Hofstra PRSSA Hosts Another Successful Networking Dinner

After weeks of planning and hard work, PRSSA is happy to report that our annual Networking Dinner was once again a success.

This event is held each year to help our driven PR students expand their network by providing a casual dinner to meet some of New York’s most successful PR professionals. Last week, seven different PR pros penciled PRSSA into their busy schedules and came out to talk to students over dinner donated from multiple local restaurants. Throughout the night students and professionals continuously engaged in exciting conversation, discussing topics ranging from how to get into the PR industry to how to be a successful intern.

Professionals included Sofia Alayon from ESPN, Kristen Prestano and Jessica Fuller from CJP Communications, Jessica Rice of the American Kennel Club, Micah Jesse founder of MicahJesse.com, Sujata Gidumal from Hunter PR, and Gary Lewi of Rubenstein Associates. Each professional provided helpful tips for the students throughout the night. During their introduction, when asked the question, “What advice would you give your college self?” the professionals emphasized the need for internships, hard work, and a love for public relations.  These three points, however, are just a glimpse into the advice offered by the professionals.

By the end of the dinner, each student had gained seven new contacts in the PR world, expanding their network and getting closer to becoming successful in the industry.

Daniele Natola
PRSSA VP of Fundraising for Special Events 

12 Must-Have Networking Tips

Tomorrow is PRSSA’s Annual Networking Dinner and what better way is there to prepare for a networking event than to hear from an expert networker, Mindy Ferrentino Wolfe, President of Neptune Marketing LLC.

Mindy has won countless awards including, but not limited to Public Relations Professionals of Long Island Mentor of the Year award in 2009, was named one of the top 50 most influential women in business by Long Island Business News and presented the President’s Award from Soroptimist International of Nassau County both in 2008.

On Wednesday, November 2, 2011, PRSSA and PRestige members got the chance to learn tips and tricks to develop networking skills from Mindy. Don’t worry if you missed the meeting! Below is a recap of her twelve tips to networking:

  1. It’s all about relationship building. It’s not about giving out and collecting the greatest number of business cards.
  2. Follow up, follow up, follow up!
  3. Networking is not pitching- it is all about relationship building.
  4. Gravitate towards other “onezies” in the room.
  5. Effective networkers don’t wait for opportunities to come to them. Bo an introduction facilitator- be proactive.
  6. Volunteerism- altruism has it rewards.
  7. It’s about giving and not getting- payback will come!
  8. Hey, look at me when we’re talking! You can still work the room.
  9. Don’t sit with people you know.
  10. Effective networking requires investment time.
  11. Name tag on the right side.
  12. Never underestimate the value of a thank you.

Whether this is your first networking dinner, or your fourth, you can learn from Mindy’s tips. Make sure to build relationships with the professionals. You don’t need to talk to all of the professionals in the room; it is about the quality of the relationship not the quantity of professionals you speak with. When the dinner ends is when the relationship building can really begin. Email the professionals personalized thank you emails and connect with them on LinkedIn and/or twitter. The professionals attending the event understand the goal of student attendees is to obtain internships/jobs and make connections that can help them reach these goals so do not feel uncomfortable asking about internship programs or job opportunities- the professionals are attending to help you.

In addition to covering networking tips and tricks, Mindy shared with us what students can include on business cards: first and last name, phone number, email address, twitter, LinkedIn, and something to identify yourself (i.e.-PRSSA Member, PRestige Member). If you have networking cards, we encourage you to bring them to the dinner.

This year’s Networking Dinner is taking place today, November 6, 2011 at 8:00 PM. Professional guests include ESPN, Rubenstein, Hunter Public Relations, CJP Communications, Micah Jesse, and the American Kennel Club. I look forward to seeing all of you pro-networkers there!

Kim Caro
President, PRSSA

Hofstra’s PRSSA become PR Survivors


Hofstra's PRSSA at PR Survivor Conference

March 26, Hofstra’s chapter of PRSSA visited Pennsylvania State University to attend “The Reality of PR: A Survivor’s Guide to the Public Relations World,” a regional activity hosted by Penn State’s PRSSA chapter.


The day began with keynote speaker Michael Hinman (@AirlockAlpha) of the Environmental PR Group (LINK: http://www.eprgroup.com). Mr. Hinman spoke about the United States’ dependency on foreign oil, and how he and the rest of the team at EPR are working to generate interest in renewable energy sources.


