News Center, Nielsen’s digital storytelling hub that resides on, which has more than 1,000 subscribers across the media and investor relations industries. Additionally, she recently led the external media outreach, internal communication and integration strategy surrounding the company’s multimillion dollar acquisition of Repucom, a global sports sponsorship company.  She is an inaugural recipient of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) New York’s 2016 ‘15 Under 35’ Award, which recognizes the most inspired and inspiring young talent in the New York metro area public relations industry, whose innovative thinking and foresight are powering the future of communications. She is the recipient of four Gold Nielsen Simply Excellent Awards in 2016, and consistently recognized as a top performer by senior Nielsen leadership.

Lea-Ann O’Hare Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA, is president and founder of Germinder & Associates, a New York City communications firm and publisher of the niche Goodnewsforpets digital platform.  She is a veteran of the public relations industry yet an early adopter and proponent of converging traditional & digital communications. Clients, media contacts, and colleagues confirm, no matter the challenge at hand—Germinder and her teams “get it done.” Germinder has served in many capacities on the PRSA-NY board including as President, VP of Membership and Sponsorship Chair. She most recently serving on the Nominating Committee, as Agency Outreach Chair and as Special Awards Chair. She served on the national PRSA board 2015-2016 on the Finance Committee and as a Trustee of the PRSA Foundation. She is a member of the Women President’s Organization, New York Women in Communications and a recipient of many awards including the PRSA Silver Anvil Award of Excellence.

The CEO/Founder of Pietra PR, Olga González has over ten years of experience working within the field of jewelry communications. A certified gemologist (FGA DGA) and appraiser, she specializes in growing mid to large-sized companies within the jewelry and luxury watch trades, from designer brands and manufacturers to trade non-profits and diamond grading laboratories. She currently serves as President-Elect of the PRSA-NY board, and was chair of the chapter’s inaugural 15 Under 35 Awards.  Additionally, Ms. González serves as the Director of PR for the Women’s Jewelry Association New York Metro Chapter Board, and is a member of ASJRA, The New York Mineralogical Club, Gem-A and GSUSA. She is a regular contributor to trade and consumer publications on gem and jewelry-related topics. Her passions include salsa dancing, experimenting with Jaime Oliver recipes, sailing, and exploring anything that just opened in New York.

Lynne Scott Jackson is a seasoned communications professional with experience in national consumer marketing, advertising, audience/channel expansion, content development, media relations, strategic advocacy, healthcare, business education, public affairs, corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship.  Prior to joining The City University of New York - City College as Distinguished Lecturer, Media and Communication Arts, she was Adjunct Professor at New York University’s School of Professional Studies.  Her consultancy, Millynneum Marketing, Media + Public Affairs, has developed award-winning public relations programs for corporations, businesses and institutions, including:  Colgate-Palmolive Company’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures™ a 25 year corporate initiative reaching 850 million children in 80 countries (Lynne has served as senior consultant since the program’s inception), Pepsi-Cola Company’s “Link” program uniting multicultural business and corporate America, South African Tourism, Schering Plough, The Prostate Net’s Going to the Barbershop to Fight Cancer promotion, Warner Bros. and SKG DreamWorks, to name a few.  Prior to forming Millynneum, she held New York-based account management positions at the global headquarters of Hill + Knowlton Strategies and UniWorld Group, preceded by work as a staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg (FL) Times).

Kellie Jelencovich joined the PRSA-NY board in 2015 and has since collaborated on various activities, serving on the Executive Committee as Secretary, and on the nominating committee for the PRSA-NY 2017 board slate in 2016. In 2015, Kellie served as the Deputy Chair of programming. Kellie has a passion for mentoring and professional development as she joined the PRSA-NY chapter in 2011, where she then became the New Professionals Committee Co-Chair. Most recently, Kellie has received the prestigious PRSA-NY award as one of the 15 under 35 top Public Relations professionals to follow in New York City in 2016. Currently, Kellie is a Senior Account Executive in the consumer practice of MSLGROUP. As an ambitious PR & marketing professional, Kellie specializes in media relations and account management for accounts including Nutella, Tic Tac, Abbott, and Emirates airline. Previously, she has provided PR counsel for leading brands including Heineken, IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts, LATAM Airlines Group, Radisson Blu Edwardian, ADT Home Security, PURELL, Emergen-C, The American Heart Association, 3M and Zyrtec. Additionally, she has secured top tier hits in outlets such as USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, TODAY Show, Fox and Friends, Adweek, AdAge, Forbes, among others. Kellie received a B.A. in Media Communications Arts from the City University of New York City College New York (CCNY) with a focus on Advertising and PR and also minored in Economics, and Business Management & Administration. Kellie is also a recipient of The Art Stevens CCNY/PRSA-NY Public Relations Scholarship as well as the LCU Foundation CCNY recipient.

Jacquie McMahon is currently an account executive at Ketchum. She has experience with clients in financial services, technology and e-commerce sectors as well as purpose-driven sustainability work.  Prior to joining Ketchum, McMahon worked with Ogilvy PR and Edelman Atlanta to analyze industry trends, research client opportunities and develop key deliverables.  She is an active member of PRSA-NY, where she has served on the Marketing and Programming committees, and is involved with The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations.  McMahon graduated summa cum laude from the Honors College at the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a double minor in business and organizational communication studies.

