Chapter news

We always enjoy our annual Network on the Sound event at the Riverside Yacht Club - great summer evening fun!




 Westchester/Fairfield Chapter________________________________

News Release

PRServing America™ First Place Award Goes To PRSA’s Westchester-Fairfield Chapter For The Successful Hands for Life® Stamford 2012 Campaign
PR Volunteers Honored For Helping 5,141 Learn CPR, Use AEDs In One Day

Fairfield, CT and Westchester, NY, March 7, 2013 — In a single day, Hands for Life® Stamford 2012 taught 5,141 adults how to perform “hands-only” cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use automated electronic defibrillators (AEDs). The pro bono public relations and marketing campaign that helped propel Hands for Life® to success, won first place in the inaugural PRServing America™ awards competition for 2012 programs. The communications effort was developed and implemented by a group of volunteers from the Westchester-Fairfield Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) as part of a team of local communications marketing professionals.

PRServing America™ is a program that recognizes and rewards PRSA chapters and their members for their volunteer efforts to strengthen and preserve their communities. The first place award included $2,500, which the Chapter’s Board plans to apply to support local volunteer programs going forward.

Ken Koprowski of Stamford, then PRSA Westchester/Fairfield Chapter President, chaired Hands for Life® Stamford 2012’s communications and marketing committee. The team volunteered hundreds of hours to create and execute a comprehensive, integrated communications program that generated the enormous visibility necessary to attract the many event participants and volunteers.

“The PR Serving America first place award honors the many local communications professionals who volunteered to create and implement this remarkable campaign to save lives through CPR,” explained Koprowski. “It commends the Hands for Life® communications team, which included PRSA members and other local public relations, marketing, advertising, design, photography, and videography professionals, as well as local media professionals, who volunteered tirelessly over six months. Thanks to their creativity and determination, the event was a record-breaking, life-saving success.”

These volunteers helped turn out the certified trainers, and scores of event volunteers, as well as the 5,141 citizens who on August 24, 2012 set a U.S. record for individuals trained in hands-only CPR, and a world record for individuals trained in the use of AEDs. The Hands for Life® Stamford 2012 campaign involved implementing a comprehensive pro bono communications and marketing program that included creating a graphic identity and a website, advertising in all media, news and special events, brochures, videos, and working with media sponsors to set U.S. and world records. View the 2012 event in a time-lapse video at:

Campaigns entered in the PRServing America™ awards competition were judged by PRSA members and evaluated on the basis of their research, planning, execution, results, and originality, as well as the campaigns’ ability to impact the perception of the public relations profession in a positive way.

• Hands for Life® is preparing two 2013 events to train citizens in the New Canaan, and Weston, CT areas in hands-only CPR and AEDs.  Hands for Life® New Canaan will be on Sunday, April 7, 2013 with a goal of training 2000 people in one day. Hands for Life® Weston is tentatively scheduled for June 1, 2013 with a goal of training 1000.

About the Public Relations Society of America Westchester/Fairfield Chapter

With a mission to “advance the profession and the professional,” PRSA is the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations community. The organization’s Westchester/Fairfield chapter is the leading organization in the region dedicated to advancing the public relations field. With more than 120 members, the chapter holds speaker programs and workshops, fosters networking and sponsors professional peer groups, and offers additional tools and resources to help public relations professionals achieve and exceed their career goals. Other benefits, complementing national PRSA offerings, include a job bank, agency/freelance and vendor directories, mentoring, accreditation preparation and access to leading public relations educational services and tools. The chapter also sponsors a PRSSA (student) chapter at Iona College.

PRSA Westchester/Fairfield Elects 2013 Board, Sets Membership Record For 2012

Purchase, New York
—January 16, 2013—The Public Relations Society of America – Westchester/Fairfield chapter ( today announced the election of its 2013 board. The election follows a record membership increase for the chapter in 2012.

Peter Giles, president of Giles Communications, has been named incoming president, and will continue the work of immediate past president, Ken Koprowski of Koprowski Communications.