Mr. Hinman stressed the importance of knowing your audience and personalizing your outreach. In other words, it’s bad form to send one general press release to all of your media contacts. A business journal has different needs than a consumer magazine, and it’s critical as PR people to understand those needs. Mr. Hinman also urged the many PR hopefuls in the room to be persistent; don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back from a media source. Keep up your PR game and the media will take notice.

Following the keynote speaker, the “PR Survivors” broke off into seminars. These included lectures on corporate communications, personal branding, and connecting with online consumers. Tutorials in InDesign and Photoshop were also offered in lieu of these seminars. I attended the personal branding seminar, and learned a lot about representing yourself in the best way possible. Here are a few tips presented by Linda Burkley of Ardis Communications LLC:


  • You only have seven seconds to make a first impression
  • You only have 1/20 of a second to make that impression online
  • Focus on the big picture; look for moments when you can use your tools to their full advantage
  • Learning, speaking, and writing skills are crucial in the communications industry—and these skills cannot necessarily be taught

The seminars were followed by an Etiquette Luncheon at Penn State’s Nittany Lion Inn, a beautiful hall with a grand ballroom. PRSSA attendees were treated to a fantastic four-course meal while listening to a presentation on proper table etiquette by Penn State Chef and Hospitality Professor Jeff Boggie.  Key tip: make sure your portfolio and business cards are within reach at a business event!


After lunch, attendees broke off into two more sessions of their choosing. Sessions included: Healthcare Communications, Tourism PR, Finding Your Niche, Sports Communication, Agency PR, and Government PR.

A helpful piece of information from the Tourism session: treat all news media with the utmost respect, whether they are a camera operator or the host of a show. This type of respect is key to building meaningful relationships with the media.


Merideth Topalanchik of CooperKatz had a lot of useful information to offer PRSSA members looking to work in a PR agency. These included:

  • Don’t take a job right on the spot. Politely let the company know that you wish to explore your options.
  • Media relations is incredibly important in an agency
  • It is often best to start at a small agency to get a more hands-on experience
  • Multitasking skills and organization are key to working at an agency
  • Internships are important to finding out what type of work you don’t want to do!

The final session was a discussion on public relations ethics presented by Patricia Whalen of DePaul University. The presentation included very colorful, tongue-in-cheek views of public relations ethics. Some believe PR practitioners have no code of ethics at all, which Ms. Whalen proved to be completely untrue. One key point: saying “I’m Sorry,” is crucial in dealing with a crisis. Recognize your mistake, and let your publics know what you are doing right now to make it right.

The activity wrapped up with a Networking Social, which allowed all attendees to get connected and recap from the event.


Alissa Crist, Freshman, Public Relations major

Networking Tips and Etiquette

Hofstra’s chapter of PRSSA will be hosting its 4th annual Networking Dinner on

Thursday, Nov. 18 at 7:00 p.m.

Networking Dinner is an excellent opportunity for Hofstra students to connect to PR professionals on a more personal level. Professionals attending the dinner will include: Jessica Bellucci from Pix 11, Stephanie Golden from The Lippin Group, Erin Maestas from The Knot, Michelle Betrock from the Food Network, Jill Weiskopf from New York Magazine, and many more. All professionals will be invited to share a few words about what they do and will then be able to mingle with students.

For any PR student looking for an internship, or just more information about a particular branch of PR, this event is a must!

It is essential to not only be able to network but be able to walk into any situation and confidently begin a conversation with anyone in the room. As the saying goes, it’s not always what you know but who you know.

Andrew Weich, a PR and Social Media Coordinator, provides some good tips on the Comet Branding Blog http://cometbranding.com/blog/.

1. Hang up and Live.

First of all, put your phone away. “Hang up and Live.” My good friend Vince always preaches this to me when we are together in social settings. I know,  sounds hypocritical for me to tell people to put their phone away when I catch myself disobeying this rule. I often find that my phone can be a crutch at a networking event. Instead of forcing myself to talk with someone, I’ll just whip out the ol’ Droid from my pocket and check my email, Twitter and Facebook. Then I think to myself, “How can I expect to engage with other attendees if I’m glued to my phone the whole time?”

The phone doesn’t have be turned off or left in the car, but be conscious of how other guests perceive you. I’m less likely to walk up to someone and spark up a conversation if all they are doing is staring at their phone. Even in this TweetUp/MeetUp/Web2.0 world we live in, we still need to be aware of our surroundings and make the right impression.

