Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharon Geltner.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Sharon. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My career has spanned social work, social climbing, social media and now, social distancing.
After graduating college, I became a newspaper reporter in suburban Chicago. I satisfied my curiosity and appetite for variety by writing about people from all walks of life.
In less than a year, I left for Washington, D. C. for my second journalism internship, with Jack Anderson, a notorious muckraking columnist, whose exposes ran nationwide.
I then worked for celebrity authors such as mega-bestseller John Naisbitt and served as a Capitol Hill correspondent (or “stringer”) for publications including the Los Angeles Times. I enjoyed the independence and traveling to exotic places on assignment, including Israel, Egypt, Lapland and Singapore.
Later I came to Boca Raton to write for the Knight-Ridder Tribune News, a national newspaper chain. I covered charity galas, hotel openings, politics, retail, luxury travel, real estate, cruises and more. I was briefly a war correspondent in the Mideast.
But the “So Boca” battle royal began when I revealed that the town’s biggest philanthropist, who claimed to be a “countess,” had bought her phony title, from a con man.
The “countess” retaliated. She said that she was through donating to charity unless me and my editor were fired and left town. This high society “banned from Boca” edict made national news and appeared as far away as Frankfurt and Paris. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1992/03/05/tough-or-just-rude/9dfd3104-bab0-4e67-8b52-52c06aa13056/
In 2016, when the “countess” died at age 103, that same editor was killed a few hours later. (He was 31 years younger and the victim of a freak bicycle crash.) “Revenge of the countess” remarks appeared on Facebook. To this day, Wikipedia falsely states, “[Her] title is from the Knights of Malta.”
After a couple of years in Boca, a new opportunity opened up, which meant I could be creative, still generate story ideas for the press and help the people who needed it most.
I began publicizing nonprofits, especially social service agencies that are a safety net for the most vulnerable residents. https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/fl-xpm-2004-04-04-0404030378-story.html One wonderful grief counselor appeared in the Wall Street Journal after inspiring the movie The Boynton Beach Club. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB114549350011930656
I was also a webmaster, published photographer, designer, events planner, staffed boards, etc. In addition I raised money at the Four Seasons in Palm Beach, with televised fashion shows, including door prizes I drummed up from the Worth Avenue Ferragamo.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We all know how newspapers have been dying off at an alarming rate for decades, right?
At an international conference of the Public Relations Society of America, speaking before 200 publicists in Washington, I launched “National Net Needs News Day,” a journalism appreciation campaign. #NetNeedsNews
Thanks to the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, talented artists from San Diego to Miami donated cartoons on the importance of quality, objective journalism to a healthy democracy (and informative blogs.)
These cartoons ran across in periodicals across the USA.
But this initiative was a flash in the pan. A newspaper lobbying pro confessed most journalism organizations would not support print journalism (and its associated websites and social media) because that would offend Google and Facebook, who would fund them one day.
The good news is, Big Tech is starting to police itself against fake news and is sometimes paying publishers for articles. That is due not to persuasion by journalism lobbyists, but to European countries fining those corporations and the fallout from Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election scandal.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
My multimedia business and consultancy is Froogle PR (tag line: “Overexposure. On a Budget.”) It began at the nadir of the Great Recession in March 2009. I’m tapped in to help clients be successful and make positive efforts in south Florida, using my extensive experience, contacts and knowledge of what’s going on. The best part is seeing potential in customers who do not recognize it in themselves, then analyzing and strategizing how to achieve their objectives. I also continue to teach. A hot course topic is, “The New Influencers.”
Some additional pro bono campaigns include helping inaugurate the Greater Boynton Beach Foundation, which partnered with the city of Boynton Beach, to build an amazing, barrier-free park for veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, etc. https://www.sun-sentinel.com/sfl-mtblog-2011-02-new_boynton_foundation_inaugur-story.html?outputType=amp
I also mentor students at Lynn University in Boca Raton, where I earned a Master’s in Digital Media. (My Bachelor’s is in Journalism is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.) My journalism, SEO, philanthropy and Froogle PR experience served my clients well when I was a business analyst and adjunct professor at Palm Beach State College.
One of them, the nonprofit “Estella’s Brilliant Bus,” had no advertising budget. As Forbes reported, she appeared on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, was honored at the Obama White House, became a Top 10 CNN hero, was cheered by Oprah at American Airlines Arena in Miami and Microsoft gave her a free 60-second, $9 million Super Bowl ad. https://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2015/10/28/how-this-startup-secured-coverage-on-cnn-nbc-and-the-super-bowl/#6c34209e6f28
I later won a [half] statewide award from the Small Business Administration, for “amazing community outreach” and promoting clients’ products and services online.
At Froogle PR, we also write and edit books, including CEO and corporate bios. We also act as book doctors for works of fiction and nonfiction.
My first novel is CHARITY BASHED https://www.amazon.com/Charity-Bashed-Sharon-Geltner/dp/0991401344, a funny mystery and satire about the craziness of raising money amongst the 1%.
The second is a thriller, RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE, spanning 60 years and three continents. Lots of the action is in D. C. It’s in the final editing stages. And I am getting back to my earliest fascinations, covering current events, travel writing and book reviews. http://palmbeachartspaper.com/palm-beach-wife-a-fun-beach-read-but-could-have-been-edgier/
- Address: 340 Royal Poinciana Way #585
Palm Beach, FL 33480
- Website: https://www.muckrack.com/sharon-geltner
- Email: email@example.com
Photos courtesy of Polisena Photography, Lynn University, Mark Laymon and Sharon Geltner