Author Archives: Zinaejah Ozier

  1. Wrapping Up This Summer’s Internship

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    This summer has been filled with so many challenges and opportunities. In the end, the opportunities and ending result far outweighed any challenge that was faced. Here are a few of the highlights from this summer here at Germinder + Associates.

    On my return, I was excited to see all the new opportunities I’d be able to take on due to everything I got to do last year. With the “Interviews with Zinaejah” series, I got to speak with so many awesome Black professionals and with the Inez Y. Kaiser Initiative being one of the main focuses for this summer, I was excited to see what I could accomplish next. 

    Lea-Ann and I decided to enter my “Interviews with Zinaejah” series into the 2021 PRSA-NY Big Apple Awards. Upon entry, I was just happy to learn how to enter into an award and everything that comes with it. It was a process, but it allowed me to see the ins and outs of getting something submitted. 

    Getting started on creating content, I was excited to use my creativity to create the new “Z Blogs” idea where I linked the story of Inez Y. Kaiser to my own story and made a blog out of it. I ended with six blogs which were all very successful. My final blog featured an interview with Richlynn Kaiser Bailey, granddaughter of Inez Y. Kaiser. It was such an honor to get to speak with her and hear the amazing stories and advice that she learned from a legend. 

    In the midst of creating my blogs, I also did some work with our Good News For Pets site. As an affiliate partner of Chewy, lots of posts centered around the many summer deals they showcased. I was ecstatic to see the Chewy official account on social media respond and thank me for promoting their products. It was such a cool experience and has even become a bragging right of mine whenever I mention to family and friends what it is I do at my internship. 

    One of the most rewarding parts of this summer was creating content for the Greater Kansas City Public Relations Society of America (GKC-PRSA) social media pages. After emailing the entire advisory board about my project, I was able to get quotes for each of them that symbolized the importance of the scholarship and any meaningful words they wanted to say about Inez Y. Kaiser. The final project was beautiful and it was so rewarding knowing that I was able to give each member a voice. 

    Along with the project, I created a video to help promote the scholarship. After advice from board member, Darius Lane, I was able to come up with something amazing and even got compliments on the video! I was so proud of my final product and couldn’t have asked for a better coach. 

    Nearing the end of my internship, I received word back from the PRSA-NY Big Apple Awards entry that I submitted earlier in the summer. To my surprise, I was informed that my entry was shortlisted as a nominee for an award or an honorable mention! I was in shock and so excited all at the same time. Lea-Ann and I planned our trip to New York in September for the in-person awards to celebrate the accomplishment. 

    Overall, this summer has taught me so much. It taught me that some of the most rewarding experiences are what you can do for other people, hence what I did with the GKC-PRSA social media content and my Z blogs where I helped tell the story of the late Inez Y. Kaiser. I also learned that hard work pays off, even if it’s months or a year later. Here I am, a year after I completed the “Interview with Zinaejah” series and now I get to go to New York City, a place I’ve always wanted to go since I’m a nominee. On top of that, after a long and challenging summer, I was able to complete two PowerPoints on Germinder + Associates and Good News For Pets to add to my portfolio. Everything is paying off and this experience makes me even more excited for what the future holds for me. 

  2. A Conversation with Richlynn Kaiser Bailey, Granddaughter of Inez Y. Kaiser

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    Writing about Inez Y. Kaiser has been a pleasure and a blessing. Along the way I’ve gotten the chance to learn so much about a powerful Black woman who paved the path before me as well as made connections with a few amazing people who are in the field currently.One of those amazing people was Richlynn Kaiser Bailey, granddaughter of Inez Y. Kaiser. 

    Bailey shared her thoughts on the initiative under her grandmother’s name as well as some memorable aspects of her grandmother that she wanted to get across.

    “This is a fantastic opportunity to highlight her story and share a little bit about who Inez Kaiser was and what she stood for,” Bailey said. “The scholarship in her name is about paying it forward and supporting students who are aspiring to make their mark in communications. We hope the scholarship will propel recipients forward to pursue their dreams.”

