#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!

#PPRAMemberMonday: Kory Aversa

#PPRAMember Monday_Aversa

Kory Aversa is the CEO/President of Aversa PR and has been a PPRA member for five years.

Twitter: @koryaversa

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

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

Kory is an award-winning, seasoned public relations pro, event planner and social media guru with 20+ years experience in the nonprofit and small business sector. He hails from Utica and Albany, New York, and graduated from Utica College of Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations (minor Political Science). He represents over 50 top neighborhoods, main streets, tourism attractions, street festivals, restaurants, beer gardens, small businesses, non-profits, theaters, arts organizations, and boutiques. Through working in the neighborhoods, and through work with Philly’s biggest festival, Kory has the privilege and honor of working every single year with hundreds of business owners and artists from Bucks County to Baltimore, from Ardmore to King of Prussia, from University City to Old City, from Midtown Village to South Philadelphia.

After fast expansion in recent years, big-name clients include Parx Casino, Philadelphia Zoo, Sofitel Philadelphia, Christmas Village, South Street, East Passyunk, Ardmore Initiative, Old City District, Piazza Pod Park, Post Brothers, Craft Concepts Group, FCM Hospitality, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, The Bercy, Cry Baby Pasta, Evil Genius Beer Company, Philly Loves Beer, Philly Theatre Week, and many others.  

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

KA: Holidays are huge for Aversa PR! We are busy launching all the biggest and best holiday tourist attractions in the city from the new LumiNature experience at Philadelphia Zoo, to Christmas Village at Love Park, to Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market at Dilworth Plaza, to new holiday surprises at Piazza Pod Park, to Holiday Tea Service at Sofitel Philadelphia, to tree lightings on South Street, East Passyunk, Old City City, Ardmore, Craft Hall, Evil Genius. If there’s a tree, twinkling lights, and a Santa, I will probably be there! I am already growing out my beard so me and Santa can match on those cold days. 

PPRA: What is your favorite part of your job?

KA: I love waking up in the morning and knowing that I am helping transform neighborhoods, showcasing our world-class city and helping clients achieve their dreams. PR is so much more than sending press releases, networking and the details – I love the big picture of making a difference in my community! 

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

KA: It has been a banner year – and every year is bigger than the last. I am so thankful and honored. In particular, I am especially proud to represent five neighborhoods – and represent some of the largest institutions in the region like Philadelphia Zoo, Parx Casino, Christmas Village, Sofitel Philadelphia and Post Brothers. Of particular note this year, I am proud to be the PR for the city’s largest festivals, from Philly Beer Week, Philadelphia Honey Festival, South Street Spring Festival, Philly Theatre Week and more. It’s been an amazing and fun whirlwind and I always step back and say thanks for coverage and our team’s accomplishments big and small. 

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

KA: Always remember why you are in this business – and what you want to accomplish. Know yourself and what gets you out of bed in the morning. Know what motivates you and what is a match for clients and future business – and stay true to that even though outside pressures can come up. If you keep those in mind, you can handle the long days, the pressure, the deadlines and the fast pace. You should be in it because you love it and have something you want to accomplish.  

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

KA: I wish I had time for movies or books – I work 16 hours a day sometimes, and if it isn’t Law and Order or Modern Family in front of me by Midnight, then I don’t know how I would get by for that downtime they offer me and a second to get out of my head and my work. 

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

KA: I love walking around Philadelphia Zoo – especially on an off-peak time like during the week. It is a great escape and it’s not only fun but so relaxing. I find I can lose myself there and get a mental break from everything else in the world. 

PPRA: Favorite Philly Food?

KA: Being in food PR I couldn’t even begin to name them all – for me it’s about what is my favorite food today and this week.  From staples like a soft pretzel and a Wawa hoagie to amazing global cuisine on South Street, to dim sum at Dim Sum House in University City – I am eating my way around the city every day, all day. At home, when by myself, there’s a lot of pizza that happens. A lot. I have no time to cook.

#PPRA Member Monday – Melissa Squarcia Fordyce

#PPRAMember Monday_Fordyce

Melissa Fordyce joined the Philadelphia Foundation in September as their Executive Director, Marketing & Communications. She has been a member of PPRA for five years and serves on our board of directors.

