Chapter Events


    In Chapter Events, News on

    PRSA Boston’s 2018 Nominating Committee of past presidents is pleased to put forth this talented Board and Leadership Slate for the membership’s vote at the Annual Meeting on November 16, 2017:

    2018 OFFICERS

    President 2018 (previously voted)
    Erin Callanan, APR
    President, Callanan & Klein

    Immediate Past President
    Dan Dent, APR
    Media Relations Manager, Draper

    Jeff Caywood
    Director, Headquarters Communications, GE

    Cheryl Wheeler
    Director of Global Leadership + Associate Engagement Communications, Novartis

    VP Programming Co-Chair
    Michele Snyder
    Consultant, Snyder Communications

    VP Programming Co-Chair
    Rhiannon D’Angelo
    Senior Media Specialist, Eversource Energy

    VP Membership Co-Chair
    Matt Bashalany
    Senior Communications Manager, FTI Consulting

    VP Membership Co-Chair
    Eric Berman
    Director of Communications, Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®

    Director-at-Large/Content (thru 2019)
    Sofia Coon
    US PR Manager, kununu US

    Director-at-Large/Diversity (thru 2019)
    Kelley Chun
    President, Kelley Chunn & Associates

    Director-at-Large (thru 2020)
    Amy Riemer
    President, Riemer Communications

    Chapter PRSA Delegate (thru 2019)
    Diane Pardes, APR
    President, Pardes Communications

    Chapter PRSA Delegate (thru 2019)
    Josh Gitelson, APR
    Executive Managing Director, RF Binder

    Chapter PRSA Delegate (thru 2020)
    Loring Barnes, APR, Fellow PRSA
    CCO, Clarity


    Content Chair
    Joshua Milne
    President, Joshua Milne Public Relations

    Accreditation + Awards Chair
    Josh Gitelson, APR
    Executive Managing Director, RF Binder

    Social Media Chair
    Shannon Giordano
    President, Serendipity Social Media

    Young Professional Network (YPN) Chair
    Kristin Foley
    Senior Account Executive, Sleek Machine

    Faculty Forum Chair
    Maureen O’Connell
    Subject Matter Expert, Bay Path University

    PRSSA + College Co-Liaison
    Nikki Vergakes
    PR Specialist, Trevi Communications

    PRSSA + College Co-Liaison
    Ermolande Jean-Simon
    Student Programs Manager, New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University

    Ethics Chair
    Nancy Sterling, APR, Fellow PRSA
    Senior Vice President, Strategic Communications, ML Strategies

    Independent Practitioner Network (IPN) Chair
    Henry Stimpson, APR
    President, Stimpson Communications

    The Ted Chaloner Learning Fund Liaison
    Dan Dent, APR
    Media Relations Manager, Draper


    We wish to congratulate our colleagues and thank their 2017 predecessors for going above and beyond for their service to our 300+ strong members. This talent pool points to a tremendous year of networking and programming ahead.





  • PRSA wrapped up its annual International Conference, which was hosted by the Northeast District’s own Boston chapter!

    In Career, Chapter Events, ICON 2017 on

    Here is how your district was represented and recognized:

    The Boston Chapter Leadership, including president Dan Dent and president-elect Erin Callanan (who is also our 2018 District Chair-Elect!), put on an amazing show! There were nearly 1,000 professionals in attendance for the Leadership Rally, PRSA’s National Assembly, and the 100+ sessions offered throughout the International Conference.

    Tony D’Angleo, APR, Fellow PRSA, from the Central New York Chapter, will be the 2018 Chair of PRSA’s National Board of Directors! (Talk about representation for the Northeast within PRSA!)  As Chair-Elect this year, Tony planned and ran the 2-day Leadership Rally on Friday and Saturday, which is a free chapter leader training program PRSA offers in conjunction with the International Conference every year.

    Crystal DeStefano, APR, past Northeast District Chair, attended the Leadership Rally, PRSA’s National Assembly, and served throughout the International Conference in her new role as PRSA’s Northeast Regional Representative.

    Every chapter in the district was represented at the Leadership Rally and at the National Assembly, where we were able to voice opinions, share ideas and vote on proposed changes to PRSA’s national bylaws. Each of your chapters were represented by your delegate(s), and our district vote was carried by our current District Chair Scott Fraser.

    Past Northeast District Chair and past Yankee Chapter President Jane Law presented, explained and discussed all of the proposed bylaws changes to the National Assembly in her role as Co-Chair of PRSA’s Governance Committee.

