Jani Aronow Gerard is a public relations professional with more than 20 years of experience. Her time at The Ohio State University and connections with Ohio State alumni helped jumpstart her successful career in public relations.
Aronow Gerard is the founder of Aronow Communications, which was the number one independent food and beverage firm in the world, and Channelblast, the first-ever live, interactive web channel. She inspired major food trends within the past decade, with her most influential campaign leading to historic changes in the American Heart Association's dietary recommendations, for which she was awarded a Silver Anvil from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
Aronow Gerard visited campus to speak to students in the fall, and on Jan. 30, she welcomed the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Ohio State Chapter into her New York City home and hosted an alumni mixer and networking event for the students. Aronow Gerard shares what drew her to the public relations industry and the importance of mentorship.
Where are you from?
I was born in New York City, and I grew up on Long Island, but I have lived in New York City for all of my adult life. It's a great place to have a career because there are so many opportunities for advancement and growth. There is also a great Ohio State alumni network and so many young professionals.
Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in communications/PR?
Once I started working in PR I knew it was the only career I wanted to pursue. The more I became involved in the profession, the more I loved it and knew I didn't want to do anything else.
Why did you choose to go to Ohio State?
Growing up in New York, I always knew I wanted to experience a different culture and way of life. I had a good friend who went to Ohio State, and I went to visit her and knew the minute I came to campus that that was where I wanted to go to school.
How did your time at Ohio State prepare you for your career?
All students of the School of Journalism were required to work on the school newspaper in different capacities. Since so much of what we do in PR involves working with the media, it was invaluable to have a deep understanding of the operations of a major print publication.
I was also lucky enough to have Walt Seifert, the founder of the Ohio State PRSSA chapter, as my professor. He inspired me to love public relations and I joined PRSSA because of him.
While a great education and a good intellect are both critical, I have learned that no education truly prepares you for public relations. The day you walk in to your first PR job is the day your real learning begins.
Why is helping out students by speaking to them and hosting them during PRSSA’s trip to New York City so important to you?
Without the Ohio State alumni community, truly my career would not have been so successful, and my path would not have been so smooth. I was hired for my first job by an Ohio State alumna. She told me, "I know you got a great education," and she was an amazing mentor. Because of what has been done for me, it is my particular pleasure to work with Ohio State students and try to give to them what other alumni gave to me.
Article written by student Krista Bliumentalis