#PPRAMemberMonday – Natalie Lewis

#PPRAMember Monday_Lewis
Natalie Lewis is the
Communications Manager for The Philadelphia Orchestra. She has been a member of PPRA for one year.

Twitter: @nataliefizbo

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/natalie.f.lewis.5/

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/natalie-lewisđź’ˇ-46638887

The greatest campaign of my life was my career pivot. After seven years as a professional French horn player with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, I moved back to the United States to see what else life had in store. Leaning into my musical background, I began my second career as a publicity assistant for a record label and distributor in Nashville, TN. After six months in press, I transitioned into the digital space managing the label’s in-house classical playlist brand, working closely with Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and other streaming platforms, brand management, and all aspects of digital marketing. When The Philadelphia Orchestra had an opening for a communications manager, I was able to leverage my in-depth knowledge of classical music with my newly minted press and marketing skills.

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

NL: As communications manager for The Philadelphia Orchestra, I am responsible for implementing communications strategies internally and externally as well managing the Orchestra’s social media profiles and presence. We are currently working on finding new ways to reach our patrons as the world continues to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, and taking this time as an opportunity to reach a broader, global audience as we expand our Virtual Philadelphia Orchestra offerings. Social media has become more important than ever before as we continue to inform our patrons and communicate new offerings in the digital space.

PPRA: What is your favorite part of your job?

NL: Creative strategy and implementation. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say the music! 

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

NL: I ran a Mean Girls campaign for the Orchestra’s Free College Concert, which was on October 3rd. So fetch, right?  

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

NL: Don’t be afraid to try something new! There’s no such thing as a failed campaign. You either win or you learn.

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

NL: Waiting for Guffman is my favorite movie of all time. It never gets old and I discover some new subtlety or nuance every time. I mostly read nonfiction, and for those I would have to recommend Carol Dweck’s Mindset and Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. You can always find me thumbing through a Lonely Planet, dreaming about my next big trip!

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

NL: Spruce Street Harbor Park, Race Street Pier, and along the Delaware Riverfront.

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

NL: I spend a lot of time researching and implementing all things related to health, wellness, fitness, and nutrition, so I would have to say that I would probably be a functional medicine practitioner, health coach, or physical therapist. I strongly believe that food can be used as medicine, and on that note, I would love to lobby against the big food companies to overhaul our healthcare system and approach to nutrition!

PPRA: Favorite Philly Food?

NL: La Colombe’s Black & Oat, or a classic hot fudge sundae from Franklin Fountain. Their hot fudge is the BEST.

Video from Home: Top Videography Tips from a Pro

On Thursday, May 28, PPRA members were treated to a master class on videography.  . Ricky Haldis founded Wise Owl Multimedia, a photography and videography company, in 2015. A proud Philadelphia native and storyteller at heart, Ricky has worked with PPRA and many of its members to craft visuals that resonate. He graduated from Holy Family University in 2016 with a bachelor’s in Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia.

Haldis, a friend of PPRA, shared best practices designed to help clients look their best on camera and, most importantly, achieve their communication goals

“Prepare people to be as simple as possible”

It all comes down to simplicity. A concept that should be quite familiar to public relations professionals who exist to help a client’s message shine through, not to show the world how many fancy words they know. Ricky believes the same is true when it comes to video. 

“The fundamentals count”

Keeping three concepts front of mind will lead you to success: how the video is shot (pick a small, quiet room with a simple background), how the video is lit (soft light is preferred – avoid direct sunlight and backlighting), and how the video sounds (to achieve best sound quality use a lapel mic. Furniture, carpet, and wall coverings dampen sound to prevent echo). 

“Video is entirely psychological”

All video producers are ultimately seeking the “the brain’s approval.” Planning carefully, ensuring the message is on brand and putting the end goal in writing helps the client win the ever-elusive audience “approval.”

“Genuine, organic and natural”

Ricky ended the webinar by empowering attendees to create professional looking videos on their own. With a modest investment of time and money, quality videos that present our clients well and help connect with audiences are within reach.

Between You and MEdia… with Molly Given

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!


Over the past three years, Molly Given has established herself as one of Philadelphia’s go-to voices in the media for events, entertainment news and beyond. As a Features Editor for Metro Philadelphia Newspaper, Molly’s life-long passion for writing and meeting new people shines through in her content. Learn more about the person behind the page and discover how best to share your news with Molly in this edited interview. Photo courtesy of Molly Given.

