MEET THE TEAM
Sandy Crisafulli has more than three decades of agency and client-side public relations experience, and is proficient in both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer arenas. Following her career launch as journalist, Sandy joined Caryl Communications in 1992 and served as the company’s Vice President in the mid-1990s. She subsequently focused on account management, writing and media relations as a freelance contractor before her appointment to the company’s executive team as Chief Operating Officer in 2020. Sandy became Caryl Communications’ second owner in 2022 following the retirement of Founder Caryl Bixon-Gordon. Sandy has a long track record of helping clients pinpoint and communicate goals successfully, and has been involved in many award-winning marketing and public relations campaigns. Her deep experience working with print and digital media includes strategy, copywriting and editing, and media relations – with specific expertise servicing the commercial and residential real estate, healthcare, retail, higher education and technology industries.
Jamie Platt, who joined the Caryl Communications team in 2017, was promoted to Operations Manager in 2022. She handles a wide range of management-level responsibilities, from spearheading process and technology efficiencies to overseeing key elements of the firm’s day-to-day operations. She also assists with client service and special projects planning within the organization. Prior to joining Caryl, Jamie served as the Fund Development Assistant and the Executive Assistant to the CEO at the YWCA Bergen County. Jamie earned her Bachelor of Science degree in environmental policy, institutions, behavior and environmental health from Rutgers University. Currently, she is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in software development with certifications in CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Project+.
Emma joined Caryl Communications in May 2018 as an Account Coordinator, and in June 2019 was named an Account Manager. In this role, she focuses on clients in the commercial and residential real estate arenas, drawing on significant experience in digital communications, social media and traditional PR efforts. Prior to joining Caryl, Emma served as a Leasing Administrator for a residential property, a Marketing Coordinator for a non-profit start-up and a Social Media Intern for a wellness center. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Ithaca College in 2016, with a concentration in International Business and a minor in Integrated Marketing Communications.
In October of 2018, Maxine Aviles joined the Caryl Communications team as an Account Coordinator. Maxine serves as an integral part of our client service teams, supporting a range of efforts, including social media content creation and coordination, client communication, and press release planning and distribution. She provides support to clients in a number of industries, such as commercial real estate, architectural services and healthcare, among others.
Graduating at the top of her class, Maxine obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, with a concentration in PR, from William Paterson University, where she was a member of the Tau Sigma National Honor Society. Before joining Caryl, Maxine got her start in the PR field, interning at PR Revolution in Livingston, N.J. and serving as a Social Media Intern for the Paterson Great Falls.
A veteran journalist and media professional, Lori Crowell has more than 20 years of experience in print/online media, marketing and public relations. For 18 years, she was an Editor and Writer in the Marketing Department of The Star-Ledger where she produced the weekly real estate sections along with other advertising-generated editorial content. She also has led a successful freelance career writing human interest, real estate and business stories for clients that include NJ Advance Media, real estate firms, non-profit organizations and local news websites. Lori attended William Paterson University and joined the Caryl Communications writing team in 2011, working primarily with the company’s real estate, accounting, senior housing and nonprofit clients.
Social Media Strategist
Allison Friedman is a digital communications specialist who has been actively immersed in social media since 2004. In 2017, Allison joined Caryl Communications as a Social Media Manager. Drawing on her broad expertise in multi-media marketing, public relations and communications, Allison develops and implements digital marketing strategies for a range of clients, staying current on new technologies, trends, and applications to drive visibility. Allison holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts Degree from Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School for the Arts.
Donna Gould joined the Caryl Communications team in 2013, bringing with her more than 25 years of experience in developing and implementing integrated communications strategies for clients in industries including real estate, financial services, health and wellness, legal services and lifestyle. An exceptional writer with a disciplined marketing focus, Donna creates content for a full range of communication platforms including press releases, newsletters, email marketing campaigns, social media and websites.
Ken Hunter, APR, has held senior communication positions and consulting roles in healthcare, real estate, consumer products, and more. One of his specialties is crisis communication. He has also led PR and marketing communication teams for 25 years, and previously worked as an editor on several trade and consumer magazines. Ken is an adjunct professor in Rutgers University’s undergraduate and professional PR programs. He is a past president of both the N.J. and Pikes Peak chapters of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), holds the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) designation from PRSA, and is a Syracuse University graduate.
As a professional writer for more than 30 years, Dora Johnson possesses vast experience in magazine, newspaper and business writing. She joined the Caryl Communications writing team in 2005. Dora is the author of countless articles in local, national and trade publications with a focus on the real estate industry. She has served as the Founding Editor of Northeast-New England Real Estate News, Associate Editor of Business Facilities magazine and Contributing Editor to Real Estate New Jersey magazine. In addition, Dora served as Community Relations Coordinator for the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District in Matawan, N.J. She received her Master of Arts degree in corporate and public communication from Monmouth University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.
Ellen, who joined our team in 2001, possesses extensive PR experience in a range of industries, from commercial real estate to healthcare to nonprofits. She brings a strong background in journalism to her work, having served as a reporter for Bergen County Newspapers, which formerly published a collection of local weekly papers. Previously, Ellen worked in the recruiting and training departments of McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. She graduated from Gettysburg College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
Caryn Starr-Gates, who began writing for Caryl Communications in 2007, has decades of experience in advertising copywriting and PR. Her experience spans numerous industries in print, broadcast and digital channels for local, regional and national brands. In recent years, Caryn has written extensively for a broad range of accounts, including senior housing, education, food service, financial, retail, IT and professional services accounts as well as nonprofits. She holds a BS in psychology from Emory University.
Senior Account Coordinator
Christine Ziomek has been with Caryl Communications since 2001. She has served in a number of leadership roles at the firm, including Account Supervisor, and has expertise in managing clients across a variety of industries. Those range from senior housing and real estate to technology and law. In addition, she has deep experience managing clients in the nonprofit sector.
Christine earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from the University of Scranton, where she was a member of the National Communications Honors Society, the Public Relations Student Society and was selected to participate in the Public Relations Student Society of America’s prestigious Bateman Case Study Competition. Prior to joining Caryl Communications, Christine served as the Assistant to the Director of Public Relations at Boscov’s Department Store in Scranton, Pa.
Caryl Bixon-Gordon founded Caryl Communications Inc. in the early 1980s and spearheaded the company’s growth from a single-person operation into one of New Jersey’s leading public relations agencies. Under her direction, Caryl Communications earned a respected reputation for the responsiveness and quality of its services, the talent of its team and the depth of expertise provided to clients in all facets of public relations and marketing. Caryl retired in 2021 and today is pursuing her favorite activities: gardening, exploring the Jersey shore with her dog Lucy, and spending time with her family.