“Our chapter helps its members advance their careers and businesses with top quality development programs, best-practice sharing, networking opportunities, and peer programs customized to local member needs,” said Giles. “In the year ahead, we’ll continue to expand the Chapter’s educational and program offerings to align with the broader field of communications and, in the process, attract many more new professionals to our cause.”

The PRSA Westchester/Fairfield Chapter 2013 Board of Directors also includes:

  • Vice President, Colleen Brathwaite (President, Brathwaite Communications, Scarsdale, NY)
  • Director 2011 – 2013, Viveca Woods (Principal, VMW Public Relations, Greenwich, CT)
  • Secretary, Sue Palmer (Communications Manager, Maryknoll Sisters, Ossining, NY)
  • Treasurer, Shirley Johnson (Senior Manager, Public Affairs, Purdue Pharma, Stamford, Connecticut)
  • Director 2011-2013, Don Levin (President, Levin PR and Marketing, Larchmont, NY)
  • Director 2012-2014, Stephanie Harwood (Principal, S.M. Harwood Consulting, New Canaan, CT)
  • Director 2012-2014, Mark Bruce (President, HiTech PR, Scarsdale, NY)
  • Director 2013-2015, Dawn Dankner-Rosen (President, DDR Public Relations, Pleasantville, NY)
  • Director 2013-2015, Dr. Robert J. Petrausch (Associate Professor, Iona College, Department of Mass Communication, New Rochelle, NY)

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the world’s largest public relations professional association. The organization’s Westchester/Fairfield chapter is the leading organization in the region dedicated to advancing the public relations field. With more than 120 members, the chapter holds speaker programs and workshops, fosters networking and sponsors professional peer groups, and offers additional tools and resources to help public relations professionals achieve and exceed their career goals. Other benefits, complementing national PRSA offerings, include a job bank, agency/freelance and vendor directories, mentoring, accreditation preparation and access to leading public relations educational services and tools. The chapter also sponsors a PRSSA (student) chapter at Iona College.

The Chapter was awarded first place in PRSA’s national community service competition, “PR Serving America,” in 2012 for its communications leadership of Hands for Life Stamford 2012, which trained 5,141 volunteers in hands-only CPR and the use of AED’s. For more information, visit

PRSA Westchester/Fairfield Recognized by Iona College PRSSA Chapter 

     Certificate of Appreciation photo

We're grateful for the honor given us by the PRSSA Chapter at Iona College, which our chapter parents. The certificate was bestowed for our chapter's support of the organization, including periodic financial donations that help its members attend the annual PRSA Bateman Competition or fund other projects, such as a campaign promoting a local Habitat for Humanity.


Presenters at 2011 Economic Outlook

Chapter members and guests got a glimpse of the 2011 economic outlook at our November program from Chris Bruhl, left, president and CEO of the Fairfield Business Council, and Dr. Marsha Gordon, right, president and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester.  With them is Chapter President Wendy van Parys.    

Congratulations to Stephanie Gouss, APR, who has earned an Accredited in Public Relations (APR). She is the Public Information Coordinator for the Rockland Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and a member of PRSA and the National School Public Relations Assn. Both are members of
the Universal Accrediation Board, which governs the course of study and examination for APR. Stephanie worked with free personalized study support available through our chapter, sat for a Readiness Review Panel with accredited NSPRA members, and passed a computer-based exam.  She joins other accredited PRSA-WFers, including Stephanie Harwood, Gail Janensch, Don Levin, Kathy Lewton, Laura LindsayLinda Martin, Mike McDermott, Nina Streitfeld, and Grace Zimmerman.

Westchester and Fairfield County journalists joined us for our June 2010 Meet the Media
program, including (from left): Robert Schork, Senior Editor of Westchester Magazine and Executive Editor, 914Inc.; Camilla Herrera, Editor of Stamford Magazine; Kristen Cusato, anchor of Good Morning Connecticut on WTNH/Channel 8; and Rebecca Haynes, Editor of HealthyLife magazine. Photo by Joseph Budzelek

Camilla Herrera, Editor of Stamford Magazine, talks with Ed Steadham of Webster Bank and Tom Mariam
of Mariam Communications at our June 2010 Meet the Media program, at the Hyatt Regency
in Greenwich.  Photo by Joseph Budzelek


