My greatest influences

Megan Salle

Roommate, confidant and best friend

My beautiful friend Meg has been my best friend throughout college. meg

We met through mutual friends freshman year and have been friends and roommates ever since.  We’ve been those stereotypical, two, blonde, best friends from the movies–although NOT nearly as obnoxious–who often coordinate outfits by coincidence or say what the other was thinking.

She has not only grown to be more like a sister to me, but she has grown to become a budding broadcast journalist.

CuseGrowing up in Cicero, NY–a suburb right out of Syracuse–she is an avid “Cuse,” and sports, fan. She is a radio host and former Sports Editor at the UAlbany radio station, WCDB, has broadcast several football and basketball games, as well as interviewed many athletes on campus and reported for the Albany Student Press as a staff writer.  She was also a member of “104.5 The Team” as an intern at the Albany ESPN radio station and holds a current intern position at  WRGB CBS6 News, in the sports department. I’ve seen her aspirations shift from ESPN, to radio, to TV, to film directing.

In Meg’s spare time she has studied abroad to Sydney, Australia for her spring 2014 semester and during her time there took a trip to Bali, Fiji and a solo backpacking trip through New Zealand. I luckily got the chance to share in part of her experience in Syndey for a brief period of time (AKA a quick week and the shortest trip to Australia ever).

Meg and I pose in an igloo structure in Syndey Harbor in preperation for “Vivid,” a light spectacle that turns Sydney Harbour into a canvas for lights, music and entertainment.

She has documented her adventures with hundreds of pictures, videos, sound clips etc. Her most recent adventure was just a short trip over to Boston, Massachusetts. After this trip she put together a short video of clips she gathered along the way.

She wants to create something to share stories and experiences of herself and others. Her most recent project was a compilation video of Jeter’s last game:

She inspires me because of her adventurous, driven, motivated and positive personality. Meg TweetShe always has faith and pushes herself to be successful.

 Lisa Mayer

Family friend and mentor

As die-hard New York Rangers fans, it’s fitting that Lisa works at their home rink, MSG. Her, her brother (right) and family, often attend games.

Lisa is the older sister of my friend Greg. He and I attended school together from first grade to senior year of high school.  She is currently the Corporate Events & Communications Administration Assistant at Madison Square Garden. We share the same passion–to plan events/parties. “It all really started from my Sweet 16 planning!” she said. “When I realized I could make a career out of “party” planning I knew that’s the track I needed to go.” And the same goes for myself.

As I have hounded her with emails upon emails since my internship hunt began freshman year of college, she has grown to be a “go-to” for me when it comes to advice.


Recently we met up at a Starbucks on 42nd St. in Manhattan, to talk about how she got to where she is, how I can begin my job search and how I can make connections and make myself desirable.

To hear that she has burned bridges, taken risks, has become successful and still strives to have more “ownership” at MSG is inspiring.

Damian Bazadona

Boss, alumni and entrepreneur 

damianDamian is my former boss from when I was an intern and, most recently, assistant in Client Services at Situation Interactive.  As an alumni of UAlbany, he came to speak at a marketing class in my fall semester of junior year.  He spoke about how he was in debt, on his own, yet highly inspired when he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Eventually he started up his own advertising company, and has tendered and nurtured it to an agency with dozens of high-end entertainment clients today.


His enthusiasm and personality is contagious and is motivation is infectious. As his bio says, “In 2001, Damian founded Situation Interactive with a laptop, a desk and a mission to connect people to the world’s most valuable experiences. Today, Damian’s driving vision runs through every facet of the business.”  He is creatively driven not just in his business, but with his employees and office atmosphere as well.  He focuses on a fun and comfortable business environment. Nearly a year ago, Situation a roof deck opening, cocktail party.  In his (little) spare time at the office, you may walk by and see him dabbling with his DJ equipment, rockin’ out with his headphones on.

I am proud to name Damian as one of my associates simply because of his joy in what he does. I strive to achieve that joy one day.  He is also, arguably, the most liked and popular boss you will meet (and everyone, including me, at the office says so).  He hosted a TedX Broadway (a “Situation Project”) discussion, where his “excitement” his exemplified.

“How can we do more? is what makes this industry awesome,” he said.  I personally believe it is leaders like Damian that also help to make this industry awesome.

Tara Szybillo

Childhood friend, Jets Flight Crew cheerleader and amazing at everything she does 

There is typically one person from your high school graduating class that goes on to achieve some type of “fame” within the realm of your town. That “famous” person is my childhood friend Tara. Although her friendly, bubbly and outgoing personality won over many people in our high school days, her position as a Jets Flight Crew cheerleader has not hindered her post-high school popularity.

taraHairI personally have always admired Tara for her originality and confidence. She has never tried to follow trends, fit in or be a follower. She has always respected herself as both an individual and a woman.  As a fellow woman, and dancer, she’s always encouraged me to try new things and push the envelope with creative ideas and not being afraid to execute them.

Her Flight Crew bio says:


We grew up dancing in her basement, choreographing swim routines in her swimming pool and hosting movie nights where we would binge-watch Bring It On (yes, all four of them).

me and tara
Tara and I often act in such a way that other people around us may not understand. Our personalities, opinions and morals have always meshed together and the result is expressed in a fun, quirky way.

Now we typically go to the gym, get manicures or grab Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and catch up on life. 

Tara is someone who will do anything she says she will. She always wanted to be a professional cheerleader, and she has. She always wanted to be a part of a dance company, and she was (Arrhythmia). She always wanted to move to Dallas to be on the Dallas Cowgirls cheerleading team and pursue her teaching career, and she will.

Tara and crew of Arrhythmia Dance Company

Not just through as a role model as a Jets cheerleader, but as my best friend, Tara is one of the most genuine, whole-hearted people I have ever met and she has true internal beauty as a human being.

Jessica Duryee

Last but not least, my one and only sister

sistersMy sister and I cannot be mistaken as sisters, but sometimes we are mistaken as twins (which she loves). The truth, though, is that she is 14 and a half years older than me.  When we were younger, we would be mistaken as mother and daughter (she didn’t like that one).  Like most younger siblings and their older siblings, I’ve always looked up to my sister.  But the large age gap has actually made me look up to her more.  I even started following in her footsteps when I was just three years old and I started dancing at her dance studio.

Growing up I watched my sister do everything. I’d see on her bed in the morning and watch her do her hair and makeup, I’d pick out her outfits–that she never wore–and she would read some of her high school and college books out loud to me as she studied.

Today, Jess is a mother of my adorable niece and nephew and has been a teacher at Lindenhurst Middle School as an 8th grade math teacher for over ten years. The first of six nieces and nephews is Zack. He’s also my godson.  He will be five in a few months and Alexa will be two this weekend.


When my first was first pregnant I thought her “growing up” and having kids would hinder our relationship, but quite the opposite has happened.

Jess is a role model for me because I’ve seen her grow into an amazing mom, a goofy, fun and very successful teacher, and she’s worked hard to get it all.


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