Category Archive: Zinaejah Ozier Interviews
New York – July 28, 2021 — Germinder + Associates, Inc. is pleased to announce the PRSA-NY Board of Directors has selected the agency’s “Interviews with Zinaejah” entry in the Spotlight Category: Media Relations and Content Marketing. Being on the Shortlist means that Germinder + Associates’s support of Zinaejah Ozier’s work is in consideration for a Big Apple Award or an Honorable Mention.
According to PRSA-NY, the entry made the Shortlist as a nominee for the 2021 Big Apple Awards by representing the highest standards of excellence in the PR industry. The entry will be showcased amongst public relations peers across the United States during the Big Apple Awards.
Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA, Germinder + Associates President is an agency veteran and recipient of the inaugural Makovsky Excellence in Mentoring award. She was looking for appropriate ways to approach the virtual agency experience during the pandemic and during the Black Lives Matter for Ozier, a young Black aspiring journalist turned PR pro-storyteller. The BLM movement was an opportunity for Germinder to listen, for the young intern to create.
“I’ve interviewed many students for internships over the years, but Zinaejah and her creative skills really stood out. The trick was figuring out an internship project where I could mentor her and yet she could still call it her own. With her creativity, interviews with diverse Black leaders I knew became “Interviews with Zinaejah.” Once she completed it, having been a judge, I thought it might have a shot at taking home an award and suggested we enter it in the Big Apple awards. Now we shall meet in person for the first time and hear the final results together on September 28th. No matter what the end result — this project epitomizes for me what mentoring is all about,” said Germinder.
For her part, Ozier is looking forward to spending time in New York, her first trip to the Big Apple.
“I really enjoyed conducting my “Interview with Zinaejah” series and to have it be nominated for an award is truly a blessing. Not only that, it shows me that hard-work pays off…even if it’s a year later! I’m so excited to travel to NYC for the first time, see Lea-Ann for the first time, and enjoy a night of awards. Even If I don’t win any, I’ve already won this amazing experience.”
Germinder + Associates, Inc. is located in New York City and Kansas City and serves several niche categories including the pet industry. The agency was founded by Lea-Ann Germinder in 1998 and has won numerous business and client service awards including the PRSA Silver Anvil Award of Excellence and IABC Bronze Quill Awards. For more information contact Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA at 917-334-8682 or Lgerminder@germinder.com.
#BigApplePR #BigAppleAwards2021 #GerminderPR
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
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.
Follow us on Instagram @GerminderPR
For her second interview, intern Zinaejah Ozier reached out to Dr. Courtney Campbell, DVM, DACVS-SA and recipient of the 2020 Global Pet Expo’s media personality of the year award. Campbell is a board-certified veterinary surgeon and host and producer of Vet Candy. As an aspiring entrepreneur, Zinaejah thought it would be a good idea to interview this young black business owner and leader due to his expertise in the professional world.
One of the main things that she discussed with this amazing leader was the idea of building a career while still in the process of finding your passion. Dr. Campbell shared some advice on finding out what it is you really love within your everyday activities. He specifically talked about his journey following his youthful love of wildlife and medicine.
“When I was growing up, I’d jump outside and explore the woods, look under rocks, and I really started to appreciate wildlife,” said Dr. Campbell. “Once you appreciate wildlife and you fuse that with medicine, anatomy, and physiology, a career in veterinary medicine just makes sense. You’ve got your love for animals on one side and then you’ve got a love for medicine and science and it’s a beautiful marriage.”
When asked about having a mentor while on the journey, Campbell stressed the idea of having a set goal, a timeline, and having objective criticism during the process.
“I don’t care how old you are or where you are in life, you need a mentor,” he said. “What gets measured, gets improved. As you’re achieving your goal and doing it in record time but not doing it right, then you’re not really improving.”
Dr. Campbell mentioned how he, himself had and still has many mentors, whether it is for professional development or personal life. As we have different sides to our lives, he talked about how helpful it can be to have a mentor for each of those sides.
To watch the full video on mentorship and more, click here!
For more on the series, click here.
Follow us on Instagram @GerminderPR
This interview is the first in a series of interviews from University of Dayton junior and summer Digital Associate Zinaejah Ozier. As an aspiring leader Zinaejah made an effort to contact Proctor-Rogers as she is an executive coach with many years of mentorship under her belt. As Ozier’s series of interviews is also an attempt to grow a connection and listen to the words of the wise, this candidate was a definite fit.
THE KEY TO SUCCESS: MENTORS PLUS
The interview consisted of insights on how Proctor-Rogers made her way through the professional world over time and her emphasis on the importance of having a mentor. As explained in the video, we get to hear about the many mentors that Cheryl has had growing up including her parents and peers within the organizations that she took part in.
“Having mentor as part of your personal cabinet is critical to your success,” said Proctor-Rogers. “I can’t imagine how I would have been able to achieve everything I could.”
To watch the full interview and gain insight on Cheryl Proctor-Rogers for yourself, check out the link to the video here: https://youtu.be/DBxytGLg0dw
As a next step in our Power of Pink Initiative and in light of recent events, we’re introducing a series of interviews with black leaders across the country conducted by Zinaejah Ozier, a junior at the University of Dayton and incoming treasurer of the PRSSA chapter at Dayton. The goal of the series is to join in the current conversation through the eyes of a young leader speaking with black leaders – and learn!
Zinaejah is already a budding storyteller, a journalism turned public relations major. Coming into the internship, Zinaejah expressed her desire to learn about the stories of the people whose footsteps she planned to follow. Using her own journalist approach, she’ll conduct video interviews and ask unique questions of each interviewee in an attempt to grow her understanding of how each person achieved success and how she can do the same.
excited to have this opportunity to conduct these interviews at Germinder +
Associates,” said Zinaejah. “It allows me to gain a broader understanding of
the public relations profession and the opportunity to connect and network
while I am gaining experience on the job.”
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