#PPRAMemberMonday: Anthony Stipa


Anthony Stipa is Marketing Communications Associate at Safeguard Scientifics. Anthony has been a PPRA member for four years and serves as Treasurer of PPRA.

Twitter: @steepspizza

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

About Anthony: A dedicated professional who has extracted insight from working in the broadcasting and media industries, Anthony has built a reputation for creating strategic communications infrastructure for growth stage companies. He’s represented some of the Greater Philadelphia region’s most recognizable brands and helped lead companies through business transitions. At Safeguard Scientifics, Anthony works to promote the corporate brand and assist partner companies mitigate challenges of scaling.

PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?

AS: I am working with a NYC-based fintech company to communicate the value proposition of their technology to a new market. They are partnering with a known bank, and my goal is to leverage this relationship to generate leads.

PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

AS: Advising first-time CEOs on the common pitfalls of media interviews.

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

AS: Leading a seamless leadership transition at healthcare IT startup, from the original founder to the newly-appointed CEO.

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

AS: Advocating for the little guy — the small and/or “rising” company — can be very rewarding. Punching the established brands, and chewing into their share of voice is valuable experience. You gotta believe in your product, company, or technology.

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

AS: Happy Gilmore is an all-time favorite. Currently, I’m reading “The Last Days of Night” by Graham Moore. It’s about the battle for the lightbulb patent in the 1800s, featuring some compelling characters — Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly (museum, park, store, etc.)?

AS: You can catch me at Bluestone Lane at 17th and Locust for coffee meetings.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

AS: Whiz wit. And I’ll always be a Dalessandro’s guy. More bang for your buck.


Making a Case for Crisis Insurance

By Debbie Albert, Albert Communications

Debbie Albert is the founder of Albert Communications and an award-winning communications executive with extensive experience in Corporate and Internal Communications, Crisis and Issues Management, and Media Relations. With three decades of journalism and communications experience that took her from the White House to North Philadelphia and from baseball fields to board rooms, she is a key player in the Philadelphia public relations community. Her favorite words to live by are “Never burn a bridge.”


I’m a Believer! Making a Case for “Crisis Insurance”

Full and fair disclosure; I’m a believer – in insurance. (And please, I have plenty; no need for any brokers to reach out!)

Whether it stems from my risk-averse personality or my early career in the news business, I sleep better at night knowing there are protections in place for the unknown, all of which will safeguard me, my family, and my business in a time of crisis.

It doesn’t take much these days to realize that every organization and every business needs to have a plan in place to handle the inevitable – that time when you are in the spotlight. (And the spotlight ain’t usually pretty.)

If you haven’t done so already, consider these three basic reasons for adding a modest “crisis insurance” plan to your company’s portfolio. It isn’t exactly brain surgery, but it could save your company’s life.

You know your own company, but you don’t know the media.

Yes, you know your company, you know the issues, you understand the facts, you recognize how you got here, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into understanding how to respond to a media inquiry – or two or 20 or more. The media has evolved.

The 24/7 news cycle, shrinking newsroom resources, and the incredibly competitive need to beat the competition doesn’t bode well for thorough, fact-checked stories. You are at their mercy – with very little time to spare.

When a crisis hits, you need someone in place who’s smart, who “gets” the story quickly, who can guide you through a response, and who is trusted by your leadership. Most crucial is that you need access to someone 24/7/365.

Albert Communications recently handled a crisis which involved the death of a teenager, and the leadership of the organization involved was frustrated with the coverage. We spent more time counseling them on what NOT to do than on what TO do. In so many cases, an organization’s leadership takes the coverage personally, wanting to lash out, to correct the story, to give “their side,” when all that usually does is add fuel to the fire, extending the story for another day or more. In many, many cases, the old “less is more” adage is the better route.

You owe more to your stakeholders than the media.

A wise former boss once helped me understand that internal stakeholders are more important than the media. She pulled me aside one day and said, “If you get a call from the New York Times and a call from one of our company’s presidents, be sure to respond to the president first.” She was right. As a company, you don’t “owe” the media anything, but as a staff member in a business, your allegiance is to the leadership there first.

In addition to the management and shareholders, you also owe it to your employees to show you have the situation under control, and partnering with a crisis communications expert can fortify your control for those internal audiences.

I’m not a big fan of developing those hefty crisis plans that gather dust on shelf. You get far more bang for your buck by having a crisis communications professional on call around the clock. That person should have a working knowledge of your company and its leadership, and be able to provide expert advice when the media comes a ’knocking.

Your employees and all of your stakeholders will benefit, and by extension, so will the company, when they see you have the public end of the crisis under control.

Reputation, Reputation, Reputation.

When you’re buying a house, its “location, location, location.” In a crisis, its “reputation, reputation, reputation.”

If you’re lucky enough to have an in-house corporate communications department make sure they are ready, willing and able to jump into a crisis. If you have no one on staff who knows how to handle a crisis, retain a firm – even for a few hours a month – to jump in as needed.

Organizations and businesses can go out of business as a result of a crisis handled poorly. (Now read that last sentence again and ask yourself if you’re ready.)

A small investment today could save your life. As I said, I’m a believer.

Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs witMaking a Case for Crisis Insuranceh valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Amanda.mueller@buchananpr.com.

#MemberMonday: Amanda Conte


Amanda Conte is Public Relations Manager at The Philadelphia Orchestra. Amanda has been a PPRA member for 2 years and is a member of PPRA’s Communications Committee.

