Archive for New York City

Today we are going to get to know, Peppercomm intern Gisselle Trochez!

Gisselle InternTell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm? 

Hi, I’m Gisselle! I graduated from Biola University in Southern California this past May, where I studied Business Marketing. I proudly share the same birthplace with the very average Frank Sinatra – Hoboken, New Jersey. Honestly, you really can’t find two places that starkly contrast each other as much as Southern California and Northern New Jersey do, but I’m glad to have spent 4 years in (my idea of) paradise. While many think I’m crazy for not staying in California, I couldn’t stay away from the best pizza (and city) on earth.

I found out about Peppercomm through Sam Bruno, a Manager of Client Relations here at PC and also a friend of mine. For years she’d always talk about how much she loved her job (mostly via her #ilovemyjob hashtag on insta), and so when she told me about an open intern position, I was excited to look into it. From the research I did on the work Peppercomm does and their company culture, it seemed like a great first step in my career.

When you’re not hard at work at Peppercomm, what do you like to do?

As an introverted extrovert, I genuinely enjoy spending time on my own, but ultimately rather be surrounded by people. When I’m on my own, I nerd out a whole lot. I love design, tech, and start-ups, so I tend to read-up on these topics. I also like to be hands-on with my interests, so aside from reading I mess around on the Adobe Creative Suite, my drone/camera, and the like. When with people I either want to be exploring old/new towns, or sitting on the couch for hours on end watching Netflix. You either get super high-energy or super-chill with me, really no in-between.

What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?

Maybe it’s my marketing research background, but I really love doing research (which might sound like the most boring aspect to most, understandably). I’ve had to do some in-depth research that ranged from bizarre food trends to innovation in technology, all to which make me a bit more entertaining and knowledgeable at parties and hangouts. And on a more serious note that applies more to my career and less to impact on personal life – I think research is the most critical piece to strategizing across all industries, so I always think it’s important to practice doing it well. I always think it’s cool to know that my research was the basis of an initiative.

Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised to be treated like a real team member – what I get to do is important to the objectives of the client and the other team members rely on me for it. I’ve never felt like what I’m doing is unimportant ‘intern’ work, everything has been a great opportunity to learn.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

Working at Peppercomm further solidified how much I enjoy doing research and strategy. Aside from PR projects, I got the cool opportunity to work with the measurement team on a marketing project for a big client here which allowed me to take a bunch of data and use it to tell a story as well as create strategic recommendations. I will most likely take a more marketing-heavy tract from here on out, but I wouldn’t trade my newly acquired PR brain for anything. I’m always a fan of learning different perspectives.

Pro-tip for future interns: don’t be afraid to talk to someone about any different interests you may have! I set up coffee with the Director of Marketing here, Alena Caras, simply just to hear about what she does and what marketing at an agency looks like. Less than a week later I was requested to help out with the marketing project. Use that voice!

Intern Lightning Round Questions:  

  • Netflix or Hulu?  Netflix but Hulu’s my go-to for my 90’s shows
  • Text or Call? Text
  • Coffee or Tea? Coffee
  • Dogs or Cats? I’m half and half on this. Having a cat that’s actually good will do that to you
  • NYC or San Francisco? NYC forever
  • Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Trek
  • Crunchy or smooth peanut butter? Smooth
  • Mac or PC? I’m definitely part of the Apple cult, so, Mac
  • Sweetened or Unsweetened Tea? Sweetened
  • Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network? Honestly, so so difficult – I have to say Nickelodeon on the basis that it gave me less nightmares (*cough cough* Courage the Cowardly Dog).
  • Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla
  • Seltzer or Water? Water
  • Cake or Pie? Funfetti cake
  • Tacos or Pizza? Pizza. “Time is money, money is power, power is pizza, pizza is knowledge.”
  • Hogwarts House? Slytherin (and proud)


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Today we are going to get to know, Peppercomm intern Samantha Derderian!

Sam InternTell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm? 

Hallo! I’m Samantha. I originally hail from the Boston suburbs, where I grew up playing soccer in the fall, skiing in the winter, and performing in plays and musicals in the spring. I am a phenomenally well-rounded individual.

Moving on, I recently graduated from the tiny liberal arts school, Connecticut College. At Conn, I was a Film Major with and English and Psychology minor. I like to say that I created my own Communications major. This is not true, but I like to say it.

Though it would not be a lie to say that I stumbled upon Peppercomm. Searching for summer internships, I was tipped onto Peppercomm by a family friend. Enthralled after one visit to the company website, I hastily applied to the Summer 2016 Internship session—one month past the deadline. However, the team I spoke with was so kind and informative that I never forgot Peppercomm. And here I am, more than a year later.