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

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-philadelphia-foundation/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/philafound

Melissa Fordyce serves as Executive Director, Marketing and Communications for the Philadelphia Foundation. In this capacity she works to create, oversee and implement short-and long-term brand and marketing strategies and disciplines that elevate public understanding of the Philadelphia Foundation’s work as the region’s oldest and largest community foundation.

Having dedicated more than a decade of her career to nonprofit communications, Melissa previously served as the Director of Communications for Presby’s Inspired Life. Prior to that, she spent seven years with Catholic Leadership Institute. Melissa’s early career began in television news as an assignment editor for NBC10 in Philadelphia.

An adjunct professor at Temple University teaching nonprofit communications, Melissa also serves on the Board of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association (PPRA) and Villanova Communications Affinity Network (VCAN). She is a 2004 graduate of Villanova University and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Strategic Public Relations from George Washington University.

PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?

MF: Currently, the Philadelphia Foundation is preparing to host On the Table Philly on October 17. It is a forum designed to elevate civic conversation, foster new relationships and create a unifying experience. Anyone can host and it’s a prime opportunity to give a voice to issues that matter to you. You can register on our website.

PPRA: What is the favorite part of your job?
MF: Everyday I walk into my office and I see this breathtaking view of the city and beyond and I say to myself “I am so grateful to be here. I get to serve all of you.” The work that we do at the Philadelphia Foundation touches every inch and aspect of greater Philadelphia and the absolute favorite part of my job is knowing that what I do today, is the change I get to see out my window tomorrow.

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

MF: I started this new role with the Philadelphia Foundation in September. Personally, it was an accomplishment to get here. It is an honor to serve greater Philadelphia in this capacity. And I am grateful that the leadership of the Philadelphia Foundation saw the potential in me to elevate their mission to a new level.

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

MF: Network. Network and Network. That’s three, but I think you can tell how important I think it is! There is no right or wrong way to do it as long as you are committed to making and maintaining a circle of professional influence. It will pay off tenfold — I promise!

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

MF: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I don’t know that I could read it over and over because it’s insanely long! However, its an amazing TRUE story about the power of forgiveness, perseverance and the resiliency of the human spirit. The story inspires me again and again.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

MF: I’m a Jersey Girl! And proud of it. But if I had to pick a favorite spot or neighborhood I would have to say South Philly. I have wonderful childhood memories of eating Pop’s Water Ice on my Aunt’s front stoop as we watched the fireworks show from the Vet.

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

MF: I had always thought it would be fascinating to be a presidential speechwriter. There is just something about the way in which the (written) and spoken word can captivate people that is awe-inspiring to me.

PPRA: Favorite Philly Food?

MF: Soft Pretzel w/Spicy Mustard. Hands down the best. snack. ever! Also pairs well with Italian Ice!

#PPRA Member Monday – Samantha Byles

#PPRAMember Monday_Byles

Samantha Byles is a Senior Account Executive with Bellevue Communications Group and has been a member of PPRA for three years.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/samantha.byles1

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samanthabyles26/

Originally from Boston, Samantha moved to Philadelphia to attend Temple University and ended up staying. She graduated from Temple in 2013 with a news journalism degree, and worked with a company that produced hyper-local magazines nationwide before jumping into PR with a local engineering firm.

PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?

SB: I work with both nonprofit and for-profit clients on everything from traditional PR – press releases, media advisories, media relations – to the more general Communications/Marketing items like social media, content creation, and public affairs. A majority of my efforts nowadays are focused on a wireless infrastructure client that is looking to raise their brand awareness in Philadelphia, which translates to introductory meetings with leaders in the city, networking, and finding speaking/event opportunities.

PPRA: What is the favorite part of your job?

SB: The discovery process – working with my clients before the event or before the press release to find the right story to share. I like to think of it as a puzzle, and you’re constantly going through each of the pieces to see what fits and completes the bigger picture.

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

SB: In May, I worked with the wireless infrastructure client to submit and plan a panel event for PHL Tech Week. Once we got approval for the event, I coordinated all logistics and materials for it – working with the venue, selecting, confirming, and prepping the panelists, the Powerpoint presentation, Eventbrite management, etc. It was a lot of work, but it was a project that I could own and it turned out to be a great event with about 35 attendees and a handful of valuable relationships for the client.

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

SB: Enjoy it! It’s very easy to get discouraged when you don’t get the desired coverage or have to defend a strategy to a stubborn client. When that happens, take a step back, and think of 1 thing in the process that went right, even if it was just a catchy headline, and 1 thing that you could actually change if you tried. This process I think allows you to stay positive while thinking about how you can improve in a realistic way.