    Being a young, Black woman, it’s always inspiring to see people like her who are advocating for the generation below them. I expressed to her some of the anxiety and fears I had when it came to entering the corporate world as I near my senior year at the University of Dayton. 

    From this, I learned about her deep commitment to the advancement of women and women of color who are navigating this world and overcoming the feeling of “imposter syndrome” causing one to feel like they aren’t worthy to be in the position they’re in, especially while raising two daughters. 

    “I want to raise my girls to be confident and to know that they are enough,” she said. “I want them to know that they are valued and that they have unique and amazing contributions to make in this world. Those are values that my grandmother instilled in me. Working on this scholarship has reminded me of who my grandmother was and what she stood for.”

    After learning more about who she was and that she strives to be, we ended with a conversation about leading those following after you. Being an example and a physical representation of what you don’t usually see people like you do is so important in this day and age. 

    “Representation is so important, and if you don’t see it, then you don’t know you can be it,” Richlynn Kaiser Bailey said. “Whether you’re considering work at a PR agency, a corporation, a volunteer option, advertising, or whatever it may be, it’s important that people see themselves reflected back.”

    Representation matters. Being a part of this initiative for the summer opened my eyes to something important. While I and many others never got to meet Inez Y. Kaiser, we are fortunate enough to get to know her story. Just because we leave this earth doesn’t mean the legacy, accomplishments, and paths we pave for those following behind isn’t remembered and cherished. Inez Y. Kaiser’s legacy will live on forever because she took the time to be a representation of what many women of color can be in life, despite the opinions of those who say we can’t. 

    Don’t forget to check out the video I created that emphasizes Inez Y. Kaiser and other modern trailblazers in communications:

    Qualifying students can apply for the Inez Y. Kaiser GKC-PRSA Memorial Scholarship now! 

  3. Don’t be Afraid to Tell Your Story

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    We all have talents. A lot of us have jobs, but outside of those jobs, our hobbies and down-time activities host some of our most powerful gifts. It’s the things we’re most passionate about that will make the greatest impact in this world. 

    I saw this with Inez Kaiser. With roots in journalism she used those writing and communicating skills and transferred that into her journey in the civil rights movement with getting messages across and creating an impact. I want to do this for myself as well.

    Whenever I think of things I’m passionate about, I immediately think of the Black story. More specifically, my story. Growing up in a world where having beautiful hair meant you were mixed with something or where the use of proper English made me “better” than other black girls oddly encourages me. 

    My second passion of writing and storytelling drives me to tell my story to the world in a creative way.

    I used to hate my story. I used to be embarrassed to be from a place like Flint, Michigan. I use to hate having to explain to people that I grew up without my biological mother in my life. All of the things that represent the life of a stereotypical black family was simply embarrassing to me to talk about. However, that’s when I learned exactly why I should love my story. 

    The story is the journey. The journey is what makes us who we are. We are everything that our story is and that is why telling that story is so important, no matter who you are.

    When I first started writing, I was hit with the hard truth of, “You can’t become better without reading.” As I progressed with my writing and reading skills, I discovered the power of a story. Whether a fairy-tale or a revealed truth within a real-life story, the story itself is something that resonates deep within me. 

    Being a future public relations professional, I often think of the impact I can make. That impact includes helping to pave the way for more people like me, just like Inez Kaiser did and telling my story in a creative way in order to showcase all that one can become despite everything they had to do and go through to get where they are today.

    Don’t forget about the Inez Y. Kaiser GKC-PRSA Memorial Scholarship Fund! Learn more about it here

  4. Experience as the “Only One” in an Educational Setting

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    Picture this. It’s 9:00am on a Monday morning. You’re walking to class and you’re trying your hardest to keep your head up after a long weekend of studying, social mishaps, and finding yourself. You get to class and all you see is the back of dozens of heads of people with skin not like yours. You push yourself to relate, but it’s just not working…These are the thoughts that go through my head on a daily basis. 

