Online Profiles: 10 Ways To Improve Yours

How to Use LinkedIn for Business and Personal Growth

Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Online profiles play a very important role in your job search.  Profiles can help recruiters find you and, if a hiring manager is interested in your resume, they will check you online.  Of all the online sites, LinkedIn is probably the most important site.  Take the time to review your profile and make the following changes:

  1.  Your headline.  On LinkedIn, your headline defaults to your current role at your current company.  The headline option gives you 120 characters to share more information about yourself.  Since this is the first thing viewers will see about you, make sure it makes you stand out from the crowd.
  2.  Keep SEO in mind.  If someone is searching, they would use keywords.  Make sure your keywords are up-to-date and industry standard.  You can incorporate the keywords in your summary paragraph, as a separate list or within your resume.  Also, consider eliminating keywords from earlier positions if they are no longer viable.  You could have done fashion in your first job and now are in healthcare.
  3.  Current responsibilities.  Always make sure your current position is up-to-date with your title, location and duties.  After your headline, it’s where recruiters will look.
  4.  Update your groups.  Most users don’t sign up for groups or sign up for as many as possible.  Take the time to look at the groups and sign up for new ones and clean out the old ones.  If a group has not been helpful, it’s time to find ones that will be.
  5.  Use LinkedIn.  To get the most out of this site, you have to use it.  Start posting, commenting and sharing.  By doing this, you will make sure your profile is shared and you can reach many more people.
  6.  Recommendations & endorsement.  Review these and see if they are relevant.  Recommendations from years ago and endorsements of skills you no longer do, should be deleted.  It may be time to ask for new ones.
  7.  Your  LinkedIn URL.  It surprises me that so many people have not done this.  Just click on profile, then edit profile, click edit under your photo.  Try to make your URL consistent with your email.
  8.  Start following.  Using LinkedIn to keep up with people in your industry and people you want to know is important. It will show recruiters that you are following trends in the field.
  9. Connect with your team.  Keeping up with your co-workers is important.  If you work in a large organization, following the movers and shakers is a good move.
  10. Your photo.  This photo needs to show your corporate image.  On LinkedIn, your photo is part of your brand.

The Effects of COVID-19 on U.S Marijuana and Cannabis Product Consumers (INFOGRAPHIC)

Alan Wood, Founder, Weekend Gardner

We’ve come a long way since marijuana was first decriminalized in 1973 in Oregon. Since medical marijuana was first legalized in California, the popularity of cannabis and marijuana products has grown significantly.

In 2016, the global legal cannabis market was valued at $14.3 billion U.S. dollars and is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 21.1% from 2017 to 2024, with an expected reach of $63.5 billion U.S. dollars, according to a data compiled by Ameri Research Inc.

But since the COVID-19 outbreak, these numbers have become irrelevant. So how big of an impact did COVID-19 do on the U.S. marijuana and cannabis product consumption?

People have been stocking up on food and other essentials during the outbreak that led to a shortage of products like disinfectants, hand sanitizers, toilet papers, and food. Similarly, the demand for cannabis has also spiked.

Do note that it was also found in a similar survey conducted by American Marijuana that 29.28% of survey-takers admitted to smoking more weed since the COVID-19 outbreak compared to only 5.70% that stopped smoking. The majority (38.52%) of them consumed the same amount since the outbreak while 26.50% smoked less weed.

Moreover, the spike in usage was found to have a strong link with “keeping you sane” amidst the COVID-19 hysteria. While 65.49% of them didn’t use any anxiety relief supplements, 34.51% of them did admit to having tried other anxiety relief supplements besides marijuana but only 8.32% found the alternatives to be more effective than weed.

To understand the direct correlation between the U.S. marijuana and cannabis product consumption and the coronavirus outbreak, Weekend Gardener conducted a survey involving 1,000 U.S. weed smokers and their weed consumption habits amidst the COVID-19 pandemic as well as and came up with the following:

The number of heavy pot smokers during quarantine was found to have increased by 5%, from only 16.04% of survey participants that smoke above 10 times a week to 21.30% during the quarantine.

Similarly, there is also a decrease in weed consumption once a week or rarely, from 37.34% down to 31.83% during the quarantine period. The same goes for consuming weed below 3 times a week, from 21.55% down to 16.29%.

The main reason why American’s were found to consume more weed during quarantine is due to stress and anxiety amidst the coronavirus hysteria. 27.6% of the survey participants admitted that they use weed to treat stress/anxiety while 21.7% do so to help them sleep better.

Interestingly enough, 45% of American U.S. smokers don’t care about whether or not smoking weed will increase the risk of being infected with the coronavirus compared to 35.5% of them do so to some extent but will continue smoking.

Overall, it was found that about half (49.6%) of the survey participants will not change their weed smoking habit after the outbreak compared to 11.8% of them that will withdraw from smoking weed to focus on other things.

To learn more about the interesting data and findings by WeekendGardener, head over to this link.


Using CBD? Yes, You Can Be Fired

Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Using CBD is a popular topic.  I’m being asked if it can show up on a drug test and if you can be fired or have a job offer rescinded for a positive result.  According to PayScale, the answer is maybe.  It’s very complicated.

First, CBD is a naturally occurring chemical compound in the cannabis sativa plant which has two primary species:  marijuana and hemp.  CBD can be extracted from either species.  The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp cultivation and allowed the transportation of hemp-derived products across state lines.  This bill defines hemp as those plants containing less than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (the compound that causes marijuana users to get high.)  Both THC and CBD interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system but have different results.

Here comes the complicated part, the Farm Bill states that hemp-derived CBD is legal “if and only if that hemp is produced in a manner consistent with the Farm Bill, associated federal regulations, state regulations and by a licensed grower.”  It is illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement according to the FDA and they have approved only one CBD product so far – a prescription drug to treat two rare forms of epilepsy.

There is an extreme lack of regulation in this area and it is rapidly changing.

While CBD is becoming mainstream, it doesn’t mean your employer will allow it.  It may depend on the type of job you do or the type of employment you are seeking.  Jobs in transportation and those dependent on federal funds may be more restrictive.  It is really up to your employer.  According to The National Law Review:

  1.  Employers are generally permitted to adopt drug-free workplace policies and make employment decisions relating to recreational marijuana use by an employee.
  2.  Employers are allowed to refuse to hire prospective employees for failed drug tests stemming from the purely recreational use of marijuana.
  3.  Whether an employer must accommodate the use of CBD oil for medicinal purposes will vary by the jurisdiction and will depend greatly on whether the CBD oil is derived from help or majijuana.

So beware.  CBD or using CBD-infused products could result in positive THC test results and it would be possible to get fired.  Most employers screen for THC, current drug testing does not look for CBD. However, CBD products can contain more THC than listed on the label and that small amounts can build up in the body to detectable levels.  There isn’t any uniformity in testing since each state can determine how it samples and tests help plants for THC content.

Can you be fired, MAYBE!



PRSA Announces 2021 Officer and Board of Directors Nominees

CommPRO Editorial Staff

PRSA, the nation’s leading professional organization serving the communications community, announced the officer and director nominees for its 2021 Board of Directors. Delegates of the membership will vote on the nominees and any petitioning candidates at the annual PRSA Leadership Assembly scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5.  

“In an incredibly challenging year, a remarkable group of candidates generously stepped up to express their interest in leading PRSA and serving its members,” said Anthony D’Angelo, APR, Fellow PRSA, 2020 Nominating Committee Chair. “We are honored to announce the nominees for the 2021 Board of Directors, all of them outstanding professionals dedicated to ensuring that the organization continues to progress on its strategic plan and to deliver increasing value to all sectors of the communications community in a way that’s welcoming and inclusive.”  

