Guest Post: Delaney Heil Interviews Susan J. Farese, SJF Communications

Note from Susan J. Farese, SJF Communications: Delaney Heil is my Mentee in the Aztec Mentor Program at San Diego State University (SDSU). An Honors Program Student, Delaney is studying Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communication and is Minoring in Biology. This interview was part of Delaney’s PR assignment and as her Mentor I wanted to give Delaney an opportunity to be published, thus, her guest interview post! Many thanks, Delaney!

SDSU Aztec Mentor Susan J. Farese, and Mentee Delaney Heil


Delaney Heil (Courtesy Photo)

Greatness from Small Beginnings:

How Public Relations Can Arise Anywhere

An Interview with Susan J. Farese, SJF Communications

By Delaney Heil

SAN DIEGO – Most public relations practitioners begin their careers by studying the subject in school. But Susan Farese of SJF Communications had a very different introduction into PR.

Instead of Susan obtaining a degree in PR she began in Nursing and Musical Theater.

“I received my bachelors and then masters degrees in Nursing and was a military nurse for 12 years. Since 1990 (after leaving the military) I have been a consultant, with several geographical moves in between. Fast forward to circa 2005, 2006…when my  daughter was involved in professional and community productions I wrote a press release for the kids that were featured among the adults,” she said.

As the years went by, through her daughter’s participation in theater, Farese volunteered to write promotional announcements for the productions.

“In 2011, the director of ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ in San Diego was impressed with my promoting the production and recommended me to join the board for the San Diego Musical Theatre,” said Farese.

Farese created the position of Marketing/ PR on the board, which turned into a consulting and staff position. After 5 years, it  prompted her to begin freelance PR services with her business SJF Communications. She specializes in PR marketing and doubles as a social media coach, blogger  and mentor. 

Her specialty is in entertainment PR, linking back to her theater background.

“Somehow because I worked theater PR for five years, I cultivated so many contacts. I just feel comfortable in this industry.  Additionally, I have been providing PR for musicians as well.”

Becoming established in San Diego wasn’t easy for Farese. “I had to compile and/or edit a list of media contacts,  build a database, provide ongoing media relations, write and submit press releases, provide email marketing, online calendar submissions and social media posts, create a business website/blog and attend many productions and events as well as other duties. I joined organizations and networked.  “It’s a challenge, but I like it. Actually, I love it! I’m still establishing my brand.”

Farese assured that despite the challenges, there are many benefits to being a PR practitioner, such as exciting interpersonal challenges and events. “Connecting with people excites me. I enjoy getting the word out, mass communication, everything involved with it,” said Farese.

Farese believes that the most important thing for future practitioners to remember is “to be assertive and confident in themselves. And to have a positive attitude…No matter what!”

Many thanks Delaney!


Q & A with Artistic Director, Cast and Stage Manager of San Diego Actors Theatre’s ‘The Zoo Story’ by Edward Albee

San Diego Actors Theatre presents a site-specific theatrical production of Edward Albee’s THE ZOO STORY, October 28 -November 12, 2017 (Saturday and Sunday Matinees at 2 p.m.) at Pioneer Park in Mission Hills, San Diego. Of note: 2018 will mark the sixtieth anniversary of The Zoo Story.


More info: CALL: 858-268-4494

or VISIT  San Diego Actors Theatre

Watch the Promo Video:

Hope you enjoy this Q & A with the Artistic Director & Cast

San Diego Actors Theatre’s ‘The Zoo Story’ by Edward Albee


Susan J. Farese, SJF Communications

Patricia Elmore Costa
‘The Zoo Story’ by Edward Albee

Patricia Elmore Costa (Producer/Director)