Twitter: @amanda_conte

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amanda.conte.33

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/amandanconte

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

AC: I recently joined The Philadelphia Orchestra as Public Relations Manager. In past lives, I’ve held in-house positions with organizations like the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the New York Philharmonic, as well as worked in agencies for clients that ranged from consumer apparel to startup ad tech companies. I’m a recovering New Yorker and am thankful to have been welcomed with open arms to this incredible city (especially by the PPRA community!).

PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?

AC: Performing arts PR is a unique beast as our season typically runs from September/October to May/June with several concurrent initiatives plus summer concerts both in and outside the city. We’re gearing up to open the Philadelphia Orchestra’s 118th season the first week of October. It’s a fantastic season filled with new opportunities to introduce different audiences to the Orchestra; from a season long celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday year to Young Friends events that bring in a younger group of concertgoers and allow for mingling and networking. It’s an incredible privilege to represent this organization, its musicians, and initiatives.

PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

AC: My favorite part about my job is interacting with concertgoers and fans. The heart of what we do as an organization is to provide an escape for people –– music that moves them and connects people in new ways. Being present at performances and talking to people about their experience or memories is something I love to do and a great way we find some amazing stories to tell. Classical music fans are also a hilarious group, so keeping up with them and their classy wit on social media is another favorite aspect of mine.

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

AC: My latest and greatest accomplishment is a folder on my desktop full of gifs and memes. I can’t wait to break those out all season long on our social channels!

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

AC: Always be building bridges. A lot of times we get so focused on our own initiatives and efforts that we as PR pros can forget that there is a HUGE network of resources in the city and beyond that can help amplify our messages and tell our stories in new ways.

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

AC: I am a shameless Titanic addict. Our love affair goes back to the late 90’s and is as deep as the ocean.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly (museum, park, store, etc.)?

AC: That’s an easy one. The Philadelphia Zoo is my ultimate happy place. I’m a huge animal lover and advocate and I love everything they’re doing to help introduce more people to wildlife and conservation efforts.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

AC: Whiz wit (but wit-out the meat…)

PPRA #MemberMonday: Stef Arck-Baynes

Stef Arck-BaynesStef Arck-Baynes is Director of Communications at Philabundance. Stef has been a PPRA member for 2 years and currently serves on PPRA’s Programming Committee.

Twitter: @stefarck

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sarck

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stefanie-arck-baynes-3818a64/

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

SAB: I’m the Director of Communications for Philabundance, the area’s largest hunger-relief organization. I guide the strategy for all internal and external communications to help Philabundance drive hunger from our communities today and end hunger forever. My prior positions include: VP of Strategic Communications at Opportunity Finance Network, Marketing Manager at Brooklyn Public Library, and Communications work at NY-based restaurant group Sushisamba, Barnes & Noble.com and AOL.

In my free time, I act as the publicist for my husband’s food cart, 2StreetSammies.

PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?

SAB: I’m about to kick off planning for 93.3’s Preston & Steve Camp Out for Hunger, the nation’s largest single-location food drive, working with 6abc on shoots for its holiday hunger series, and developing content for Philabundance’s new website, slated to launch on Halloween.

PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

SAB: Hands down, my favorite thing about my job is the diverse and passionate group of people with whom I work, from the staff to the volunteers to the corporate partners to the clients. I’m inspired by them every day to do more to raise visibility, food and funds for hunger in our area, which is a crisis that impacts 1 in 5 people.

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

SAB: Last year’s Camp Out for Hunger raised a record-breaking 1.367 million pounds of food and more than $100,000 for our neighbors in need. In addition to the tangible outcomes, it was the most efficient and collaborative event to date, which helped strengthen our relationship with our partners.

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

SAB: I think what’s served me best is being personal and personable. I strive to get to know the people with whom I work, whether they’re a reporter or a potential donor or board member. Building relationships is the most important thing you can do in our field (and in life!)

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

SAB: I will watch Trading Places every time I stumble upon it on TV.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly (museum, park, store, etc.)?

SAB: The Wissahickon. I love to hike there with my husband and our dog. It’s super serene and great exercise.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

SAB: I prefer roast pork 🙂

#PPRAMemberMonday: Adam Dvorin



In honor of our first Member Monday of the new programmatic year, today we are featuring 2017 PPRA President Adam Dvorin. Adam is Media Director at Winning Strategies. Adam has been a PPRA member for a decade and served in several leadership roles on the PPRA Board.

Twitter: @adamdvorin

Facebook: www.facebook.com/adamdvorin

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/adam-dvorin-214451/

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

AD: Serving as president of the PPRA for the 2017-2018 program year. Love every day that I serve in this role (seriously). My day job is as media director for the New Jersey PR firm, Winning Strategies. I handle media relations strategy for the firm as well as pitch media each and every day. I have been there for 18 years. Before that, I learned under PPRA Hall of Famer Lisa Simon at her firm and cut my teeth as a journalist for two New Jersey dailies. Graduated from Rowan University.

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

AD: My clients include LEAP Academy University Charter School in Camden, Stevens Institute of Technology, NJM Insurance and Atlantic Health. LEAP is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, so I am excited about developing stories around that milestone.

PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

AD: The best thing is working with really great journalists. There is nothing better than seeing your client’s story being interpreted by a reporter who asks insightful questions, does their own research and writes a story in a compelling way.

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

AD: Stevens was just featured in Forbes. The spread was four pages and ran online and in the newsstand hard copy. It took a year from first pitch to run dates.

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

AD: Read everything you can! Knowing what make a story only comes from being a heavy media consumer.

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

AD: Waiting for Guffman. Corky St. Claire is one of my favorite all-time characters.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly (museum, park, store, etc.)?

AD: Liberty Lands Park. 6 a.m. when I have my coffee in one hand and my dog, Deuce, in the other.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

AD: Whiz Wit. Let the whiz soak into the roll.