#PPRAMemberMonday – Stephanie Byrwa

#PPRAMember Monday_Byrwa

Stephanie Byrwa is the marketing and communications manager at Shriners Hospitals for Children—Philadelphia. She has spent more than 12 years with this amazing specialized pediatric orthopaedic hospital. Her days are spent managing and implementing internal and external communications along with community relations and event planning. She has been a PPRA member for 12 years.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephaniebyrwa/

PPRA: Who are your clients and/or what projects are you working on right now?

SB: We’re working on updating our website and growing our patient ambassador program. Plus planning for 2020!   

PPRA: What is your favorite part of your job?

SB: That every day is different. On any given day, I may be working on a new brochure, writing copy, or planning an event for patients and families. I enjoy working with doctors, families, and everyone in between. Being able to do a little bit of everything keeps me excited to go to work every day. 

PPRA: What was your latest and greatest accomplishment at your job?

SB: The latest project that I’m proud of was the work we did for the patient ambassadors who represented and attended the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, a PGA Tour/Fedex Cup event in Las Vegas. Lots of prep work for the event and then the actual event. The days were long on the golf course, but worth it for the media and social coverage we received. Plus getting to know a great group of kids and their parents is always rewarding. It was an experience that they will not forget and neither will I. 

PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?

SB: Always return phone calls. Even if you aren’t interested. Be kind and respond.  

PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?

SB: I love any book by local author, Jennifer Weiner.   

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

SB: Since we’re in season for the Flyers I would have to say the Wells Fargo Center! 

PPRA: If you weren’t in PR, what profession do you see yourself in and why?

SB: I have no idea.  

PPRA: Favorite Philly Food?

SB: Federal Donuts

Between You and MEdia… with Kelsey Fabian

As PR professionals, we all know the importance of building meaningful relationships with members of the media – reporters, producers, assignment editors, etc. But how does that happen, and where do you start? 

In this new section of the PPRA blog, PPRA members will share insight, tips and tricks, and fun facts learned from members of the media through informal interviews. You won’t have to wait for our “Media Mingle” or “Editors Panel” to get your tough questions answered and connect with the media. Our goal with this blog section is to continue engagement with our media counterparts in an informative and fun manner. So, between you and me – enjoy!


Having the energy and drive to be up and working before the sun rises takes a certain type of person, and Kelsey Fabian has proven through multiple jobs that she has what it takes. Fabian just celebrated her one-year mark working as a morning reporter for PHL17; the job that’s brought her back to her home state after years away in various parts of the country. The Lancaster County native spoke with University of the Sciences communications manager, Colby Gallagher, about what makes a morning show special and what she looks for when preparing for live shots. Photo courtesy of PHL17.

Kelsey Fabian PHL17

Kelsey Fabian, PHL17

How many years have you been in the industry and where have you worked? 

I’ve been in the industry for about 8 years, a little more than six of them have been on air. I started at NBC10 in Philadelphia working for the web team. From there I pursued a career on-air which took me to Alpena, Michigan; Portland, Maine; Greensboro, North Carolina, and finally back to Philadelphia.

How did you get started as a journalist and why?

I grew up with parents who were avid news watchers and at a young age I took interest in being “the lady on TV.” I took public speaking classes all through high school and wrote for the school paper and enjoyed both so broadcast journalism seemed like the right fit.

What advice would you give to public relations professionals when making a pitch to you?

I work on a live morning show so we do a lot of live feature segments. We have one reporter designated to that every morning. The pitches that makes us want to book your feature are the ones that are visual and interactive. If it’s a cooking segment. let the reporter cook alongside the chef, if it’s previewing an art festival let us make art with a local artist. If we are talking about a kid event, bring kids! If you can’t make it super interactive give us multiple people to talk to interview, it helps to move the segment along.

Journalists get hundreds of emails and pitches. Between you and me, what makes one stand out? Is it the subject line? Do you have to know the sender before opening it?

