Category Archive: Power of Pink Virtual Internship Program
I used to sit and watch as the colorful fireworks flew through the sky and sliced through the air with a big boom or crackle. I used to love the 4th of July. Being able to stay up all night and from wherever I was, I could see beauty in the night sky, kissing the stars.
According to Britannica, Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas in 1980, and a number of other states followed suit. The day is also celebrated outside the United States, with organizations in a number of countries using the day to recognize the end of slavery and to celebrate the culture and achievements of African Americans.
With Juneteenth coming up, I started to think back to what else school didn’t teach me. This holiday has become such an important topic with the rise in police brutality and the high demand for justice for the black community. However, I never learned about this holiday until my college years. As I stare at the Juneteenth celebrations that have gone on in other states like Texas, I crave the heartwarming gatherings that stamp the day that my people actually gained their independence from the country that claimed they were “free.”
This craving got me thinking of the time when Inez Y. Kaiser went to Pittsburg State where one instructor told all the black students to leave the room. Kaiser responded with, “I’m not going anywhere.” I couldn’t help but picture the famous “no” stated by the one and only Rosa Parks. Year after year, generation after generation, it feels like the black community is slowly standing up for ourselves. Although I live in a country that doesn’t always accept my black skin, I’m gradually watching legends like Kaiser and Parks show me that I don’t have to be afraid.
I believe the same thing goes for Juneteenth. Gatherings of hundreds of Black people celebrating our true independence should become normalized. Yeah, the 4th of July is fun, but this can be too. Most importantly, it can be ours. Celebrating my black skin should be festive, and not odd. Loud, and not hidden. Simply unhidden for young boys and girls like me, who were blind to the essence of our culture due to the overbearing “American” culture that isn’t even ours. I hope that one day, I won’t have to say, “no” like Inez Y. Kaiser and Rosa Parks. I hope to live in a country that openly recognizes my skin and sees it as good and not bad.
Don’t forget to check out Z Blog #1 on our site!
Also, don’t forget about the Inez Y. Kaiser GKC-PRSA Memorial Scholarship Fund! Learn more about it here.
Zinaejah Ozier is returning to Germinder + Associates this summer with the debuts of the “Z Blog” as an extension of last summer’s “Interviews with Zinaejah.” Her first post coincides with the launch of the Inez Y. Kaiser GKC-PRSA Memorial Scholarship. Details on the scholarship here.
Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass. Each of these powerful names ring an alarming bell in the heads of many across the country. Now, with the series of events that took a toll on our country in the summer of 2020, many pronounce the name of the victims who have lost their lives to police brutality and injustice with the famous hashtag, #saytheirname.
So many names spoken, yet so many names unheard of. In my return as an intern here at Germinder + Associates, I was introduced to Inez Y. Kaiser, a Black woman I had never heard of.
With my constant presence in the field of writing for almost my whole life, it surprised me that I was never taught about her. What surprised me the most was the number of things we had in common. Both Kaiser and I were part of journalism, PR, and most of all, we are Black, we are women, and we are in America.
First introduced to me by Germinder + Associates president and founder, Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow, PRSA with her initiative as Co-Founder and Chair of the Inez Y. Kaiser GKC-PRSA Memorial Scholarship Fund Advisory Committee to create a scholarship under the name of Kaiser, I wanted to be a part of this. Knowing that there was someone like me who took giant leaps in the same field as me gave me hope.
I remember reading a piece called, “In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens” by Alice Walker during my freshman year at the University of Dayton (UD). I remember taking a pause after only the first page due to the relatability of the piece. Tears of sadness and joy falling like raindrops onto the bottom of the page provided me with a deeper understanding of why I felt the way I did at times. As a Black woman in America, I am in constant search of the gardens of our ancestors who suffered, mourned, and sang deeply rooted songs to numb their pain. A pain so deep that generations later, I too can feel that pain, especially when a victim of injustice is murdered on camera.
As my main focus of the previous summer was to listen to Black professionals and get insight on their journeys, I wanted to tell my own story. My journey of entering a classroom filled with white students at a PWI. My journey of taking a leap of faith and sitting on the board of my Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter as the only black student in the organization. My journey of trying to navigate a world so heavily flawed, that my black skin is mistaken as blob of ignorance and anger.
Like Inez, I want to pave the road to success for aspiring young black woman after me and change the world of PR for good. I want the world to know her name. With this series I plan to share her story and mine. I want the world to not only read my words, but to feel them, just as Alice Walker and Inez Y. Kaiser did for me.
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:
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.
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!
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
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
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!
Reaffirms Commitment to City, Mentoring and Diversity Initiatives
New York – June 30, 2020 — The Big Apple poster created by Ogilvy & Mather in 1976 and signed by Robert Redford says it all, “You’d have to be a little crazy to live in New York, but nuts to live anywhere else.” The iconic framed poster has followed Germinder + Associates founder and president Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow, PRSA everywhere she’s lived and every office she’s opened since 1976.
On July 1st, as Germinder + Associates celebrates the 20th anniversary of the first opening of its New York City office, the poster special meaning. The poster was created in 1976 at a time New York City was going broke. Now, New York is in the midst of a pandemic and the poster is on display for all the Zoom calls as a good luck charm. New York will be back, and in the meantime, the company is marking its 20th anniversary with an affirmation of its commitment to New York City, mentoring and increasing diversity in the public relations profession.
The company formally opened its first New York City office in the Hudson Square area of Greenwich Village. It had launched Goodnewsforpets.com earlier in the year. The company has also had offices in the famous Meat Market district, Park Avenue and now is currently located in Midtown at 747 Third Avenue.
“There isn’t any area of New York City we don’t love and we look forward to when we can fully operate back in New York full-time. We were thrilled to open our doors in Kansas City in 1998, but to open the office in New York City in 2000 was a dream come true. While I grew up on Long Island, I came to the city every chance I had, and to me, even as we still battle the pandemic, the Big Apple is still the greatest city in the world,” said Germinder.
Mentoring is also important to Germinder. She has established intern programs at every agency she has joined before starting her own firm in 1998. As 2013 PRSA-NY Chapter President and as a longtime Big Apple Sponsor, she has made it a point to reach out to sponsor PRSSA students. In 2019, she received the PRSA-NY’s Makovsky Excellence in Mentoring Award in recognition for her years of mentoring public relations professionals. She is a member of the PRSA-NY Past Presidents Council.
“We are so incredibly grateful to all of the support and volunteerism that Lea-Ann has shown to PRSA-NY over the years,” said PRSA-NY President, Kellie Jelencovich. “Lea-Ann is such an outstanding mentor and is always guiding and helping students from PRSSA, as well as young emerging professionals with their careers. We are deeply appreciative to all that she has done to give back especially to students from diverse backgrounds, where Lea-Ann is constantly creating opportunities to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion. This is an incredible time to be celebrating 20 years in the Big Apple and showcasing her students and their work in the process is typical of the opportunities she creates.”
As part of the PRSA-NY mentoring program, Germinder is currently guiding Alexandra Butman through the job-seeking process, as she is set to complete her graduate degree at NYU. In May she accepted the PRSA Champions challenge to help students impacted by the pandemic by hiring two students remotely from her alma mater, the University of Dayton. Abby Crotty, a senior and Zinaejah Ozier, a junior are the two interns. An unexpected development was the Black Lives Matter movement and how it would impact the work – in a positive manner. Listen to their latest video here.
While the agency has always considered itself committed to diversity and inclusion, honest conversations became front and center. The agency recently became the 40th firm to sign the Diversity Action Alliance pledge to adopt, champion and track diversity within the organization and the public relations profession. The Diversity Action Alliance is an alliance of the national top public relations organizations. The company also made a donation towards this initiative and other initiatives and made its own statements in support of Black Lives Matter.
