#PPRAMemberMonday: Kerry O’Connor

Today we are featuring Kerry O’Connor, Senior Communications Manager at Einstein Healthcare Network. Kerry has been a PPRA member for nine years and has been working in the PR field for 18 years. As an avid writer Kerry has a passion for telling stories.


LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kerry-o-connor

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

KO: Since graduating from La Salle in 1998, I’ve been working in Public Relations. It’s a career born out of necessity. As a credentialed but broke journalist and photographer just out of college, I started working in PR as a way to keep the lights on between newspaper assignments.

In PR, I’ve worked for organizations like Communities In Schools of Philadelphia and Magee Rehab, to name a few of the many, before coming to Einstein Healthcare Network. As a writer, I’ve written for everything: Inquirer, Northeast Times, Irish Edition, Weekly Press. I even had a piece in Tattoo magazine once. (Never saw that coming.)

PR or writing…I just like to tell stories.

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

KO: At Einstein Healthcare Network, I work for a variety of service-lines and network initiatives, like our 150th anniversary campaign this year. But, the bulk of my work is for MossRehab, Einstein’s physical and cognitive rehabilitation facility, which I really enjoy. There’s always new technology and new methods that truly help people with disabilities.

I’m working on some fun stuff right now, including our #BornAtEinstein campaign–a crowd-sourcing initiative to collect pictures and stories of people who had their kids or who were born at an Einstein hospital over our 150 year history: BornAtEnstein.com. I’m also putting together MossRehab’s sponsorship of the GlobalAbilities wheelchair racing team for the Broad Street Run and spearheading MossRehab’s involvement with They Will Surf Again in June–a one day surfing event for persons with disabilities.

PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

KO: My favorite part about my job here at Einsten is that I work for a place that is open to me not just writing/pitching about what is going on, but to creating community partnerships and programs. (Then I get to pitch them, so It’s a win-win.)

They Will Surf Again is a great example. I surf, so I volunteered. When I came to Einstein/MossRehab, I thought it was the kind of thing MossRehab could be involved in and my leadership in PR and the leadership at MossRehab said “Go for it!” This June will be our fourth year. We’ve sent down over 150 volunteers so far and we’ve gotten lots of great publicity. This year our art therapy program is working with the Philadelphia Museum of Art to create graphics for a surfboard to be used at the event. All because leadership was/is willing to hear ideas. You can’ take that for granted.

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

KO: The #BornAtEinstein campaign that is running till the end of this year. We’re asking Philadlephians to take the time to find baby pictures and share them, along with their often-times very personal stories about their experience at Einstein and people are sharing them. We have over 500 submissions so far, ranging from people who were born at an Einstein hospital in the 20s to babies that were born a few days ago.

The Hospital Association of Pennsylvania is highlighting the campaign at their annual PR conference in April.

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

KO: Never take the first no as the last no when trying to do something new. A few adjustments–and a little tenacity–may be all it takes.

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

KO: Movies: Casablanca, Jaws, Goodfellas…and my guilty pleasure, Captain Ron. Books: I love Hemingway. I’ve read his novels and short stories a ton of times.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

KO: The Blue Horizon on Broad Street. When I started writing sports features, I covered a lot of boxing matches there. It’s closed now.

But, if I’m honest, my favorite all-time Philly spot is probably XIX Nineteen. Had my first date with my wife there. Proposed there. Now we have a three year-old son. That place is the epi-center for my happiness.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

KO: Being a Boston native, I was exposed late in life to the wonders of the cheesesteak. My favorite, by far, is a cheesesteak from Donkey’s Place in Camden. (They only make it with American cheese, on a round roll and you can get grilled onions, which I do.)

When I lived in Manayunk, I loved Delassandro’s. But, I gotta say, a heart-attack wit’ (provolone, american, whiz in a hollowed-out roll) from Pat’s is pretty spectacular.

#PPRAMemberMonday: Jeff Jubelirer

Today we are featuring Jeff Jubelirer, Vice President of Bellevue Communications Group. Jeff has been a member of PPRA since 1999 and this Friday, May 20th he will be inducted into PPRA’s Hall of Fame. Register for the event Here. 

Jeff is widely recognized as one of the top communications strategists in Greater Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Perhaps best known for his unparalleled expertise in issue and crisis management and public policy advocacy, Jeff is a “go to” media and political analyst for local broadcast and newspaper outlets. In addition, Jeff is a regular panelist on 6abc’s venerable weekly public affairs show, “Inside Story.”


Facebook: www.facebook.com/jjubelirer
Twitter: @jeff_jubelirer
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeff-jubelirer

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

JJ: I am the “chief architect” behind the development and execution of the strategic communications, media & community relations and crisis management issues for my clients, who constitute many of the state’s most well-known businesses, executives, institutions and non-profit organizations.