When you’re not hard at work at Peppercomm, what do you like to do?

When I am not at Peppercomm, I can be found in my apartment where my roommates are telling me to go outside. If I put Netflix away, I like to stroll around in my neighborhood. I recently moved to the upper east side and there are a surprising number of bars, restaurants and local shops that I have yet to discover. I also tend to travel on the weekends. Growing and going to school in the Northeast, I have a lot a friends in surrounding States and I am slowly visiting them all. However, all these extravagant plans entirely depend on my willingness to not be lazy.

What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?

I am working on a crisis account and I really enjoy the pace the account requires. With a fast pace, it feels like I am actively contributing to a company’s image. Furthermore, the account revolves around a social issue, so I have become quite embedded in the politics of a few small towns. I was almost a Government minor until I took a class that was basically “Intro to Law School” which stopped me in my tracks, so I actually enjoy the local political jargon. Because of my interest in politics coupled with the speed at which the account moves, I get a lot from the account.

Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?

Particularly at Peppercomm, I was surprised by how integrated we interns are. Everything from the job posting to past reviews explain how entrenched interns are in the work. I did not believe it until I was living it. We are very valued here, and who doesn’t like to be valued?

Another revelation I had a long time ago but I still think is worth wild to point out: PR is nothing like what Samantha does on Sex and the City.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

I could see myself going anywhere in the industry. I would be interested to try the in-house route, just to say that I have done it all. Personally, I think I am too young to claim I know where I want go in the industry. I’ll go where the industry takes me. I’m wise like that. I like to think.

Intern Lightning Round Questions:  

  • Netflix or Hulu?  Netflix.
  • Text or Call? Call.
  • Coffee or Tea? Iced Coffee.
  • Dogs or Cats? Cats—they just like me more.
  • NYC or San Francisco? NYC.
  • Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars.
  • Crunchy or smooth peanut butter? I literally find the taste and smell of peanut butter nauseating.
  • Mac or PC? Mac.
  • Sweetened or Unsweetened Tea? …Coffee.
  • Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network? Cartoon Network—Code Name Kids Next Door!
  • Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla.
  • Seltzer or Water? Water.
  • Cake or Pie? Cake.
  • Tacos or Pizza? Taco pizza—I have had it and am forever changed.
  • Hogwarts House? Hufflepuff, but Buzzfeed’s combo quiz says I’m a ~Huffledor~


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The Intern Spotlight: Katie Skelly

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Today we are going to get to know, Peppercomm intern Katie Skelly!

Katie intern picTell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm? 

Hey y’all! My name is Katie and I am a recent graduate from the College of Charleston (CofC) where I majored in Communications and minored in Film Studies. I was born and raised a southerner in Lexington, South Carolina, but I will always tell people I am from Charleston because that place feels the most like home (secret is out, don’t tell anyone).

I have always been interested in any kind of media, though entertainment media holds a special place in my heart and, at times, an obsession. I think it is fascinating that there are so many things that go on behind the curtain. From the intriguing articles we read, the broadcast segments we glue our eyes to and different companies that work together to create the TV shows & films we watch. I was first introduced to PR during my first internship at the end of my junior year of college, which focused on the in-house side of PR. I knew I wanted to focus more on strategic media operations, so when I graduated PR was a direction I knew I wanted to pursue.

I heard about Peppercomm through my school. Steve Cody and Ted Birkhahn would visit the College of Charleston frequently because they were on the CofC Advisory Council for the Communication Department. The reputation of Peppercomm was clear on campus and when my professor and mentor Beth Goodier urged me to apply for its internship, I knew I had to go for it. It is one of the boldest moves I have made and will never regret it.

What better place to pursue PR than in one of the biggest cities the world?

When you’re not hard at work at Peppercomm, what do you like to do?

Before coming to Peppercomm, I had never been to New York City. Now I love getting to continually go out and explore all the different opportunities this booming city has to offer. I love that you can wander the streets of New York and find a place you have never been before or maybe witness a person performing on the street.

Being a huge lover of film, I always make it a point to try and go to the cinema. New York always has niche film events going on every week, so there are a lot of options. I love going to bookstores with my friends to pick up the next gripping novel and finding new places to eat because I am a lover of food.

I love to write, so in my spare time I’m brainstorming my future masterpiece of a screenplay that I want Baz Luhrmann or David Fincher to direct (a girl can dream). Though, my greatest passion that I hope to get to do more of is travelling. Just like New York has thousands of opportunities, there are so many other places I want to visit and experience. Ever since I studied abroad during undergrad, I have developed a wanderlust, so I am always planning for my next adventure.