The nominees for 2021 officer positions are: Chair-elect, Felicia Blow, APR, associate vice president for development & campaign director, Hampton University; Treasurer, Michelle Egan, APR, Fellow PRSA, chief communications officer, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company; Secretary, Joseph Abreu, APR, communications & emergency management director, Clerk of the Circuit Court, St. Lucie County.  

Current Chair-elect, Michelle Olson, APR, Managing Director/Partner, Lambert & Co., was confirmed as the 2021 PRSA Chair at the PRSA Leadership Assembly in 2019. PRSA Chair T. Garland Stansell, APR, chief communications officer, Children’s of Alabama, will serve as Immediate Past Chair in 2021.  

Blow is a longtime PRSA member and has served the organization in multiple capacities, including as current Co-chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. She also served as Chair of the D&I Strategic Planning Committee, playing a lead role in the development of the 2020-2022 plan. Blow also was Senior Counsel on the 2018 and 2019 Boards and a Director representing the Mid-Atlantic District from 2013-2014.

The PRSA Nominating Committee also announced the nominees for the open director positions for the 2021 Board. They are: 

  • East Central District: Jennifer Day, MS, APR, Great Lakes regional coordinator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – U.S. Department of Commerce 
  • Mid-Atlantic District: Jeff Wilson, APR, vice president of agency marketing and promotion, Padilla 
  • Northeast District: Jane N. Law, APR, internal human resource communications manager, New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority 
  • Tri-State District: James Shackelford, APR, president and chief executive officer, SomaComm Inc. 
  • Western District: Dr. Kaye Sweetser, APR+M, Fellow PRSA, professor of public relations, San Diego State University 
  • Director At-Large: Ray Day, vice chair, The Stagwell Group 

Candidates by Petition 

Article VIII, Section 5 of the PRSA Bylaws provides: Nominations may also be made by petition by at least 10 Leadership Assembly delegates and filed with the Secretary of the Society at PRSA Headquarters at least 30 days prior to the annual meeting of the Leadership Assembly. All petitions must be submitted by Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 for consideration. Immediately upon receipt of any such nominations, the Secretary shall send a notice of such nominations to all members.   

Following Assembly elections, successful candidates will join these incumbent members on the 2021 Board: 

  • Midwest District: Jacqueline Clark, APR, Fellow PRSA, regional manager government relations & public affairs, LafargeHolcim NA 
  • North Pacific District: Scott Trotter, APR, senior director of communications, Utah Valley University 
  • Southeast District: Denise Hill, Ph.D., APR, assistant professor of strategic communications, School of Communications, Elon University 
  • Southwest District: Heide Harrell, APR, director of marketing and business development, Rose Law Firm 
  • Sunshine District: Angela Walters Eveillard, APR, strategic communications officer, Hillsborough Community College 
  • Director At-Large: Jorge Francisco D’Garay, president & CEO, MXUS Public Relations 

Richard Levick – It’s Complicated

“Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but…life obliges them over and over to give birth to themselves.”

— Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Richard Levick, Esq., Chairman & CEO, LEVICK

In the 1940s, my grandfather Lou loved baseball so much that he not only went to Washington Senators’ games at old Griffith Stadium, but when the Senators were on the road and the Homestead Grays of the old Negro League played there (splitting their time between Washington and Pittsburgh), he would go to those games, too. Years later, I would buy a reproduction of their old warm-up jacket for my father. It looked so good, I bought one for myself.

Belief in fairness and equity were always a huge part of the value system my grandfather and father passed on to me. Yet there were limits, for even Jewish liberals who suffered antisemitism and saw so many parallels with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. In 1968, when my parents returned from the Mexico City Olympics, my father said, “I support the message of Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists, but did they have to do it there, on the medal stand at the Olympic Games?” Even at age ten I remember thinking, “Well, perhaps not, but where else would they get the world’s attention?”

Bigotry is easy to spot when it is intended. It’s a half century later and I can’t get the photos of Bull Connor, the Birmingham Commissioner of Public Safety and other anti-civil rights thugs out of my mind. The dogs, the fire hoses, the chewing tobacco, the smugness, daring you to integrate “their” city. But unintended and unconscious acts of bias and exclusion? Those are harder to spot because they often occur in the synapses of our minds and take the form of omission or compliance with existing policy, not evil intent.

Over the years we have done an immense amount of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion work under a variety of names, #MeToo, anti-Arab and anti-racist work, LGBTQ rights, religious liberty, not to mention all the times we have represented foreign companies and countries and had to confront all the biases – and often regulations – which made their lives and opportunities much more challenging. We also have come to see some patterns, in those who seek cultural change and those who resist it. Not to mention in the thousands and sometimes millions of observers who, in the age of social media, weigh in with everything from support to false narratives to doxing, which has, I might add, resulted in risks to life and home.

We have a new eBook coming out next week on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, comprised mostly of our own observations, recommendations, broadcasts and best practices, along with a few guest columns, and we also have a series of DE&I infographics ready to release today. So far there are three in the series: one for corporations trying to figure out if now is the time to lead; one for people inside companies who lean on something between fear and an excuse when they don’t embrace the need for cultural change; and one for each of us. You and me. Mirrors if you will, that call upon us to “speak truth with love, not anger” as Paul Anderson-Walsh, Director of The Center for Inclusive Leadership, suggests. They call on us to not only embrace the change but also recognize that while we are almost all victims at one time or another, we can also all be victimizers. Make “good trouble” as John Lewis so adroitly told us through the decades, but also do it with love, not violence, anger or self-righteousness.

What did we miss? What did we get wrong? Please let us know and we will update the infographics. Please stay tuned for the eBook in a week and let us know if you want to contribute.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi


Fudamentals to Weave Into your Search Engine Marketing

Why Small Businesses Need SEOJill Kurtz, Owner, Kurtz Digital Strategy

You want your business to appear in searches when your target customer is looking for you or your services. Paying attention to search engine optimization (SEO) fundamentals will make that happen.

Like other online activities, SEO needs its own marketing strategy. You need to have a plan for ongoing activities to monitor and improve your SEO.

Search Result Pages Have Changed

A keyword or phrase that cranks first organically is no longer the top result seen by searchers. Google has changed search engine results pages so that organic results are no longer at the top.

Today’s results pages can have one or more of these elements before any organic results:

  • Google Ads – paid placements at the top of the page. There can be none, one or several, depending on the keyword searched.
  • Featured snippets – summaries for the searcher’s query that appear just below the ads
  • People also ask – a feature that includes related queries to the original search phrase
  • Knowledge Graph – boxes that include data ranging from companies to celebrities on the right of search results page
  • Local packs – several local listings appear together, often under a map marking the location of each one
  • Carousel listings – interactive visual display of results for things like movies, songs and restaurants
  • Image packs – often a single row of images appearing on the results page
  • Sitelinks – multiple links to subpages within the website result visible below the primary website
  • Reviews with star ratings

In addition to these items, organic results are now longer. This pushes even the second result down further on the page or even to the next page.

    Create Your SEO Marketing Strategy

    You can manage and improve your regular organic results.

    First, set your target. Unless you are a very large business, you cannot rank well for every keyword related to your business. You need to target your efforts.

    Narrow to less than five keywords and phrases. You want to pick them based on their relevance to your business. Verify that they are actually searched, but do not have high competition.