Family Centers Wins 2010 Best in Show Mercury

Bill Brucker (L), Director of Communications at Family Centers in Greenwich, accepts the 2010 Best in Show-Tactics Mercury Award from emcee Chris Velardi of News Channel 8. Family Centers also won
Golds in the Annual Report (Not for Profit) and Direct Mail/Direct Response categories, and a Silver in Media Relations. Family Centers tied in Media Relations with Stamford Hospital, which was honored for the launch
of its Mobile Wellness Center. Scott Orstad, Manager of Communications at the hospital, is also a PRSA-WF member. Visit our Mercury Awards page to see winners from each year.


Ken Chandler, Publisher and Editorial Director of the new Westchester Eye, Westchester's only weekly newspaper, spoke at our October 2009 Meet the Media Luncheon. Co-panelist/speakers included: Peter Moses, Editor of Westchester Eye; Catherine Cioffi, Reporter, WCBS-AM NewsRadio 880; John Golden, Reporter, Westchester County Business Journal; Heather Kovar, Anchor/Reporter, News12 Connecticut. Chandler told attendees that the paper's coverage doesn't necessarily stop at the Westchester border but can include Connecticut when relevant.

News12 Connecticut Anchor/Reporter Heather Kovar joined co-panelist Chandler at the October 2009
Meet the Media Luncheon. Kovar noted that she looks for experts that are involved and/or affected by the
book or product they represent.

 Peter Shankman enthusiastically made his points about social media at our March 2009 program in
White Plains. Shankman, the founder of HARO (Help a Reporter Out) made several predictions,
including his belief that there will eventually be "one social network and everyone will be on it."


Entertainment Laywer and entrepreneur Nick Nanton, of Dicks, Nanton & Glass and Celebrity BrandingTM Agency, shared how public relations practitioners can use celebrity branding techniques to promote
themselves and their clients. He spoke at our July 29, 2009 program at the Hyatt Greenwich and
launched his latest book (Big Ideas for Your Business) in New York the following day.


 Don Levin, right, chair of the Agency/Solo Peer Group, at a recent meeting where Group members shared business development tips.


Dr. Bob Petrausch (L), Professor of Mass Communications at Iona College, moderated our June 2009 professional development workshop, “Public Relations: A Primer for Business Executives.” Joining him were panelists (left to right) Joanne Stevens, President, Stevens Media Consulting; the late Harvey Greisman, Senior Vice President of Communications, MasterCard International; and Professor Donald Grunewald, Professor of Management, Hagan School of Business, Iona College. The program was co-sponsored by the Business Council of Westchester and the Business Council of Fairfield County, and was inspired by the “Primer” book authored by Petrausch, Grunewald, and Dr. Giri Dua.


Sue Dieck, APR: We're proud to announce that chapter member Sue Dieck has earned an Accredited in Public Relations (APR) designation. Dieck is the Public Information Officer/District Clerk of Carmel Central School District in Patterson, New York. She achieved APR through the PRSA accreditation study course, with coaching sessions from the chapter’s Accreditation Chair, followed by a Readiness Review Panel portfolio review and assessment, and a computer-based written exam. Congratulations, Sue!


George Pawlush, (L) Director of Public Relation for Greenwich Hospital, chats with Noreen McNicholas, Director of Marketing and Communications for St. Vincent’s Medical Center, during a Meet the Media luncheon.

Social media marketing pro Andrew Di Fiore, president of Answer Yes Interactive, discusses with PRSA member Wendy Van Parys how marketing can be improved by taking advantage of new technology, at our March 12, 2008 program.  Photo: Polly Geller, Geller, Grace & Associates

Why Should the Boss Listen to You?

Westchester/Fairfield Chapter member (and 2007 Mercury Practitioner of the Year honoree) Jim Lukaszewski, APR, Fellow PRSA, of The Lukaszewski Group, has authored Why Should the Boss Listen to You? The 7 Disciplines of the Trusted Strategic Advisor (Jossey-Bass), which TIME in its March 24 issue calls the “book for the aspiring second banana.” More information is on the TLG website at


Greg Miller, President of Marketcom PR, outlined how search engine technology is changing public relations and media, during our November 7, 2007 program “Are You Ready for Google Relations? How Google Changed Media Relations”. A podcast of the program is available to members.   Photo by P. Geller.