    From the time I was little, I’ve had these experiences. Growing up in a place like Flint, Michigan then moving to the suburbs of Grand Blanc, Michigan in order to get a better education was both rewarding and scarring. Like the scraping at the knee, everything I had known before shifted into a culture that I tried so hard to mold into. 

    In classrooms I would sit and glance at the few brown-skinned children with puffy hair in hopes of making an automatic connection in an unknown world. Quickly, I was linked with a child like me, who’s friends became my friends. 

    Thinking back on this reminds me of the book, “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race” by Beverly Daniel Tatum. Oftentimes when walking into a school setting, clusters of different races are boldly scattered around the lunch room and on the playground. My own experiences see this phenomenon as a level of comfortability. This same dynamic stands at the university level. 

    I sometimes question why segregated school were pronounced unconstitutional decades ago, yet we are still in school were getting a good education means going to a predominantly white school. 

    It can be hard attending a school where you’re one of the “only ones.” As a writer, I know the power of relatability and establishing relationships within a story as well as the real world. For this reason, I believe the stress endured by brown-skinned individuals all over campus can be severe. It almost seems like the lack of relatability is so normal that no one really seems to pay attention to what we have to go through. This very situation caused me to be stuck between choosing a HBCU (Historically Black College and University) and a PWI (Predominantly White Institution). On one hand, I wanted to attend a place where my people were better represented and supported in one space. On the other hand, the benefits of a PWI can be far greater when it comes to funding and great opportunities.

    For the generations after me, I don’t want them to have to choose. At times, choosing can be the difference between an understanding of one’s mental health and a push to the side due to the normalization of being the only Black kid. 

    To read Zinaejah Ozier previous blog, click here.

  5. Power of Pink Virtual Internship: Question of the Day

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    QOD post

    Our Power of Pink Virtual Internship has come to an end and so have the many Zoom calls with founder Lea-Ann Germinder along with interns, Abby Crotty and Zinaejah Ozier. Within those Zoom calls, they always found a way to make the day more interesting with their “Question of the Day” daily questions.

    Some of the questions were on the serious list, while others challenged their brains to think about the things they’ve never really thought about before.

    Here were some of the questions and answers that they came up with throughout the summer:

    Top 3 QOD

    If your house was burning down and you could save one material thing, what would it be (assuming your phone is in your pocket!)?

    “My computer” – Zinaejah Ozier

    “My computer” – Lea-Ann Germinder

    “My big box of memorabilia” – Abby Crotty

    If you could have one superpower what would it be?

    “Teleport anywhere and not have to worry about COVID-19” – Abby Crotty

    “Not to sleep, there are so many things I want to do and not enough time to do them” – Lea-Ann Germinder

    “Ability to speed through work, but with accuracy” – Zinaejah Ozier

    What has been your biggest challenge to date and why?

    “The pandemic and having the internship fall through” – Abby Crotty

    “Going to school online, then having the internship online from 9-6 Monday to Thursday 9-1 on Friday and forgetting to eat and drink. I just want to get the work done and I forget to stop” – Zinaejah Ozier

    “My parents got divorced when I was young, but it taught me to be resilient and plow through challenges – like this pandemic!  – Lea-Ann Germinder

    In the end, whether the question was happy or sad, the “question of the day” always seemed to be the thing that pushed them through the long work-day. Now, it has come to a close, but their Q&A sessions will never be forgotten.

  6. A Zinaejah Ozier Interview: Lea-Ann Germinder

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    Lea-Ann Interview
    Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA, President of Germinder + Associates

    Getting an internship is one thing. Learning about how you got an internship is another. In an interview with the president of our company, Lea-Ann Germinder, Zinaejah Ozier got the opportunity to get insight on the perspective of her employer.

    From hearing about why she was selected to getting feedback on the ways in which she was able to partake in reverse mentoring, Ozier asked Germinder a series of questions to seal her Power of Pink Internship experience. When asked about the selection process, Germinder explained the significance of reaching out to her alma mater, the University of Dayton.

