Marketing dinner features female speakers

PSE fraternity students learn about entrepreneurship, business acumen


Photo by Natalie Orr

Left to right: Hali Strub, Kristin Genetin, Bayli Strub, members of PSE pose for a photo after dinner.

By Natalie Orr, News Editor

The National Sales and Marketing Executives (NSME) Akron-Canton chapter held their monthly dinner meeting at The Tangier in Akron on Tuesday, April 12.

Three female members of NSME Norma Rist, Jane Vassas, and Jennifer Chernisky spoke about their experiences in entrepreneuring and business for the panel discussion held after dinner. The panel was titled “Challenges of Entrepreneurial Women… Is it Different and/or Unique?”

NSME is an organization mostly consisting of sales and marketing professionals, but anyone is able to join. In addition to open membership, anyone can attend the meetings. Students, especially, are encouraged to attend to make professional contacts and to inquire about internships.

Norma Rist, a UA alumnus, is the president of Norma J. Rist CEO Consulting Inc. Before starting her own company, Rist was the vice president and general manager for Pepsi-Cola Bottlers of Akron, Inc.

Jennifer Chernisky started her own social media marketing firm in 2012 called Hence, Jennasis and Associates after years of working in education and from home.

Jane Vassas most recently started a telecommunications consulting company in January called Vassas Telecommunications Consulting (VTC). She’s worked in the telecommunications industry for more than 10 years.  

During the discussion, all three women were asked a variety of questions including details about their experience as entrepreneurs, what advice they would give to women pursuing similar careers, and if gender bias affected them before, during, and after they started their own businesses.

NSME member Janet Coon, a reform implementation coordinator for Aultcare, offered her advice and input about her professional experience in marketing and sales.

“Even if you are an expert in your profession, be a sponge,” Coon said. “Opening yourself up helps to facilitate learning. Different perspectives help me evolve whether it’s on social media or from a woman’s standpoint on certain issues. My job isn’t just about sales, it’s about professional development. NSME is a great organization because it’s not cut throat. Everyone wants to help you.”

Pi Sigma Epsilon (PSE), a co-ed marketing and sales professional business fraternity, is connected with NSME. Each month, several students attend the meetings.

“I joined PSE as a freshman because I was told about all the opportunities and business connections — and also because I wanted to make new friends and build connections,” said Kristin Genetin. “In PSE, you get the real life business experience you wouldn’t get anywhere else. Now is the time to learn from your mistakes, not later in life during your career.”

Sophomore Hali Strub, an integrated marketing communications major and vice president of human relations for PSE, offered her input on the fraternity and how it has helped her prepare for her future.

“I’ve gained so much out of PSE since I joined: friendships, interviewing skills, and professional contacts. I learned how to interview and act in a professional setting, and the difference between dressing business casual and business formal, skills that are absolutely essential for professional careers. I recently won the Jim Butler Exceptional Marketing and Sales Collegiate award through NSME and am so grateful for the recognition,” said Strub.

If you are interested in joining the Akron chapter of Pi Sigma Epsilon, called Gamma Kappa, recruiting begins in the fall. UA students of all majors are welcomed and since it is a co-ed fraternity, both female and male students can join. Please contact alumni advisor Dominic Lofreso at [email protected]  or Hali Strub at [email protected]