    Look at how your website ranks for your keywords today. Set realistic expectations. Your best chance of success is in taking words you already rank for and optimizing to rank better.

    For every word or phrase you want to target, you need this at your website:

    • A web page with a title that has the keyword
    • A page URL with the keyword
    • Content that features the keyword

    Create Page Titles for SEO

    Keywords should be at the beginning of SEO page titles. (These are the titles that appear on search results pages.)

    Many companies have their name at the start of the title, followed by the name of the page. Flip this. The first words tell search engines what to rank the page for.

    Work Keywords into Your Content

    You need to strike a balance with page design, clarity, and SEO strategy. You don’t want to ruin content by putting keywords everywhere and ruining flow and meaning. Find opportunities to naturally work in your primary keywords and close variations:

    • Headlines and subheads
    • Image captions
    • Image names
    • Image alt text
    • Use for link text
    • Expand page content

    Set a schedule to revisit and revise content regularly. Search engines generally rank older content lower than newer content.

    Leverage Factors Beyond Content

    Website design, technical considerations, and sufficient responses to questions (i.e., voice search) can all help your keywords rank better. Important factors to consider include:

    • Links to your site from other sites
    • Functionality on mobile devices
    • Page load speed
    • Voice search
    • HTTPS encryption

    Use Strategy to Stay in the Game

    SEO is not easy or fast. You’ll always have an organic presence. It’s just a matter of how good your visibility is. You need to stay attentive to the details to do better than the competition.

    Top Industry Talent Joins News Direct Team

    CommPRO Introduces Startup, News Direct to Agency LeadersCommPRO Editorial Staff

    News Direct continues to shake up the newswire category with standout industry leaders, each with nearly two decades of experience

    News Direct, the only news and content distribution platform purpose-built for the demands of modern media outreach, announced several senior hires as part of the leadership team. These hires include Neil Hershberg as Chief Media Partnership Officer; Brenda Bell, Mark Essa, Jennifer Dunn and Josh Rehrer each as Vice Presidents of Regional Sales; and Jeff Abelson as Director of Multimedia Services. Hershberg and Abelson will report directly to News Direct founder and CEO, Gregg Castano, while Bell, Essa, Dunn and Rehrer will report to Chief Revenue Officer, Charles Lucchesi.

    “I’m thrilled to welcome Neil, Jeff, Brenda, Mark, Jennifer and Josh to the News Direct team. News Direct is disrupting the newswire industry and transforming the way PR and IR professionals distribute their news. Their combined knowledge and expertise are a tremendous asset to our brand and our customers. I can’t think of a more qualified and forward-thinking group to lead the charge,” said Founder and CEO, Gregg Castano.

    Each executive on the leadership team has an average of 20 years of industry experience. Following is more information on the makeup of the executive team and their responsibilities:

    Gregg Castano, Founder and CEO: Gregg brings to News Direct more than 32 years of industry experience, including a seven-year stint of serving as president of Business Wire. At News Direct, his primary responsibilities include overseeing planning and strategy, company operations, business development efforts, and account management and growth.

    Neil Hershberg, Chief Media Partnership Officer: Neil also joins News Direct with over three decades of experience in the newswire industry, as well as a distinguished career as a journalist with UPI and Newsweek prior to that. After serving as Vice President of Media Relations at PR Newswire for nine years, followed by 22 years as Senior Vice President of Global Media at Business Wire, Neil became New Direct’s Chief Media Partnership Officer this past May. Neil oversees News Direct’s global distribution network and develops and maintains senior-level media partnerships.

    Brenda Bell, VP, Regional Sales: Brenda has more than three decades of industry experience, including 18 years at PR Newswire and 13 years at Business Wire. Based in Colorado, she joins News Direct as VP, Regional Sales where she will bring the News Direct message to professional communicators throughout the Rocky Mountain region, as well as portions of the Midwest.

    Mark Essa, VP, Regional Sales: Mark joins News Direct with more than 28 years of newswire industry experience. Previously, Mark held various senior roles at Business Wire, including Vice President of Competitive Business Analysis and Vice President of Sales, Tracking & Analysis. As VP, Regional Sales, Mark drives dynamic sales directives and relationship building throughout Southern California.

    Jennifer Dunn, VP, Regional Sales: After spending time earlier in her career in marketing and PR, Jennifer entered the newswire industry when she joined Business Wire in 2008. After a highly successful 12 years covering the D.C. region as well as the Carolinas, she became News Direct’s VP, Regional Sales, where she will continue to serve the D.C. metro area, while also managing the company’s future expansion into the southeast.

    Josh Rehrer, VP, Regional Sales: Josh brings to News Direct 18 years of industry sales experience with Business Wire. While with Business Wire, he served in various roles including Regional Vice President, Director and District Manager, focusing on the Mid-Atlantic region. Josh’s role is to drive adoption of News Direct’s game-changing platform throughout the Delaware Valley region.

    Jeff Abelson, Director of Multimedia Services: Jeff brings to News Direct nearly 24 years of experience as Multimedia Specialist at Business Wire. As News Direct’s Director of Multimedia Services, Jeff brings substantial newswire expertise in a client-facing advisor role, while specializing in multimedia support. News Direct is the only platform of its kind with the capability to release standalone multimedia content, making this an ideal role for Jeff’s talents and knowledge.

    “Gregg is a bold and progressive business leader. His vision for the future of the newswire industry is reflected in News Direct’s purpose-built platform and predicated on more than three decades of industry leadership experience. I’m thrilled to join the News Direct team and deliver impact, value and results for our clients,” said Neil Hershberg.

    For more information, visit

    The Stevens Group Introduced Osmosis Films to Ruder Finn

    CommPRO Editorial Staff

    Ruder Finn has acquired Osmosis Films, the Brooklyn-based full-service video content studio, to bolster its storytelling expertise. The Stevens Group introduced Osmosis Films to Ruder Finn.

    The acquisition adds production and technology tools for animation and interactive video experiences to RF’s menu of creative services.

    CEO Kathy Bloomgarden said RF is doubling down on its commitment to video “because it has this unrivaled ability to keep audiences engaged in a way that many two-dimensional platforms can’t, all while conveying very complex concepts through an empathetic lens.”

    She believes that “emotional resonance is going to be key in delivering our clients’ messaging—particularly today, against the backdrop of everything we’re experiencing in our country.”

    Launched in 2011, Osmosis has worked for Fortune 500 clients, as well as World Economic Forum, PayPal, The Wall Street Journal Magazine, Teach For America, Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Council on Foreign Relations.

    Osmosis founder/CEO James Lawler said video represents a dramatic shift in how people communicate, which companies are just beginning to understand. “That shift is going to expand exponentially with the explosion of worldwide access to mobile 5G,” he added.

    Ruder Finn is No. 7 on O’Dwyer’s roster of independent firms with fees of $78M during 2019.

    Originally appeared on

    Get Hired: Six Tips to Stand Out During your Job Search

    Stacey Ross Cohen, CEO/President of Co-Communications

    Since the onset of the pandemic, more than 50 million job claims have been filed.  If you are one of the many seeking a new job, you need to develop a compelling narrative and competitive advantage. To succeed, it is not enough to merely update your resume – – you need to put your best self out there. Here are six steps to stand-out: 

    1)  Be the Best Version of you. The job search is not about me, me, me — — it’s about your value to others. What’s important to the hiring company? How can you solve their needs better than your competition? To make strides in this challenging job market, it’s particularly important to showcase your good fit values and why they should choose YOU.  Highlight your experience and problem solving capabilities which will make you excel in the role.. Also, showcase your value with a “wow” portfolio of testimonials, achievements, success stories, and a professional profile with headshot. 