    “My main goal was to help students during the pandemic,” said Germinder. “I was really troubled that many agencies decided not to have internships during the pandemic, and I thought maybe I could help out. I had wanted to reach back to the University of Dayton for quite some time and PRSA sent out a communication, suggesting that we try to help. So, I reached out to the University of Dayton and we went from there.”

    After reaching out to UD in an effort to grant two lucky students with a chance to gain experience at an agency during hard times, Lea-Ann heavily considered the potential compatibility between the two interns, Abby Crotty and Zinaejah Ozier.

    “Here you had yourself, who was a journalism student that was transferring from journalism to public relations, a great storyteller, and I was very impressed with your writing,” said Germinder. “Then, you had Abby, who is a senior legacy student who wanted to do digital content and I thought, gee, this could be really interesting. It turned out to be really true. You two created magic together.”

    To top the interview off, Ozier was curious to know how Germinder felt about their summer experience overall. Since she and Crotty had conducted their own interview discussing their thoughts on their experience, hearing from Germinder…

    “Learning during the pandemic was a challenge, but we rose to that challenge,” said Lea-Ann.  “The Black Lives Matter movement was so important, and it was so impactful that we ended up not discussing some logistical things that we may have ended up discussing, but there’s always time to discuss that. At the end of the day, I think it’s so important to give back every single day and I’m thrilled with how the internship turned out.”

    With a goal of giving the girls a taste of the world of public relations and helping them to follow their passion, the internship has shown itself to serve that exact purpose.

    To watch the full interview, click here!

    To hear what interns Abby Crotty and Zinaejah Ozier had to say about their internship experience, click here!

  7. Germinder Honored With Michael Brim Distinguished Service Award

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    — Award Recognizes Communications Excellence —

    New York, August 10, 2020 — Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA, president and founder of Germinder + Associates, Inc. and editor and publisher of Goodnewsforpets.com has been named the 2019 recipient of the Michael Brim Distinguished Service Award sponsored by the Cat Writers’ Association (CWA). Germinder was virtually presented with the award August 7 by Kate Benjamin during the organization’s first-ever virtual awards ceremony. Amy Shojai, CWA co-founder and a past-president nominated Germinder for the award.

    “Lea-Ann Germinder has had a significant and consistent positive impact on improving the quality of life of cats, educating the public, promoting and facilitating the professional growth of cat writers. Having worked with her for more than two decades, I have seen her lift others high and celebrate their successes. I applaud her dedication to veterinary care and sharing responsible, vital information about our animal companions,” said Shojai.  

    The Michael Brim Distinguished Service Award honors extraordinary achievement and communications excellence. It recognizes the person who, by word, deed, public communication, and professional excellence best promotes the ideals, mission, and best interest of the Cat Writers’ Association. Nominees can include (but are not limited to) writers, editors, or publicists whose published work or actions have had a significant impact on improving the quality of life of cats, educating the public, promoting responsible cat breeding and ownership, and/or facilitating the professional growth of cat writers.

    Amy
    Amy Shojai, Co-Founder and Past-President of the Cat Writers’ Association with Lea-Ann Germinder at a CWA Conference

    Germinder first became involved with CWA when Co-Founder and then President Amy Shojai agreed to become the first media partner for Goodnewsforpets.com twenty years ago. GNFP provided the first free platform that publicly announced CWA events and members books (which then columnist Steve Dale reviewed and helped promote), giving the new organization a much-needed visibility and legitimacy among animal care providers and corporate interests.

    “I joined the Cat Writers’ Association in 2011 and since that time, I’ve gotten to know Lea-Ann very well,” said current CWA President, Deb Barnes. “Her contribution to not only the social growth and presence of the CWA, but to the positive impact of animal welfare at large speaks volumes and we are so honored to recognize her outstanding achievements and dedication by naming her this year’s Michael Brim Distinguished Service award winner.”

