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|Annual Meeting & Board Elections|
Annual Business Meeting
All chapter members in good standing as of September 30th, 2018, are invited to the chapter’s
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.
Before completing your RSVP/Proxy Ballot Form, please review the following information
2018 ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Anchin, Block & Anchin
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 firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Saturday, October, 6th.
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: Olga González (Chair); Jacquie Hudson; Alan Marcus; Joan Cear; Natan Edelsburg; Rob Bratskier; Meredith Ulrich; Cessie Cerrato; and Sharon Fenster.
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, 2019 and approved by the Board. Click here to review the biographies for the 2019 Slate of Officers and Directors.
2019 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
VICE PRESIDENT (Membership)
VICE PRESIDENT (Marketing)
VICE PRESIDENT (Programs)
Shawna Gallagher Vega, APR
Director (Senior) – Marketing
Director (Senior) – Membership
Director (Senior) – Big Apple
Troy Blackwell Jr.
Director (Senior) – 15 Under 35
Director (Associate) – Marketing
Director (Associate) – Membership
Director (Senior) – Programming
Director (Associate) – Programming
Director of Finance
Leslie Gottlieb is a seasoned professional with more than 25 years of expertise in integrated strategic communications and marketing for many leading nonprofit organizations such as the Red Cross, Lighthouse International and the Ford Foundation.
She served on the PRSANY Board for 15 years and was Secretary of the Chapter, Chair of the Mentoring Committee and a member of the Membership Committee. She is now helping spearhead the new Senior Pros Committee.
Her areas of expertise also include: high visibility top tier media placement (print, electronic and online), digital strategy, social media, branding and crisis communications. She has taught Strategic Communications and Crisis Communications at NYU.
Kellie Jelencovich is a versatile communications executive with expertise in consumer lifestyle marketing
communications and media strategy. A senior leader with global experience, she has a proven track record of delivering strong results based on thoughtful work, creative storytelling, and strategic planning.
Kellie Jelencovich has been in the PR industry for 11 years and has led a highly successful career in media relations and account management. Kellie has now gone in house at Avon as the Brand Public Relations Manager since August 2018. Kellie manages two public relations firms overseeing communications and campaign strategy for various beauty, fashion, home, and wellness brands at Avon.
Prior to Avon, Kellie became a trusted leader providing strategic counsel and reputation management guidance to her clients including Emirates Airline and Marshalls. Kellie is passionate about mentorship and really honed in on that passion while at MSL and became a trusted advisor and mentor to interns, and junior to mid-level staff within at MSL. Kellie is a winner of PRSA-NY’s first Ever 15 Under 35 Awards as one of the 15 under 35 top Public Relations professionals to follow in New York City for her creative work providing strategy and media relations counsel for leading brands including, Heineken, Emirates Airline, KetleOne Vodka, Keds, the Honda Civic Tour, VictorinoxSwiss Army, and The American Heart Association.
Kellie received a B.A. in Communications from City College New York (CCNY), minoring in Economics and Business Management & Administration. As PRSSA chapter president, she led numerous events to benefit the PR program. She joined the PRSA-NY chapter in 2011 serving as New Pros Committee co-chair and has since volunteered her time to the organization in various positions over the past seven years. She currently serves as a board member and is the Senior Director of 15 Under 35. At CCNY she was a recipient of The Art Stevens CCNY/PRSA-NY Public Relations Scholarship as well as the LCU Foundation.
Sharon Fenster is a brand and marketing strategist who never loses sight of the human element. It is her affinity for people and their choices that has fueled her successful career working with multimillion dollar brands and startups. They include Microsoft, Sharp Electronics, Samsung, General Electric, UJA Federation beneficiaries, Motorola, MSNBC and Merck & Co. With more than 20 years of public relations and advertising experience, Sharon’s toolkit includes tactics ranging from influencer marketing to media relations to behavioral targeting. Her stellar reputation among high profile media circles back to her understanding of human relationships. Editors, reporters and columnists from The Wall Street Journal to Parents Magazine know and trust her because she understands what they are looking for. Sharon also has extensive experience working with small businesses and professional practices in fields as diverse as technology, fashion, healthcare, law, architecture and psychology. Sharon received her BA Magna Cum Laude from Brooklyn College, CUNY. She currently serves as President for PRSA-NY and chair of the media relations committee for the Anti-racist Alliance.
