PRSA Rochester Connect Newsletter

August 2019  

President's Message


Welcome! I hope all is well and that you’re enjoying your summer. Thank you for taking the time to catch up on the latest news from PRSA Rochester.

I’m happy to share that many of you have answered our calls for more volunteers. We’ve recruited many of you to join several of our committees. Thank you! These dedicated volunteers are the reasons why we’re able to offer the kind of events and programming that you’ve come to expect of our chapter.

In this newsletter, we hope you’ll find a lot of helpful information. Here are the highlights:  

  • Tips from our May event on how to redefine your “side hustle.”
  • Several opportunities to sharpen your PR skills at upcoming conferences and events.
  • A profile on Emily Drzewiecki, PRSA member, active volunteer and motivated young professional.
  • Ideas on how to navigate those thorny ethical challenges.


If you have any questions about this chapter, or would like to join a volunteer committee, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].


Joy Auch, PRSA Rochester President

Corporate Communications Manager, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

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Upcoming PRSA Rochester Programs and Events

Coffee & Conversations: What to do when a crisis hits – presented by St. John Fisher College and PRSA Rochester

Do you like coffee, networking and connecting with fellow PR peers to discuss relevant PR trends? If so, PRSA’s Coffee and Conversations is the perfect thing for you to attend.

The next Coffee and Conversations, presented by St. John Fisher College, will focus on communications and issues management. This summer session will explore case studies on how organizations and agencies handled a crisis. It will take place on Thursday, August 22 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., in the Wilson Formal Lounge at St. John Fisher College. 

Learn more or register here.

*If you recently ordered a new PRSA name badge, Kristin Tutino, Chair of the PRSA Membership Committee, will have it available for you at this event.

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New APR Designation

We are pleased to announce Rochester chapter member Cynthia Kolko, Community and Public Relations Specialist at Summit Federal Credit Union, has received her APR designation! Congratulations to Cynthia on your commitment to continuous improvement and to the PR profession.

Interested in earning your Accreditation in Public Relations? Contact Patty Corvaia or Jamie Frumusa to learn more.

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PRSA Membership

PRSA’s mission is to build a network of communications professionals who are smarter, better prepared and more connected through each stage of their careers. Does this sound like something you’re seeking? If you want to invest in yourself and in your future success, become a PRSA member today.

Right now, we’ve got some hot summer deals to share:

  • Any new or reinstated PRSA members who apply or reapply to PRSA before August 31, 2019 will received a free Chapter Membership (a $50 value). Use promo code SUMMER19 when registering.
  • Are you a current or rising student interested in joining the PRSSA? New members who sign up before August 31, 2019 will receive a $25 Uber gift card and a free one-year New Pros Section membership (a $20 value) when you join National as an Associate Member which is $60 annually – just use code RIDE25.


For more information on either of these promotions or why to join PRSA, please visit:

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Event Spotlight

Side Hustle Redefined

You asked, we delivered. In a survey conducted a few years ago, many of you expressed an interest in seeing more events geared toward the “solo practitioners” – those pros making it work on their own. One of our May events answered that call: we hosted a discussion and networking event around redefining your “side hustle.”

Jessica Lewis works full time while also running her own PR shop, LáLew Public Relations, on the side. She shared the following tips with the audience for those who are looking to start a freelance business or for those who already are out on their own.

Be sure to have a sound plan in place, but be flexible and make changes as necessary. Planning is important, but sometimes, things happen unexpectedly. It’s important to prepare but be ready to change on a dime if a new opportunity arises.

Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks and some uncalculated risks, too. Being an entrepreneur means taking risks. Some risks require a lot of important research and forethought, but sometimes if something feels right, you have to just dive in and try it.

Hire people who are smarter than you. You never want to have the biggest brain in the room. But it’s not just about being smarter; different people have different types of expertise, and knowing where you can go for help with certain areas of expertise is important.

Always remain a student of your craft. In PR, all of us are always learning, but it’s particularly important to constantly learn if you’re out on your own. Staying knowledgeable about industry trends is crucial to being able to deliver for your clients. 

Know your competitive advantage. What separates you from the rest? Determining this is a critical step to becoming an entrepreneur. If you aren’t sure, doing some research could help you identify your main differentiators and how best to leverage them.

Time management is your best friend. If you are not organized, get organized or hire someone who is organized. For those trying to keep it all together, remember to prioritize. Use a calendaring system that works for you, whether a hard copy or reminders in your phone (or both).

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Ethics Corner

PR ethics in the gig economy

Jeffrey Halik, APR

The Hustle was a Grammy Award-winning pop hit in 1975. Although it was classified as an instrumental, the tune included three words—"Do the Hustle!”—at frequent intervals. Updating that lyric might reflect the steady beat of the booming gig economy—“Do the Side Hustle!”

Attendees at our chapter’s May meeting learned some tips on navigating their way through this new approach to work, and its popularity is measurable. A survey by revealed that more than 44 million Americans are pursuing side gigs. It’s clear that many public relations pros are well down that path as well. What’s more, younger Millennials—ages 18 to 26—are the group most likely to seek side gigs.

