In honor of National Poetry Writing Month (#napowrimo) I have mastered the first few days in previous blog posts and am attempting to keep it going (with and without prompts)!
As I have stated previously, I’ve been a Mentor at San Diego State University in their Aztec Mentor Program since 2016. Mentoring has been an inspirational and enjoyable way to connect with and guide students as a role model, share wisdom and give back to one’s community.
Today, I arrived early and was waiting for my first of two mentees to join me for our biweekly in-person session.
Alas: a Haiku blossomed!
Once I returned home for the day, I walked around our general neighborhood and snapped some photos (which to me depict #artinnature #natureasart). The photos are attached below!
As the season of Spring has sprung and as nature evolves – my burgeoning Mentees have been flourishing as well! May they thrive and prosper! Thus…my tribute to them!
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!
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!
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Established in 2013, the Factory Seconds Brass Trio members include Jack Sutte (Trumpet), Jesse McCormick (Horn), and Richard Stout, (Trombone). Each member occupies the Second Chair position in their respective section with The Cleveland Orchestra, and all are faculty members at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory.
All events with the Factory Seconds Brass Trio on May 1st are free and open to the public, thanks to the Student Success Fee at San Diego State.
The schedule for the May 1st event includes:
2pm – Trumpet, Horn and Trombone Masterclasses
4:30pm – Chamber Music Masterclass and Open Rehearsal
7pm – Concert in Smith Recital Hall
Dr. Eric Starr, Lecturer, Brass Chamber Music and Performing Arts Internship Coordinator, states “Factory Seconds members are truly world class musicians. This is an incredible opportunity for our students to learn from, and perform with some of the foremost brass players in the world today”.
Quote from Richard Stout, Factory Seconds Brass Trio: “We are delighted to be reconnecting with old friends and making new ones; that this concert will include a chance to perform with SDSU students makes it a special event we are looking forward to.” -Richard Stout
Quote from SDSU Trumpet Student Lindsay Ross: “Many of our studio faculty members also perform in the San Diego Symphony, and other ensembles in southern California. In addition to having these perspectives, it will be a great opportunity to have other perspectives from other professional symphony orchestra musicians and studio professors.” – Lindsay Ross
The mission of San Diego State University’s School of Music and Dance is to provide the highest quality education for performers, choreographers, educators, researchers, and those who may be in fields related to music and dance. In addition, the School of Music and Dance is committed to provide the general student, our future audience, with the deepest understanding and appreciation of music and dance. The School of Music and Dance serves a varied intellectual and ethnic student body in a culturally rich environment.
Through specialized faculty/student contact, the use of technology, an international programmatic focus, and our relationship with community, regional and national organizations, the School provides career development opportunities, enhances critical thinking abilities, and nurtures new generations of artists,choreographers, teachers, scholars and other professionals. Ultimately, the School of Music and Dance serves as a dedicated resource for excellence in performance, choreography, teaching, research, and creative activity.
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Besides enjoying the heck out of consulting for and working with theatre company clients as a public relations professional/publicist, (and as an actor), I am an avid theatre-goer and attend many San Diego theater productions throughout the year!
Our extensive collection of Playbills and programs (and bill statements) confirm it!
Also, our daughter is majoring in theatre arts performance/acting & musical theatre, so I have been attending university shows and recitals, adding to my mix. Plus, I’m an adjudicator for high school musical theatre production awards.
Don’t forget about San Diego Theatre Week February 15 – February 25, 2018! Great deals and discounts! Dozens of arts organizations are participating!
I have always wanted to write a post listing all the wonderful theater productions in the San Diego area. SO…….
There’s an abundance of productions this quarter between January and March. This list is my NEW YEARS present to our San Diego Community! Why? Because I wanted to know what the upcoming shows were PLUS I believe in SHARING and GETTING THE WORD OUT! So take a gander!
I’ve listed (alphabetically) the Theatre/Production Company, Title of Show(s), Dates of Shows and Website links. It’s quite comprehensive! Let us know if there are any additions, corrections etc. We aim to please!
What more could you ask for???
Well, I can ask for something in return:
(Please subscribe to my website, comment, like, and share the link away on social media, via emails, however YOU get the word out)!
Here we go!
Happy New Year from SJF Communications!
