Apprentice Program Judges

A panel of experienced judges familiar with the Ibero-American Action League and the Rochester PR industry will consider proposed campaigns and choose a winning team.

Shalym O. Nater is currently employed at Ibero-American Action League; the only dual language agency in Upstate New York. He works in the Poder/BRY Mentoring program helping 8th and 9th graders find academic success while developing their social-emotional skills. He has ten years of experience serving youth. Mr.Nater also works for State Senator, Rich M. Funke as Community Relations Liaison for Rochester with a focus in the Latino Community. 

Mr. Nater is a strong advocate for the Latino Community. He is an active member of La Cumbre, a community forum that works to improve the lives of Latinos/Hispanics relating to education, government, health, arts & culture, public safety and economic development. He is a member of the Youth Services Quality Council, part of the Latino Family Day Planning Committee at the MAG, and was most recently elected to the Board of Directors for United Way of Greater Rochester.


Ida Pérez, Director of Children and Youth Services, has 27 years’ experience working with low income communities and underprivileged children and families with a high success rate in helping build confidence in young children while assisting families to become self-sufficient and economically independent. She has a Bachelor in Organizational Management from Roberts Wesleyan and is near completion of the National Directors Early Childhood Leadership Credential from Louis University McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership.

Her expertise is in policy and procedures, staff development,and ensures quality control and compliance for all federal and state mandates. She has a strong foundation and experience in program assessments, children and family assessments, evaluations (program, child and family) and program development. 


Karen S. Olson, APR, recently returned from two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Macedonia. Prior to this experience, she was an assistant professor at SUNY Brockport, where she helped develop a concentration in public relations, taught PR and writing courses, and served as faculty advisor for an award-winning Public Relations Club.

An active member of the PRSA Rochester Chapter, Karen served two terms as a board member, chaired its Diversity Committee from 2008-2012, and worked on three PRSA Northeast District Conference planning committees. She served as president-elect and chair of the Programming Committee in 2012.

During a professional communications career spanning 30+ years, Karen also held PR management positions at the YWCA or Rochester & Monroe County, Monroe County Bar Association, Rochester City School District, Greater Rochester Visitors Association, Rochester Telephone Company, and Frontier Communications. She has worked with a variety of clients as a self-employed PR consultant, freelance writer, and meetings facilitator as well.


David Grome currently serves as account director at Butler/Till, an independent media and communications agency. His experience spans B2C, B2B and public sector. Past and current clients include CenturyLink, Freightliner/Daimler, Verizon Wireless, KeyBank, Milliken and Kodak. Grome previously worked at Eric Mower + Associates (EMA), an independent, full-service marketing communications agency. Over a period of six years, he secured numerous PR wins for clients including Harpers Bazaar, The Wall Street Journal, PCMag, Inc., Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, along with numerous articles from industry trade publications. 

Grome is the author of “Common Wealth,” which shares perspectives and proposed strategies to strengthen the social and economic equity of the Rochester region located in Upstate New York. Common Wealth combines David’s interest in public policy, civic engagement and politics with his professional work as a communications and business strategist. He remains active with many Rochester-based companies and community organizations to forge win-win partnerships in an effort to improve regional awareness of issues related to economic development, community service and social justice. Grome is also the founder of the PR Apprentice Program.



Rachel DeGuzman is president & CEO of 21st Century Arts, a Rochester, NY based, arts consulting business that specializes in organizational development, strategic marketing, planning/implementation of special projects/initiatives, and development of customized approaches for connecting arts and cultural organizations to diverse communities and other business sectors.