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

SB: Any of the Harry Potter movies – the books are good, but all the visual aspects in the movie are incredible, especially if you can see it in 4K.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

SB: Dilworth Park – Cliche, I know, but I use SEPTA a lot as a commuter, so while I’m waiting for the regional rail or the next El, I like to sit outside at Dilworth Park and people watch. Between the fountain, Christmas Village, and other attractions, there’s always something to happily distract you.

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

SB: Event or meeting planning – I like the organizational aspect of it and the ability to still be surrounded by people.

PPRA: Favorite Philly Food?

SB: Philly Pretzel, with spicy mustard.

#PPRA Member Monday – Lauren Woodard

#PPRAMember Monday_Woodard

Lauren Woodard is the Public Relations Manager for the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. She has been a member of PPRA for over two years.

Twitter: @Lauren609

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lauren.woodard.526

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauren-woodard-a1436391/

Lauren A. Woodard is the Public Relations Manager on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus. A graduate of Penn State University with a degree in English, Publishing, and Creative Writing, she has held positions at the Kimmel Center since 2014 – beginning as a Public Relations Intern, then serving in the Marketing Department in various roles, before transitioning back to Public Relations. She was appointed Public Relations Manager in 2018.

Her current responsibilities include overseeing media communications for programmatic Campus news and managing PR consultants for show-based initiatives. She assists in conceptualization of photo/video creation, social media marketing efforts, editing marketing content, creation of institutional messaging, and event management.

Lauren previously interned in Communications at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and managed a Marble Slab Creamery franchise.

A longtime resident of Delaware County, Lauren’s free time passions include kayaking, trash-to-treasure pickin’, Broadway musicals, salty foods, and ranch dressing.

PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?

LW: Right now, we are gearing up to kick off our 2019-20 season! “Hamilton” has just opened and we have another amazing Broadway season ahead. There’s also a ton of jazz, family-friendly, comedy, etc. in the pipeline, as always. Plus, we just announced another free art installation in our Commonwealth Plaza – two projects from Mexican designers, here through November 17.

PPRA: What is the favorite part of your job?

LW: Representing a performing arts center as an arts lover is the best. I grew up participating in musical theater productions, playing the violin, and singing in choirs up through college – and the Kimmel team really is a group who truly care about the arts & reaching Philadelphia through performance and education. It’s hard to pick *just* one favorite part of my job. I love the people, the variety of programming, and the education opportunities for students. We work with awesome consultants in the Philadelphia area and beyond who help us with press, promotions, buys, social media, and more. Every day is something different, keeping the work dynamic and diverse. It’s pretty rewarding to see the public having a great time in our spaces.

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

LW: We have a couple awesome residencies at the Kimmel Center, but during the 2018-29 season, I really wanted press for our Jazz Residency (then in its 6th year). We received coverage from 6ABC and NBC10, as well as “Jewish Exponent”, “South Philly Review”, and “Temple News”. (Thank you to all those reporters & producers who worked with me!) This program has not garnered a lot of attention in previous years, so we were thrilled to get the information out to the public and be able to get spotlights for a couple of our Jazz Residents – local Philadelphians creating new jazz work and getting it out into the community.

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

LW: This advice was passed down to me from my Director (love you, Leslie Tyler!) – I’d say always take the time to research what a reporter has written about recently, what they might be posting about on social media, what you might know about them personally. They are receiving so many messages and I try to make my pitches stand out by being able to call out details that grab their attention and hook them from the start.

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

LW: Definitely “You’ve Got Mail” – that movie is a Nora Ephron masterpiece and endlessly quotable.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

LW: Wandering around Reading Terminal Market is always fun. (Plug for our Campus, but in all honesty, the Academy of Music is my favorite theater – it’s gorgeous, historic, and just plain magical to spend time in.) I also love Pietro’s Italian restaurant on Walnut Street. They have THE BEST rigatoni alla vodka – highly recommend!

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

LW: A writer – I love the non-fiction, satirical style (two slightly different examples that come to mind are David Sedaris and Mindy Kaling). There’s a lot of humor to be found in everyday life and not taking ourselves too seriously. I also think there’s a goodness in being willing to share and/or expose our own humanity and realness to enable readers to say ‘hey, me too!’

PPRA: Favorite Philly Food?

LW: Cheesesteak.