Aimée Ricca leads all marketing and communication for the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers® (SMPTE®). She began her career in music management. Ricca later went on to Clearview Cinemas/Cablevision, reporting to the Vice President of Marketing, where she was one of the pioneers of alternative content for cinema at the exhibitor level, directing all aspects of special events and alternative content/event cinema for the chain of 54 theatre locations and 258 screens in the New York Metro-Area. The theatres included the Ziegfeld Theatre, one of the last movie palaces built in the United States and the largest single screen cinema in New York, used extensively for world premieres and large scale press screenings. Ricca was heavily involved in the digital cinema rollout across the chain, in the 2000s, which enabled higher quality experiences as well as the efficient projection of pre-show as well as opportunities for alternative content programming and event cinema. In 2008, she began with Live-360 as Managing Director of the Northeast, launching and leading the successful concert season ticket programs for the Prudential Center and XL Center (Hartford Civic Center) arenas. Ricca joined SMPTE in 2012. She holds a BA in Communication from William Paterson University with a minor in History. Ricca is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and American Marketing Association (AMA). She serves on the board of directors of PRSA-NY as Marketing Director. In her free time, Ricca is a competitive figure skater representing the Skating Club of Morris with U.S. Figure Skating's Adult Skating Program.

Michael P. Rinaldo is Executive Vice President and General Manager of dna Communications, a global, healthcare-focused agency affiliated with Weber Shandwick.  He has been a member of the PRSA-NY Board of Directors for more than a decade, serving as treasurer, vice president, and president.  He has served as a Silver Anvil judge, led the Chapter’s Mentoring Committee and has been a member of the Big Apple Awards Committee and a Big Apple Awards judge.  Michael has thirty years of experience in healthcare public relations and is a recipient of eight Silver Anvil Awards, including the Best of the Silver Anvils. He is a winner of a Best of PR Week Award and a recipient of multiple Big Apple Awards, including the Best of the Big Apple.  Prior to joining dna Communications, Michael was with Fleishman-Hillard, Edelman Public Relations and Creamer Dickson Basford.  He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the PRSA Foundation and is former chairman and current Marketing Advisory Committee chair of the Board of Directors for the Family Resources Network of New Jersey, an organization dedicated to providing support and services to individuals with epilepsy, autism and developmental disabilities.

Helen Shelton, M.S., Senior Partner - Finn Partners.  Helen Shelton is an award-winning lifestyle communications strategist with particular expertise in the luxury, arts and culture, retail, spirits, hospitality and automotive categories. She is known for creating branded entertainment and cause-related platforms that yield tangible results for high-end consumer brands. At Finn Partners, Helen also oversees the agency’s Diversity and Inclusion program while developing volume-driving, consumer-engaging programs for lifestyle brands in the spirits, food, beauty, fashion, entertainment and pharmaceutical sectors.  These range from horse shows and equestrian events to art expos, health fairs, live concerts and consumer promotions.  Over the years, Helen has developed dozens of campaigns that engage and excite consumers, drive buzz, support business goals and generate significant media coverage. In this manner, she has worked with some of the most iconic figures in the worlds of art, architecture, music, fashion, entertainment and media. Her clients have included Cartier, Judith Leiber, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the MLK Memorial in Washington, DC, the Prada Epicenter in Tokyo and in New York’s Soho, Chicago’s Millennium Park, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum at Foxwoods Casino, the Seagram’s Live Music Tour and Crown Royal equine sporting events.  Helen holds a dual B.A. degree in art history and government from Dartmouth College and an M.S. degree in journalism and communication from Boston University.  Named one of the 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business by The Network Journal magazine in 2015, Helen recently received the Circle Award for Excellence in Communications from ColorComm. She has served as an adjunct professor of public relations at New York University’s School of Continuing Professional Studies. In her spare time, Helen enjoys Italian cinema and literature.

Emily Simmons is a managing account supervisor at Ketchum where she oversees integrated communication’s programs for corporate and technology clients.  Prior to joining Ketchum, she served as an account director at Feintuch Communications where she developed and executed marketing communications programs for the company’s technology clients. Simmons has also held positions at Bliss Integrated Communications (formerly BlissPR) and Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center.  She believes in giving back to the PR community and has held several roles in PRSA-NY including serving as the current senior director or programming.  Simmons graduated with distinction from the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Arts in advertising and public relations, as well as minors in business and psychology.  In her free time, she can be found traveling around the world or eating her way through NYC’s hottest restaurants… and sometimes, these two passions intersect and she eats at awesome restaurants after hiking the Inca Trail in Peru.

Meredith Ulrich, also known as “Misha,” is currently account coordinator at Affect Strategies.  She graduated from Hawaii Pacific University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations, and the University of Melbourne in 2014 with a master’s degree in International Relations.  Prior working at Affect, Misha worked for Doctors Without Borders doing recruitment and outreach and the Korea Society supporting policy and corporate events.  Apart from her job, Misha is heavily involved with an organization, Also-Known-As Inc., for international adoptee, where she serves as a board member and representative to the International Korea Adoptee Association.  Misha has diverse experiences as both a member and officer in various organizations, as well as extensive experience in multicultural communication, recruitment and outreach.

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