    She has frequently offered advice and expertise to individual CWA members as well as the CWA administration having also served as the CWA’s P.R. Firm of Record for several years. She has tirelessly worked to connect CWA with potential sponsors and has herself secured several for CWA’s benefit. She sponsors GNFP Human-Animal Bond Award. She has been a frequent and popular speaker at many CWA conferences, sharing her expertise as a PR professional. Germinder pioneered and remains a leader in the establishment of an online presence for cat writers, and remains a leader in the dissemination of accurate information about cats and veterinary care.

    “Shining a light on great work and teaching CWA members publicity and social media skills has been my pleasure. It has given me an opportunity to work with so many extraordinary leaders and members at CWA. And, I’m honored and humbled to receive this award named after Michael Brim, a consummate pr professional,” said Germinder.

    Germinder is an accredited Fellow of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), a former national director of PRSA, a former national trustee of the PRSA Foundation and served as PRSA Midwest district chair, Tri-State chair-elect and president of the New York City and Kansas City chapters. She is a member of the PRSA Counselor’s Academy and member of the PRSA-NY Past-Presidents Council. Germinder received the Makovsky Mentoring in Excellence Award at the PRSA-NY Awards Banquet last year.

  8. A Zinaejah Ozier Interview: Jahzeel Campbell

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    Jahzeel Campbell
    Jahzeel Campbell

    For her final interview here at the Germinder + Associates internship, Zinaejah Ozier decided to speak with another former intern and longtime friend of Founder Lea Ann Germinder, Jahzeel Campbell. He is currently serving as a dance coach in Australia and Campbell shared his experiences of being in the world of PR, and then transferring into the world of dance.

    Throughout their conversation, the two discussed how much they’ve learned from Germinder and the many talks they’ve had with her regarding their passions and future endeavors. Specifically, Germinder helped Campbell to figure out what it was he really loved to do both within and outside of PR.

    “She knew that I danced at a young age,” said Campbell. “She saw that as much as I did love PR, there was always that desire to teach as well. So, we would have conversations about making sure that you’re doing what you love and filling your purpose.”

    As a black man in America, Campbell spoke on his experience as a teacher and the importance of being a trailblazer for the young black children that he taught. As it was an all-girls institution filled with mostly black and brown girls, Campbell felt obligated to guide them in the right direction and create those long-lasting relationships in order to make an impact in their lives.

    “Being raised in a household with beautiful, strong, educated women,” said Jahzeel, “I knew that I had a responsibility to not only teach my students in terms of the area of dance, but also be an example of a positive role model in their lives.”

    He then went on to explain the importance of communicating effectively when put in a high position. As an aspiring leader herself, Ozier was curious to know what values were important to hold within those settings as an African American. He expressed the importance of remaining humble and admitting your mistakes even as a teacher to his students.

    “Seeing that healthy level of communication from somebody who’s their teacher gives them a foundation to go out into the world and know what standard and expectations separate themselves as it relates to communicating and relating with people,” said Campbell.

    Ending her final interview, Ozier and Campbell discussed how important their relationship with Lea-Ann had been both as a supervisor and as a mentor and how they planned to stay in touch in the future.

    “The conversations I’ve had with Lea-Ann has allowed for stigmas to really be shot down or they’re proven not true as to how we relate to each other from whatever background we’re from,” Jahzeel said.

    With a racial injustice movement still intact, the relationship that the two hold with Germinder remains a significant and powerful one. With her help, racial barriers and stereotypes of what a mentor and mentee relationship should look like has been broken.

    To watch the full interview, click here!

    To see Jahzeel Campbell’s written piece on his experience at Germinder + Associates, click here!

    For more on the series, click here.