Prepare your Elevator Pitch

Typically the first question someone asks you after finding out your name is “what do you do?” It’s a pretty basic question, but sometimes can cause a lot of people to trip up.  Before you enter a networking event, quickly practice your elevator speech to yourself. How do you want these potential professional contacts to see you? Make sure it’s not too long — just some quick facts about who you are and what you do, which will hopefully open up into more conversations.

The eyes are the windows to the soul

My high school theater director told me this quote in terms of engaging with the audience, but the same concept can be applied to a networking setting. Non-verbal communication cues are very important in a social atmosphere and I believe the eyes take the cake. We can say so much with our eyes alone, so maintain eye contact with the person you are talking to, smile, be engaged in the conversation and see where you can contribute.

Speak up!

This is one tip I usually have the hardest time with. Being a young professional in a networking setting, I often just try to blend in the background and listen, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but shouldn’t always be the case. When in a discussion, feel free to speak up. Show your smarts and contribute to the conversation. During my college career, I had a professor with an outstanding business record that would always say teaching had opened his eyes to so many possibilities. Although young professionals might not have all the experience, we still have some pretty cool ideas so don’t be afraid to share and contribute.

Melissa has read several articles about networking etiquette from various business professionals and websites. Each article she’s read more or less said the same thing. Here’s the consensus:

Pay attention to social cues

Although you may have intentions of discussing business, your prospective contact may have been looking forward to some down time. If you infringe on certain topics the other person is not interested in talking about, you are risking losing what may be a valuable contact to you in your future. Be sure to gauge what mood the person is in, or perhaps warm up with basic topics of interest so you may eventually ease the conversation into what you intended to talk to the person about.

Dress to impress

Networking isn’t always at a ready set time and place. You could find potential contacts at a bar, restaurant, or even in line for popcorn at the movie theaters. Therefore, make sure you are always in clothes that flatters you in a composed way. But don’t feel inhibited if you aren’t dressed your best when you run into a potential contact; your best outfit is a genuine smile and confidence. Basically, you want to make sure “your visual message matches your verbal message” as Aviva Shiff says in her article on Sideroad, a website that gives “Practical Advice Straight from the Experts”.

Set a goal

Why are you networking? Is it because you’d like to learn from people involved with certain industries? Is it because you think you’ve designed the next form of social media?  Be sure to mingle genuinely with everyone, but setting a goal such as “I’d like to walk out tonight with 5 business cards” will not only give you more drive, it will help you avoid sitting at the bar or table where you may not meet as many people compared to if you were up and about.

Master small talk

Easiest way to do this? Research, research, research!!! Read newspapers, books, listen to different kinds of music. Basically, you want to have a well-rounded basis of information. You never know what sort of interests people will have. Challenge yourself to be able to find common ground with everyone you meet.


Networking is all about building relationships. It goes beyond a conversation. Be sure to shoot a follow-up e-mail or call, either about meeting up at another event, congratulating he or she on a latest accomplishment, or even sending information on topics that you were discussing.

The bottom line is that networking is self-promoting and personal branding. Look and talk the way that you want to be seen and heard. Show interest while others are speaking and actually try to develop relationships.

Alissa Crist, Freshman, Public Relations Major

Melissa Louis-Jacques, Junior, Music Merchandising Major with Public Relations Minor

PRSSA Walks for Autism: Tips on how to Fundraise on a College Campus


PRSSA Walk for Autism

On Sunday, October 24th PRSSA’s philanthropy committee took part in Blazing Trails 4- Autism, a four mile run to raise money for The Eden II School in Staten Island. After fundraising for a few weeks the committee was able to raise $545 to donate to the cause!

Members, Alexander Petrucelli and Alex LoPinto ran the 4 miles in just 45 minutes! Lisa Jablon, Megan Messina, Peyton Fletcher, and Alissa Crist walked while Becky Wool, Kim Caro, and Ruby Bobkowski helped pass out food and water to the participants.

With so many organizations raising money for different causes it can be hard to stand out. Below are some tips on how to successfully fundraise and promote your organization on a college campus:

1. Social Media

We all know how much fun social media can be when making new friends, or connecting with old ones. It is also a great resource when it comes to public relations and fundraising. Members of PRSSA’s philanthropy committee posted a link to their fundraising page on both Facebook and Twitter, with the goal of driving traffic to their page. Social media allows organizations to reach out to a large audience who otherwise may have never heard about the cause.