     Maria Russell, APR, Fellow PRSA, from the Central New York Chapter, received the annual Patrick Jackson Award for Distinguished Service to PRSA!

    Three members from our district were inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows during this year’s conference: Loring Barnes, APR, Boston Chapter past president; Nancy Sterling, APR, from the Boston chapter; and Joseph A. Brennan, Ph.D., APR, from the Capital Region Chapter. A great honor!

    Dan Dent, Boston Chapter president, added a public relations textbook and some swag from our PRXNE17 District Conference this year into a time capsule that PRSA National will open in 30 years – on PRSA’s 100th anniversary.

    Almost 100 members from our district attended these events! And dozens of students from PRSSA chapters across the district attended the PRSSA National Conference in Boston,  held simultaneously with PRSA’s International Conference.

  • FAST FIVE: Five Things Mike Rush Learned in 10 Years Consumer PR

    In Chapter Events, Fast Five on
    For over a decade, Mike has led successful, award-winning integrated campaigns for both heritage and challenger brands in the home, tech, travel, pet and publishing sectors. Since joining 360PR in 2007, Mike has developed numerous influencer-driven campaigns, from pairing Liberty Mutual Insurance with HGTV’s Chip Wade for a DIY homeowner campaign and spearheading the company’s safe driving program with NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer, to a consumer health campaign called “what’s your healthy?” for Aetna featuring The Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney.  Mike has worked with countless HGTV personalities, authors, celebrities and physicians & veterinarians-to-the-stars, from Richard Simmons to The Bachelor’s Trista Sutter. His passion for home design and DIY has also inspired work for such clients as Cree LED lighting and Honeywell portable appliances. He created the multi-year “America’s Coziest Cities” initiative for Honeywell heaters, which taps environmental experts to define what makes a home “cozy” in winter, generating targeted consumer lifestyle coverage on Good Housekeeping, This Old House, Elle Décor, House Beautiful, The Weather Channel, Accuweather and more. 
    Prior to joining 360PR, Mike worked at Weber Shandwick, where he was nominated for PRWeek’s Young Professional of the Year for his work on Ocean Spray’s “Bogs Across America” campaign, CVS/pharmacy, and Staples. Mike has served on the board of the Public Relations Society of America’s Boston chapter, overseeing educational programming. Mike has also spoken at the PROI Worldwide Global Summit and is the agency’s representative in the PROI Consumer Group.  In his spare time, weather permitting, he can be found sailing around the Boston Harbor, Cape Cod + Islands.
    How do you identify and connect celebrities with brands?
    As an agency, we have a formalized, documented process for connecting brands with third-party experts, whether they be musicians, celebrities, chefs, etc. Our process begins with a mapping exercise where we examine a short-list of potential spokespersons’ spheres of influence – their visibility (e.g. Q score), social reach, skill set/expertise, credibility, their own brand / tone of voice, etc., and how well that matches the client and story, the audience the client is trying to reach and how the person augments the client’s current footprint across channels. We also conduct a comprehensive audit to determine how the spokesperson has been discussed and covered in media to ensure we stay ahead of any potential issues that could arise during the contract term. We will conduct a professional background check on spokespeople before inking a deal as well. This helps ensure less worry down the road and that our clients are protected to the fullest degree.
    What should brands keep in mind when negotiating a contract?
    When negotiating a contract, flexibility is key. Spokespeople and their agents often think in terms of 8-hour service days – but it is often difficult to fit all PR activity into one day, especially if it is a set date, and media often have specific needs or asks that fall outside those eight hours. TV producers and guest bookers in particular need flexibility, and celebrity spokesperson contracts should reflect how PR works. One approach is to structure an agreement based on activity versus consecutive hours—e.g. a guaranteed number of phone and email interviews, a set number of television or Facebook Live interviews that can be conducted at any point during the term.  Flexibility often commands a higher price tag but will maximize your PR program’s success.  Service days are ideal for media stunts and events, but are not ideal for longer-term agreements when PR needs to be “always on.”
    What is one of the biggest challenges working with celebrities?
    Message training spokespeople, particularly celebrities, is perhaps the most difficult aspect of engagement, aside from negotiating a contract with a prickly agent! It is important to remember that third-party spokespeople are not brand experts nor are they as well-versed in your brand as an internal spokesperson would be. I have seen clients try to spoon-feed pages of key messages unsuccessfully. My recommendation is to condense key messages to *one* thing the spokesperson *must* say in every interview for it to be a success, followed by 1-2 follow-up messages they can add to elaborate. These messages are most effective and authentic when tied to a personal story or anecdote—the personal story is established early on in the spokesperson vetting process.  These top 2-3 key messages are best presented when laid out in a placemat format—and in large, bold font so it can be easily printed as a cheat sheet directly before going into a television interview or phone briefing. Brevity is key. Attention spans are typically shorter with celebrities and interview topics can go wildly off course based on current events, so it is crucial to coach the expert on “bridging” techniques so they can bring a discussion back to your brand’s story.
    What does every brand need to know about FTC guidelines when engaging an influencer?
    The FTC guidelines on paid spokesperson disclosure are ever-evolving – but when in doubt, it’s important to remember that transparency is key. Put yourself in the shoes of the average American, and if you’re watching a segment and it is not crystal clear that the talent is working in partnership with and paid by the brand that they are promoting, then it should and needs to be. Build this disclosure requirement into your contract so your client is protected, though it is YOUR responsibility to ensure disclosure happens.  Same goes for social media – sponsored posts must have disclosure upfront so that the average user scrolling through content sees that a post is sponsored at a glance.  Many blue-chip brands were recently slammed this year by the FTC for putting their disclosure, for example #Ad, below the break on Instagram posts.  While they were using the correct disclosure, consumers had to click “more” to view the full copy/caption with the disclosure. That does not mean you need to put #Ad at the beginning of every post, but it should appear before the fold.  And, the FTC has declared #spon is not clear enough – it should say #ad or #sponsored fully spelled out.  And, celebrities who received product for free outside of a contractual agreement need to disclose they were gifted it.  I could go on!
    Have you ever had any random or bizarre contract asks for celebrities?
    No – but my two parting pieces of advice would be: (1) Know your audiences – specifically, that your client is one of them! Don’t forget to build in guaranteed facetime for your celebrity and your client’s senior executives. The PR program might be a smashing success, but what will be remembered will be that intimate dinner, autograph or employee engagement activity you ensured your client received as part of the deal. (2) Remember when working with networks like ABC or HGTV or leagues like NASCAR or the NFL that when you enlist a celebrity, you don’t normally have the rights to mention these networks in your media materials!  This can create a hurdle if your spokesperson is up-and-coming and not a household name. Make sure to clarify this contractually and that you set expectations with your client.
  • FAST FIVE: Five Things Terry Lyons Learned in 30 Years of Sports PR