I would say the subject line and the first two sentences are key. If you don’t grab my attention quickly, then I will assume it isn’t going to grab the viewer’s.

Many PR professionals come from news, but it’s rapidly changing. What’s one thing you wish PR pros did more of?

Send an info sheet once the interview is setup. If we are doing three live hits with you that morning, send me an info sheet that includes what we are showing/doing each hit and the name/names and titles of the people I will be interviewing for every hit.

Also include a small summary of the most important information like time, date, event details, etc. I love when PR people do this; I print it out the morning of and take it with me, it helps me stay organized and is almost like a cheat sheet.

Also, please don’t give me a list of questions you want me to ask and don’t ask me for a list of questions that I am going to ask! I will gladly give you an idea of what I want to talk about and some specifics I want to cover, but I do not pre-write questions for a live segment.

Is there are particular topic or story you prefer over the others? Why?

Not really unless it’s animals, animal stories always win me over. I love variety though, so I like covering almost anything.

What’s a fun and/or interesting fact about yourself that most don’t know?

I am terrified of karaoke. Haha. People assume that just because you are on tv you aren’t shy about anything, but that’s not true.

Best way to pitch Kelsey for PHL17: kfabian@phl17.com

#PPRA Member Monday: Dan Cirucci

#PPRAMember Monday_Cirucci

Dan Cirucci is the founder and editor of The Dan Cirucci Blog. He has been a member of PPRA for over 30 years, having served as president and in 2003 was inducted into the PPRA Hall of Fame.

Twitter: @dancirucci

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dan-cirucci-22550a13/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dancirucci

Dan Cirucci was born and raised in Camden, NJ, A Villanova (BA) and Rowan (MA) grad, Dan is a lifelong PR practitioner who directed PR for the Philadelphia Bar Association for nearly 30 years, and was inducted into the Philadelphia Public Relations Hall of Fame in 2003. He is a PR advisor to numerous individuals and organizations; a college instructor and lecturer; blogger, TV host and radio guest; citizen, neighbor, husband, father and grandfather.  

PPRA: Who are your clients and what projects are you working on right now?

DC: Right now I’m spending most of my time on my blog and my weekly TV show, The Advocates at rvntv.tv.  

PPRA: What is your favorite part of your job?

DC: The people that I meet and interview on my TV show, The Advocates — the stories they tell, their life experiences, views, observations, hopes and dreams.  

PPRA: What was your latest and greatest accomplishment at your job?

DC: Touching the lives of hundreds of communication students while teaching at Rowan, Temple and Penn State. Absolutely, the happiest and most meaningful part of my career! 

PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?

DC: Be passionate about your work. Take the time to enjoy it. Savor the satisfaction that it gives you and share it with others. Live in the moment!  

PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?

DC: Almost any musical by Stephen  Sondheim. 

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

DC: Rittenhouse Square. I love people-watching.

PPRA: If you weren’t in PR, what profession do you see yourself in and why?

DC: I’d enjoy being in show business and seeing my name in lights all over Broadway. 

PPRA: Favorite Philly Food?

DC: Jim’s cheesesteak.

#PPRAMemberMonday: Debbie Albert

#PPRAMember Monday_Albert

Debbie Albert is the President and Chief Outcomes Officer of Albert Communications. She has been a member of PPRA “forever.” Thanks, Debbie!

Twitter: @AlbertComms

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/debbiealbert/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/albertcommunications/

Debbie Albert brings decades of journalism and corporate communications experience to Albert Communications, a strategic communications and marketing firm working with companies to connect and engage with their audiences by developing strong, focused, and innovative actions aligned with their business strategies. Her career has taken her from CNN in DC to 6ABC and CBS3 in Philly, then to the corporate halls of Aramark, and now to her firm. Born without patience, she likes to say she gets sh&t done – fast and well. As you might guess, she’s a whiz at crisis comms.  