SJF: Please tell us about San Diego Actors Theatre
PEC: When I founded the San Diego Actors Theatre in 1985 with a lot of help and support from my late husband and many theatre artist friends, I was one of only 2 women directors in San Diego.  Directing in legitimate theatre has traditionally been a male-dominated profession.  When I founded the SD Actors Theatre, I put that out of my mind and just went after what I wanted to do.  Thirty-two years later, however, I see that there still is gender inequality.  A woman director needs to persevere, be strong, and quietly fight for what they need and want in the theatre.  Chip chip chip at the glass ceiling.
SJF: Why did you choose to direct  TZS?
PEC: I’ve always loved this play.  I admire Edward Albee.  Themes and language are philosophically intelligent and provocative of thought and emotion.  Simple and economically viable to produce –I Hope.  In the natural park setting as the setting in play.
SJF: Any challenges with directing this show?
PEC: I enjoy directing.  It has gone beautifully well.  It is always about the director’s choice in casting.   I’m working with two talented pros.
SJF: Favorite moments/scenes?
PEC: My favorite moments in the play are when these two actors are at their most vulnerable.  That is the strength of the play – when we are able to see man’s humanity and sometimes man’s inhumanity to man.  There is a lot of that in our political climate and political culture.  Man and woman need to do better each and every day.
SJF: Best shows you have directed or best roles to date in your career?
PEC: Best shows directed – Eleemosynary by Lee Blessing was my professional directorial debut in SD.  Performed in some good roles in The Miss Firecracker Contest & The Perfect Party.  Have really enjoyed roles played in many staged readings SDAT has produced over the years.  Directed a staged reading of Dinner With Friends recently that was beautiful.
SJF: What don’t we know about you
PEC:  I’m currently in grad school for another degree.  Was an associate with the Sisters of Providence order for a short time.
SJF: Dream role or show to direct?
PEC: Dream Role:  Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf – told you I liked Edward AlbeeLady Macbeth & Hamlet.  Every show I work on is a DREAM ROLE as a performer or Dream Show to direct!
SJF: Advice to other directors, new directors etc.
PEC: Advice – collaborate is key.  Makes everyone happier.
SJF: Pet Peeves
PEC:  Pet peeves – not listening.  Monologists in social conversations.  Lack of empathy or compassion.
SJF:  Inspirational quote?
PEC:  Inspirational quote from a Nigerian priest at the Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France –  “try to do better” and another favorite is  “your life is not about you.”
SJF: Anything else?
PEC:  I’m crazy about my 2 handsome, smart, and talented sons – Matthew and Nicholas.  They are the LIGHT of my life.
Byron La Due (Jerry)
‘The Zoo Story’ by Edward Albee
Byron LaDue (Jerry)
SJF: Why did you choose to audition for  TZS?
BLD: Patty texted me to do what I thought was a reading of Zoo Story. Turned out to be live, in the park and playing the crazy guy.
SJF: Any challenges to your role?
BLD: Lines, lines, lines.
SJF: How do you identify with your role personally?
BLD: How?   I never answer questions like this. I’ll use one of Jerry’s Lines. “I have no feelings about any of it that I care to admit to myself.”
SJF:  Favorite moments/scenes
BLD: The whole thing is a gas. Fred as Peter getting all worked up over a bad thing to call Jerry. All he comes up with is, “You’re a …..Bum.” Cracks up me and Jerry.
SJF:  Best roles to date in your career
BLD: Paul Gauguin in The Musical Paul Gauguin
SJF: What don’t we know about you
BLD: I collect Motion Picture Soundtracks beginning with Hercules with Steve Reeves in the early 50’s.
SJF: Dream role?
BLD: Harold HillMusic Man
SJF: Advice to other actors, new actors etc.
BLD: Don’t give up your day job.
SJF: Pet Peeves?
BLD: Actors who don’t learn their lines.
SJF: Inspirational quote
BLD: “I won’t ask of myself to become someone else, I’ll just be me.”
Fred Harlow (Peter) ‘The Zoo Story’ by Edward Albee

Fred Harlow (Peter)