2. Emails

Writing an email to send to family members and friends with information about the organization and how to donate can be extremely effective because everything they need to know is on one page. When sending out emails remember to have a catchy subject line that will make people want to open it and read about the cause.

3. Bake Sale

In order to make people want to donate to your cause and not the one a few tables down is tricky. Having a bake sale is the perfect solution! It is important to offer baked goods that are unique such as themed cupcakes or cookies. It is also a good idea to sell something that people can put their names on. For example, PRSSA’s philanthropy committee sold hearts for students to put their names on when raising money for victims of Haiti, a campaign they called Hearts for Haiti.

4. Partner with another organization

Partnering with another organization with common causes will help expand your audience and maximize your fundraising potential.  Our very own NYSCA committee took advantage of this when raising money to attend this year’s NYSCA conference in October.

5. Fliers

Hanging up fliers with the name of the organization you’re fundraising for, a little bit about them and how to donate is quick and easy to do! College students see hundreds of different fliers a day so it is important to make your flier stand out by using bright colors, pictures or different eye-catching designs. Post them everywhere! The more people see the fliers the more likely they are to donate.


Kimberly Caro VP of  Fundraising and Philanthropy (PRSSA)

PRSSA and PRestige take a Road Trip to the NYSCA Conference

PRSSA and PRestige at NYSCA Conference

The 68th Annual New York State Communications Association Conference (NYSCA) kicked off on October 22, 2010, at the Honors Haven Resort and Spa in Ellenville, NY.  The weekend was filled with informative communication discussions and interactive panels. The conference concentrated on a broad range of current issues facing the communications field today.

Both Prestige Agency and Hofstra PRSSA members were in attendence to represent Hofstra University at the PRSSA Regional Chapters Round Up that took place on Saturday night. The hour-long discussion featured PRSSA members from Hofstra University, California University of Pennsylvania (CalU) and Slippery Rock University. The discussion allowed us to inspire one another as we exchanged ideas and strategies for fundraising, recruitment and social events. It was a great way to network with future PR professionals, exchange contact information and even take some great group pictures, all while building a sense of community with our regional peers.

I gained valuable knowledge about how other chapters are structured and we all had the opportunity to compare success stories. The summit was followed by a cocktail/social hour and keynote address.

The conference was definitely a success and the regional round-up was certainly worth the four-hour drive and bumper to bumper traffic on the George Washington Bridge! Prestige Agency’s very own Hilary Franklin and PRSSA’s Alexander Petrucelli are running a committee of Hofstra PRSSA members who are helping to organize the 2011 Annual NYSCA Conference. I have no doubt it will be just as informative and successful as this year’s conference.

Aqlesia Sahle VP of Development and Recruitment

ED2010 and Hofstra’s PRSSA Turn the Page on the Future of Magazines

ED 2010/Hofstra PRSSA Event

On Wednesday, November 10th during common hour, Ed2010 and PRSSA are co-sponsoring the panel of a lifetime in Dempster Hall Studio A. “Turning The Page: The Future of Magazines” will be moderated by the school of communications very own Dean Cornog.

“This event was created to help student journalists at Hofstra University gain a perspective on what is really going on in the magazine industry,” said Dara Adeevo, President of Ed2010 at Hofstra University. In a world that is turning its back on print media three prominent speakers from the magazine industry will be on hand to discuss the future of magazines.

Representing Hearst Corporation will be Eve Burton, vice president and general counsel. Hearst Corporation is one of the nation’s largest communications companies.  Their extensive list of published magazines includes Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Food Network Magazine and many more.

Jeannie Mullen, global executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Zinio will be in attendance. Zinio creates digital editions of magazines and provides customers with exclusive features such as video, audio and live links. The company offers U.S. Weekly, Esquire, Rolling Stone and Elle just to name a few.

Philip Whitney, vice president and online marketing and product development at American Express Publishing will be in attendance as well. Whitney oversees the company’s websites such as TravelandLeisure.com, FoodandWine.com and Departures.com.

Whether you are interested in public relations, publishing, editing or just love magazines “Turning The Page: The Future of Magazines” is an event you will not want to miss!

For more information, please contact PRSSA.Hofstra@gmail.com or hofstra.eoc@ed2010.com.

Kimberly Caro, VP of Fundraising and Philanthropy, PRSSA