BICsters rising...

Good news! Three BICsters from our inaugural class, Amber Jackson, Vera Golikova Keiter, and Cassondra Bazelow, have upgraded their profiles in the last few weeks.

GREY has promoted Amber Jackson (BIC '15) to Senior Account Executive. Starting as an AE not long after her first semester at BIC, Amber has risen quickly at GREY. Her technical knowledge of the digital and social space has been invaluable and a huge factor in the success of multiple projects, including the launch and management of When GREY upped the ante for Red Carpet in 2013, Amber's support was key to the program's success. Moving forward, Amber will be playing a critical role in bringing initiatives to market. "Gandolf" and Pantene Beautiful Lengths will soon be benefiting from her executional excellence.

Founded as a one-man, one-room retail shop in NYC's garment district, GREY now comprises more than 1,000 people between the New York City flagship and its 96-country network.

Vera Golikova Keiter (BIC '15) has just been hired as a Junior Copywriter in the Social Studio at BBDO New York. Coming off a highly successful internship at LoyalKaspar, Vera was networked to BBDO by BIC Professor Andy Tider. She then wowed BBDO Creatives with her quirky sensibility and versatility.

In a truly exciting turn of events, Vera will be partnered with Cassondra Bazelow (BIC '16). After parlaying a highly successful internship at Tribal DDB two summers ago into a full-time position, Cassondra was able to negotiate a Senior Art Director position at BBDO.

BBDO Worldwide is 15,000 people in 289 agencies across 81 countries, all focused on: The Work. The Work. The Work. Among its recognitions are: Most Effective Network in the World, Global Effie Effectiveness Index 2011, 2014, 2015,  Network of the Year, Cannes Festival, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011, and Global Network of the Year, Adweek Magazine, 2011, 2014.

CONGRATS to our amazing BICsters!!

Introducing the BIC Class of 2017: Liana Pantzari

Liana Pantzari joins BIC from Greece! She earned her B.Sc. in International & European Affairs from the University of Piraeus. She was enrolled in a wide range of courses covering topics such as crisis management, international politics, foreign diplomacy, international trade, and energy economics. She earned professional marketing and communications experience working for Roikos Engineering Consultants S.A., a well known consultancy firm based in Athens. Her focus while at BIC will be Public Relations. Here we get to know her better...

What is currently your favorite “occupation”? My current favorite occupation is getting to know this amazing city. I enjoy its diversity and multi-cultural atmosphere and I can't wait to embrace it even more as a BICster.

Do you have a dream company? What position would you apply for? Having a concentration in Public Relations, my dream company is Ketchum because who doesn't want to work with the best? I would like to become a corporate communications strategist and find new ways of using language to produce efficient solutions for my clients. 

Name the one cause that you’re most passionate about and why. Is there a company you admire for their commitment to supporting that cause? I admire Ben and Jerry's, not only for their ice cream, but also for their foundation, which focuses on engaging its own employees in philanthropy and social work--two social efforts I care deeply about. Ben and Jerry's supports social justice and makes efforts to spread information about the root causes of injustice, which will hopefully lead to social change.

What is your favorite communications campaign of 2015 and – in a single word – why? Since my academic background is in foreign affairs and politics I will have to say that SYRIZA's communications campaign was really efficient. Syriza is a left-wing political party that recently came to power in Greece. The campaign's single word was HOPE over fear. Although it was, from my point of view, misleading and based on inaccuracies, it managed to do exactly what it intended: inspire hope. (Note: Most of the campaign materials are not available in English.)

What legacy would you like to leave behind and what inspires your pursuance of it? A legacy is something you're creating every day and I hope the one I'll leave behind will have a lasting inspirational impact on others. On a personal level, I would like to leave my children a legacy of love and respect.

If not yourself, who would you be? Since this is a hypothetical situation, Ι will choose a fictional character. So, if not myself I would like to be Don Draper. For his sharp mind, his out-of-the-box thinking, his creativity, his fragile moments of weakness, his timeless style.

What’s your favorite motto? "Play the man, not the odds". Whether you're involved in a game or a business deal, you have to balance logic and emotions. I truly believe that if you learn to manage the people in the room you can drastically increase the odds of getting something good out of any possible situation.

Introducing the BIC Class of 2017: Karina Ramos Salce

Karina Ramos Salce is a graduate of Texas A&M University where she earned a BBA in Marketing. She joins BIC this fall in our Creative track, focused on developing her artistic skills and communications expertise with the intention of making a positive impact on the world. With such huge aspirations, we had to ask her a few questions!

What is currently your favorite “occupation”? My favorite occupation is creating; graphic design, writing.

Do you have a dream company? What position would you apply for? My dream company is Y&R, they have the “Y&R difference” with a great culture and values. I would apply for a position in marketing communications.

What is your favorite communications campaign of 2015 and – in a single word – why? My favorite campaign of 2015 was Dove's Real Beauty #speakbeautiful campaign. In a single word: inspiring.

Name the one cause that you’re most passionate about and why. Is there a company you admire for their commitment to supporting that cause? A cause I am passionate about is breast cancer. It has impacted various members of my family, making the reality of it very palpable. I am painfully aware of how this affects thousands of women, just in the U.S.A, and therefore feel very strongly about it. I admire Avon for supporting breast cancer research and donating money to various breast cancer programs worldwide since 1992.

What legacy would you like to leave behind and what inspires your pursuance of it? A legacy I would like to leave behind would be the principle of how effective it is to strive for growth by aiding those around us. The idea that each one of us can impact the world positively, leading to a collectively more progressive environment, inspires my pursuance of it.

If not yourself, who would you be? If not myself, I would be Joan of Arc. She was the catalyst of major war-related events when it was unheard of for women to take on such roles.

What’s your favorite motto? I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. ~ William Ernest Henley

BBH Account Planning Bootcamp picks Himani Gupta

Once again, a BICster has been chosen for the selective Griffin Farley Search for Beautiful Minds program, BBH's intensive program for strategic planners. The bootcamp is in honor of Griffin Farley, a Strategy Director at BBH New York who dedicated much of his time to aspiring planners/ strategist hoping to break into the business. One part learning experience and one part networking event is a free crash course in planning from some of the top planners in the industry.

Introducing the BIC Class of 2017: Kate Tsampounari

Originally from Greece, Kate Tsampounari is an ambitious project management professional with thirteen years of experience working in airport/airline operations, sports management, event planning, public relations, marketing, and pharmaceutical projects across Greece, Qatar, and the USA. Kate holds a B.A. in Organizational Communications from SUNY New Paltz. She will begin her studies in CCNY's BIC program this fall, with a concentration in Management + Planning.

Do you have a dream company you'd like to work for? My ultimate dream company has always been McCann. Its history and global clientele says it all. I am deep into advertising and I would love to be able to create some exceptional ads in the future. I want to be a creative writer and make the market talk about my new Coca Cola ad in the future.

What is your favorite communications campaign of 2015? I will keep it local, as my favorite communications campaign of 2015 is VISIT GREECE. While my country is in deep financial crisis, with most media making it look a lot worst than it really is, this campaign always reminds me why Greece is worth visiting and reviving! Beautiful, inspirational and motivational small campaigns all around the world are showing what Greece has to offer culture, history, hospitality and amazing scenery all around this magical land. I am a bit biased, but Greece is really awesome. Living abroad for so many years, watching these short campaigns everywhere I travel brings tears to my eyes as I am reminded of my country.

What is currently your favorite “occupation”? After finishing a very interesting project the opening a new airport in Doha Qatar my favorite ''occupation'' for the past two months has been exploring my own country. Right now I am in the beautiful island of Naxos in Cyclades, falling in love with my late father's roots. I am extremely excited to know that my near future favorite ''occupation'' will be attending BIC.

Name the one cause that you’re most passionate about and why. It will probably sound like a beauty pageant answer, but I have to say World Peace is the cause I support the most. I cannot comprehend how in the 21st century we still have war and innocent civilians dying. Working in the Middle East for five years opened my eyes to a harsh reality. I traveled a lot near the Persian Gulf and witnessed difficult situations. The vast majority of people want to leave in peace and it's terrible that some extremists and corrupted leaders sink countries for their own interests.

What legacy would you like to leave behind and who inspires your pursuance of it? Well that's a multidimensional question. I want to leave a legacy of a good mother who did the best for her children and made them valuable members of this world. I want to leave a legacy of a great creative writer that passed beautiful meaning through ads, while putting a smile on the face of the viewer. Last but not least, I want to have the financial possibility to educate, empower, and help influential entities around the world, so that at some point in time war and poverty will only be found on Wikipedia. There is no one public figure who inspires me. I find the light within me, and when I need to find something even stronger, I just look deep into the eyes of young children and remind myself that I want to be a good mom, I want to bring a smile to their faces, and I don't want them to know what war and poverty mean.

If not yourself, who would you be? It might sound weird but I wouldn't like to be anyone else. I believe in the individuality of us all, and I am sure we are all brought into this world for a certain cause. We just have to realize what that is and pursue it like there is no tomorrow!

What’s your favorite motto? ''You Only Live Once.'' This has motivated me to do something different every day, trying to minimize my to-do list and travel to see as many different cultures and civilizations as I can. Travel is really the only thing you buy that makes you richer...and yes, that's another motto!

Introducing the BIC class of 2017: Melissa Julien

Melissa Julien is currently a Client Relationship Coordinator at Biz Virtuoso Consulting in NYC. She holds a B.A. in English Language and Literature from Hunter College where she also contributed to The Envoy Newspaper, Hunter College Preceptor Program, Advertising Club, and The Film and Media Guild. She will begin her studies at CCNY's BIC program this fall, with a concentration in Public Relations.

If not yourself, who would you be? An astronaut working in the International Space Station. 

What is currently your favorite “occupation”? Daydreaming! Daydreaming is a creative outlet for me and one of my best sources of inspiration. 

What social cause are you most passionate about? Is there a company you admire for their commitment to supporting that cause? Access to healthcare for all people, especially children, is something I care deeply about. I really admire Keep A Child Alive for their work in treating families and children infected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India.

What is your favorite communications campaign of 2015 and – in a single word – why?  My favorite was how brands responded to the infamous case of #TheDress. In one word, it was dynamic.  

Do you have a dream company? What position would you apply for? My dream company is the one I hope to create and lead in the future! I would love to operate a branding agency. 

What legacy would you like to leave behind? Who or what inspires your pursuance of it? I want to leave behind a legacy that inspires others to find their talents and use those gifts to create positive change. I'm inspired by my generation and the generations to come. 

What’s your favorite motto? This life is too short of a ride to be left unsatisfied! 

What do PR Recruiters REALLY want?

An early morning focus group of industry PR pros organized by BIC Board Member Donna Renella gathered on Thursday, June 25th, to discuss the most current and desirable recruitment profiles for in interns and full-time hires. This lively discussion was hosted by Danielle DeFabbio at DeVries Worldwide and included PR experts Maya Kalkay of Burson MarstellerSheridan Falco of Cohn WolfeKristen Pairano of Golin, Shazzia Khan of HavasElizabeth Adams of KetchumAllyns Melendez of QuinnKeri Watkins of Ruder FinnBryn Davis of Weber Shandwick as well as CCNY Professors Lynn AppelbaumAngela Chitkara, and Nancy Tag. There was great agreement that ideal candidates needed to have passion that was not just displayed during the interview, but in the work itself. Outstanding candidates also must have an ability to discuss industry trends and how they relate to specific agencies, positions, and tasks -- in other words, a clear ability to "connect the dots." Because BIC is a portfolio based curriculum, participants exchanged ideas for style and substance of student portfolios as ways for BICsters to distinguish themselves from other graduates receiving more a more traditional public relations education.

BIC Program Directors use Creativity to Advance the Goals of Medical Research

With funding by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant shared with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, BIC Creative Track Director Gerardo Blumenkrantz and Program Director Nancy R. Tag are developing a social media campaign to increase awareness and utilization of the HPV vaccine for children. 

Read the full story plus an interview in the CCNY feature article, Creativity and Research in Progress: Spotlight on the Humanities and Arts.

Stephanie Cruz joins ADCOLOR Futures Class of 2015

Stephanie G. Cruz has been selected to be in ADCOLOR Futures Class of 2015! Stephanie (BIC class of 2016) is an Assistant Account Executive at BBDO. 

A graduate of CCNY's Ad/PR Program, Stephanie is joined this year by another CCNY/MCA alum, Jerry Louis, who was recently a junior copywriter at Y&R and is now an IPG fellow. Stephanie is our second BICster to win this honor. Amber Lynn Jackson was a member of ADCOLOR Futures Class of 2014.

The 9th Annual ADCOLOR Industry Conference and Awards will take place in New York City for the first time this year at Pier Sixty (61 Chelsea Piers) from September 16-19, 2015.

ADCOLOR is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate and champion diversity in the advertising, marketing, media, PR and entertainment industries. Its aim is to help individuals and organizations RISE UP, letting their accomplishments and ideas shine, then teach these new leaders and would-be-mentors how to REACH BACK and find others who deserve to be noticed and promoted. The goal of ADCOLOR is to create a community of diverse professionals who are here to support and celebrate one another. Learn more at

Donna Dei-Baning (BIC '16) Receives LAGRANT Scholarship & Attends 3-Day Festivities in Chicago

The LAGRANT Foundation’s (TLF) 2015 scholarship recipients Donna Dei-Baning (BIC Class of 2016) and fellow CCNY student Kai Simmonds were recognized during the 17th Anniversary Scholarship and Donor Recognition Reception in Chicago on June 8th. In addition to receiving the scholarships, TLF provided Donna, Kai, and fellow winners with airfare to Chicago and lodging to attend career-building events with top communications professionals and networking opportunities over the course of three days. Now back in NYC after the whirlwind event, Donna wrote in to share pictures and tell us all about it! Here's what she had to say.

I'm back from Chicago!

I had an amazing time with the other LAGRANT Scholars. We started with a welcome dinner on Sunday evening hosted by Pam Edstrom of Waggener Edstrom Communications. Her transparency on issues such as diversity in the workplace and gender bias was a breath of fresh air. 

We spent all day at Golin on Monday where we heard an amazing (And I mean amazing) talk from the CEO, Fred Cook. We also had an opportunity to work on a project for one of their clients. Golin ended the day with a panel on diversity with a few of their employees. From Golin, we then headed over to Googe for the main event-- our scholarship ceremony. I was surprised by the number of industry-leading executives who were in the room for us that night. I was able to talk to Pat Ford, Burson-Marsteller's Worldwide Vice Chair, Chief Client Officer and Regional Chairman of Asia-Pacific (Say that 3x fast). He was so interested in learning more about my interests and career aspirations. The amount of support we have as LAGRANT Scholars is really uncanny! 

Tuesday was Y&R Chicago/Wunderman day. We learned about the company, their workflow, had sessions on creative ideation and consumer context planning, took a look at case studies, and worked on projects for a few of their clients. I was also able to get connected to Adrian Fogel who is the Planning Director there (And was also excited to hear that I had Belle Frank as my Research Professor). I'm excited to pick her brain about account planning. Our jam-packed schedule didn't leave much room to explore Chicago, but I had a wonderful time and came back to NYC feeling inspired. Kai Simmonds and I represented CCNY well. 

Donna Dei-Baning M.P.S. Branding + Communications City College of New York, 2016 Linkedin