Akron PRSA Mentoring Program

The Akron Area PRSA Mentoring Program offers support to New Pros from an elite group of seasoned PR pros, and "reverse mentoring" for our seasoned pros from our incredibly smart, creative and insightful New Pros.  

Some examples of traditional mentoring may include helping new pros with needs related to:

  • Networking and relationship building within the profession, effective resume development, interview and follow-up techniques
  • Integration of traditional PR into the new media communications plan
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Short-term need-specific questions or help with time-bound projects
  • Writing for specific audiences
  • Mentoring within areas of specialty like community relations, marketing communications, investor relations, non-profit organizations or crisis communications
  • Exploring opportunities to serve the profession
  • Ethics issues and how to address them
  • Accreditation mentorship
  • Taking the lead on team and project management
  • How to more effectively make career or position changes
  • Effectively addressing personnel issues
  • Crisis communications tips

Some examples of “reverse mentoring” may include helping seasoned pros with needs related to:

  • Creating, using and promoting a Blog as an effective communication channel
  • Developing, promoting and measuring the effectiveness of a business Facebook page, and how to more effectively use integrated Facebook tools
  • Selecting and using a Twitter management tool based upon communication goals and objectives for your client or organization
  • Website optimization based upon the latest trends in user interface
  • Website search engine optimization using the latest search term research tools
  • Integrating new social media platforms effectively including recommended uses for things like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and more
  • Using/integrating video as an effective communication tactic

Here’s How the Program Works

Interested parties will contact the Mentoring Chair with a need. The Mentoring Chair will proceed to pair each person with a mentor within the core team based upon the need and mentor skill, expertise, areas of interest and mentor availability. The mentor and mentee will take it from there in terms of setting up a time to talk by phone or meet personally to resolve the need. Simple! 

Meet Our Core Team

Mentoring Program Chair - *position vacant*
Interested in becoming our mentoring program chair? Contact Andrea Ferraro, ASPR, Akron PRSA President, at ferraran@mountunion.edu.

Seasoned Pros

1.  Ron Kirksey, MA

A past President of both the Akron Press Club and the Akron Area Chapter of PRSA, and a former member the National Conference of Editorial Writers, Ron Kirksey has spent most of his career as an editorial writer, columnist and editorial page director working on several newspapers including the Akron Beacon Journal. He has received numerous writing awards throughout his career, and also served as a lead writer on a year-long project for the Beacon Journal that won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. (Link to https://utdailybeacon.com/news/1994/jun/17/ut-graduate-wins-a-pulitzer-prize-for-series-exami/)

Kirksey also served as Kent State University’s executive director of university communications providing PR counsel to two Kent State presidents in the areas of crisis communication, ghostwriting of op-eds, articles and messages, and leading a team that included university media relations and speechwriting. He led efforts at Kent State that resulted in two CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) Gold awards for national excellence in higher education marketing. He currently runs his own communication firm, providing executive services to business, higher education and non-profit (healthcare related) executives. http://www.crisiscommunications.com/bio/ron-kirksey-crisis-communications-and-media-relations/, http://www.linkedin.com/in/ronkirksey.

2.  Tom Duke, APR, Fellow PRSA

The founding president of the Akron Area Chapter of PRSA, Tom Duke is a lifetime member of our chapter and has twice served as President.  Duke is a veteran public relations executive with managerial experience at three Fortune 500 companies and leadership positions with two top marketing communications agencies in Akron and Greenville, S.C. 

He has been a member of the PRSA National Board of Ethics and Professional Standards and a member of the Professional Advisory Board for the Kent State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  Duke was in the first class of PRSA members to be awarded Emeritus status in 2013 and received the Greater Cleveland PRSA Lighthouse Award for career achievement. He is chair of Akron SCORE, a volunteer organization that supplies advice and counsel to small businesses through mentoring and workshops. He has counseled clients in the automotive industry including Michelin North America, BMW and TRW, as well as clients in other areas, including food, education, non-profit and textiles. www.linkedin.com/pub/tom-duke-apr-fellow-prsa/6/bb4/3b6

3.  Rick Batyko, APR, Fellow PRSA 

Rick Batyko is the President of the Regional Marketing Alliance of Northeast Ohio (Cleveland Plus). He is an active mentor serving several programs including the PRSA College of Fellows. Batyko has 30 years distinguished service in eight different industries spanning Fortune 100s, civic organizations, nonprofits and philanthropy, and works as an adjunct professor in Kent State University's PR graduate program. He is the current Chair of PRSA’s East Central District and a past President of the Akron Area Chapter PRSA. http://www.clevelandplus.com  
www.linkedin.com/pub/richard-batyko/2/2a2/5b1

4.  Nora Jacobs, APR

Nora Jacobs is a senior public relations executive with 30 years of client and agency experience. She has counseled top executives at companies, associations, nonprofits and professional service firms on ways to seize market opportunities and overcome obstacles to organizational growth. She has a strong portfolio of work in consumer and industrial products, manufacturing, health care, biotechnology, education and economic development. Jacobs currently serves as both an Akron Area Chapter PRSA Delegate and the APR Co-chair.  http://www.crisiscommunications.com/about-us/our-team/  www.linkedin.com/in/norajacobs

5.  Wendy Turrell, MA

Wendy Turrell is the principal of WordWorks, LLC., a strategic communication service. With 30 years in the PR and communication industry, she is a frequent contributing author to regional Akron magazines and for professional publications. She currently provides strategic marketing and public relations counsel to individual businesses and nonprofits on a freelance consulting basis. Wendy has also been a copywriter and public relations specialist for advertising agencies and in-house for a national franchise company. Prior to establishing her own firm, Wendy was the Marketing and Public Relations Director for LifeCenter Plus in Hudson; she held the same position with the Akron Symphony and with the Ohio Ballet professional dance company.  www.linkedin.com/in/wturrell1

Alternate

New Pro’s

1.    Casey Barto Newman

2.    Christopher Sledzik, MA

With a masters degree in public relations and more than seven years of public relations experience in corporate and full-service agency settings focusing on media relations, social media and digital content strategy for B2B and B2C projects, Chris Sledzik serves as a valuable mentor for both seasoned pros and young pros just entering the work force. In addition to serving on our mentoring core team, Chris also serves the chapter as Co-chair of the New Professionals group. 

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/chrissledzik
Twitter: @ChrisSledzik

3.    Lindsay Ridinger

Lindsay Ridinger is a project manager for the corporate communication department at The Davey Tree Expert Company in Kent, Ohio where she is responsible for internal communications, project management, event planning and blog writing. Lindsay graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor of science degree in public relations and a minor in marketing in May, 2012. While at Kent State, Lindsay was an active member of PRSSA for three years serving as treasurer and then president, and earned the prestigious YouToo Scholarship from Akron Area PRSA for her exceptional student achievements and writing skills. 

Twitter: @lindsayridinger
Website: lindsayridinger.weebly.com
LinkedIn: Linked www.linkedin.com/in/lindsayridinger
Blog: http://scrapsofthesoul.com/about/