    2)  Establish yourself as an expert in your field to give you a competitive edge. Those hiring are apt to question what you have been doing in between jobs during the pandemic. It’s a great time to get a certification (e.g., social media, Google Analytics) to build your skills and knowledge in your field. You may also want to develop content that reinforces your thought leadership. Whether you develop articles, blog posts, e-books, white papers or videos, make certain the topics are relevant to your audience. 

      3)  Grow Your Network. It’s been said that “Your network is your net worth” Networking is one of the most important investments you can make to uncover job opportunities during the pandemic. Engage and build relationships with mentors, influencers, and industry leaders. No need to focus on how many people you meet networking — focus on meeting the right people. Reinforce existing relationship and connect with past meaningful ones. Be social — — attend virtual networking events and be sure to connect with your new contact promptly via LinkedIn, etc.  Seek out professional groups within your industry on LinkedIn and invest the time in engaging with the community and building authentic relationships. 

      4)  Strive for top of mind awareness during the interview process. Besides sending the traditional thank you note (within an hour), connect with the recruiter via LinkedIn.  Since, hiring decisions are lagging during this unprecedented time, find creative ways to stay in touch. If you go dark, the hiring manager may think you have lost interest.  Make sure that you actively engage even if it’s something as small as liking a LinkedIn post. You can also share any updates to your skill set (e.g., certification). And of course, communicating with empathy and clarity is of upmost importance during the pandemic. 

      5)  Ace your virtual interview. Make sure that you are camera ready. Consider your appearance, lighting and background.  While a Zoom virtual background of a tropical island is fun to share with your friends during a happy hour, a business-like background (e.g., bookshelves) is more fitting for this interview format. Instead of considering every question the interviewer may ask you, prepare 4-5 talking points (with supporting evidence) that you want to get across that will demonstrate your good fit value.  

      6)  Do your homework. It’s important to be in the know. Make sure you set up Google alerts for the companies of interest which will allow you to get real-time information. You can then leverage some of these “news items” during the interview.  The hiring manger will appreciate that you have not only done your research but that you are keeping current on how they are faring during the pandemic. You can also share your good fit values related to the challenges the company may be currently facing.  

      During this uncertain time, try to remember that this is a temporary state and the job market will rebound.  With some grit, patience and a positive outlook, securing a new job can soon be within your reach.

      Stacey Ross Cohen is CEO/President of Co-Communications (, a full-service marketing communications agency, with offices in New York and Connecticut. She can be reached at   She is also a personal branding authority and recently made her debut on the TED stage.  

      About the Author: Stacey is an award-winning communications professional who earned her marketing stripes on Madison Avenue and at major television networks before launching Co-Communications, an integrated marketing communications firm with offices in New York and Connecticut. Co-Communications serves clients in education, healthcare, real estate, professional services, technology, and the nonprofit realm. Services include branding, website development, inbound marketing, PR and social media. Stacey excels at taking brands to market — leveraging each client’s unique voice to make an indelible impact on social media, in board rooms, and everywhere in between. She has garnered the Forbes Enterprise and PRSA Practitioner of the Year awards for her work in the communications field.  

      Stacey is a sought-after speaker and recently made her debut on the TED stage. She is a blogger at the Huffington Post and Thrive Global and has been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, Crain’s, and a suite of other national media. Stacey holds a B.S. from Syracuse University, MBA from Fordham University and recently completed a certificate program in Media, Technology and Entertainment at NYU Leonard Stern School of Business.

      Looking For Somewhere Safe From COVID-19 to Work? Can We Resuscitate Those Places of Yore Called Offices?


      Thomas J. Madden, Chairman and CEO, Transmedia Group

      Hopefully, this prolonged pandemic I call a damndemic, won’t have lasting effects as I don’t think social distancing, wearing masks and staying home is making us any healthier or friendlier.  

      So, how many masks, hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes will it take to return to those workplaces of yore called offices. How much Clorox and Lysol are needed to restore our confidence and help us adapt to the new, socially-distant normal?   

      Now maybe we need to throw some light on the situation.  

      So entering into our daily drama are products that use one of the oldest, most tested approach to sanitizing—light.  Not just any light, but that super light called UV. 

      One of the newest ultra violet light products is a cool sunslinger called PleXus.  

      The PleXus kid is a lightning fast, quick-on-the-draw ultraviolet sanitization sunslinger that recently rode into town using UVC light to kill COVID-19 in a couple minutes.  

      I call UV solutions sunslingers because they can shoot the COVID KID dead in its tracks before it even knows what hit him.

      Maybe staying home, working remotely is good for Netflix and the tech sector. But what about us?  What about our sanity while adapting to this new normal?  Now, thank goodness, comes sanity in sanitizing!  

      Now office workers, thanks to UV can forget having to work at home where you delved instead of shelved . . . where you stayed assiduously on the hunt for meaning, solutions and new business like never before.  

      Working remotely so long we were all becoming screwy or worse, scroogy, like little Ebenezers modeling ourselves after that fictional character from A Christmas Carol.   

      Misanthropy is defined as a general hatred, dislike, distrust or contempt of the human species or human nature brought on by feelings of isolation often caused by running away from and social distancing ourselves from other humans, this time suspected by being carriers of COVID.   

      Philosopher Nietzsche took to calling himself a free spirit.  

      Another misanthrope, writer/philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, was known to have said “Hell is other people.”

      Author Franz Kafka also was thought to be one as was well-known English writer/author Oscar Wild. He once said, “The only possible society is oneself.”

      Fortunately, misanthropy is an entirely treatable condition.  And now COVID’s met more than its match.  

      Hello PleXus. Bye-bye COVID! 

      So, let’s step out of “oneself,” away from that stupefying solitude and become friendly again, while staying safe and COVID free wearing our masks, keeping our social distance and using UV to sanitize our offices. 

      Maybe one day we’ll all embrace and shake hands again, if we can remember how to do it.  

      Meanwhile some self-restraint and sunslingers like PleXus will bring us all back to life again in our UV sanitized boardrooms and into those poor neglected, now almost anachronistic, but soon to be virus free workplaces called offices. 

      Ellen DeGeneres — Time for a Crisis Management Lesson

      David E. Johnson, CEO, Strategic Vision PR Group

      Talk show host and comedian, Ellen DeGeneres is the latest celebrity that could be cancelled.  Both she and the top management of her hit talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” are under an internal investigation by the show’s distributor, Warner Brothers.   There are allegations of intimidation, sexual misconduct, and racism.  DeGeneres attempted to stem some of the damage by issuing an apology to staff but also denying direct knowledge of the alleged misconduct and shifting the blame to senior staff.  This brought forth allegations by previous guests on the show including actor, Brad Garrett, actress Lea Thompson, and Dutch beauty blogger Nikkie de Jager that the misconduct was common knowledge.  The Ellen DeGeneres story offers some key lessons for celebrities and brands in terms of crisis management:

      1. Be authentic to your brand.  Ellen DeGeneres long had the reputation among the public for being funny, kind, and compassionate.  She was portrayed as a ‘woke’ celebrity before people talked about being ‘woke’.  These allegations, particularly in this climate shattered that image and go against everything that people believed about her brand.
      2. Offer a sincere apology that takes responsibility. Ellen issued an apology last week.  But the apology was seen as shifting blame for what happened on to senior staff.  She never took responsibility for anything.  It was seen by many as a non-apology, apology.  People were looking to see her take responsibility and offer concrete steps for moving forward.  Rather it was seen as being evasive and actually created more controversy and criticism.
      3. Have defenders ready to come to your defense.  What is shocking so far is the total silence of Ellen’s numerous A-list celebrity friends to these allegations.  Indeed, what has been most notable is the number of actors and actresses, along with other guests that are stepping forward to confirm the allegations and condemn Ellen.  Lack of support is always an ominous sign.  
      4. Have a strategy for moving forward.  Ellen and her team have appeared to have no strategy on how to move forward and change the narrative.  Rather there has been a constant back and forth of will she quit, or won’t she quit the show.  This is the time she should be charting a course for the future.
      5. Have a social media strategy.  Beyond the allegations against her and her management, most of the damage being done to Ellen is occurring on social media.  So far, her team has not been proactive in dealing with this.  Failure to address social media is fatal during a crisis.