PPRA: Who are your clients and what projects are you working on right now?

DA: Most of our clients are B2B, although we work with local universities and other organizations as well. This year, we’re heavily into internal communications for a global law firm, marketing communications for a software developer, crisis communications for companies we can’t mention, and we serve as the de facto communications department for companies who know they need one, but don’t have one in-house. 

PPRA: What is your favorite part of your job?

DA: I love working on my own, building on the great relationships I made while in the news business and in corporate communications. I put together the team each client needs, and that also keeps me very connected with the best of the best in every aspect of communications and marketing. 

PPRA: What was your latest and greatest accomplishment at your job?

DA: Although I’d love to share, I simply can’t. Sometimes keeping a client OUT of the news is much more important than getting then into/onto the news! 

PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?

DA: Never burn a bridge! It’s a motto that’s worked personally and professionally.   

PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?

DA: Movie: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and ALL of the Godfather movies. 

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

DA: Hiking in the Wissahickon with my perfect standard poodle!

PPRA: If you weren’t in PR, what profession do you see yourself in and why?

DA: Rabbi. It’s just who I am. (Who wants to come over for Shabbas dinner?)

PPRA: Favorite Philly Food?

DA: Anything Michael Solomonov makes!

Between You and MEdia… with Ayana Jones

As PR professionals, we all know the importance of building meaningful relationships with members of the media – reporters, producers, assignment editors, etc. But how does that happen, and where do you start? 

In this new section of the PPRA blog, PPRA members will share insight, tips and tricks, and fun facts learned from members of the media through informal interviews. You won’t have to wait for our “Media Mingle” or “Editors Panel” to get your tough questions answered and connect with the media. Our goal with this blog section is to continue engagement with our media counterparts in an informative and fun manner. So, between you and me – enjoy!


First published in 1884, The Philadelphia Tribune is the nation’s oldest and continuously published newspaper of the African America community. While the publication has a small staff, the outlet is supported by a strong digital presence, several trademark events, and consistent and accurate reporting.  The Tribune’s longtime business reporter, Ayana Jones, chatted with Bellevue Communication’s and PPRA Blog Co-Chair, Samantha Byles, for this edition of Between You and MEdia.

A native of Philadelphia, Ayana moved to the Virgin Islands with her family in high school. She attended the University of Virgin Islands, where she focused on communications and journalism. After a stint with a local publication, she returned back to Philadelphia, and started her launched her career with The Philadelphia Tribune.

AyanaJv2

Ayana Jones, The Philadelphia Tribune

How did you get started?  “I started off at the Virgin Islands Daily News, where I worked as an editorial assistant.”

What did you find different about the news culture in the Caribbean vs. here in the states? In Philadelphia? “I don’t think that the news culture is that different in the Virgin Islands vs. the states, other than the coverage being hyper local. The local news outlets highlight news that is happening locally in the community, politics, the educational system, and the business sector. They also run stories about major news occurring stateside and other Caribbean islands.”

What advice would you give PR professionals looking to pitch you? “As a business and health reporter, I am often pitched stories about particular products. I am not interested in product-driven stories, my interest lies in writing personalized stories that are impactful.”

Take us through your story process – What elements do you look for when determining if it a story? Where do you start? “There are a number of elements to consider when determining whether something is a story. I typically look for interesting stories that will resonate with the Tribune’s readership. I try to put a human element to my stories. I often start with the answers to these questions – Is this an issue, person or platform that my readers would care about? Why should people care? How important is the issue? Does this person have a story that would resonate with others?”

What’s your favorite piece that you’ve worked on? “I did an article in 2016 highlighting how Philadelphia is battling the lead poisoning crisis. I enjoyed working on this piece because it highlighted how lead poisoning is impacting children and the measures being taken to address the problem.”

Can you share a fun and interesting fact about yourself? I am a crafter who enjoys creating cards and other items.

Best way to contact Ayana? Via email, ajones@phillytrib.com