#PPRAMemberMonday: Darren Behuniak

Today we are featuring Darren Behuniak, President of Behuniak Presence Strategies, Inc., and Founder of GetMeHealthee, LLC. Darren is a dynamic, entrepreneurial-minded marketing communications and public relations executive with over 11 years of experience in corporate and start-up environments.

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/darren.behuniak
Twitter:@DBehuniak
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dbehuniak

PPRA: Darren, tell us a bit about your background and your current job.

DB: I am the president of Behuniak Presence Strategies, Inc., a strategic communications firm specializing in digital marketing strategy, lead generation, PR, and sales alignment. Focus is on small to mid-sized businesses.

I also am the founder of GetMeHealthee, LLC, a healthcare start-up company/website featuring a retail health clinic search engine and a blog with information about food, nutrition, exercise, healthcare cost savings, and health apps written by experts.

PPRA: What projects are you working on right now? 

DB: In my role as a communications specialist working with small and mid-sized businesses, I have the privilege of working with various types of business-to-business and direct-to-consumer primarily in the healthcare and technology markets.

PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

DB: I love working with and helping people, first and foremost. Whether I’m working with a start-up to gain traction, a mid-sized business reach their tipping point, or a marketing team at a large company that needs fresh ideas, everything starts with people, individuals, and relationships. It may sound tacky, but I take great joy and pride in helping others succeed.

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

DB: I have a unique model – for better or worse. After a decade of the corporate grind, I decided to go out on my own and pursue some entrepreneurial endeavors. My goal was to help people through my communications firm, but also launch my start-up, GetMeHealthee, and treat it as a client. I’m proud that after two years of hard work, GetMeHealthee is a living, breathing entity. And I’m still able to work with the clients I truly want to support – all while maintaining a (relatively) steady work/life balance. That is truly my latest, greatest accomplishment.

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

DB: Learn BUSINESS. How to run one. How to start one. Spend time to teach yourself how to read a balance sheet, understand contracts, sell yourself, budget money and time, make decisions about opportunity costs, everything.

At the end of the day, corporate executives, non-profit heads, and agency owners alike want to work with people who understand how to make money and how to make [expletive] happen. Learning about business can give you a leg up on your peers and competition – and who knows, you may even use the knowledge to run your own company.

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

DB: “Old-school” movie would have to be “Jaws.” Unbelievable cast, acting, and story. And even with all of the new 3D, CGI, etc., that shark still looks more real than anything. And that was 1975.

New movie would be “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Director Wes Anderson is a nut, but the superb writing, fast pace, catchy score, and awesome performance by Ralph Fiennes never gets old.

Book would either be “Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard” or “Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work,” both by Chip and Dean Heath. They provide thought-provoking concepts and tangible examples to help you in every course of life.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

DB: As a transplant, let it be known that I LOVE Philly. Every aspect. But given the task to choose one favorite spot, I’d have to go with 30th Street Station. I love the old architecture, and the main schedule board that still flips the time. Clearly I’m amused easily.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

DB: May be weird – with onions, American and Provolone, mayo, and ketchup.

Hooked on Snapchat – Maybe You Will Be, Too

Hello, my name is Adam. And I am a middle-aged Snapchatter. Yes, I know what you are thinking. Snapchat is a social medium platform that skews young. More for the Selena Gomez crowd; not for a child of the ‘80s, like me. To that, I say “don’t judge me”!

After all, I became convinced that Snapchat was the ‘real deal’ after watching cheerleaders Snap with one another during a Temple University gymnastics meet. And I learned how to post my own Snaps from a college student, the patient Amber Hamlett of Stockton University, who was able to show me a few easy steps to take at PPRA’s Careers 101.

Check me out at AdamDvorin. Depending on the day, you can see my office, my view from the train, my prized collection of baseball-caps and my Siberian Husky, Deuce (DOOOOOCCCCCCEEEEE!)

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Better yet, get on board the Snapchat bandwagon yourself. You’ll enjoy the experience.

My friend, Ai Zhang, Hamlett’s public relations professor at Stockton, was also key in me embracing Snapchat as a storytelling platform. She made sure I followed some of the big national Snapchat influencers – Gary Vaynerchuk and Carlos Gil are two notables on my feed.

At the same time, I saw how Ai tells her own stories on Snapchat – I have since learned that she (like me) is a big proponent of mass transit, has adorable children, shops at Costco and likes to take walks in her South Philadelphia neighborhood.

And I saw how others were using it – one I really like is U.S. Senator Cory Booker singing in the car while campaigning for Hilary Clinton or praising interns and elevator operators when back in Washington, D.C. Or the NBA, taking me courtside during Golden State Warrior games.

Why do I like Snapchat – and why should professional brands consider it as a story telling platform?

Some reasons:

  • It is portable. If you have a cell phone, you can be a Snapchatter.
  • It is visual. Whether you are taking a picture or shooting a short video, you are showing the story to whomever is viewing.
  • It is authentic. Want to take followers behind the scenes of your restaurant, hospital, factor…whatever? Snapchat is a great vehicle to do so.
  • It is easy. Press a button. Write a captain. Add a filter. Volia. You have written the latest update to Your Story.

And maybe, that really is why Snapchat is such a great social media platform. Because we all have stories to tell – whether we are young or old; individual or sophisticated brand.

There is still room for you on this bandwagon. What are you waiting for? Snap to it!

Adam Dvorin is Media Director of Winning Strategies and Vice President of Membership at PPRA. And yes, he actually snapped a photo of himself writing this blog. He needs to stop, already.