    In Chapter Events on

    Widely known in the sports world for his 26-year career helping build the NBA into a globally recognized sports, business and philanthropic property, Terry Lyons has successfully transitioned into a second career as an entrepreneur in the world of communications consulting, brand-building and creating multimedia ventures in the sports, events/attractions and entertainment fields.

    During his nearly three decades at the NBA, Lyons worked closely with Commissioner David Stern and the NBA’s talented staff to lead the league’s international mission to maximize worldwide business, sports and media opportunities. Beginning in 1992, Terry supervised all international communications, public relations and media activities, and his work with the USA Basketball teams from 1992-2008 Olympic Games helped make the phrase “Dream Team” a part of sports lore.

    In the summer of 2008, he relocated to Boston and launched Terry Lyons Sports Marketing LLC, where he consults with many companies in the business, sports venture capital, event marketing, technology and entertainment industries.

    Simply put, he helps both mature companies and start-ups navigate the sports industry. He also runs – a sports site which concentrates on Boston’s pro teams.

    We caught up with Terry a few weeks before the PRSA Boston panel discussion on “Celebrity Endorsement PR: Making It Work” to ask him what he has learned during his 30-year career in PR:

    Q – What’s the most important factor for PR professionals to realize when they’re working with athletes as celebrity spokespeople?

    A – Finding the right fit for the athlete and his/her role as spokesperson with the product or company is the key issue to establish, right from the start. In some cases, it’s a simple deal, maybe just shooting a commercial spot. I always found NBA players to be at their best when they understood the role completely and were involved in deciding exactly what they’d do for the company. Some players are more outgoing and can do the hospitality side, some are great with kids and can do the Community Relations events. It’s important to find out what they like and more importantly, what they DON’T like to do.

    Q – Can you give a specific example?

    A – Yes. One of the “toughest” guys I worked with in my years at the NBA and also with my responsibilities with USA Basketball was Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs. Tim doesn’t enjoy media commitments and photo shoots, but fully understood it was part of his job. Sometimes, he treated it like a trip to the dentist for root canal. It took a while, but I gradually developed a strong enough relationship to get an understanding of where he stood, and I also realized the Spurs didn’t “push” him too hard and that was what he was used to.