    Follow us on Instagram @GerminderPR

  9. A Zinaejah Ozier Interview: Nathalie Godwin, APR

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    Nathalie Godwin
    Nathalie Godwin, APR, and Assistant Vice President of External Communications at Unum

    Nearing the end of her series, Zinaejah took on Nathalie Godwin, APR, and Assistant Vice President of External Communication at Unum, a global insurance company. Like herself, Zinaejah found connection when she saw that Godwin had had a background in journalism as well, along with the fact that she was a successful black woman, which Zinaejah aspired to be.

    Starting off with her first position in communications at NASA and working on the Mars rover mission, Nathalie Godwin, saw many more positions at big companies following this experience. Later, she even worked for companies like UPS and Hilton. As each of these companies are large corporate organizations, Zinaejah was interested to know what it was like being in leadership positions as a woman of color.

    “I find that I’m always working much harder,” said Nathalie Godwin. “Your white colleagues are labeled as passionate while I’m labeled as the angry black woman, and that’s really tough. After George Floyd’s murder, I was reading all about different experiences on LinkedIn from other black females and I was reading about me! I think if anything, it taught me that I wasn’t alone in my experiences.”

    With those shared experiences, Ozier found it important to also receive advice, seeing that she may one day be in that position as well. Nathalie broke it down into three pieces of advices that she found was helpful to mention to young black women in the past.

    Don’t work for a brand that you don’t believe in their ideals,” said Godwin. “Be who you want to be, not who they want you to be. If it’s not you, then who? So, why not you? Growth and comfort never co-exist, so never stop growing.”

    Since this interview series has been based off of mentorship and what it means to have a mentor as an African-American, Zinaejah was curious to know what role mentors and mentees played in Godwin’s life.

    “My mentor and my mentee both teach me so much. I was struggling with a colleague [once] and I told my VP that I needed a mentor and they had to look like me so that they understood what I was going through. It was very nice because I was able to have those closed-door conversations that were very honest and tough, but it definitely helped me to navigate corporate culture.”

    Godwin ended with a few takeaways that she felt were very important to know while entering into the professional world as a future leader.

    “Now is the time to listen, have those uncomfortable conversations, take action, and make a difference. Representative John Lewis once said that he had an executive session with himself and he said, ‘We’ve still got a lot of work to do. We can’t have silence right now. It’s time to be courageous and have those uncomfortable conversations. We have to take the first step and believe in the possibility that we can be better.’”

    To watch the full interview for yourself, click here!

    For more on the series, click here.

    Follow us on Instagram @GerminderPR

  10. A Zinaejah Ozier Interview: Byron Calamese

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    Byron Calamese
    Managing Director (NYC & DC) at Zeno Group

    Four interviews in and Zinaejah Ozier spoke with a black leader that has a lot of inspirational advice and a very unique journey. Byron Calamese, Managing Director (NYC & DC) at Zeno Group, a global, integrated communications agency, born from PR.

    Calamese expressed that in many ways, his career has been challenging due to his tendency to be an introvert and his experience as a black man in such a high position. The question of leadership brought up for Calamese a very special person in his life, his niece, who he sees as one person he’s responsible for guiding on her path to success.

    “It is partly my responsibility to ensure that her journey to getting to where she wants to go is easier,” said Calamese. “It’s not that she’s not going to work hard, but I want to ensure that she has the confidence and that we instill those values in her as well as other black men and women.”

    After speaking about confidence, Zinaejah was curious to hear about mentorship and learning from people, as advice seeking is usually where one gets the motivation to push forward with careers and desires. Calamese shared how he himself had more than just black mentors in the past that ultimately helped him to see and understand different perspectives and ways of looking at the world.

    “If I were to advise someone that’s in college now or at a junior level of their career, I would say yes, mentors are super important, and I think that that is invaluable. But I would say that you can learn a lot by just being curious with a number of different people,” said Byron Calamese. 

    As Zinaejah is interning for Lea-Ann Germinder, who as a red-headed white woman is decidedly not Black, she heavily related to the idea of learning from more than just people who look like herself. Germinder has been very influential in Ozier’s life thus far during the Power of Pink initiative and is bound to mentor her for years to come. 

    To listen to the full interview, click here!