#PPRAMemberMonday: Cathy Engel Menendez, APR

Today we are featuring Cathy Engel Menendez, APR, Director of Communications at PECO. Cathy has been a PPRA member for 23 years and was PPRA’s 2015 Hall of Fame Recipient. Cathy will be participating as a speaker in “The State of the Industry… in Philadelphia – the DNC, Philly branding, and more” Presented by the Philadelphia Public Relations Association, Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society, and Public Relations Society of America Philadelphia Chapter, held tomorrow, Tuesday, April 19th.  Join us for an educational and interactive conference on the state of the public relations industry by registering Here. Learn from leading communications professionals who represent top companies across the Philadelphia region, including Comcast, PECO, Di Bruno Bros., Duane Morris, and more.

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PECOconnect/
Twitter: @Pecoconnect
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cathy-engel-menendez-apr

PPRA: Cathy, tell us a bit about your background and your current job.

CEM: I serve as PECO’s spokesperson and am responsible for the company’s strategic communications, advertising and crisis communications efforts, and internal communications / employee engagement efforts.

PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?

CEM: Positioning PECO’s efforts to advance smart energy and deliver innovation to provide safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy and energy services to our customers and communities we serve.  Cornerstone to this is our work to leverage technology and interact with our customers in many new, innovative ways to evolve their energy experience.

PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

CEM: No day is ever the same.  Being part of a company that provides an essential service means you are involved in everything — day and night.  From the Papal Visit, to the DNC, and everything in between — PECO is there!

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

CEM: 2015 was an exceptional year for me — I passed the APR exam (on the first try) and was inducted into PPRA’s Hall of Fame, those events surrounded by professional successes and advancement are truly memorable.

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

CEM: Be resilient.  It isn’t about how many times you struggle or fail, it really is all about how many times you get back up.  Keep getting back up!

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

CEM: Although I feel like I should provide the name of a classic novel or film, honesty must prevail . . .I love the movie An American President.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

CEM: Boathouse Row.  My brother rowed and I spent a great deal of time there as a child, it is very special to me.  Very close second would be the Linc — Owls and Eagles, doesn’t get any better!

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

CEM: Whiz wit — its the ONLY way!

Member Get a Member Winners: Niki Gianakaris and Abby Rizen

Congratulations to PPRA Members Niki Gianakaris and Abby Rizen for winning the March “Member Get a Member” contest.

 

Gianakaris is the Director of Media Relations at Drexel University. She referred her colleagues Lauren Ingeno and Frank Otto.

Rizen is the Director of Media Relations at Vault Communications. She referred colleagues Amanda Michelson and Rachel Jakubowitcz.

The two will receive a prize package that includes a gift card to the Hard Rock Cafe Philadelphia, a gift certificate to U-Bahn and BRU Craft and Wurst and tickets to the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Helium Comedy Club and Eastern State Penitentiary, among other gifts.

Now, members have another chance to win prizes for recruiting their friends, clients and colleagues to PPRA. The third “Member Get a Member” contest kicks off today and runs until 5 p.m. on Friday, March 31.

You could win a package that includes restaurant gift cards, event tickets, and more. The prize is designed to exceed the $175 membership fee.

Here is how to get involved:

  • Work your network to let people know what YOU like about PPRA and why they should be a part of our organization.
  • When you refer someone, make sure that they mention your name when they register. New members will be tallied. The person who recruits the most members is the winner.
  • This contest is open to all members, including General Members, Board Members and Committee Chairs.

Good Luck!

#PPRAMember Monday: Debbie Albert

Today we are featuring Debbie Albert, Owner, of Albert Communications, a firm providing communications counsel to companies around the world. Debbie is an award-winning communications executive with extensive experience in Corporate and Internal Communications, Crisis and Issues Management, Media Relations, and Website Content.

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Twitter: @AlbertComms

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Albert-Communications-LLC-158515524202034/?ref=hl

 

PPRA: Debbie, tell us a bit about your background and what you do.

DA: With three decades of journalism and communications experience that took me from the White House to North Philadelphia and from baseball fields to board rooms, I am the owner of ALBERT Communications, a firm providing communications counsel to companies around the world.

Before starting my own firm, I was the Associate Vice President of Corporate Communications at Aramark.  With a degree in journalism from The George Washington University, I have extensive experience in television news having worked on the assignment desks at Independent Network News (WPIX) and CNN in Washington, D.C. as well as WPVI-TV Channel 6 Action News and KYW-TV in Philadelphia.

From 1989-1992, I was the Public Relations Manager at the Spectrum (Philadelphia’s former indoor arena). Following my stint at the Spectrum, I handled all public relations and marketing functions for an association management company.

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

DA: Clients are varied, and run the gamut from for-profit to non-profit and from small start-ups to larger companies that use Albert Communications as their de facto communications and public relations department.

Many of our clients are without user-friendly websites and a good deal of our work starts with helping design and build their sites, then adding social media and of course, media relations

PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

DA: The work is different every day, every hour, and as someone with a background in the news business, that’s a must!

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

DA: We have recently designed and built two excellent website for two very different clients, one a production company in NYC and the other an accounting firm in the Philadelphia suburbs. Two very different audiences, two very different needs, yet both completely satisfied the need.

It’s also a thrill to get great placement for an unknown company in a great media outlet, and we did that for two clients this year. Believe it or not, one was a funeral home and the other has a product that prevents bed bugs!

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

DA: Never burn a bridge. Thanks to my connections from all of my wonderful positions, the work keeps flowing.

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

DA: I recently devoured “All the Light We Cannot See.” It’s a piece of art in book form.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly? 

DA: In the winter, the Barnes soothes my soul. I love being in there surrounded by some of the world’s greatest paintings in our own backyard. In better weather, we’re a family that loves to hike in the Wissahickon and in the summer, you’ll find me in Cape May.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

DA: I’m Kosher, so don’t go there.