I was named as one of the regions “40 under 40” by the Philadelphia Business Journal and recognized as one of “22 People to Watch” by Philadelphia Magazine. In 2012 I received the prestigious national Daniel Ginsberg Award for his exemplary leadership on behalf of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

I am an adjunct professor teaching issue & crisis management at Temple University. In addition, I write a quarterly column in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly on emerging issues in public relations.

I serve on the Boards of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Philadelphia, Northern Delaware & Susquehanna Valley, The Moyer Foundation, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, Legacy Youth Tennis and Education and the ADL of Eastern Pennsylvania/Southern NJ/Delaware. In addition I serve on the Department of Political Science Board of Visitors at his undergraduate alma mater, Penn State University.

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

JJ: Mastery Schools of Camden, Philadelphia Charters for Excellence, A Renewable America, The Wind Energy Foundation, Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation, Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia, Free to Breathe, Livengrin Foundation, and some others that shall remain nameless because of the sensitivity of the work!

PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

JJ: The strategy. Figuring out how the puzzle pieces in the communications arena come together to make for a great result, whether that means lots of visibility to help a client’s business or organization prosper, or on many occasions how to help them navigate the headwinds of an angry public and political class.

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

JJ: I consider helping a few clients through some challenging periods, including a leadership transition, an investigation by a federal agency and an employee threat, to be some of my better accomplishments that do not – and should not – receive any public recognition!

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

JJ: Consume as much as you can from news sources near and far, in and out of agreement with your views and via different mediums.

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

JJ: Thank You For Smoking.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

JJ: Rittenhouse Square.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

JJ: Wit…of course.

PPRA: What’s your favorite thing to do with your kids in Philly?

JJ: Anything from seeing a show or concert with the girls to finding an old school amusement park and going on the rides (we are especially smitten with Fun Land in Rehoboth).

PPRA: What is your favorite album and who is your favorite musician?

JJ: Album: August and Everything After/Counting Crows  Musician: Foo Fighters

PPRA: What is the biggest major milestone in your life?

JJ: Marrying a South African and raising a household full of girls and one male French Bulldog (sorry, need some levity here!)

PPRA: What tools are out now that you wish you had back when you first started?

JJ: Twitter and Google Alerts.

PPRA: What is your favorite traditional tactic that you still use today?

JJ: I still love good ol’ pen and paper.  I write notes, compile my “to do” lists and make outlines still on paper. It helps me remember things more easily.

PPRA: What is your fondest memory of your first decade working in the field?

JJ: Advancing events when former First Lady Laura Bush was in the area.  I learned so much about event planning, what the media needed and how to run a tight ship.  Plus, she was pure class.

PPRA: What is your favorite PPRA memory?

JJ: Going to the Newseum in DC with a great group of PR gurus and friends.  We took a limo and laughed the whole way down with Dan Cirucci telling story after story.

#PPRAMemberMonday: Art Ellis

Today we are featuring Art Ellis, Vice President for Communications and Member Relations at WHYY. Art has been a PPRA member for 23 years and is a past PPRA Hall of Fame recipient. He has worked for WHYY since 1987, making this year his 30th year with WHYY.

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Facebook: www.facebook.com/art.ellis.12
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/arellis

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

AE: I started at WHYY as a publicist in 1987 and over time picked up additional responsibilities in branding, marketing, on-air promotion and customer service. For the last 18 months I’ve also been managing membership, with a $12.5 million annual goal. Prior to WHYY I held PR positions at Case Western Reserve University and what is now Philadelphia University.

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

AE: My clients are all internal departments at WHYY. One issue we’re paying attention to is how best to reinforce WHYY’s position as the region’s leading non-profit media provider in light of the recent shifts at Philadelphia Media Network.

PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

AE: Constant change in the media field is both a favorite part and the greatest challenge. I get to figure out how to use new technology to better serve the public and at the same time have to deal with the challenges of pitching stories in a shrinking print media world.

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

AE: Working with my team to say farewell to Downtown Abbey. Our goal was to provide a great experience for our viewers while leveraging the popularity of the series to increase engagement and membership. We did everything from gala costume dinners to a City Council proclamation. Who knew 300 people could eat 700 scones in 15 minutes?

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

AE: Working at a media outlet I often receive errant PR pitches. Even the most experienced folks in our profession need to remember the basics: Before calling or sending an email, make sure you research the reporter/editor/program. And keep those pitches short and timely.

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

AE: I’ve watched Broadcast News (which ironically was released the same year I started at WHYY) many times. I’ll always remember the line uttered by William Hurt’s character when he is accused of “crossing the line” of ethical journalism. “It’s hard not to cross it–they just keep moving the little sucker, don’t they?” A great reminder of the need to pay attention to the ethics of any profession.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

AE: My favorite stress reliever is to hike or bike in the Wissahickon section of Fairmount Park.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

AE: Sorry, but I’d prefer a grilled veggie hoagie.

#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.


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/darren.behuniak
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.

#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.


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!