SJF: Why did you choose to audition for  TZS?
FH: I really didn’t audition. Patricia called me last year to do a staged reading and it snowballed from there.
SJF: Any challenges to your role?
FH: Listen like I’ve never listened before.
SJF: How do you identify with your role personally? How?
FH: Peter doesn’t like to make waves. He also follows the rules, however tell me the rules and I’ll find the loopholes.
SJF: Favorite moments/scenes
FH: Favorite moment must be the ending, it should appear that it comes out of the blue.
SJF: Best roles to date in your career
FH: That is a difficult question, it’s like asking my favorite movie. I love all of the roles I’ve played and can’t single out any one of them.
SJF: What don’t we know about you?
FH: My cell phone is just a cell phone. I don’t text, tweet or post pictures of my dinner or cat.
SJF: Dream role?
FH: If I could sing it would be Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. What a story, what a journey!!!
SJF: Advice to other actors, new actors etc.
FHL Have fun at auditions. It’s your time to play and have FUN! If you need to get nervous save that for opening night but never for an audition. Believe me they can smell fear.
SJF: Pet Peeves?
FH: People who don’t use their turn signals. Trust me it’s not a sign of weakness.
SJF:  Inspirational quote
FH: If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.
Josh Guicherit
Stage Manager
‘The Zoo Story’ by Edward Albee
 Joshua Guicherit (Stage Manager)
SJF: Why did you choose to stage manage  TZS?
JG: I thought it would be a great opportunity to get involved in San Diego theatre, I knew it was a role I was capable of filling and I appreciated the team that worked on the piece.
SJF: Any challenges to stage managing?
JG: There are many challenges of stage managing and few rewards, so I’ve been told. For me the most difficult part is simply keeping track of everything all at once.
SJF: Favorite moments/scenes
JG: My favorite scenes involve Byron, playing Jerry, making strange noises and accents. I laugh every time he does his dog-eating-food impression.
SJF: Best shows you have been part of as actor or technical staff in your career
JG: My favorite show as an actor was probably playing Don Armado in Love’s Labour’s Lost.
SJF: What don’t we know about you
JG:   You probably don’t know that I once volunteered for the Special Olympics and got to stand in for the singer performing the iconic song “Let It Go” from Frozen.
SJF:  Dream role or show to act in etc.?
JG: My dream role is Iago from Othello.
SJF: Advice to other stage managers etc.
JG: It’s a lot of work. Just take everything in chunks and get to know what your director wants. The rest changes with every show. Find a way to relax at the end of the night.
SJF: Pet Peeves
JG: Chewing with your mouth open.
SJF:  Inspirational quote
JG: Do whatever makes you happy.
SJF:  Anything else?
JG: There’s always something else isn’t there?
Thanks to Patricia Elmore Costa, Byron LaDue, Fred Harlow and Josh Guicherit
Hope to see you at THE ZOO STORY!
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Susan J. Farese, MSN, RN, Interviewed by Elizabeth Scala, MSN, MBA, RN for “Your Next Shift” Podcast Episode #55

My PODCAST  Debut!

Have you ever been interviewed for a podcast?

 I was…and it was such a delight!

I thoroughly enjoyed being interviewed by Elizabeth Scala, MSN, MBA, RN for her Podcast “Your Next Shift”.  My interview,  Episode # 55, went “live” on August 10th, 2016.

I reached out to Elizabeth on Twitter several months ago, we “connected” and she interviewed me via Skype.

I admire Elizabeth  for her expertise as a phenomenal Nurse Entrepreneur, Coach, Speaker, Author and more!

Have just under 30 minutes? Take a listen!

Simply click the link below:

Your Next Shift Podcast #55: Susan Farese, August 10, 2016


We discussed my philosophy, how my upbringing shaped my career,  my many relocations, & reinventions, challenges, Nursing career decisions and successes, trust in my intuition, professional habits,  my advice to other nurses, a few improv ad libs, and more!


Feel free to subscribe, like, comment, & share!

Extraordinary People: Susan Lisovicz

 An Interview with Susan Lisovicz

Mover & Shaker Journalist, Educator, Consultant 

by Susan J. Farese,

SJF Communications

Susan Lisovicz
Susan Lisovicz

Susan Lisovicz is a dynamic renowned Journalist (well known for her Business/Financial reporting) and mass communicator with an incredible resume. A 1978 Communications Graduate at William Paterson University in New Jersey, Susan received the President’s Medal in 1999. Ms. Lisovicz is a former Reporter/ Anchor for CNN, CNBC, and during college was a reporter for WOBM-FM.