    I eased up, made some changes in the way we operated, but then also realized Tim just loved working with kids. Instead of heavy media commitments, he was a natural at the CR events. It ended up working out very well and, now, he’s one of the NBA players I truly consider a friend. We came full circle.

    Q – What’s changed the most since you began your career at the NBA?

    A – Well, everything! But, if I had to pick one thing, in general, it’s the impact of social media. Keep in mind, we went from broadcast TV to cable TV to satellite TV to worldwide TV with a thousand channels of digital everything. The Internet, obviously, changed everything for the NBA to be able to deliver information, photos, video and game highlights – everywhere. We used to have to fax information around or going further back – we actually had to mail it.

    The immediacy of social media and its impact on and off the court, intruding into the athletes’ personal lives and space is the biggest change.

    Q – Who are some of the biggest stars or maybe call them celebrities, that you worked with and what did you learn?

    A – I was very fortunate with my timing at the NBA, as I started right as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were rookies. They set a standard and were just great to work with, especially Magic who just loved the attention. From there, it was a torch passing of sorts to Michael Jordan. Then we had the Dream Team, which changed everything for the NBA. It was a springboard for our global business. After that, along came about 100 international players, from the great Arvydas Sabonis of Lithuania to Dirk Nowitzki of Germany to Yao Ming of China. Each had his own amazing and significant impact, as did so many others, like Dikembe Mutombo and his role as a true Ambassador.

    What I learned was the simplest advice you can provide, a player (or celeb) has to “be themselves.” Charles Barkley is the best example of that!

    Q – Since relocating to Boston, who is the most impactful sports celebrity you’ve worked with and what was your experience?

    A – This past year, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Kathrine Switzer, the women’s long-distance runner who paved the way for women to run in the Boston marathon and compete in all sports really.

    Kathrine was the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon, and her story of running in 1967 but being – literally – accosted by a race official who did not want her to run is well documented. Now at age 70, she ran Boston last April to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her first race.

    Kathrine co-founded 261 Fearless, a not for profit created to encourage women to run, walk, just “get out there” and participate in running. It’s just great. I find it truly inspirational, and that’s the thing I’ve learned. As I got older, so do others, but we all must remain young and change with the world to continue to make an impact. Ms. Switzer is doing her thing, still running marathons, and I do my thing – help companies navigate the sports world in 2017 and beyond. It’s great!

    To sign up to attend the event, click on the following link to purchase tickets.


    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at and pitch your subject expert!

  • Fast 5 Questions with Liberty Mutual Insurance’s Jenna Lebel

    In Chapter Events on

    Jenna Lebel serves as AVP and Head of Digital Marketing at Liberty Mutual Insurance. At Liberty, Jenna has led numerous successful social media campaigns, including the social marketing activation of the company’s Team USA sponsorship for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Her campaign work has been covered in AdAge, AdWeek, USA Today, Boston Globe, Sports Business Journal and more. Jenna has also helped Liberty Mutual establish a Social Media Center of Excellence, acting as an internal consultancy for all stakeholders across the organization who wish to implement social media programs.

    We’re checking in with Jenna, a panelist for our June 7 program, Immersive Storytelling: Transforming Brand Experiences Online, on her career inspiration and the latest trends in social media.

    Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in digital and social media?

    A: I always knew I wanted to be a marketer. When Facebook opened their platform beyond the college market, I was inspired by the unique opportunity it presented for brands to meaningfully connect with consumers in new and unexpected ways. The emergence and evolution of Facebook and other social platforms only reinforced that I had made the right decision career wise, and it’s even more rewarding to leverage this daily at Liberty Mutual.

    Q. How are you leveraging social media to engage with current customers of Liberty Mutual Insurance?

    A: About two years ago, we launched Social Care to offer service and solutions to our customers via social media. We have customer service reps available seven days a week across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, answering questions ranging from claims to coverage. We also look for opportunities to surprise customers who share their positive Liberty Mutual experiences across social media. We’re committed to providing our customers quick and quality service in the channels they choose.

    Q. What tools do you use to analyze the impact and value of your social media efforts?

    A: The short answer is that we measure a lot. As an insurance company, it’s probably no surprise that we love data. We run various brand studies on our social campaigns to measure lifts across brand metrics like awareness, consideration, likeability, as well as social listening on things like sentiment, engagement and share of voice.