(L-R): Carol Latter, editor of CT Business Magazine; Mary Lynn Mitcham, editor-in-chief of InTown Westchester; Catherine Censor, editor-in-chief of The WAG; and Dale Salm, managing editor of Connecticut Magazine discussed how PR professionals can gain visibility for organizations in their magazines at our October 2007 “Meet the Media” luncheon meeting. A podcast of the program is available to PRSA-WF members.

Jessica Rao (left) of ARC Communications, with David Silbergleit of PIMS, which sponsored our October 2007 “Meet the Media” meeting.

Karen Roberts (left), Media Relations Director, Harquin Creative Group, discusses ways to gain visibility in Fairfield and Westchester County media with Monique Haygood, Strategic Sales Development Manager, InTown Magazine, at the October Meet the Media luncheon. (All photos by Polly Geller, Geller Grace & Associates.

David Meerman Scott, online-thought leadership expert and author of best-seller The New Rules of Marketing and PR, provides experience-based tips with some 60 professionals at our September 2007 luncheon meeting. Scott, who has developed innovative, cost-effective programs that have helped sell more than $1 billion worth of products and services, recommended using such channels as blogs, video, e-books and white papers, along with news releases, to reach buyers directly. “Think like a publisher,” he advised. “You are what you publish and what others publish about you.” A podcast of the program is available to PRSA-WF members.

Doug Campbell, The Success Coach, and Wendy Van Parys of WVP Marketing Communications network at the Scott program.

Valerie Newton of Imagemakers International and David Meerman Scott, with copies of his book.

(Above and below): Members of the Westchester/Fairfield, Southern Connecticut and Connecticut Valley chapters mixed and mingled on the waterfront in New Haven at the June 2007 Mercury Awards Dinner. The annual competition and event is  open to practitioners in the Westchester, Connecticut and Southern Massachusetts area. Visit our Mercury page to see photos of the W/F winners and a complete list of winners throughout the region. 


Hector Bauza (l) president of of Bauza & Associates chats with Carlos Gonzales of La Guia Hispana during our June "How to Reach the Hispanic Market", featuring Bauza and his associate Wilson Camelo.

Wilson Camelo (right) vice president of Bauza & Associates, and a luncheon guest. Camelo is also president of the Southern Connecticut Chapter of PRSA.

Randall Wolf, Director of Photography for The Journal News/, gave advice for placements during our May 2007 “Meet the Media” program.

Wolf was joined by Bob Marrone, the host of “Good Morning, Westchester” on WVOX/WVIP.

Panelists(l-r) Don Levin, president of Levin Public Relations & Marketing; Tom Mariam, president of Mariam Communications LLC; Meryl Moss, founder of Meryl L. Moss Media Relations; and Peter Schelfhaudt, CEO of Creative Partners, shared expertise at our March 2007 PD workshop on how to “Start and Build Your Own PR/Marketing Communications Practice.” The program at Manhattanville College provided more than 60 tips on topics including whether to be a specialist or a generalist, how to use technology to advantage, how to garner new business, and how to obtain client referrals. A podcast is available for members.

Tom Mariam (left), 2007 program chair of the Westchester/Fairfield PRSA chapter, thanks Andy Cooper (right), principal and co-founder of CooperKatz & Company, for speaking at our March luncheon meeting. Cooper, former president of Burson-Marsteller New York, discussed why public relations is overtaking advertising as marketers' favorite communications discipline and how the current communications environment plays to PR's unique strengths. A podcast is available for PRSA members.


Lenny Laskowski, president of Stratford-based LJL Seminars and an author and expert on Internet marketing, told about 75 people at our February 2007 luncheon how to generate business online. Some attendees said they planned to revise websites to incorporate his advice, which included pointers on search engine optimization and converting visitors to customers. A podcast will be posted shortly for PRSA members.