This Spring, 2015, Susan is a returning Donald W. Reynolds Center visiting professor at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  Ms. Lisovicz formerly taught at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism and William Paterson University.

Susan also consults as a Media Coach/Host and her clients have included Brown-Forman, UPS, Aegis Financial and Eco Ed Council. She has interviewed Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jack Welch, Barry Diller and Sumner Redstone. Ms. Lisovicz was the emcee for the UPS Executive Retreat in Palm Beach with keynote speaker Condoleezza Rice.

Per her website ( Susan was “live on the air when former President George W. Bush made a surprise visit to the NYSE and was the only reporter to get an on-air comment”. Susan has covered breaking general assignment stories such as September 11th, the death of Pope John Paul II and Hurricane Katrina.

Susan Lisovicz at the Cronkite-School of Journalism

Side note: Susan and I were grammar school classmates in the quaint town of Wallington, New Jersey until my family and I moved “down the shore” the summer before 8th grade. We both share a love for and treasure the Jersey Shore and the art of communications. We have continued to keep in touch throughout the years. I admire Susan’s professionalism, dedicated work ethic and enthusiastic zest for life. Susan Lisovicz is a truly a role model. I am proud to interview Susan Lisovicz, (“the other Susan” on the “other side of the interview table”)!

SJF:  Please tell us a bit about your upbringing…

SL:  I grew up in a small town in suburban New Jersey. One of four children, a middle child. My father’s nickname was Easy Ed. All of our friends liked my parents. Anybody who came over for dinner was entertained with an endless supply of true and embarrassing stories about each of the children. My mother went right back to work as a nurse in the hospital as soon as we all were in school. She worked weekends and weird hours. In return she was able to get off the entire summer.  Thus began my lifelong love affair with the Jersey Shore, where we still have a house where we all congregate. Our big Saturday night dinners at the shore with my brothers, sisters-in-law and me cooking for a dozen or more people is one of my favorite things.

SJF: Yes, I remember that quaint small town, Wallington, N.J., where we were parochial school classmates. We also mutually treasure the Jersey Shore. My Grandparents owned a bungalow a few streets from your former home (which sadly washed away during Hurricane Sandy) at Ortley Beach. We had fun times at Barnacle Bill’s playing pinball back in the day! Where has the time gone? Moving on…How long have you been a journalist/reporter/professor? (Did you always want to be one)?

SL:  I have been a journalist since I was 15. My best friend was a year older and editor in chief of the high school newspaper. She suggested I write about a recent rock concert I attended. I gave it a lot of thought, handed in the article and realized this was my life calling.

SJF:  Serendipity! Who knew??? What a great way to take that first step. Speaking of steps…What have been your life hurdles? successes?

SL: It is not easy to stay balanced. It is a constant struggle. For much of my life I’ve worked in a high-octane environment. You are working with people who are smarter, better connected, prettier… you name it. It’s a constant reminder to recite the Serenity Prayer.

Susan Lisovicz at the NY Stock Exchange
Susan Lisovicz at the NY Stock Exchange

SJF:  One would never know that you have struggled, you make it all seem so easy! So inspiring! Which brings me to:  who is “your” inspiration ?

SL: Nelson Mandela, who forgave. Pope John Paul II, for his courage. Paul Newman, for his integrity. Ted Turner, for his commitment to the environment.

SJF:  That is an incredible line up. Can you tell us about three significant/pivotal  events in your life?

SL:  First heartbreak: Love hurts. My sister’s death at 29: There are no guarantees. My first layoff: The glass is half full, not half empty. It’s a time to check out new frontiers and sometimes it’s destiny.

SJF:  Do you have any fears?