    Q. Brands are using various media tools to create immersive storytelling experiences. How is Liberty Mutual using AR and VR in its immersive storytelling initiatives? 

    A: We’ve experimented in this space several times. Our first foray was working directly with Facebook to create a 360° video for the platform. We were trying to promote our 24/7 roadside assistance benefit in a compelling and disruptive way. Together with Facebook, we created a choose-your-own adventure style 360° video that allows the viewer to explore different scenes of the same story– which is a girl stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Of course, one of the scenes included Liberty Mutual’s roadside assistance coming to her rescue. We learned a lot about the technology and how consumers were viewing and interacting with it. We took those learnings and applied them to other executions including a partnership with The Ellen DeGeneres Show to create another 360° video featuring Ellen and friends. We’ll continue to look for ways to leverage these emerging visual technologies to tell stories in compelling and disruptive ways.

    Q. What is Liberty Mutual doing to attract and retain top Social and Digital talent?

    A: Liberty Mutual is really invested in attracting and developing top talent. Our new CMO has a strong vision to build a world-class marketing organization focused on developing highly skilled, cross-trained marketing talent through meticulous hires, robust training and talent development and continuing to showcase the innovative and breakthrough marketing initiatives we are doing as a brand.


    To attend the Immersive Storytelling event, click on the following link to purchase tickets.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos


    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at and pitch your subject expert!



  • Fast 5: Making Social Media a Judgement Free Zone

    Jenna Reynolds, Planet Fitness

    @JennaAReynolds  @PlanetFitness


    Jenna Reynolds is a proud tiny-house owner and dog mom who spends her days as a Digital Communities Manager professional at Planet Fitness World Headquarters, the home of the Judgement Free Zone. She spearheaded the creation of Planet of Triumphs, the company’s very own social community, where elevating positivity and inspiring members is the goal.

    We caught up with Jenna to talk about how social media can help people achieve their fitness goals, what she is looking forward to at the Social Media Summit, and what life is like in a tiny house.

    Q. Just when the news feed couldn’t seem to be any more crowded, the flow of information seems to have picked up to a dizzying pace. How can brands break through that noise?

    A. Every brand’s focus should be on what works for them and their brand personality. Planet Fitness members’ feeds are filled with the latest fitness and diet trends. We aim to break through that noise by empowering our members with positive messaging about our Judgement Free Zone and by celebrating their fitness triumphs, big and small.

    Q. What was the drive behind creating Planet of Triumphs? Why was it important to create a social community for Planet Fitness?

    A. We have seen first-hand the amazing things that are possible when our members encourage and support one another in our gyms. We wanted to forge a special community where they could do so digitally as well. The platform has truly taken on a life of its own and our members have used it to detail their fitness journeys, cheer each other on and ask for support when they need it.

    We surveyed a focus group of our members, and more than 70% said that they don’t post their fitness experiences on traditional social channels as they are afraid of being judged; Planet of Triumphs provides them a place where they can feel comfortable doing so.

    The platform has become an important part of our brand, and our CEO visits the site every day to learn about our members’ stories and offer words of encouragement. As a company, we are diligent about keeping the site from becoming overly promotional and instead have let our members build their own community and celebrate their everyday wins.

    Q. What advice would you give brands that are nervous about engaging on social media?

    A. It is all about trust. Using social media helps immediately open up direct feedback and establish trust between your brand and consumers. It isn’t just about pushing out content. It should also be about how your fans respond and the learnings that you can distill from that, not just in terms of social media, but in all areas of your business.

    Additionally, my biggest piece of advice would be to closely monitor your response volume and ensure that your social media strategy is equipped to handle it.

    Overall, don’t overthink it. You’ve got this!

    Q. What are you most looking forward to about the Social Media Summit?

    Lanyards. Besides that, connecting with other social media advocates. No matter the industry, it is always a positive learning experience to hear about other brands’ successes and challenges, along with the trends that they are witnessing, when it comes to social media.

    Q. You say you are a tiny-house owner. Doesn’t it get a little cramped?

    The winter months can test my two dogs’ patience but otherwise, we utilize our yard which has a mini outdoor theater, fire pit, dining area, etc.  I am social by profession and personality, so not being able to entertain a lot of people has been the biggest challenge; however, I am also addicted to re-decorating, so living in a smaller space has helped me to successfully limit my HomeGoods visits.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics ( blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is on the fly! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, authors’ books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email Joshua Milne at ( and pitch your subject expert!