      The dog days of summer are the worst time for a crisis to occur just ask Paula Deen about that.  But it is especially lethal in the social upheaval we are experiencing.  In failing to have dealt with the five key points I have mentioned, Ellen has ensured her ultimate cancellation.

      David JohnsonAbout the Author: David E. Johnson is the CEO of Strategic Vision PR Group.  Additional information on him and his company may be obtained at

      What’s Still Ahead for PR Professionals in 2020?

      Valerie Christopherson, CEO and Founder of Global Results Communications

      While 2020 started with blurred vision as to what was to come, agency PR professionals focused on a new decade, new ways of communicating and providing strategies to meet their clients’ needs in an ever-changing digitally transforming world. Within the first quarter, the world was hit with a global pandemic, one in which every business has been affected in one way or the other. For PR agencies, the task converted from new year/new goals to that of crisis and planning for the unplanned on a global scale.

      Agencies were tasked to maintain factually accurate information, especially those in the healthcare sector, while those of us in the tech industry were tasked with providing counsel as how to get the word out about that technologies available for healthcare, schooling, remote working, public safety and more.  Now that we’re nearly 5 months into the pandemic, we are seeing things become less of a crisis and more of an “if” What if this happens, what if that happens, what if both happen and what if neither happen? We’re living in a world of real-time, minute-by-minute and day-by-day happenings and/or changes. In some cases our clients are open, then shut, then open again. It’s our responsibility to ensure that communications, internal and external, remain factual. By removing the “what if” from the equation, we can communicate better and in turn provide better counsel. That doesn’t mean we don’t plan for the what if, in fact, planning is more important than ever.

      So, what’s ahead for PR professionals in 2020? Everything we thought 2020 would be: video, tech tools heightened, storytelling and branding merging, etc. Only now, it’s accelerated. What we predicted in Dec of 2019 happened, only happened in a quarter’s time frame with many curves along the way. We entered into the New Year noting that the use of video would be more prevalent than ever. Now, with Zoom-type meetings, the use of video has become part of the new norm. We also noted in the New Year that content would see an uptick. Now, we’d argue content is essential. Finally, we stated that the New Year would bring about new challenges and opportunities. And, now, we’ve proven that the challenges are the opportunities.

      Communications professionals are transforming and adapting more than ever to the emerging world of tech across all industries. Technology has become the connected tissue keeping not only North America but the world together. And, communications has kept the world informed in a time frame where information is more than essential but rather critical. So what’s really ahead for communications professionals as we navigate through the remainder of the year? Uncertainty. What we’ve all learned is that uncertainty is what we can plan for, what we can communicate about and what we need to incorporate into our PR programs. Uncertainty is not always a crisis and shouldn’t be viewed as such, but it should be part of the strategy when looking into the future, noting that the future could be as quick as a day or even a moment in time.

      About the Author: Valerie Christopherson is founder and CEO of Global Results Communications (GRC), an award-winning public relations firm trusted by both entrepreneurs on the cusp of new discoveries and multi-billion-dollar enterprises breaking new ground. Renowned for her expertise in high tech, she is the driving force behind GRC’s targeted communications strategies that dramatically enhance client market presence and performance on a global scale. Prior to founding GRC in 2005, Valerie held key positions at QUALCOMM, Porter Novelli Convergence Group and other niche agencies in the mobile, telecom and technology sectors. Over a span of 20 years, she provided unparalleled counsel and campaign management resulting in successful public relations and social media programs for Fortune 500 companies, major trade associations and start-ups.

      A current board member of Golden Rule Charity, Valerie has been involved with various nonprofit organizations including Make a Wish Foundation and Mobile Giving Foundation among others. An industry thought leader, she is frequently called upon to speak at regional and national events including PR News conferences, regional PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) conferences and Comm Week at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF).

      A graduate of CSUF, Valerie holds a bachelor’s degree in both English and communications with a public relations emphasis. She also completed a social media certification program at University of California, Irvine.

      Stratifyd Launches Next Generation Data Analytics Platform

      CommPRO Editorial Staff

      Stratifyd, a technology company that democratizes data science and artificial intelligence (AI) through self-service data analytics, today announced a revolution in data analytics with the launch of its next generation platform. This powerful analytics engine was re-designed from the ground up to be intuitive and easy-to-use, enabling business users – regardless of education, skill, or job function – to harness the power of proprietary and third-party data to easily reveal and understand hidden stories represented within the data, thus delivering the benefits of a data science team to every organization.  

      The Stratifyd platform now provides the functionality to meet the demanding data science needs of an organization, but is specifically designed to be easy to use for those with limited data analytics experience. It empowers users of all skill levels to connect data sources to the platform, perform in depth analysis and data modeling, and discover insightful stories faster and more easily than previously possible. Through a graphical user interface, pre-built and customizable data analytics models, and simplified dashboards, the platform enables business users to extract insights (i.e., stories) that are hidden in the data and essential in helping companies improve customer service, better understand customer requirements, deliver product enhancements that address gaps in the market, solve problems experienced by customers, rollout new product and service offerings that deliver a competitive advantage, and more.

      “Stratifyd is a company with data science in our DNA. We were founded with a bold but simple mission to enable everyone within an organization to not only uncover but also understand the hidden stories within their data,” said Derek Wang, founder and CEO of Stratifyd. “This release of our next-gen platform is a giant leap in bringing to life our vision of putting the power of data science into the hands of business users.” 

      The platform was developed with the goal of helping employees from across an organization tackle real-world business challenges by analyzing and visualizing structured and unstructured data from a variety of sources, including third party and social media channels, to discern the most complete stories about a company and its products based on customer insights. 

      Use Cases Highlight How Data Frames the Narrative

      “Data is at the forefront of every decision a business makes and frames the narrative,” says Wang. “To better understand the stories hidden in data, it needs to be viewed from the lens of the business user as they are the storytellers that can consider the data in the appropriate context.”

      If customers signal their unhappiness with a product or service through reviews or on social media, a business user can analyze the data to pinpoint the problem, making it easier to fix. Conversely, if customer churn rate has decreased, data can be used to connect the dots to see the bigger picture and the insights leveraged to replicate the successful outcome in other areas of the business.

      A financial services company may lean heavily on call center conversations, customer surveys, operational data, and complaints to help them identify pain points and improve the end-user experience. Auto manufacturers might look to social media, external user forums, and blog posts to help them understand issues related to the quality of their vehicles and overall perception of their brand. In both of these scenarios, the business user has the context with which to analyze the data and drive the necessary action.

      By enabling “citizen data scientists” to gather and analyze structured and unstructured data from more than 100 sources, these business users can leverage their expertise to see patterns and anomalies within context to derive a holistic narrative of customer feedback. 

