Meet Newhouse Alumna Cheryll Forsatz
Cheryll Forsatz is the director of communications for McDonald’s New York Metro Region. Prior to McDonald’s, Forsatz was senior vice president and director of MWW Group’s New York consumer practice. She has 20 years of strategic leadership, public relations and communications expertise. Forsatz is a proud Newhouse alumna, having received her Bachelor’s in public relations and psychology from Newhouse and the College of Arts & Sciences in 1994.
Q: Why did you choose Newhouse?
A: I chose Newhouse because it has a reputation as a great communications school.
Q: How did you know public relations was for you?
A: I didn’t. Growing up, I was going to be a doctor but changed my mind in high school. I was always interested in writing. I was the editor of my school’s newspaper, in the literary club, and I liked being in front of people. I was going to be a broadcast journalist, and so I went to Newhouse. I worked for UU TV and the radio station. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start in a market where I didn’t want it bad enough, so I went into journalism. Unfortunately, the writing on a deadline thing freaked me out. I was driving my guidance counselor nuts. I had an internship in public relations, booking media tours for authors, and I was hooked. I liked it so much. I don’t think people know what public relations is until they do it. And you don’t know you want to do PR until you do it. That’s why I think internships are very important.
Q: How did Newhouse help to get you where you are now?
A: My public relations courses and the internships gave me great experience and a leg up. I don’t think you can really get that anywhere else. You also have alumni who take you under their wing.
Q: What is your favorite part about being the director of communications for McDonald’s New York Metro Region?
A: It’s always changing, and my day is never the same. It’s great to work for a brand that everybody knows, but at the same time they don’t know. It’s my job to help them better understand, internally and externally, how great a brand it is, and that is such a thrill for me.
Q: What is your favorite Newhouse memory?
A: I remember taking a course with Donald Singletary. He would pretend to be a company or present a situation, and you would walk into the classroom and have to come up with a solution to the crisis. It was always a stressful situation but very realistic. In most schools you learn theory and the basics, but Newhouse professors teach the practical knowledge and give you real-life experiences. You never knew what you were going to get when you walked into Singletary’s class. Professor Russell was one of my professors, as well, and she was great. I took a Graphics 101 class, which made me realize I was not artistic at all. But working with my group was fun. Internships were a wonderful experience, as well. Once I had to put together an event for seniors at Newhouse.
Q: Do you have any advice for Newhouse students?
A: Do internships and network. Internships are key. Also, read, read, read.