San Diego Area Theatre Productions January Through March, 2018
Coronado Playhouse (C) The Addams FamilyJanuary 19 – February 25; King Charles III March 23 – April 22; Songs for a New year: An Evening of the Works of Jason Robert Brown March 2 – March 3; http://coronadoplayhouse.com/
Cygnet Theatre (P)The Last Wife Jan 17 – Feb 11; Musical Monday: Bacchanal Jan 29; A Little Night Music Mar 7 – Apr 22; http://www.cygnettheatre.com/
Different Stages (C) Building the Wall (Co-Produced with Point Loma Playhouse) January 13 – January 21;
Lamb’s Players (P) (Coronado) Smoke on the Mountain January 11-28; Freedom Riders January 15; Sunday Night Sing, January 21; Lambs Cabaret: Songs of Love and Laughter February 11; Camping With Henry and Tom: February 16 – March 25; http://www.lambsplayers.org/index.php
Lamplighters Community Theatre (C) Agatha Christie’s The MousetrapJanuary 12 – February 4; Dead Man’s Cell Phone(Staged Reading) January 14; Judith Merel’s One-Woman Show The Cantor’sDaughter January 28; Night, Mother March 2 – March 25; https://www.lamplighterslamesa.com/
Moonlight Stage Productions (P): Bets Malone at Club M(with Elan McMahan Musical Director and Pianist)January 13 Lucie Arnaz at Club MFebruary 10; Daebreon Poiema with Lyndon Pugeda, Musical Director and Pianist March 3; Rebels, Raiders and Supermen: The Music of John Williams March 24; http://www.moonlightstage.com/
New Village Arts (P): Cloud Tectonics Jan 26 – Feb 25; Men on Boats Mar 23 – Apr 22; http://www.newvillagearts.org/
North Coast Rep (P) Around the World in Eighty Days January 10 – February 4; Seeger January 29; The Year of Magical ThinkingJanuary 22 – 23; This Random World February 21 – March 18; An Evening with Robert Dubac February 26 & 27https://northcoastrep.org/
Ocean Beach Playhouse (C) (OB Playhouse): Comedy HypnotistJanuary 26 – January 27; I Love You BecauseFebruary 2 – February 25; Jesus Christ Superstar in Concert Dates Pending http://www.obtheatrecompany.com/
The Westwind Brass, San Diego’s premier professional brass ensemble, and Ensemble-in-Residence at the San Diego State University (SDSU) School of Music and Dance, announces their exciting interactive ‘Summer Brass Workshop’ at SDSU, July 10-14, 2017, from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. followed by a free afternoon concert with participant ensembles, Saturday, July 15 at 1 p.m.
The Westwind Brass Ensemble, includes Elizabeth Howard, John Wilds and Karl Soukup (trumpets), Barry Toombs (horn), Eric Starr (trombone) and Bryan Smith (tuba).
“After more than 30 years, Westwind Brass Ensemble remains committed to serving the diverse communities that make up this great city of San Diego. We pledge to serve not only the San Diego that we know, but also the San Diego of the future.”
– Westwind Brass Executive Director: Barry Toombs (French Horn)
“This workshop is open to brass instrument players of all ages and ability levels. Participants will have the opportunity to play a lot, and explore a wide range of ensemble types and musical styles, such as brass quintets, trios, and solos, in both the classical and jazz styles. Each day will close with a large brass ensemble. An emphasis will be places on fun and harmony!”
– Westwind Brass Director of Educational and Outreach Programs: Bryan Smith
Activities will include: Master Classes, Sectional Coaching, Ensemble Playing, Individual and Group Performances. Private lessons will be made available during the mornings for an additional fee.
In addition to the more traditional brass instrument training and ensemble experiences, this workshop will feature these mini-seminars:
“How to Start Improvising”
“Who Has the Time? The Road to an Efficient, Sustainable Practice Routine”
“How to Learn and Perform a Solo”
“Using Technology to Make Your Music, and Get It Heard”
Plus: “A Tour of the SDSU School of Music and Dance Facilities”.
Price Information for Summer Workshop: Students/Military: $150.00; Adults: $175.00.
The Westwind Brass exists to broaden and enrich the musical legacy of local, national and international audiences through performance and educational services featuring brass instruments and music. Westwind Brass musicians perform in various configurations of featuring the unique timbre of brass instruments and performing the brass repertoire at a high artistic level. Westwind Brass is a 501(c) (3) Public Benefit Corporation. For more information, visit Guidestar.org.
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I am pleased to be a Mentor for my 2nd year in San Diego State University‘s ‘Aztec Mentor Program‘ (AMP). This year I have two Professional Studies and Fine Arts (PSFA) Communications students for both semesters. Last year I mentored one Senior (Communications) and one Junior (Public Health) student during the Fall, 2016 semester and three graduating senior mentees (Communications, Health Communications and Finance/Entrepreneurship) for the Spring, 2017 semester. The Communications student was my mentee for the entire year.
Time has certainly flown since I was introduced to my own first ‘mentor’. I distinctly remember the time (after working about a year or so) as a newly graduated Ensign in the Navy Nurse Corps in 1978 in San Diego. Needless to say…I was stressed out with what we now call ‘burnout’ (which was not even a term used then) in my very first job after graduating college! As a staff/charge nurse on the open bay male general medicine floor, I endured grueling rotating shifts and dealt with serious illnesses and on several occasions deaths of active duty, dependent and/or retired males at my young age. I suppose I had a certain look of ‘being overwhelmed’ one day. Upon rounds to the unit, my supervisor said to me “By the end of the day, I want to know how much leave (vacation) you’re taking and where you want to work when you return”. I stared at her in disbelief for a few seconds, thought about it, planned that leave and afterwards transferred to Cardiothoracic Surgery Step Down unit. That job switch and my Supervisor’s insight, caring and seriously ‘looking out for me’ changed my professional life. I was then able to navigate my career by being in control. Plus, I gained respect for having a Mentor and have learned immensely from many of them over the years!