      Data Storytelling Flywheel Puts the Power of Data Science into the Hands of Business Users

      The Stratifyd data analytics platform is the only truly end-to-end solution in the market helping organizations analyze and extract insights from omni-channel data. Its data storytelling flywheel includes everything that business users need to easily connect data, analyze data, discover insights, identify stories, and continually listen to empower data driven decisions as stories unfold:

      • First-time users can take advantage of the Quick Start Guide to accelerate their time to insights. The guide leads them, step-by-step, through the process of connecting data, deploying analytical models, and visualizing insights as they build their first dashboard.  
      • The platform includes a library of over 100 Data Connectors that make it easy to analyze structured and unstructured data – from public sources such as Amazon reviews, Google Play and iTunes Store app reviews, and social media channels, as well as internal company data such as call center conversations, customer survey results, and chat conversations – without the need for time-consuming, manual data cleaning.
      • Auto-learning Models analyze data and determine the best customized model(s) based on the data available; while advanced models enable data analysts to customize models based on use cases and specific data available.
      • In addition to making it easy to share insights across teams and departments, the platform includes Task Management features that enable customers to identify key findings in their data which require action, capture tracking tasks, and assign them to a relevant team or individual who can then take the appropriate action and track progress through to completion.

        K2OHSolutions, LLC Professional Development Series

        Professional Development Series: August 12th, 18th & 20th


        Connect and Learn with the K2OHSolutions, LLC team in a three-part live webinar professional development series.  These interactive sessions are designed for any business leaders, managers, key decision-makers, nonprofit leaders, start-up founders, entrepreneurs, and those interested in future-proofing their business/organization, building and sustaining strong, cohesive teams during uncertainty and beyond, AND creating innovative networks.  

        In Sustaining Scenarios: Creating a Path from Crisis to Recovery, Dr. Kathy Hagler, Ph.D., will guide you in creating sustainable scenarios for businesses. The session is intended to help you bridge the gap from pre-pandemic through a transformation to the new normal for your organization. Participants will review a path to success as the basis for modeling the process and begin practicing the techniques and principles.  August 12th 11 AM-1PM MDT

        K2OHSolutions, LLC president, Kathy Opp, leads the Team Dynamics: A Structure for Success session.  High performing teams are essential to any organization. And, as we all know great teams do not just happen. It takes leadership, setting high standards, giving trust and respect, and proactive engagement with customers to achieve outstanding results. In this session, participants will learn the building blocks for developing high performing teams, including a simple exercise for improving interpersonal relationships and performance.  August 18th 11 AM-12:30 PM MDT

        Our final session, Team Dynamics: Communication and Well-Being, consultant, Deanna Brown will guide you through the steps to lead those around you to become their best selves while developing upgraded thought processes, communicating at new levels, and utilizing skills in optimal ways.  A business only thrives when the people under its roof operate with a clear vision, flexibility, strong EQ, compassion, and kindness. Our world has shifted in permanent ways and the need to approach and support your people with a fresh mindset is critical. The future of the evolved team member is here and now.  August 20th 11 AM-12:30 PM MDT

        A free 30-minute post-session consultation is offered to all participants in conjunction with each individual session to further discuss 1:1 the challenges and needs of their organizations.

        Limited Time Offer: Participants can register for all three sessions for $149.  Individual sessions are $74 each.

        Register for Professional Development Series:

        Visit our website:

        Dunkin’ Introduces Free Coffee Mondays and Brings Back Free Donut Fridays for DD Perks® Members

        CommPRO Editorial Staff

        This August, Dunkin’ is giving DD Perks® members a double dose of delight and appreciation with offers that are sure to help perk up anyone’s week. Dunkin’ today announced the launch of Free Coffee Mondays and the return of Free Donut Fridays for members of the DD Perks Rewards Program, for a limited time. With this perfect pair of offers, Dunkin’s loyal fans can count on free coffee to fuel up for the start of the week, and the sweet treat of a delicious donut to finish it.

        With Dunkin’s new Free Coffee Mondays offer, the week begins in the best way possible – with a free medium cup of the brand’s renowned hot or iced coffee for all DD Perks members, with the purchase of any Dunkin’ food item.* Free Coffee Mondays begin on Monday, August 3 and will continue on August 10 and 17.

        Dunkin’s Free Donut Fridays offer was originally introduced in March and continued through May to bring guests a smile during a time when they needed it most. Following overwhelmingly positive guest feedback, Free Donut Fridays are back again beginning Friday, August 7 and will continue on August 14 and 21.** On each Free Donut Friday, DD Perks members will receive a free classic donut with the purchase of any beverage. Guests can end the week on a sweet note with favorites like Boston Kreme, Glazed, Glazed Chocolate, Strawberry Frosted with Sprinkles, and more.

        “To show our appreciation to our DD Perks members, we’re offering them two extra moments of happiness during the week with our new Free Coffee Mondays offer and the return of our popular Free Donut Fridays,” said Stephanie Meltzer-Paul, Senior Vice President, Dunkin’ U.S. Digital Marketing. “Whether they need a little extra boost to kickstart their week or a sweet treat to celebrate the end of the week, we want our loyal guests to know we’ve got their backs when they may need it most.”

        To take part in Free Coffee Mondays and Free Donut Fridays, DD Perks members can pay with an enrolled DD Card, scan their loyalty ID at checkout or order ahead with the Dunkin’ App. Coffee and donut lovers who are not currently DD Perks members can enroll on the Dunkin’ App or DD Perks members earn five points for every dollar they spend on qualifying purchases at Dunkin’. Dunkin’ gives its DD Perks members the ability to earn points for every eligible purchase no matter how they pay, including cash, credit, debit, or a Dunkin’ gift card. Once a member accrues 200 points, they receive a free beverage reward for any size, redeemable at participating Dunkin’ restaurants.

        To learn more about Dunkin’, visit or subscribe to the Dunkin’ blog to receive notifications at

        *Food purchase greater than one MUNCHKINS® Donut Hole Treat. Limit one free medium hot or iced coffee per member each Monday. Excludes Cold Brew and Cold Brew Nitro. Dairy alternative, flavor and espresso shot may be an additional charge.

        **Excludes espresso shots. DD Perks members are eligible for one free donut with each drink purchased. Donut must be added to order when ordering in-store or in the mobile app.


        The Importance of Putting People First During COVID-19

        Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., APR, President and CEO, Institute for Public Relations

        Steve Cody, Founder and CEO, Peppercomm, IPR Chair

        Recently, the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) and Peppercomm released a new e-book featuring 30 senior communication executives discussing how they are handling COVID-19 and looking ahead to the future. Of the 30 executives, one common theme emerged from the pages: people should always come first. While this may appear to be an obvious theme, this has not been a theme championed by some companies in the past, or even by some current government leaders responding to the pandemic. 

        During this pandemic, the focus for most companies we interviewed was on people. The communication function has been instrumental in helping employees, customers, and suppliers. 

        Geoff Curtis, executive vice president of corporate affairs and chief communications officer at Horizon Therapeutics, said, “The communication function helped to make sure employees feel supported and know they are in safe, good hands.”

        The Institute for Public Relations and Peppercomm survey finds health-related agencies are top sources for COVID-19 informationAccording to Dominic Pendry, head of corporate communications at Bed Bath & Beyond, safety must come first every time. 

        “The implications of our business were clear, but all decisions were made with one priority above all else—the safety and well-being of our people, customers, and the communities we serve,” said Pendry.

        For some companies, helping people and keeping them safe is part of their organization’s purpose. 

