Longtime San Diego Newspaper Executive to Head Seattle University

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Randy Frisch

By Rick Griffin

Randy Frisch, a former executive with the San Diego Union-Tribune and San Diego Business Journal, has been named president of City University of Seattle, effective Oct. 1.

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Previously, Frisch had served as vice chancellor of business and administration and general counsel with the National University System since April 2013. City University of Seattle is an affiliate of the NU System.

Frisch served as SDBJ president and publisher from 2011 to April 2013. An attorney and graduate of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, Frisch also wrote a law column for the weekly business newspaper. Prior to the SDBJ, Frisch was vice president of operations and information technology and CFO with the San Diego Union-Tribune (2003-2009), COO of the Salt Lake Tribune (1997-2002) and publisher and CEO of the Tribune Publishing Co. of Idaho (1981-1996), publishers of the Pullman Daily News and Lewiston Morning Tribune.

In San Diego, Frisch expanded his leadership skills to the education secto  and was responsible for community partnerships and collaborations with the City of San Diego, San Diego Padres and Holiday Bowl. He also was involved in the San Diego community, serving on the board of directors of the United Way of San Diego and YMCA of San Diego County.

In his new position, Frisch will focus on strengthening collaborations with the Seattle business community, emphasizing market-relevant programs and further refining the university’s global study opportunities. He earned his MBA from Washington State University in Pullman, WA.

“I am very excited to return to the Pacific Northwest and honored to join City University of Seattle where we will build on the university’s strong academic foundations and commitment to student success,” Frisch said. “I am looking forward to strengthening our ties within the Seattle community and abroad, and to working even more closely with the university’s talented leadership team, board members, staff and faculty on our collective mission to provide our students an exceptional student experience.”

NU is among California’s largest nonprofit educational institutions with 28 campuses and 120 undergraduate degree programs. Also part of the National University System is John F. Kennedy University in the San Francisco Bay area, WestMed College in Chula Vista, National University Virtual High School and the National University Academy.

SAFE Announces 2016-2017 Board

The San Diego Advertising Fund for Emergencies, better known as SAFE, a volunteer, non-profit organization providing confidential financial assistance to local advertising and marketing professionals and their families facing a life crisis emergency, has named its 2016-2017 board of directors.

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Gloria Valenti Gerak, Media Planning & Placement, will serve as president. Also serving on the executive committee: Jacquie Francisco, BrandSavants, as first VP; Beth Lynch, Entravision, as VP; Tanya Haney, Wirestone, as VP; Shannon Brown, Brown Marketing Strategies, as VP; Kathlyn Cancel, California Bank & Trust, as treasurer; Laurie Ganz, SDX, as secretary. Rodger Seelert, Media Access Partners, is board chair and immediate past president. Seelert has served as president since July 2014.

Additional board members with terms expiring in June 2017 include: Jamie Jo Johnson, Cox Media; Yichen Liu, Movetic; Stephanie Lyndon-Wheeler, Boundless Network; Maureen Sweeney, Sweeney Media.

Additional board members with two-year terms expiring June 2018 include: Megan Cullina, Univision Radio; Cris Eide, San Diego Radio Broadcasters Association, Kirsten Everett, Callaway Golf; Megan Kennedy, LMA San Diego; Alexa Robinson, San Diego Union-Tribune; Preston, Roechlein, Rowlbertos Media; Marla Stephens, Creative Media Concepts.

SAFE is supported by volunteers in the advertising, communications and marketing industries. Since its founding in May 2000 by SDX, formerly the San Diego Advertising Club, SAFE has approved more than 90 grants totaling about $500,000. Over the years, SAFE grant recipients have needed assistance with such expenses as utilities, food, gasoline and rent due to a variety of emergency situations ranging from life-threatening disease to accident, injury or employment interruption. As a legal entity, SAFE is the philanthropic arm of SDX.  Anyone who has been working in San Diego in the advertising, communications or marketing industry for a minimum of three years is eligible to apply for assistance with life crisis situations. Recipients of grants remain anonymous. For more information, visit www.SafeSanDiego.org.

PRSA Presents `Media Pitching Boot Camp’

The Public Relations Society of America’s San Diego-Imperial Counties chapter will present “Media Pitching Boot Camp” from 7:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Aug. 25, at the Liberty Station Convention Center, 2600 Landing Road in San Diego. Cost to attend is $199 for members, $259 for nonmembers. For more information and to RSVP, visit www.prsasdic.org.

PRSA said the workshop will cover the rules and faux pas to avoid in the new media landscape. Topics will include: “story boosters” that turn ordinary news into stories journalists and bloggers crave; the anatomy of perfect phone and email pitches; the secret test journalists subconsciously apply to every pitch that has nothing to do with newsworthiness; formulas for winning email pitch subject lines; when to follow-up and went not to; how not to annoy journalists and bloggers. The speaker will be Michael Smart, independent communications trainer. A former newspaper journalist, Smart is a media relations consultant and instructor at Brigham Young University.

Valerie Chereskin

Retiring PR Pro Nixed Cancun Trip When Client Called

Public relations veteran Valerie Chereskin, owner of Chereskin Communications, is retiring after operating her own firm since 1991. She has divvied up her remaining clients to other PR firms. Chereskin plans to travel and focus on music. She currently plays the flute with several local amateur ensembles and chamber music groups. She also volunteers with Villa Musica, a non-profit community music center.

Chereskin opened her firm after being laid off from Qualcomm. “I got into PR and marketing and sales because I needed to make money because a music degree doesn’t typically pay the bills,” she said. She worked for Motorola prior to Qualcomm. “I learned PR by doing it and working as a contractor for other PR agencies,” said Chereskin, winner of the 2013 PR Professional of the Year award from the local Public Relations Society of America chapter.

Among her biggest client successes were emerging technology startups that later were sold, including DriveCam Inc. (now called Lytx, Inc.) for $500 million, LifeProof for $300 million and Networkfleet, now a subsidiary of Verizon.

Another time, she was in Dallas on a connecting flight to attend a business conference in Cancun when a client called. According to Chereskin, “The client was afraid that a story had been leaked to the press and he wanted me to return immediately to San Diego. I had to make a spilt-second decision. So, my husband and I got off the plane just before the doors closed. As it turned out, the story did not get out and, sadly, we missed out on the trip to Mexico.”

Among her biggest mistakes: “I failed to not quickly fire difficult clients who did not value PR or who did not provide me with the necessary information and responsiveness needed to accomplish the tasks,” said Chereskin. “I liked PR because it combined my interest in writing and my ability to sell stories to the media. It’s been a great career, but I am ready for the next chapter.”


Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.

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