What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?

I love the media relations side of PR. Getting to reach out to top tier outlets and getting a response can be exciting, even more so when they are interested in what your client has to offer. It makes all the times you have been turned down or left without a response worthwhile.

I also really enjoy research and reporting. Given that I am a certified social media stalker, as many of my friends put it, I love getting to do any kind of audit or research pertaining to background on a competitor for a client.

Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?

This is my first PR Agency job, so I have been able to witness firsthand how people who work in PR are some of the most innovative and diligent people you will ever meet. PR can be a thankless job at times, but everyone here at Peppercomm manages to celebrate every win and support one another when times can get tight. In such a fast-paced, constantly shifting environment, it is neat to witness Peppercomm as an agency that not only takes the heavy load, but does it as a team.

I love getting to work with multiple groups of people. I always knew that in a professional role you will always be working with some sort of team, but at Peppercomm I work with up to 7 different teams! It can be refreshing and exciting because everyone always takes a different perspective and brings different ideas to the client.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

I still am not exactly sure, but that is the fun of it! This industry is constantly changing, so I am trying to keep an open mind when it comes to future endeavors. However, one day I know I would love to be involved in some sort of strategic communication role for a film distribution or production company and combine my two passions.

Intern Lightning Round Questions:  

  • Netflix or Hulu?  Netflix
  • Text or Call? Call
  • Coffee or Tea? Coffee
  • Dogs or Cats? Dogs. I love them so much that I have started my own #doggosofNYC hashtag on Snapchat. Hopefully one day it will catch on.
  • NYC or San Francisco? NYC, though I would love to check out San Francisco
  • Star Wars or Star Trek? STAR WARS….and Han Solo shot first!
  • Crunchy or smooth peanut butter? I grew up crunchy, but lately I have realized my love for smooth
  • Mac or PC? Mac.
  • Sweetened or Unsweetened Tea? I am a southerner, so you would think sweet. However, I prefer unsweetened.
  • Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network? Nickelodeon, though I have to give Cartoon Network a shoutout because Scooby Doo was my favorite show growing up.
  • Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate everything, except chocolate ice cream.
  • Seltzer or Water? Regular H20.
  • Cake or Pie? CAKE.
  • Tacos or Pizza? TACOS.
  • Hogwarts House?  Ravenclaw and proud.


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blog random post 3.29As a young southern California girl, moving to the big city was quite the change. Everything from big buildings, bright lights and so many people. It took quite the adjustment to find my way. I decided to make a little list of do’s and don’ts for living in the New York City from my personal experience and with a little help from my fellow interns.

Do: Even though the city is a busy place, DO keep your eyes open and take it all in. I’ve noticed after being here for almost 3 years I still see something new every day. Like celebrities on the train, dogs with nicer outfits than I will ever afford and a naked cowboy. A building might look busted on the outside but it could be a gem on the inside.

Don’t: This is a big one that I’ve learned from personal experience. DON’T fall asleep on the subway without setting an alarm when you’re commuting an hour to work. Otherwise you’ll miss your stop and have to walk 10 cold blocks to work.

Do: Talk to other people! As someone who comes from San Diego, we are friendly folks and we say hi and smile to everyone. I realized at first that most people are very much in their own world, but a lot of people will be nice if you talk to them. DO ask for recommendations for restaurants, bars, and new places to visit. You’d be surprised by the amount of awesome people you can meet.

Don’t: This can really ruin your day. DON’T forget your headphones when you leave your house. Riding the subway without headphones is especially boring. Even if you just wear them without music playing, it gives the illusion to everyone around that you don’t want to talk to them and usually will keep the guys that are selling something on the trains away too.

Do: Eat pizza every week. Whether it’s for lunch or after a fun crazy night with friends at 3 a.m. DO eat pizza whenever possible. My favorite thing to do is bookmark places on my Yelp app to help me remember which spots I like the best so I can go back and relive the cheesy goodness over and over again.

Don’t: Go to Time Square or any touristy spot unless you absolutely need to. I don’t know how many times I use to go all the way to 42nd street my first year here to go shopping. WORST IDEA EVER! As if there wasn’t other Forever 21’s and H&M’s in the city. Not only will you spend hours waiting in line to buy the two items that you just “kind of” like, but you will run over all the tourist that want to stop mid-sidewalk to get a picture with their selfie stick.