What’s your favorite story that you’ve worked on?
That’s a tough question! I don’t know if I have a favorite, but I have ones that stand out. I did a story for the Penn Museum for their Global Guides program recently. The program featured in-depth tours of the recently opened Africa, Mexico/Central America and re-vamped Middle East galleries led by immigrants and refugees from the respective areas. I had the pleasure of interviewing a few of the guides and what they said was truly touching.

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What advice would you give PR professionals looking to pitch you?
I would say to be clear with what the pitch is about right up front. I will be more likely to write about a story if I have a clear picture of exactly what it is. It’s definitely great to be detailed, but after you give the essential information. Also pitches that have pictures, or that offer to have you come out to check out the facility or event really help paint a picture as well.

Who/what inspired you to pursue journalism and what keeps you inspired?
I really just love the idea of getting to interview people and finding out their thoughts/feelings/desires and fears even. Everyone has a story to tell, and I love being able to tell them. That’s what continues to motivate and inspire me with journalism.

Take us through your story process. What elements do you look for?
I look for stories that are unique, but also ones that are informative. I don’t exactly look for the ‘juiciest scoop,’ but I do want to be someone who can shine a light on interesting circumstances and people.

Where do you start?
I typically start out writing stories with the facts that I have and then dive deep and research more. If there is an opportunity to learn more about a particular subject through interviews or seeing something first-hand as well, I’ll definitely jump on that opportunity.

How do you work with PR professionals?
I work with PR professionals mainly over email, but if I have developed a working relationship with them then we connect over the phone typically as well. But it’s always fun to meet in person too and get to know the PR professional behind the email.

How many pitches do you get a day from PR folks?
It ranges, but can be anywhere from 20-30. Sometimes more.

How much follow up is too much on a pitch—with someone you don’t have a relationship with, and someone you do?
With someone I don’t have a relationship with, I would say one more follow-up. Personally speaking, if I’m not hooked to the story after one follow-up, I don’t think I will be at that point, unless something changes. That actually is the same for someone I do have a relationship with as well.

How do you prefer to be pitched? What is the best way to make a pitch stand out?
Emails work. Also, I’m really just looking for an interesting story; so, if there is something interesting about whatever you are pitching, make sure to really sell that. Passion comes across on a page!

How do you step away from the 24-hour news cycle?
Typically, I do decompress for an hour or so after work. I put my phone down and just avoid technology. You need to step away. No one can be tuned in all the time; it’s good to take a break.

What’s a fun and interesting fact about yourself?
I grew up in Atlantic City and worked as a beach lifeguard for about ten years. That job was the second-best I’ve ever had, just behind this one.

What’s your favorite spot to think through a story?
In the sun—I love to be outside! The fresh air and Vitamin D always spark creativity for me.

The best way to pitch Molly is via email: molly.given@metro.us

#PPRAMemberMonday – Barbara Link

#PPRAMember Monday_Link

Barbara Link is a Communications Strategist and Content Creator at the business she founded, Link Ink. She has been a member of PPRA “on and off – mostly on – since I began my career. I’m here to stay now!”

Twitter: @barbaralink

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

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/barbara-link-315224/

Barbara Link is an award-winning communications consultant with more than 30 years of experience in internal and external communications. Her areas of expertise include strategic planning, brand positioning, copywriting and collateral development. In 1997, Barbara established her own firm, Link Ink, with the goal of providing exceptional communications services to a broad range clients, from local nonprofit organizations to global pharmaceutical companies.

Prior to forming Link Ink, Barbara served as Director of Corporate Communications at Rosenbluth International, and previously, as Public Relations Manager at Electronic Payment Services. Earlier in her career, she was an Account Group Supervisor at Golin/Harris Communications and an Account Executive at Elkman Advertising & Public Relations, spending a combined nine years on the McDonald’s Restaurants business.

Barbara earned her BA degree in Art from Penn State University. She volunteers with several nonprofit organizations including Philadelphia Futures, where she helps first-generation-to-college students develop their college application essays.

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

BL: Under the Link Ink umbrella, I’m currently working with Main Line Health, CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), and Lauren Hart. I also subcontract with Albert Communications, where my clients include LabCorp, Covance, Morgan Lewis and Holy Family University.

PPRA: What is your favorite part of your job?

BL: I love that every day is different. I have the great fortune of working with brilliant colleagues and collaborative clients who make it all so interesting and fun. There’s nothing I enjoy more than a project that challenges me to fit together all the pieces of a giant puzzle to help my client achieve success. 

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

BL: It’s absolutely fascinating to work with a major laboratory and drug development company in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Over recent weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to interview numerous experts from around the world, and penned as many feature stories about COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccine development. I’m helping to communicate information that really matters.  

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

BL: If possible, work for a company, organization or client whose mission you feel deeply passionate about. If that isn’t possible, volunteer with one. There is nothing more engaging and energizing than feeling like you’re making a meaningful impact. It spills over into everything you do.

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

BL: I could read The Kite Runner a thousand times. Khaled Hosseini is a magnificent writer.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

BL: I think Boathouse Row is magical.

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

BL: For quite some time, I dreamed of becoming an architect or a music industry executive (look out, Clive Davis!). But since I’ve been serving as a Writing Coach at Philadelphia Futures, I realize that teaching would be the perfect fit. I love connecting with students and helping them find their voices.

PPRA: Favorite Philly Food?

BL: It has to be a cheesesteak wit!

Between You and MEdia… with Marilyn Johnson

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!


Marilyn Johnson started her blog 12 years ago, with the intention of sharing her love of writing about food. Now her blog, PhillyGrub is a must-follow for Philadelphia (and South Jersey) foodies. With more than 400,000 followers, the blog features interviews with local chefs and restaurateurs, restaurant reviews, and more. Learn more about how Marilyn turned her hobby into a career in the edited interview below. Photo courtesy of Marilyn Johnson.

Marilyn Johnson, Philly Grub

How did you get started as a journalist? By complete accident! I always loved writing and writing about food. So, I started my blog 12 years ago with the intention of sharing personal stories about the things I was cooking and talking about where I was eating in the city. Then I branched out into writing news pieces when PR people added me to their media list. I eventually embarked on writing restaurant reviews and other commentary about the Philly food scene. And then, a few years ago, I became a freelance contributor to various publications and media outlets on the side. It’s been immensely satisfying to grow what was originally a hobby into a career!

What’s your favorite story that you’ve worked? There isn’t one specific story that is my favorite. My favorite stories are the ones where I am able to feature lesser-known restaurants and share stories about the people you don’t already hear about working in the hospitality business. It gives me a lot of pleasure to help people, especially small businesses, get exposure.

Favorite food in Philly? Impossible to answer. But I’ll tell you that experiencing the Japanese Wagyu at Barclay Prime was pretty much life-changing… and yes, I wrote about that.

What advice would you give PR professionals looking to pitch you? Don’t just put me on your media list, blast out a press release to me and be done with it. I’m looking for unique stories that nobody else is writing about. I want people to come to Philly Grub and get a great story they’re not getting anywhere else. So reach out to me on a personal level with something awesome, not just the same old media alert you’re sending to everyone.

How much follow up is too much on a pitch—with someone you don’t have a relationship with, and someone you do? If I have responded positively to a pitch, then I feel there can never be enough communication. I try to get as many details and facts as I can so that I can put together a good piece. But if I haven’t responded to a PR pitch and the PR person is too aggressive, it may turn me off. I almost always respond to emails either way. I tell them, “yes, I can run this story,” or “no, I am not interested in covering this.” Most people get it; some don’t. Although, if I get a pitch for something irrelevant, chances are I will ignore it. I’d hope the PR person did their research on my beat and looked at my site for the type of stories I publish before reaching out. Fortunately, I have a great relationship with many PR people who I love working with. They are respectful and understand the kinds of stories I like to write.

How do you step away from the 24 hour newscycle? What do you do outside of work? I like to watch a lot of cooking and food-based television shows. I enjoy reading, especially vintage cookbooks. With that said, I love cooking at home and trying new recipes. I love being with my cats, spending time with my hubby, and traveling. The latter is on hold for the time being, of course.

How have you seen the world of blogging transform since you first got in the industry? It has changed drastically. Many people don’t even blog anymore! A lot of the bloggers that started around the same time I did have entirely abandoned their blogs. Some of them only create content for social media, while others have moved on in their lives. Also, anybody with an Instagram account can be considered a content creator. There is an entire cottage industry around social media influencers right now. Some PR people prefer to work with influencers over journalists and writers, and that’s fine. It depends on the client’s goals. I guess I’m somewhere in the middle since I have a fairly large, engaged audience on social media. I don’t like to call myself an influencer, though.

Best way to pitch Marilyn:  email at phillygrub@gmail.com