        Moyra Knight, vice president of corporate communications at Astellas US and president of the Astellas Global Health Foundation, said, “As a purpose-driven organization rooted in CSR-based management, responding to global health crises locally and globally and working to ensure access to health is at the heart of what we do.”

        IPR and Peppercomm have published three studies focused on COVID-19. In the second study released in April, we found 81% of communication functions have been very involved in communicating internally about COVID-19.  

        Paul Gennaro, senior vice president and chief brand and communications officer at Voya Financial, said, “Our communications have been frequent, proactive, and transparent, with an emphasis on taking actions and making decisions based on the health and safety of employees (and contractors) and their families and loved ones.”  

        Jennifer Mauer, vice president of corporate communications at Merck, outlined three behaviors that are critical for communicators during COVID-19. One of those she said is the importance of empathy, which she defines as “the ability to care deeply for our fellow humans.”

        This ability to care defines what Carol Gilligan, an ethicist and psychologist, calls an “ethics of care” philosophy. In this, moral action is centered on care or benevolence as a virtue. Acting from this perspective focuses on respect and responsiveness to others. 

        Putting people first is a game-changer for many companies with more companies embracing “stakeholder capitalism.” According to the World Economic Forum, companies are focusing more on stewardship and non-shareholders, integrating stakeholder capitalism within their corporate governance structure and elevating its role in relation to the company’s financial performance. Issues that were previously considered secondary are now important determinants for success. 

        However, this is not something that companies can build internally overnight.

        “Culture cannot be built during a crisis,” said Catherine Hernandez-Blades, senior vice president and chief ESG and communications officer at Aflac.

        Hernandez-Blades emphasizes how critical stakeholders’ needs, such as physical, mental, and financial well-being, must be supported during this time.

        “This is a once-in-the-century pandemic, meaning it’s an opportunity for companies to have a once-in-a-century social impact,” said Hernandez-Blades. “No function plays a more critical role in determining a company’s post-pandemic success than communications—the conscience of the company.” 

        These stories are just some that comprise the new IPR and Peppercomm e-book, “Leadership Perspectives: Leading and Looking Ahead Through COVID-19.” 

        Topics included in this new e-book focus on the impact of COVID-19; the increased importance of internal communication; return to work; future of business and the industry; diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; impact of the Black Lives Matter protests; and corporate purpose. 

        To download the e-book, please click here

        On August 6, IPR and Peppercomm are co-hosting a webinar featuring three executives talking about their contributions to the e-book: Moyra Knight of Astellas and the Astellas Global Health Foundation, Jennefer Witter of The Boreland Group Inc., and Jill Carapellotti at Macy’s. Please register here to attend. 


        How Will a Union Push Transform Print Media?

        Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR

        These are challenging times for the print media industry. What was once the touchstone and foundation of all media is in the process of a titanic shift, thanks in large part to the popularity and ubiquity of the internet. Newspapers, while still valuable, are closing or reducing their staff and delivery dates. And many magazines are changing hands, shifting editorial direction, reducing staff, or shutting down entirely.

        Given this, it was interesting to see recently that there has been a successful “massive union drive” at one of the largest periodical publishing companies in the world, Hearst Magazines. According to media reports, staffers voted 241 to 83 to unionize through the Writers Guild of America, East. What happens next is unclear, but proponents are celebrating this as a victory, even as their employer tries to figure out a way to navigate not only the transforming industry but also the stresses caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.

        Speaking about the vote, Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, “Hearst is not just about a storied brand… It’s about the hard work of the people who are involved with writing, editing, and producing the stories that educate and inspire and delight readers and viewers… These employees have voted overwhelmingly to join with the Writers Guild of America, East to bargain collectively over the terms and conditions of their employment, to make their voices heard in the workplace, to ensure that their needs and interests and priorities are addressed.”

        Clearly, that’s a very positive position statement from a group that won the day at the vote, but market watchers and some inside Hearst likely have a more pressing question: “How will this affect the bottom line.”

        Revenue is a problem right now for print media because huge numbers of their core customers are moving to online or mobile viewing and reading, leading to significant revenue losses, as advertisers look elsewhere to make connections with their target audiences. This harsh economic reality has led to many companies choosing layoffs or furloughs, especially as COVID shutdowns linger.

        Hearst, at least as of this writing, has avoided making these difficult decisions, and the New York Post reported that Hearst CEO Steve Swartz says his company is “in stronger financial shape than many companies…”

        If that is the case, then Hearst may have some capacity to shift its leadership focus to PR issues, including the recent resignation of Hearst Magazines President Troy Young, who left amid accusations of “inappropriate workplace behavior.”

        Young has denied or dismissed many of the specific allegations, calling them “untrue” and “greatly exaggerated,” however the headlines related to the story caused Hearst executives to take public action. This also placed Hearst in a precarious PR position: more financially successful than the competition, in the headlines dealing with internal issues, and facing a public unionizing effort by what has become one of the largest unions in the media industry.

        Now, the union members have a public victory; and it’s a short hop from that celebration to pushing for some of their other demands, which include changes in diversity hiring, compensation, and editorial standards. These demands may lead to increased public pressure on the company, which Hearst appears to be trying to get out in front of. The company released a statement which said, in part:

        “We’ve been listening to our editorial teams’ aspirations for the company and will continue to address and act on them… Now, it’s time to forge a path forward together.”

        What happens next will reflect how well these messages are received as well as what “together” will look like for one of the biggest players in print media.

        About the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading PR agency.

        PRO Unlimited Appoints Kevin Akeroyd as Chief Executive Officer

        CommPRO Editorial Staff

        PRO Unlimited Appoints Kevin Akeroyd as Chief Executive Officer

        Kevin Akeroyd

        PRO Unlimited, a global innovator of contingent workforce management software and services, today announced the appointment of Kevin Akeroyd as its Chief Executive Officer. Former CEO, Andy Schultz, stepped down after leading the company since its inception nearly three decades ago.

        “There is a dramatic shift occurring where skilled knowledge workers on the employee side, and the vast majority of employers trying to compete in the war for talent, are moving towards contingent labor over traditional full-time engagements,” said Kevin Akeroyd, Chief Executive Officer at PRO Unlimited. “This fundamental change in mindset for the employee and employer is being driven by the need for flexibility, fiscal management, and risk mitigation through the use of contingent employment. There aren’t many companies that offer end-to-end management solutions for the contingent workforce – PRO does, and this makes it an exciting leader in one of the biggest growth opportunities across the entire technology landscape. PRO is the emerging disruptor in the category, and I’m thrilled to lead the company into this next stage.”

        Over the past four years, Akeroyd served as CEO at Cision where he took the company public on the NYSE before selling it for $2.8 billion to Platinum Equity in January 2020. Prior to Cision, Akeroyd has been General Manager at both Oracle and Salesforce, running business units that were category leaders in Cloud Software, Services, and Data. Earlier in his career, Akeroyd held Executive positions at companies including Jigsaw, Acxiom and RR Donnelley.

        PRO offers a range of contingent workforce management solutions that leverage AI, machine learning, data visualizations and analytics to help employers find skilled contingent talent (gigs, temp and/or short-term positions) and manage all aspects of their contingent workforce on desktop and mobile. As the first vendor-neutral Managed Services Program (MSP) and Vendor Management Software (VMS) provider, PRO cuts costs for employers, while reducing risk and enabling greater flexibility for both employers and workers.

        Resources to Use to Prepare for Microsoft AZ-104 Exam. Are Dumps Enough for Obtaining Passing Score?