Eryn Taylor, Ketchum senior research associate, reported at our January 2007 luncheon on results of a “Media Myths & Realities” media-usage survey conducted by her firm and the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Strategic Public Relations Center. She also offered related tips. A podcast is available for PRSA members, as is a news story by The Advocate.

In December 2006, the Westchester/Fairfield PRSA chapter membership elected 2007 officers and directors who began serving in January 2007. From left to right are Kate Petrov, secretary; Colleen Brathwaite, president; Stephanie Harwood, APR, treasurer; Kathy Failla, vice president; and Robin Russo, director. Jeff Christensen, also elected a director, is not pictured.  


AlanTowers, reputation management expert and chair of TowersGroup, part of Middleberg Communications, offered "5 Rules for Managing Your Company's Reputation" at our November 2006 luncheon. He discussed proactive management, its bottom-line importance, and how PR professionals can boost their reputation management role. PRSA members may access a podcast on our website.

Rosemarie Anner, (L-R) executive editor of Greenwich Magazine and editor of In Good Taste; Frank Brill, business editor of The Journal News; Ed Baig, "Personal Tech" columnist for USA Today; and Robyn Walensky, reporter and anchor for Fox News Radio shared what they like, don’t like, and how to work with them during our October 2006 “Meet the Media” luncheon. A podcast of the programis accessible to members.  

Bob Petrausch, Ed.D., leads a discussion on how we process information and its influence on web site development, at our September 2006 program. Petrausch is 2006 president of the PRSA-WF Chapter and faculty advisor of the PRSSA Iona College chapter, where he is Assistant Professor of Mass Communication. The basis of the program was a Vocus research study, “What Journalists Want to See On Your Web Site,” a copy of which is available to PRSA members on our Articles and Information page.   

Nina Streitfeld, APR, Fellow PRSA attends the September program.


Ken Lempit (L),president of Austin Lawrence Group, and Adam Yates, director of corporate communications for Fujifilm, discussed examples, benefits and challenges of integrated marketing communications at our June professional development workshop. Mark Misercola (not pictured), communications strategist at Deutsche Bank, joined them on the panel at Manhattanville College, where Yates and Misercola teach integrated marketing communications in a master’s degree program. 

Panelist Adam Yates (R),director of corporate communications for Fujifilm,joins workshop organizer Don Levin of Levin Public Relations & Marketing, and Andrea Covell, Ph.D., assistant dean of Manhattanville’s School of Graduate & Professional Studies.

Jeff Christensen (L) talks with a guest during our June program, where he demonstrated how practitioners can make online video part of their public relations and marketing programs. Chapter members may download a podcast of the program.

The 2006 Tavcar Dinner: moderator Jim Lukaszewski (left), chairman of The Lukaszewski Group, gathers with speakers Jack O'Dwyer, editor-in-chief of Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter; Sandra Dolbow O'Loughlin, business reporter with Brandweek; and Phil Hall, editor of PR News. The speaker panel debated “PR at the Precipice” at the May event. PRSA members may access a podcast of the debate.

Jack O'Dwyer makes a point as Phil Hall
looks on.
Jim Lukaszewski hands the mike to Garrett Glaser
of Strategy XXI Group Ltd., during the Q&A session.


Caryn McBride, , Executive Editor, Fairfield County and Westchester County Business Journals, was one of three top journalists who shared tips on how to work with her publications, at our March  “Meet the Media” luncheon in Greenwich. PRSA members may download the podcast of the program.

Charles Monagan, Editor, Connecticut Magazine, outlined the story ideas he is looking for, as Kate Thompson, Greenwich Family YMCA, and Donna Moriarty, New York Medical College, listen.

Sean Herbert, News Director, Regional News Network (RNN-TV), was the third journalist at the media luncheon, and reminded the audience to think in terms of visuals when seeking TV coverage.

Joan Damico of Damico Communicationstold ushow to use podcasts and RSS at our January program. Damico’s firm provides business-to-business direct and interactive marketing for high tech and industrial companies, and she is also the author of the monthly newsletter Integrated Marcom Minute. PRSA members may hear her advice by podcast.