Penny Mitchell is Executive Vice President and Healthcare Practice Lead at Makovsky.
A seasoned communications professional with more than 25 years of healthcare experience, Penny has driven communications efforts for leading companies in the biopharmaceutical, academic, non-profit, medtech and consumer health arenas.
Penny joined Makovsky in 2017 from H+K Strategies where she served as U.S. Health Practice Leader. Previously, she was a senior executive at dna Communications, a health specialty division of Weber Shandwick. For many years, she was senior partner and co-chair of the global healthcare practice at Fleishman-Hillard and its boutique health and wellness agency TogoRun. Penny began her agency career at Porter/Novelli.
“Penny brings cutting edge health knowledge to our practice and a keen sense of the right actions clients need to move forward. Those qualities, along with her energy and drive, standout as does her leadership of her terrific team!” said Ken Makovsky, President.
Throughout her career, she has been the recipient of numerous industry accolades. Her understanding of best-in-class communications campaigns is demonstrated by her double win from PRSA and PR Week for “Best Campaign of the Year” for Project ERASE, a public-private partnership to curb asthma hospitalizations and reduced absenteeism among New York City schoolchildren. She is also the recipient of a dozen PRSA Silver Anvil, Big Apple and Communique awards.
Penny is a graduate of Fordham University.
Andrew Graham is founding partner of Clear (www.agencyclear.com), a multi-service communications agency in New York City that works with large corporations to apply clarity, consistency, and accuracy to marketing and external communications activity.
Prior to establishing Clear in 2014, Andrew was an executive ghostwriter and speechwriter for individuals in the legal services, finance, technology, and professional services industries. Before that, he supported financial public relations accounts and investor relations initiatives at several agencies in New York City. He was a 2014 Fellow with Organizing For Action, a policy-driven nonprofit that advocates for the agenda of former President Barack Obama, and he led communications activity on behalf of clients for the Affordable Care Act (2010) and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017).
He was a national committee member of the Public Relations Student Society of America in 2003 and helped establish the PRSA New Professionals Section in 2007.
SHAWNA GALLAGHER VEGA, APR
Shawna Gallagher Vega, APR serves as the Director of Communications at Xavier High School, a 171-year-old Jesuit college preparatory school in Chelsea. She directs all strategic communications and media relations efforts there. Prior to her work at Xavier, she was the Director of Communications at The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and Director of Communications and Public Relations at The Pine School in Hobe Sound, Florida. Before moving into independent school communications in 2009, Shawna spent time working as a newspaper reporter.
Shawna holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston College. She previously served as a board member of the PRSA Palm Beach Chapter and the Florida Public Relations Association. In 2016, she was named one of PRSA New York’s 15 top PR professionals under the age of 35.
Natalia Lopez is a vice president in the Finn Partners Travel/Lifestyle group. She spearheads communication initiatives for clients comprising of special events, media relations, influencer marketing, message and material development, promotions, crisis communications and media training. She currently leads one of the largest accounts in the Agency, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), managing the integrated communications campaign across the United States, Canada and Latin America designed to position Jamaica as the leading Caribbean travel destination for leisure and business travelers. For her work on behalf of the JTB, Natalia has been awarded 2017 HSMAI Gold Adrian Award for the “Feel the Vibe” global influencer campaign.
Natalia was the day-to-day account manager for Travel Ecuador overseeing the launch of the All You Need is Ecuador campaign in the US, UK, and Canada. She was also part of the team that launched the Conrad Chicago. In addition, Natalia has managed multicultural campaigns for Dunkin’ Donuts, DIRECTV, Pool Safely, Rosetta Stone, Decimos No Mas, Vonage, and Hotels.com.
Prior to working in the travel industry, she was in Corporate Communications providing crisis communications support for clients such as Worldspan, New York City Housing Authority, Rapid City Regional Hospital, Wesley Jessen VisionCare and KEC Holdings. She graduated magna cum laude from American Intercontinental University with a Bachelor of Arts in visual communications. Natalia is a member of the Hispanic Public Relations Association and National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She has been a judge for the PRSA-NY Big Apple Awards and the U.S. Travel Association ESTO Awards.