Whatever your age, while side jobs can produce a nice bundle of income, they can also present thorny ethical challenges. A quick review of points in three areas of the PRSA Code of Ethics can help avoid trouble.

CompetitionPreserve intellectual property rights in the marketplace. It’s so easy to figure, hey, a photo I bought for one client will work just great for another one … but don’t be caught in such traps. Today, especially online, intellectual property is trackable and rights are enforceable.

Safeguarding ConfidencesSafeguard the confidences and privacy rights of present, former and prospective clients and employees. What you learn on one job might be treasured intelligence somewhere else. However, it’s best to tread carefully in this area. If disclosing specific information hurts the source, keep it to yourself.

Conflicts of InterestDisclose promptly any existing or potential conflict of interest to affected clients or organizations. This could come into play if you have a financial interest in a competitor, or if you represent a competitor without informing your client.

The Hustle was a fun and popular dance of the Disco Era. Don’t let potential challenges of your side hustle put you out of step with solid, ethical PR practices.

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PRSA National and Northeast District News

Not only does Rochester PRSA have you and your best interests in mind, national PRSA and the Northeast District do too! (The district is made up of eight chapters spanning Western NY to Maine.)

The date and location for next year’s district conference is set. Save Friday June 12, 2020 for the annual day-long professional development conference in quaint Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Our colleagues from the Yankee Chapter are excited to host next year and are already working on a day of great keynote speakers, break out sessions and networking. The conference planning committee seeks volunteers particularly for the programming and sponsorship committees.

If you’re looking to become involved with PRSA at the district level, the Northeast District Council is looking for volunteers to share insight, consultation and ideas for a new district website.

And last but not least, this year’s PRSA international conference takes place October 20 - 22 in San Diego. Among the keynote line up are broadcast journalist Laura Ling, former Mexican President Vincente Fox and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Bob Woodward. Register before September 13 to save $100 on registration. More at

Contact Michelle Cometa at [email protected] or Bobbi Lonobile at [email protected] to learn more about any of these topics.

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Member Spotlight

Emily Drzewiecki, Xerox 

Emily Drzewiecki is the Communications Coordinator at Xerox and actively involved in PRSA as a member of the Young Professionals and PRism committees. We sat down with Emily to discuss her career, involvement in PRSA and her favorite part of working in PR.

Where did you go to school, what did you major in and what led you to choose public relations/communications?

I went to the College at Brockport where I majored in Communications and Public Relations with a minor in Graphic Design. An interesting fact about my time in college – I graduated in three years and began taking college courses while I was still in high school. I knew early on I was meant for a career in public relations. Writing was always something I gravitated towards and this passion played heavily into my decision to major in Communications and Public Relations.

What is your role at Xerox, and what does a typical day look like for you?

I’ve worked at Xerox as Communications Coordinator for a little over two years. With lots of recent organizational change, I have been able to take advantage of new opportunities and take on new and more challenging responsibilities. It’s been a great way to accelerate my career and broaden my skillset.

I wear a lot of hats and perform a variety of tasks at Xerox. On any given day, I can be working and liaising with our product managers gathering information on a new product launch, developing pitches, writing releases, working with the media on interviews and sharing input with marketing and advertising teams on bringing creative assets of a Xerox product to life.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve learned throughout your career in public relations?

Don’t be afraid of a challenge. Moments in life where you learn and grow the most come from moments of discomfort and pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone. Also never be afraid to ask for help – it’s not a sign of failure or weakness but shows you’re open to learning and growing.

How long have you been a PRSA member?

I’ve been a member of PRSA ever since I graduated college back in 2013.

What PRSA Rochester committees are you involved in?

I’ve been involved in a few different PRSAcommittees. I’ve been on the PRism committee ever since I first became a member and have previously served on the Young Professionals committee. When the Northeast PRSA conference came to Rochester, I played a role in coordinating speakers and helped with designing the creative for the event. This by far was one of my favorite parts of being actively involved in PRSA. Not only did I have the opportunity to work alongside long-standing members of PRSA, it was a chance for me to collaborate and learn from other members throughout the region.

What do you see as the most valuable part about PRSA?

In addition to my experience volunteering and coordinating the Northeast PRSA conference, the most valuable part of being in PRSA was the mentorship program. I joined this program when I was working in-between internships. It was through this mentorship that I was connected to a fellow PR pro that led me to landing my first full-time position. This experience was invaluable and is something I encourage young and rising PR pros to consider doing themselves.  

When you’re not busy working, what do you like doing in your spare time?

Outside of work you’ll likely find me at Breathe Yoga. Yoga is one of my favorite past-times and is something that helps me unwind from stress in life and work. Travel is another huge passion of mine. I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to amazing and beautiful places around the world including Singapore and Peru. Peru by far was my favorite place traveled so far – the views, hikes and culture were indescribable. I also recently became a volunteer at Causewave and look forward to connecting with another group of passionate people in Rochester working towards helping our community.

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