Mark Kotzin started his journey as a professional communicator while still in high
school, managing publicity for the school musical. He caught the eye of an editor
at Metroland Magazine in Albany, New York, who offered him a summer internship where
he gained experience with proofreading, editing and layout/design, and tabulated
the magazine’s first annual readers’ survey.
While completing his BA degree in Rhetoric and Communication at the University at
Albany in 1989, Mark took on another internship, this time with the Communications
Department of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), a statewide union of
primarily public sector workers. Working on CSEA’s bi-weekly newspaper “The Public
Sector,” Mark became skilled as an interviewer, news and feature writer, photojournalist
and editorial assistant. He regularly contributed articles and photos, as well as
working in all facets of production.
In 1989 CSEA hired Mark as their full-time Communications Specialist for the association’s
Central Region (encompassing 20 counties in Central New York).
Since 1989 Mark has been the public face of CSEA in Central New York. He is the chief
spokesperson, and manages all facets of the region’s internal and external communications.
He is responsible for communicating with the union’s 50,000 members throughout Central
New York, as well as handling the union’s public relations in CNY, including four
larger media markets (Syracuse, Watertown, Utica, Binghamton). His primary duties
Media relations (including staging press events, developing releases, pitching stories,
and serving as on-camera spokesperson);
Strategic communications planning (primarily for public policy issue campaigns);
Leadership advisement and executive communications;
Event and project management (he spearheads CSEA’s participation in their largest
annual public exposure event, the New York State Fair, with nearly 1 million visitors
Member relations and communications (including regular public speaking before membership
meetings and targeted collateral development); and
Print and digital publishing (including photojournalism in the association’s monthly
newspaper and developing and maintaining the web page and social media content for
the union’s Central Region).
Mark has received awards from several industry trade groups for his photos and articles.
His photos and articles have also appeared in numerous other newspapers and magazines
throughout New York and nationally.
Among his many accomplishments to date, Mark has:
Developed issue-based web sites and utilized social media platforms as messaging
components for strategic campaigns;
Taught workshops and developed curriculum across the state including PR in Strategic
Campaigns, Public Relations 101, Working With the Media and several newsletter “how-to”
Developed communications initiatives for community relations programs that have included
raising tens of thousands of dollars for charity causes and earning the union positive
Created a website content template that set the standard for the entire organization
and developed a staff intranet.
Innovator: Settling for the status quo just isn't in Mark's DNA. He's always striving
to find better ways to get the job done and integrating new technology into his tactics
as a professional communicator.
Creative: Whatever the communications need, Mark uses his creativity to craft a unique
message that will resonate with the stakeholders he's communicating with.
Detail Oriented: Mark is a stickler for getting things right the first time, and won't
let the 'little things' slide. How your communications look is just as important
as what they say, so details count.
Multi-tasker: If juggling multiple priorities is called for, Mark's got it covered.
He regularly works multiple campaigns at the same time and serves multiple clients
with overlapping priorities.
Good listener: One of the most important skills to learn as a communicator is how
to listen. If you can't hear what your audience is saying, you can't accurately gauge
the success of your efforts. Mark practices the art of active listening to ensure
his messages are effective.
Straight Shooter: Mark won't tell you what you want to hear... he tells it like he
sees it. He's great to bounce ideas off, because he'll give you his honest opinion
without sugarcoating his answers.
Dedicated: Mark has spent more than 25 years with the same non-profit membership association,
crafting messages, and offering strategic advisement.
Ethical: As a former District Board member of the Public Relations Society of America,
Mark maintains the highest ethical approach to dealing with stakeholders. He realizes
that communicating with integrity is vital to credibility and reputation management.