Of Uruguayan heritage, Natalia is fluent in both Spanish and English and has a working knowledge of Portuguese. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Caribbean and North and South America. In addition to traveling, she and her husband enjoy adventure sports and activities including skiing, camping, hiking, whitewater rafting, ziplining, scuba diving, and she has even parachuted from an airplane, on purpose.
Chavonne Jones is a Senior Vice President, Media Relations in Weber Shandwick’s Corporate practice. She has more than a decade of experience in the development and execution of thought leadership and media relations programs for both B2B and consumer clients across industries, including finance, legal, human resources, technology, healthcare, consumer products, automotive, and energy, among others. In her role as an SVP and a Senior Media Strategist, Chavonne supports clients across Weber Shandwick’s network, including IBM, Bank of America, Abbott, Experian, TIAA, Qualcomm, Sealed Air, TE Connectivity, Essity, Tenaris, and a whole host of others. As a result of her media skills and strong relationships with key journalists, she has a solid track record of landing coverage for clients in top-tier outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times, Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Bloomberg, CNBC, Reuters, Harvard Business Review, USA Today, FOX Business, and more. Chavonne also promotes Weber Shandwick’s own research, which is conducted and supported by the firm’s most senior executives, including the CEO, Andy Polansky.
Before joining Weber Shandwick, Chavonne served as the B2B lead on the Samsung account at MWW Group. Prior to this, she worked at Merrill Lynch as a part of their in-house public relations team, where she helped drive visibility of the firm’s network of 16,000 financial advisors. Chavonne has also worked in-house for Sony Electronics, where she led their PR efforts for their B2B and consumer products divisions. She began her PR career at Burson-Marsteller. Prior to PR, Chavonne worked in advertising at Young & Rubicam. She holds a Master of Science degree in Public Relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Chavonne earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Journalism and Mass Media and Communications from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.
Lisa Marzullo currently serves as Corporate Communications Manager at Turner, a division of WarnerMedia and the parent company of television networks & brands including CNN, TBS, TNT, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Bleacher Report, truTV, Boomerang, ELEAGUE, FilmStruck, Great Big Story, HLN, iStreamPlanet, Super Deluxe, Turner Classic Movies and Turner Sports. In this role, she handles global C-suite and corporate brand narrative efforts including media relations, partnerships & sponsorships, and event marketing initiatives. Before joining Turner in January 2017, she represented celebrity talent and products at boutique firm The Brooks Group, including Travel Channel’s Adam Richman, Jacques Torres Chocolate, Cheech Marin’s Tres Papalote Mezcal and more. Prior to this, Lisa served in account services and national media relations roles at leading consumer agency Hunter Public Relations, servicing a vast array of clients such as Kraft, Dole, Arby's, Outback Steakhouse and Pompeian Olive Oil. Lisa received a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Hofstra University, and held internships with Food Network/Cooking Channel and the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce.
Justin is an award-winning media relations maven, developing and implementing communications programs that have moved the needle on behalf of companies and non-profit organizations in public affairs, technology, consumer and lifestyle. These have included campaigns for clients like the Clinton Global Initiative, General Motors and Best Buy. In recent years, Justin has coordinated event press campaigns for the Consumer Electronics Show, Detroit Auto Show and Conference of Mayors. Justin also served as morning drive producer at WRHU-FM, New York’s number one non-commercial radio station. His work has been recognized by PR News, PR Newswire and the Hermes Creative Awards.
Troy is a Senior Account Executive in BerlinRosen’s national practice. A skilled and bilingual communicator, Troy brings deep experience in strategy development, media relations, and crisis management.
Prior to joining BerlinRosen, Troy worked on global communications for the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Troy also worked on public engagement for the Obama White House, led participatory budgeting for the New York City Council, and handled media relations for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. He was recognized as a trailblazer for Hispanic Heritage Month by WABC -Disney Television Group.
Troy is finishing his masters in strategic communications at Columbia University and has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Kate Ryan oversees Diffusion’s US operations in both LA and NYC and provides strategic counsel across the agency. She has managed and executed award-winning PR and social media campaigns for a wide variety of B2B and B2C brands in the U.S. – whether they’re the next big start-up or a major listed brand. Her specialty lies in helping her clients hone in on the messages and storylines that will resonate with press – leading her teams to win industry recognition for excellence in PR time and time again, for everything from Best Product Launch to Best New Media Campaign. In 2017 Kate was named one of Bulldog Reporter’s Stars of PR and in 2018 one of PRSA-NY’s 15 Under 35.