So with all these suggestions hopefully you can make your life a little easier living here in this one of kind city.

P.S even though it’s March, check out this Elf video to get a few extra tips on NYC from the jolly bearded man himself.J

Till next time.

-Mo the Pro :)


by: Morgan Dewberry



Before we begin this article, I have to reveal something about myself. I suffered major hearing loss when I was 17, while playing in a water polo tournament. Immediately, I had to be rushed to Emergency Care where they determined that my ear drum had been destroyed in one ear, leaving it essentially useless.I was then classified as Hard of Hearing.
During orientation that fall at Syracuse University, I tried to settle into the routine of a college student, but I also had to begin to learn how to live my everyday life with extreme hearing loss. I had to adjust my body’s balance, which I still struggle with, and ear pain became part of my routine. I sat in the front of lectures, took ASL courses, learned the joy of subtitles, managed frustration and anxiety stemming from my hearing loss and worked on how to read lips.
But far and away, the hardest lesson I had to learn coming to terms with my hearing loss (and I’m still learning) is how to ask for help.
I’ve always been a very independent person, wanting to make things happen by my own hard work and no one else’s. Maybe it comes from being a twin, or coming from a family where independence is expected young. Regardless, pairing my need for independence with my shyness made me more likely to retreat and work on my own during elementary school. Asking for any kind of help has never been a strong forte of mine. Even before I became Hard of Hearing.
Once I graduated from Syracuse, most of my professional life has been built on making sure I can hear and understand the directions being given to me. One of the more important tasks included with working with a disability is making sure I encourage other members of the office to speak clearly in order to navigate my workday around my disability. Sometimes, it’s easy to work with no hearing, and other times it makes me want to punch a wall. But that feeling of frustration is not exclusively tied down to hearing loss. It’s easy to get irritated by not being able to do or understand at the same rate as everyone else, especially in a competitive workplace. Below is some things I learned at various times working with this disability, especially for those with disabilities in the workplace.

  • Be Honest: There’s never a good time to tell people about hearing loss or other disabilities. I know there’s a lot of questions about when you actually disclose it at your job or school. Do you start off your introduction with it? Do you wait for the third conversation? Should you put it in your application? Should everyone know? I know a lot of these fears can dominate the application/training portion. My best advice is to be honest with your coworkers about what it is you need for optimal communication, and with that information you can work forward, setting a precedent for others in the office.
  • Know your rights: As a person with a disability, you have the right to receive accommodations in order to help you work as efficiently as possible. You also have the right to disclose your disability at your comfort level during the hiring process. A lot of workers with disabilities don’t realize the different kinds of rights the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 gives them, and most employers know even less. Read up on them and ensure that your business is held accountable to providing all employees with disabilities the proper actions and accommodation. If not only for you, but for someone else with a disability who may join the company later in the game. Accomodations and how a company treats disabilities matter.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask someone to repeat themselves: Make sure you understand what is being asked, be unafraid to ask for clarification for a project. It’s important that you are comfortable with the work and not afraid of missing parts of the instructions or having to guess.
    I had a friend in high school who introduced herself to me and I did not clearly hear her name, so I did my best guess work and called her Mary for the next four years.
    Her name was Claire. She never bothered to correct me and we both went with it. For four years.
    I don’t think I can stress this enough:
    Never be afraid to ask someone to repeat, lest you mistakenly call someone Mary for four years.
  • Develop other ways of communication: It’s widely understood at my job that my expertise does not lie with the phone, and often I prefer doing emails or Skype conversations over phone because of my disability. It makes work so less frustrating when you can hear what’s going on. When I was a barista at Starbucks, my fellow partners and I came up with a system of hand signals for things we needed to say without having to shout. Even knowing the way to respond with ‘yes’ ‘no’ ‘what’ or ‘please repeat’ can help establish a system of communication.

And Peppercomm is such an amazing place to be; they’re so willing to work with me, whether it be communicating over email rather than phone, repeating themselves without judgement of what I couldn’t catch, or always facing me when speaking. They key of knowing that you have a good fit is the company’s ability to listen to what you need, and accommodate without belittling your needs.

This is what most workers with disabilities long for, to be considered an employee just like our coworkers without being considered a burden for those disabilities. It gives you a different way to view work, and how you view yourself as successful. My own hearing loss has given me a better sense of patience and gratitude for what I have accomplished, and a greater determination for what I want to achieve.


By: Hannah Tibbetts



Intern Video

To find out more about life as a Peppercom intern, check out this YouTube video produced by former Peppercomm interns who share their experiences. Click Here