        CommPRO Editorial Staff

        The demand for certified specialists in IT is constantly growing. Companies prefer this type of potential employees as they know that they have already gone through different tests that validate their skills. Thus, they cannot go wrong with hiring a real specialist as the respective candidate will deliver the expected results. Even though their salary requests might be higher than an average candidate, their delivered results will quickly compensate for the investment made. When it comes to cloud computing, the growing trends show that the need for such specialists on the market continues to grow.

        If you want to acquire the Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate badge, then you should take AZ-104 test if you want to develop a successful career in this niche. We have created this post to help you determine which training resources you can use to pass your AZ-104 exam. Also, we will answer the questions of whether dumps are enough to pass your assessment with flying colours.

        Skills Measured by AZ-104 Test

        The Microsoft AZ-104 tests the candidates’ knowledge in six major areas:

        • Ability to manage Azure governance feature and identities;
        • Expertise in managing Microsoft storage services and implementing them successfully;
        • Knowing everything about Azure compute resources and deploying their features;
        • Configuring virtual networking and managing updates constantly;
        • Monitoring and implementing the latest trends in the Microsoft Azure environment.

        The registration fee for the Microsoft AZ-104 exam is $165. As this sum is quite big, you should do everything you can to overcome your exam easily. How? Take a close look at the paragraphs below and note down the details of the training options that best work for you.

        Learning Alternatives for Microsoft AZ-104 Exam

        You can gain the necessary skills to pass your AZ-104 test if you start with the instructor-led training. The vendor has developed two tutor-led courses to help candidates learn how to become an Azure Administrator and know more about AWS SysOps. The great thing about this type of preparation is that you will benefit from high interactivity and the opportunity to talk directly to Microsoft trainers. 

        The Microsoft website is also full of free online training sessions that will help you prepare as well as possible for AZ-104 assessment. For example, you will learn which are the prerequisites for Azure Administrators or how you can implement Azure storage features. Each online learning path will take you closer to hitting a high passing score in the Microsoft AZ-104 exam. 

        Once you feel you accumulated enough information to pass this test, you shouldn’t jump immediately into taking the real exam. You should also try the vendor’s official practice test. It will help you identify which topics you need to study more and in which areas you excel. To know more, to supplement your knowledge you can opt for reliable dumps that can be found on some platforms online.


        Becoming a Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate is one of the best investments that you can make in your career and professional future. The training process for the Microsoft AZ-104 will help you learn more about the Azure environment and also how to manage difficult situations that might appear in your workplace. When it comes to the best preparation materials, you cannot fail if you do a combination of instructor-led training and accurate dumps. Are you ready to give it a try?

        Play Ball??? (With A Truism That PR People Should Never Forget)

        Arthur Solomon

        Once again, Major League Baseball team owner and some of their players are in disagreement. The issue this time is to “Play Ball” or not to “Play Ball” in the era of the coronavirus.

        Only the most fanatic of fanatic sports fans still believe that the owners of Major League Baseball clubs (MLB), and other sports team owners, care about them. They should have learned the truth decades ago as franchises packed their bulging money bags and moved to cities that would yield them even more money. Major League Baseball ballplayers were way ahead of fans in knowing the truth about club owners. They knew that the owners never had the best interests of the players in mind when they attempted to prevent them from having a say regarding their employment.

        The players wanted to be treated like other Americans workers. And it was a talented center fielder named Curt Flood that ignited the movement that ultimately led to the players being treated like citizens, instead of like the club owners’ chattel’s, when, in 1969, he refused being traded after the season. The case eventually reached the Supreme Court, which ruled against Flood. Nevertheless his actions were instrumental in eventually giving players the rights of employment granted to other U.S. citizens, which occurred six years later.

        In 1975, pitchers Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith refused to sign contracts and played the season without one. Later that year, arbitrator Peter Seitz, on December 23, 1975, ruled that Major League Baseball players became free agents upon playing one year for their team without a contract, effectively nullifying baseball’s reserve clause.

        Now, as baseball stadiums are filled with cardboard cutouts replacing living fans, team owners and the players are faced with a situation that, hopefully, even the most fanatic of fanatics would admit is more important than the game: Life and death. Which raises one of two questions regarding baseball. Question One: Should the club owners of the so-called national pastime, (great PR slogan that has outlived its usefulness as brain-destroying football has become the most popular sport in the U.S.) cancel the remainder of its 60 game season because so many players and coaches have been infected with the coronavirus?

        Before the first full week of what will certainly be remembered as the Asterisk Season, at least 17 members of the Miami Marlins have tested positive for covid-19, and the team suspended play for at least a week. Because of the Marlins situation other teams also had to cancel games.

        As in the days before Curt Flood, Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith, once again some baseball players have decided that what baseball thinks is best for them isn’t. The Washington Senators, after a team vote, refused to play the Marlins, and at least 14 players from various teams decided to sit out the entire truncated season.

        The fear of baseball players catching the virus and bringing it home to their children, wives, parents and others was perhaps best said by Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, who said, in a story reported in the July 29 New York Times, “There’s a real level of fear and anxiety for all of us, especially all of us that have children, anybody who may have underlying health conditions, anybody who has an older parent, coaches and everybody else.” It’s not easy for any of us to think we’ll be flying home to our families without knowing the results of tests, he said.

        While it’s true that the cardboard fans in the stand are unlikely to be infected by the virus, it’s almost impossible to prevent even the most socially-distance conscious players to avoid being in contact with other none playing people during the course of the season – managers, coaches, umpires, video and radio technicians, travel coordinators, club house personnel and trainers, and so many other individuals that might be necessary for a team to play one game.

        Given the fact that some on-the-field individuals wear a mask during a baseball game and others don’t, in effect, team sports in 2020 are like a Petri dish loaded with coronaviruses seeking a new home – humans. And yet, the moguls that control the business of sports continue to deny reality and insist they have taken all measures to prevent the spread of the disease. But the coronavirus disagrees.

        Especially ludicrous is that the National Football League is still planning for a full season. If that happens, it should be a banner year for running backs as they run through the socially-distanced six feet between linemen. Right?

        The only sensible thing for baseball, football, basketball and hockey to do is to do what the International Olympic Committee did several weeks ago: Cancel their games set to begin in July, pretend that the Tokyo 2020 summer games never existed and rebranded it Tokyo 2021.

        But, of course, the super rich sports team owners, like all people who fit into that category, always think they have all the answers and sports fanatics will agree with the decisions to play until the players are infected, because as Tevye said in Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof, “And it won’t make one bit of difference if I answer right or wrong. When you’re rich, they think you really know.” Except in MLB’s situation, letting the team’s travel in the midst of the worst health crisis in the U.S. in 102 years has already been proven wrong.

        However, there is one aspect of sports and coronavirus that even the most fanatic of the fanatics sports fan should be bothered about. That is Question Two: How come the baseball players can get back their coronavirus test results in a day or so, but Joe and Jane Fan and their children have to wait much more than a week to get the results of their coronavirus tests?” On July 29, the Wall Street Journal reported sports leagues, including the National Basketball Association, Women’s National League Basketball Association and two soccer leagues, all playing in the bubble, can get test results back in a few hours. That’s a question that must be answered, even though we already know what the probable answer will be – money talks.

        The results from the first week of the baseball season are clear. Instead of “Play ball,” the commissioner should shout, “Season cancelled.”

        PR Lesson: Any one in our business long enough is certain to have disappointments because the success of even the best crafted program is often at the mercy of happenings that you can’t control. Dwelling on “what might have been” in our business is a sure road to failure.

        The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) or