Ivy Feng, with a resume that ranges from education to PR, sees creative projects as connected to the dirt and champagne of everyday life.
She received her master degree in Management from Fordham University this May, where she earned distinction in marketing tactics and creative thinking.
As a PRSA-NY Marketing Committee Member, she managed to design the flyers for PRSA-NY upcoming events. Also, she devotes her time to providing daily support across social media channel and drafting PRSA-NY event highlights.
Trained as an event planner, she had affluent experience covering event preparation and on-site support, providing her with strong communication skills. With diverse skills and cross-culture experiences, she approaches problems from multiple angles and broader perspectives. This also allows her to adapt to new environment and learn new skills fast.
As a digital marketing designer she specializes in graphic design with a simplicity and emptiness theme. She loves minimalist, classy design, added with a DIY aesthetic.
By day, Meredith is a Senior Strategy Consultant at Essense Partners, providing communications, marketing and PR strategy services to the energy industry. Her clients include large and small organizations, including electric utilities, startup tech companies and large government agencies. By night (and all other hours), Meredith is a senior board member of a small non-profit organization, Also-Known-As, Inc., (AKA) and a board member of the Public Relations Society of America New York Chapter (PRSANY). With AKA, she manages external communications and serves as the director of mentorship programs. At PRSANY, she previously served as the associate director of membership and as co-chair of the programming committee.
Prior to working with Essense Partners, Meredith worked with a variety of organizations across diverse industries, from Doctors Without Borders and the Korea Society, to boutique PR firms and a law office taking on roles in research, membership and external relations, recruitment, media relations and events management.
Meredith’s education includes a B.S. in Advertising and Public Relations from Hawaii Pacific University and a Master of International Relations from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her personal passions include scuba diving, travel, martial arts and anything and everything creative.
Cessie Cerrato, a 12-year veteran of the travel/hospitality industry turned her passion of travel and communications into an illustrious career that includes unmatched experience with top tourism accounts including, Mexico Tourism Board, Cancun CVB, Visit Panama, Aeromexico, Expedia and Palace Resorts. Additionally, Cerrato is respected by her peers as the Public Relations Society of America NY Chapter named her one of the top 15 PR practitioners under 35 in 2016! Cerrato truly understands how to take the unique needs of travel clients and generate awareness building media placements at the mass level while implementing various tactics.
Born in Houston and refined at Howard University, Kennedi Fuller recently relocated to New York City to take on the new challenges and opportunity that an established award winning PR firm brings. As an Account Executive at Affect Strategies, she integrates the day-to-day ambiguity of disruptive technology clients with youth mentorship, community uplift, and an emerging business of her own. She also serves as the 2018 programming and diversity chair of the Public Relations Society of America Tri-State District where she is responsible for coordinating local events and implementing diversity initiatives. As a recent graduate she enjoys reminding her mentees and friends who are in school that it’s okay to not have it all figured out. Just be sure to network and seek opportunities for yourself so you can figure it out along the way.
Traci Brodnax began her career as a public relations professional in 2010. She is currently a director at Global Gateway Advisors, a Brooklyn-based communications consultancy focused on reputation management, executive visibility and crisis communications for clients in corporate and public affairs, health, technology and finance. strategic communications a communications and media relations manager at Nielsen, where she develops and executes strategic media relations campaigns that support the company’s U.S. consumer packaged goods and retail business.
Prior to Global Gateway Advisors, Traci served as a communications manager at Nielsen, where she developed national media relations campaigns focused on consumer shopping trends through the lens of national retail sales data. Prior to Nielsen, she was part of the corporate and public affairs team at Edelman in New York and Atlanta. There, she led successful campaigns in corporate and brand reputation, media relations, executive visibility, event planning and execution, new business research and crisis/issues management. Throughout her career, Traci has served clients across multiple sectors, including aerospace & defense, apparel, arts, corporate social responsibility, education, food/beverage, health care, music, retail, technology and non-profit community organizations.
An Atlanta native, Traci moved to New York in 2015. Outside of work, she spends her time volunteering with New York Cares on projects that support food access for low-income communities in Brooklyn. Traci graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a minor in sociology.
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