Abby Crotty is handling Goodnewsforpets.com content, the Goodnewsforpets 20th Anniversary Charmed by the Love contest with brand partners, and handling donation communications to pet shelters. She’s found a way to incorporate the Black Lives Matter movement and message into the work she’s doing for Goodnewsforpets. Zinaejah Ozier is helping with Germinder public relations. Now Zinaejah Ozier, is conducting “Interviews with Zinaejah Ozier” with black leaders in her voice.
“What these young women have given back to me in terms of taking an honest assessment of where we stand and analyzing how we can all move forward is nothing short of amazing. Talking about 20 years of public relations successes, that’s easy for me. Openly standing up for what you believe in, that takes guts today. It is especially fitting to celebrate them on the occasion of our 20th anniversary. They are representative of all the young professionals I have had the privilege to work with, mentor and who mentored me back at Germinder +Associates,” Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA.
The Germinder Power of Pink Program (formerly Germinder Giving Back) is a companywide umbrella program developed to ensure the company and its employees contribute in meaningful ways to the local communities in which they work and in the specialized industries and professions they serve. The initiative is providing pro bono counsel during the COVID-19 Pandemic and supported the Black Lives Matter movement and mentoring for students, both monetary and in-kind support. The 2020 interns were hired under this program. For more information, visit www.germinder.com or on Instagram @GerminderPR or Twitter @GerminderPR
As our two interns Abby Crotty and Zinaejah Ozier find themselves nearing the middle of their internship here at Germinder + Associates, they conversed on their experiences working at a PR agency while in the midst of a social movement and a global pandemic.
For their first interview, they talked about how grateful they were to have gotten this opportunity and how they were looking forward to what this internship had to offer. Now, after weeks of preparing content for the company, the two embark on their experience post all the chaos that has taken place in our country.
“It’s definitely hard to just completely turn off your brain from what’s happening in the world and entirely focus on your work,” said intern Abby Crotty. “But I think that’s why it’s important for brands and companies to step up during this time and intertwine the message of social justice and equality for everyone into their own personal work.”
Being part of a PR company during this time has also opened their eyes to the different types of responses that firms are posting in response to the social movement and how impactful that can be, depending on what’s said. For Ozier, she speaks on the importance of the way in which companies decide to go about expressing their concerns publicly.
“I feel like the words and actions that I appreciate the most are when companies are being genuine to who they are,” intern Zinaejah Ozier said. “I want to see what you’re doing to help like the actions you’re doing whether it’s a donation or making sure you have those conversations within your organization and implementing more diversity, I just want to see the change because actions speak louder than words.”
Overall, they’ve learned the importance of the process of getting a message out to the public and how impactful each statement can be. With a desired future in this field, it has been an interesting experience for them to conquer a virtual internship while seeing the results of how things in society shape the way a company ran.
To watch the full second interview, click here!
The interview series by Zinaejah Ozier kicked off its third interview with Troy Blackwell Jr. who is the National Director of Press Advance, Obama White House Alum, and Board Member at BPRS-NY and PRSA Tri State.
On June 30, 2020, Blackwell will be speaking at the LGBTQ Experience in Public Relations event at the Museum of Public Relations. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, which granted rights to LGBT members, this event is aimed at showing what it’s like to be in the LGBTQ community while also in PR.
“We’re going to talk about the last 50 years of pride and about ways that agencies can be more inclusive when marketing or working on clients that do work in the LGBTQ space.”
Going into the interview, Zinaejah Ozier knew that she would be able to relate to the unique experiences that Blackwell encountered due to his membership in both the black community and the LGBTQ community. In response to this, Blackwell spoke on how these unique experiences make way for the importance of telling your story and inserting yourself into an industry that is in dire need of more diversity.
“Don’t shy away from the industry because of where the industry is right now,” said Blackwell Jr. “I think also sometimes being different, offering a unique perspective, and being able to tell stories that are different from everyone else in the bunch, that unique perspective can actually make you stand out and it can make people more interested in you. You’ll be surprised how far that that can take you.”
He made it clear that coming from a marginalized group does not make you susceptible to the things that the world tries to put you in. You are not what society says you are, you are what you make of yourself.
To watch the full video on uniqueness and gaining perspectives, click here!
For more on the series, click here.
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