Flash forward to 38 years later! That Mentor ultimately inspired me to take control of my professional career as a nurse, actor, author, writer, consultant & entrepreneur. I have also had several Mentors in my life since then!
My diversified career has been quite interesting and evolving over the past ‘almost’ 40 years. Besides clinical, management/administrative, education/staff development roles in Nursing during time as a Military Nurse (U.S. Navy – 3 years and Army Nurse Corps-9 years, attaining the rank of Major), I also worked in medical research. My masters degree is in adult primary health which prepared me as a Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist. As an entrepreneur I have provided public speaking, continuing education, legal nurse consulting, public relations, marketing, acting and coaching.
During Fall, 2016, as a parent of an SDSU Freshman, I received an email from the Office of New Student and Parent Programs, Career Services and the Office of Alumni Engagement Career Services, inquiring if I would be interested in being a Mentor in the AMP. I quickly made the decision to embark on this journey (completed my AMP profile which asked for education, career positions and so on) and have enjoyed my time in this mutually fulfilling program. Since then I was interviewed by Diane Marin (SDSU Alumni and Career Development and Administrator of AMP), and Eric Good, (Public Affairs Communication Specialist, SDSU) with article links above. I have been fortunate to be connected to our daughter’s campus in such a unique way, plus was able to give back – and hopefully enrich and guide the students towards success in their futures, as students and as they enter into the working world.
How does it all work?
First of all, each student that selects me as their Mentor presents different personalities, majors, goals and challenges. I am a proponent of meeting in person on campus for our sessions, usually an hour long, several times a month. We review resumes and Linked In profiles. We discuss the importance of networking in their prospective fields. I prep them on the common sense and procedure of attending career fairs. We research possible graduate degree programs. We explore employment options with job searches and discuss negotiating salaries, raises etc. much more during the semester(s). I also provide emotional support and guidance for them throughout the semester and especially during their final “stressful” Spring semester nearing graduation (and they prevail)!
It is thoroughly enriching for me as well. My experience in Nursing, PR/Marketing/ Communications and the Arts enabled me to feel confident as a role model for them and their enthusiasm, diligence and commitment persisted!
I wish them all well!
Here are some more articles about the Aztec Mentorship Program:
A photo with my two Mentees from this past Fall, 2017 Semester
Some photos and testimonials from last year’s Mentees:
“Getting involved my last semester at SDSU was great because my mentor, Susan, prepared me to stay on top of job searches, reviewed my resume, and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and attend events that Career Services had put together,” – Kaitlin Woods
Testimonial for SJF Communications via San Diego State University (SDSU) Health Communications Student, Kaitlin Woods
“Susan was my mentor throughout my Fall 2016 semester at San Diego State University. Having Susan mentor me was by far one of the best decisions I’ve made. She has propelled me to reach new levels of my potential and widen my understanding about the communications field. Susan is a wonderful asset to any student, individual or agency and I could not recommend her wisdom enough. I am blessed with the opportunity to know her and have her as my mentor”.- Alexandra Talaro
Testimonial for SJF Communications via San Diego State University (SDSU) Communications Student Alexandra Talaro
“The Aztec Mentorship Program has been an enlightening process for me. Not only has it allowed me to reach out to various alumni in different industries I am interested in, but has created opportunity to foster an invaluable mentorship.
Overall, my best experience was with Susan Farese, a local entrepreneur with many experiences, particularly in the entertainment industry. I learned a few lessons after being matched as a mentee with Susan but lessons are still being learned as we still stay in touch. Resume development, entrepreneurship tips, and networking opportunities have been the focus of the mentorship. Susan helped me develop a technique of developing the perfect resume based upon which jobs I am searching for rather than sending out a general resume out to all jobs. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I learned from Susan’s experiences and mistakes in running her own PR firm. She spoke to me about my different entrepreneurial opportunities and gave insight to possible issues I may run into. Even after the program ended, Susan recently helped me get my first gig doing lighting and sound production for a local play!
Honestly the best part about my experience was the specific attention given to me about how I can best further myself. After a few sessions, Susan understood what I really needed to learn to get the best out of the program and that only happens when mentors are dedicated to extending real life knowledge and experience to mentees.” – James Ranon
Testimonial for SJF Communications via San Diego State University (SDSU) Finance/Entrepreneurship Student
Are you a Mentor?
Do you have a story about your favorite mentor?
Do you need a Mentor?
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I recently spent some time strolling on the beautiful campus at San Diego State University (SDSU). Our daughter is enrolled for Fall, 2016 and we love taking the time to explore every chance we get!
Here are some photos I captured that gloriously beautiful day! I wish I could have photographed the entire campus! Perhaps I will visit again soon to capture much more! Feel free to click on each photo.
Subscribe and leave comments and let us know if you have any links, photos or blog posts about SDSU as well! Enjoy!