SL: Oh, sure. Fear of losing my independence, physically, financially. Fear of not reaching my potential. Fear of getting lazy and tired and worst of all, jaded. But there are a lot of things that I worry about in a larger sense. I worry about a growing lack of civil discourse in this country…I don’t even want to give voice to my worst fears about that. I worry that despite an infinite number of examples about how we abuse our natural resources (air, water, wildlife) that we continue to be lousy stewards of this beautiful planet and I worry about the Middle East. It always seems that when things can’t get any worse…they do.

SJF: What do you usually dream about?

SL:  I can’t remember my dreams. Maybe that’s a good thing.

SJF:  What is your strongest asset? What do you need to work on??

SL: Everyone comments on my high energy (and I’ve never been known to drink coffee) as well as my enthusiasm and love of adventure. As for what I need to work on: patience, living in the moment, maximizing time efficiency.

SJF: Do you “give back”? if so with which groups?

SL:  I am on the board of the Y in my town and I am actively involved in projects, I am a Eucharistic minister at my church, I’ve done volunteer work at a  hospital in Bangladesh and a children’s camp in Massachusetts. I am a member of the Sierra Club, Audubon Society and Nature Conservancy. And I teach.

SJF: What’s up next for you??? Teaching at Cronkite, Consulting etc.

SL:  I’m still exploring this new career. It’s a lot of fun and I’ve done lectures in Poland and consulted privately all over the country and Europe.

SJF: Do you miss reporting/anchoring?

SL: I’m still a news junkie. I do get totally entranced when reading some news stories. I will stare at a TV monitor at work on a big story. I think sometimes.. that would be fun. But TV news is an all or nothing game. Energy, focus, stress levels, b.s. It will push you. I did it for a long time. I wouldn’t say I’m out of the news business 100%, But I am doing things differently now. And it feels right.

 SJF: How does it feel to be interviewed (as opposed to being the interviewer)?

SL:  Well, I know what can go wrong in an interview. I know words can get taken out of context. I know that the focus in the piece can be on something completely different than the interview that it was based on. But there’s something called trust and respect.

SJF: Any regrets in life?

SL: I should be fluent in a second language, should have learned how to eat like a lady.

SJF: Big smile after that last comment!  Now, onto a more serious topic: How did 9-11 impact you?

SL: It continues to be a sickening reminder of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man. Yet the resilience of man is also extraordinary. One of the most memorable weddings I ever attended was that of a friend who remarried several years after losing her first husband in the South Tower.

SJF:  Do you have any particular role models? Male/Female, in and out of your profession?

SL: Derek Jeter, for the combination of clean competition and a quiet dignity.  Of course I have an endless number of female role models. My mother, who raised four children and worked full time as a hospital nurse. She teaches by example how to live your life. Christiane Amanpour: brilliant and gutsy. Malala Yousafzai: eloquent and fearless. And countless women I am lucky enough to call friends who are strong, compassionate and fun.

SJF:  What qualities should the younger generation aspire to have that you think are important in this day and age?

SL: Tune in. Vote. Care. Do better than the generation before you.

SJF:  How do you feel about how much tech people are using all the time? Do you think we should connect more in person?

SL:  Yes. Smart phones and tablets can actually be very alienating when used to excess. We need to connect in person.

Susan Lisovicz
Susan Lisovicz

SJF:  Funny stories about anchoring?

SL: Oh, there was the earring that fell off mid sentence. Or  Richard Simmons trying to hijack my live shot or getting a call close to midnight to anchor the overnight when I was sipping a beer in a hot tub.

SJF: Funny! But you are so resilient, I have faith that you handled all of those well.

SJF:  How do you handle loss????

SL: It makes me appreciate life and love that much more. And it makes me recognize that loss is part of life.

SJF: On that note…thank you, my friend, kindred spirit and “extraordinary person”,  Susan Lisovicz for sharing your story!

Much more about Susan Lisovicz at her website:

Follow Susan Lisovicz on TWITTER:

Photos: Courtesy of Susan Lisovicz



Goodbye Friend:

Former CNN financial correspondent Susan Lisovicz:

CNN All Access, NYSE Susan Lisovicz Reporting

An especially poignant article: and video with Susan Lisovicz and her late Uncle Lenny, a D-Day Hero: