Debra is the Director of Marketing at Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP, which is a full-service law firm on Long Island with offices in Nassau and Suffolk County. She has been working at the firm since 1998 and in the field of legal marketing since 1990 with positions at two other law firms. She has also worked at Canon USA, Norstar Bank, and at Dowling College as an Adjunct Assistant Professor.
An MBA, she also earned a bachelor’s degree in English, magna cum laude, from Stony Brook University, where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Active in her community, she volunteers her services to charitable causes including mentoring.
She is a member of the Public Relations Professionals of Long Island (“PRPLI”) and writes a quarterly column with her husband, George Giokas, who is an adjunct professor in Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism. She is also a member of the International Association of Business Communicators, Long Island Chapter, (“IABC-LI”) the Legal Marketing Association (“LMA”), and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She recently attended Stony Brook Southampton’s Writer’s Conference and took a workshop in picture book writing.
In 2015, Debra was inducted into the Direct Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame. Her other recognitions include a Distinguished Service Award from the Town of Islip, an Achievement in Communications Award from IABC-LI and the Mentor Award from PRPLI.
Company: Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP
Degree Type: Bachelor of Arts in English
What’s your 30-60 second elevator pitch?
I help lawyers tell their stories. And when I’m not at my day job, I’m writing my own.
Did you consider any other careers as a student? If yes, which ones?
What changed your mind?
I wanted to be a writer and to find a job where I could do that every day. I am fortunate to have found this in the field of public relations and marketing at a law firm. I also write when I am not on my day job. I am currently working on a children’s book.
Who or what experience influenced your career growth the most while at SBU?
I had wonderful professors, namely Professor Hugh Cleland and Professor Diane Fortuna.
What do you wish you had known as a student?
I wish I would have taken more courses for the sheer joy of learning with less emphasis on getting high grades to land a job.
What piece of advice would you offer students looking to get into your area of interest and expertise?
Learn how to write well. Step away from the cell phone and have a conversation in real time. Get out and meet people in the real world, not the virtual one.