In December 2005, the Westchester/Fairfield PRSA chapter membership elected the 2006 officers and board of directors. From left to right are: Polly Geller, Mary Ellen McLean, Bob Petrausch, Tom Mariam, Stephanie Harwood, APR, and Chris Curren.


Jim Thompson and Dima Joseph of WGCH Radio talk with Ian Kerr (right), President Emeritus of the PRSA Westchester/Fairfield chapter during the October “Meet the Media” PRSA luncheon in Greenwich. The event featured Thompson, Joseph and Kendra Farn, WNBC-TV Westchester; Dan Greenfield, The Journal-News; and Jim Zebora, Greenwich Time and Stamford Advocate, who provided detailed information on how to “pitch and place” with their media and chatted with guests.

Bryan Mattimore
Gary Fraser

At our September Creativity Workshop Bryan Mattimore and Gary Fraser of The Growth Engine Co. led an enthusiastic group through you-can-actually-use-these techniques for spurring new ideas, drawing on their experience in helping Fortune companies and others develop ideas for new product/ new service creation and innovative marketing solutions as part of long-term client relationships. TGE also handles shorter, three-to-six month client assignments that include consumer insight development, focused ideation, and consumer validation phases. Their “ideation” techniques derive from studies that show how minds work to create ideas, and includes brainwalking and whiteboarding, a graphic process that enables large and small groups to share ideas and see the results of their contributions.
Workshop topics of The Growth Engine include Brand Communications, Team Ideation Technique Training, Sales Meeting Creative Facilitation, War Gaming and more.

Rita Cosby of MSNBC’s nightly “Live & Direct” was the guest speaker for the 2005 Tavcar event, held on September 18. This annual program is co-sponsored by the Westchester/Fairfield Chapter of PRSA and FCPRA, to honor the late Larry Tavcar, who was active in both organizations and led forums to discuss and debate issues in the public relations profession. From left to right: Mary Ellen McLean, PRSA Director; Bob Petrausch, PRSA President; Tom Bednarek; Rita Cosby; and Marven Moss, FCPRA board member. Cosby returned from New Orleans the night before and shared her first-hand experiences, as well as discussing broadcast journalism and her plans to continue coverage of Katrina reconstruction efforts. PRSA members can read the O’Dwyer’s story on the event.

Emcee Brian Shactman (far left), NBC 30 News anchor, joins the three PRSA Connecticut chapter presidents at the 2005 Mercury Awards event, held in June at the Long Wharf Theatre. From left to right: Bob Petrausch, Westchester/Fairfield Chapter; Sandy St. Pierre Nessing, So. Connecticut Chapter; and Howard Drescher, APR, CT Valley Chapter. Winning chapter members included Don Levin, APR, Fellow PRSA, who was named 2005 Outstanding Practitioner of the Year, and Stephanie Harwood, APR, who won a Gold Mercury in the Newsletter category.

Bob Petrausch accepts the Outstanding Practitioner of the Year Award on behalf of Don Levin, APR, Fellow PRSA at the 2005 Mercury Awards event in New Haven.

Click here for the complete story and list of winners.

Please go to the Mercury Awards for photos of the Westchester/Fairfield winners.

Eva Wisnik, President. Wisnik Career Services (left) talks with Susan Carnes of Applied Psychological Techniques following Wisnik's program “Working with Challenging Personalities” in May.

(Left to right): Betsy McGrath of BGM Communication, consultant Mary Ellen McLean and Kathy van Duzer of KRV Enterprises were among those attending the Wisnik program. McLean has also joined the board of the PRSA Westchester/Fairfield PRSA chapter, as a Director.

Tom Appleby, news director and anchor of News 12 Connecticut shares placement tips at the February “Meet the Media” program. For a full summary of the program, PRSA members may log in and go to the Articles/Info section.

(From left to right): Tom Mariam, PRSA Chapter program chair, joins guest speakers Merri Rosenberg, a freelance writer for the The New York Times' “Westchester” section; Eileen Gunn, freelance writer for The Wall Street Journal's and others, and Laurie Yarnell, features editor of Westchester Magazine at the “Meet the Media” program. The three joined news anchor Tom Appleby.