KAREN SCHLOSS is co-founder and person-in-charge @ diaz * schloss communications (dsc), a PR, social media + marketing communications firm based in Montclair, NJ, just 12 miles west of Manhattan. Working closely with longtime associates Bernadette (Byrne) Armiento and Teresa Akersten, we’re smart, funny, creative women who like nothing more than running with a great client/story and sharing it with the world.
Karen is the longtime food + beverage/hospitality columnist for The Montclair Times (now part of Gannett/USA Today). She started in literary publicity in NYC right after college and worked for small firms and large, including Edelman Worldwide, before launching dsc in 1994 with then-partner, Frank Diaz. Over the years, the firm has represented an exciting and diverse range of clients, from food + wine world luminaries (The Rainbow Room, Windows on the World, Nick Stellino, Andrea Immer Robinson, Jockey Hollow Bar + Kitchen) to non-profit + educational institutions such as the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Montclair Food + Wine Festival.
Over the years, Karen has been interviewed by traditional media and digital sites, including the Associated Press, NJ.com, NorthJersey.com, The Daily News, The NY Times and Restaurant Business. She’s gone out for review dinners with critics from The Times; taught classes on PR at The New School; written for Modern Restaurant Management, Baristanet.com and New Jersey Monthly; moderated more than a dozen panel discussions; served on the Board of the NY Women's Culinary Alliance; mentored every young woman who's reached out; and appeared several times on Today, most recently in a 3-part series on Women’s Lives at 50 + Beyond. @diazschloss
BYRNE ARMIENTO loves to find the words and images that capture the essence of each client's story, helping them articulate their passions and message so it comes alive to others. She first met dsc founder Karen Schloss when they were both young Brooklyn professionals, and were introduced by their mutual mentor. Byrne's longtime love of food and drink, combined with her eclectic professional experience in OG agency public relations, client-side investment banking and brokerage advertising and, after a midlife career shift, as a dating coach for women 50+, give her a unique perspective and skill set for working with dsc's entrepreneurial clients, vivid personalities and often tight deadlines. A resident of West Orange, NJ, she shares her home with rescue cats Arjuna and Caramello D'Artagnan. She loves the beach, hiking in the woods, good audio books, brown spirits and pizza. @bernshininglife.
TERESA AKERSTEN joined diaz ~ schloss communications in 2014 as a publicist and additionally specializes in blog creation and social media management for clients. For more than a decade prior, Teresa received pitches from dsc as an editor working for AOL Patch's hyperlocal news sites, the magazine division of North Jersey Media Group and as Managing Editor of the award-winning weekly newspaper, The Montclair Times. Teresa moonlights as a Communications Consultant for a range of clients, from A Life in Print to NJ Sharing Network and Evolution Lacrosse Academy. She specializes in content creation, email marketing and website management. Her passion is bringing awareness to small businesses and supporting their marketing and branding needs. She loves the energy and challenge of start-up environments and was one of the first hires at Patch and Audible. Teresa lives in Caldwell, New Jersey with her husband and their two sons and dog Morty (follow him at #MortyAkersten).
LAUREN WILSON-POLICKE is the Founder of LWP Public Relations, an NYC metro area-based boutique Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media company specializing in building brand awareness for a variety of celebrated and emerging fashion and lifestyle brands. Lauren is a veteran publicist, marketing and social media expert with years of experience working in-house for internationally recognized brands like Nautica, Nicole Miller, French Connection, Swatch Watches, and BACARDI. After years of working in executive level roles in New York City, Wilson-Policke decided to pursue her passion of owning her own company to help emerging and established brands achieve their business goals by crafting and implementing successful PR, Marketing and Digital programs. Lauren has worked with brands, products and executives of all sizes and stages of their business to help guide and cohesively share their brand story. She currently resides in Montclair, New Jersey and loves traveling, the ocean, live music and exceeding client expectations. Follow along at @lwp_pr.
DASEAN BARNES is a Digital Strategist, Director & Content Marketer well-versed in organic and paid search strategies, with expert level skills in email marketing, content marketing, social media and blogging. Dasean has an authentic interest in emerging technology and is a first adopter of products and programs that will help him achieve a competitive edge in the digital world. He's an out-of-the-box thinker whose worked with agencies and companies to help sell new accounts as well as sustain and grow B2B and B2C relationships. He has 15+ years of experience building digital teams and company strategies for clients and teaching their staff best practices across platforms, as well as developed departments focused on creative, digital and social media to increase brand awareness for large and small companies. Learn more at DaseanBarnes.com.
STU ZAKIM is a Corporate Communications/Marketing professional with senior level experience in the entertainment, media and cannabis sectors. He has a strong background and proven track record in brand repositioning, integrated marketing programs, product launches, strategic media relations, development and implementation of corporate communications programs and crisis communications.
He has worked for some of the best known brands in film, magazines and television. Stu has provided counsel to a variety of iconic media leaders including Jann Wenner, Bonnie Fuller, Christie Hefner, David Pecker and their publications - Rolling Stone, Playboy, Us Weekly, Shape and Star magazines among others. He has also worked on the PR campaigns of some of the most popular and successful films and television shows in recent history as an executive at Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures and Showtime Networks. He is also a frequent contributor to CNN and MSNBC on media issues. He launched Bridge Strategic Communications in 2009.