Archive for Orlando Area Chapter

Rising Leader Nominees


Congratulations to the nominees for the 2015 Joe Curley Rising Leader Award, who will all be recognized at annual conference in August! Here is the second group of members of this year’s class – the remaining members will be featured in July!


EMcClainElaine DeIorio McClain, Marion County Board of County Commissioners
Ocala Chapter

From her chapter’s nomination: “In her budding career in public relations and FPRA membership, Elaine has demonstrated the highest commitment to the profession with her keen judgment, strategic approach and attention to cost-effectiveness.”




Julie Hall, AAA
Orlando Chapter

From her chapter’s nomination: “She is a go-getter, an engaged board member and an absolute pleasure to work with – a mix of qualities that gives her incredible potential in our Association.”




BWelkBrandi Welk, Council on Aging of West FL, Inc
Pensacola Chapter

From her chapter’s nomination: “In her second year as a professional member, Brandi joined the board and quickly took an active role as VP-Networking. She has scheduled numerous events and promoted them on the chapter’s Facebook page and Twitter. She attended Annual Conference and has represented the chapter at a State board meeting.”



TWhitakerTiffany Whitaker, Pushing the Envelope
Southwest Florida Chapter

From her chapter’s nomination in her words: “I am committed to representing and growing our industry through my involvement in FPRA and the community as well as serving the company I work for and my clients.”



BCrisafulliRebecca Crisafulli, McBride Marketing Group
Space Coast Chapter

From her chapter’s nomination in her words: “Leadership is a personal passion and FPRA has provided me with opportunities to lead at all levels.”



Congratulations to the following public relations professionals who earned their APR or CPRC.

Accreditation is offered through the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) to members of participating organizations, including FPRA. Though five years of public relations practice was previously required, ALL members are eligible regardless of years of experience. However, the objective, multiple-choice, computer exam does test a variety of knowledge, skills and abilities, so members interested in seeking accreditation need to be prepared in a variety of skill areas.

Earning professional public relations accreditation and receiving the designation of Accreditation in Public Relations (APR):

Jeff Marshall
Jeff Marshall, APR
Senior Communications Coordinator
Central Florida Expressway Authority
Orlando Area Chapter



L Trudell
Laureen J. Trudell, APR
Senior Director of Marketing and Communications
Orlando Economic Development Commission
Orlando Area Chapter




Certification is a unique, second tier credential offered exclusively to FPRA members. Candidates must have previously earned their APR and have ten or more years experience in the field of public relations. Though it is a second tier credential, it is not APR 2.0. This exam is a subjective exam that requires candidates to draw from their experience to solve problems and present solutions. Earning the CPRC credential involves passing a written exam (16 essay questions) and an oral exam (presentation of a public relations program or project).

Earning professional certification in public relations and receiving the designation of Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC) from the Florida Public Relations Association:


MUG2-L Byrnes 1-7-15
Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
Careersource Citrus Levy Marion
Ocala Chapter



Allison Campbell, APR, CPRC
Public Relations Director
Jenkins Auto Group
Ocala Chapter



Lisa Varner, APR, CPRC
Customer Relations Manager
Jenkins Acura/Jenkins Mazda
Ocala Chapter



For more information on Accreditation and Certification, as well as any available chapter or State Association rebates, please contact your local Accreditation and Certification Chair or Lanette Hart, APR, CPRC, VP Accreditation/Certification at

Congratulations to Immediate Past President Chris Gent, APR, CPRC!

Osceola Business Awards

Congratulations to immediate past president Chris Gent, APR, CPRC, who was one of three finalists for Osceola County’s 2014 Business Person of the Year Award. The award honors the achievements of an individual in Osceola County who exemplifies exceptional leadership within his or her business and beyond, and who has given of his/her time and expertise in making a better community. Chris serves as vice president of corporate communications for Kissimmee Utility Authority, Florida’s sixth largest municipally-owned electric utility.


November – Networking Around the State

While November marks the beginning of the busy holiday season, there’s always time for learning. Thanks to Florida Public Relations Association chapter events, public relations professionals throughout the state have the opportunity to learn some great tips to get them through this years holiday buzz. Learn more about the professional development and networking opportunities available near you below, and #ThinkFPRA.

Haven Hospice Public Relations Manager
November 1, 2013, Nature Coast Chapter (Hernando, Fla.)

‘Tis The Season For Holiday Story Pitches
November 5, 2013, Southwest Florida Chapter (Fort Myers, Fla.)

Disney PR pro Munroe discusses “Stories from Fantasyland”
November 12, 2013, Volusia – Flagler Chapter (Daytona Beach, Fla.)

Professional Development Luncheon
November 15, 2013, Ocala Chapter (Ocala, Fla.)

Trust in the 21st Century: Why and How Media Ethics Will Change
November 20, 2013, Central West Coast Chapter (Sarasota, Fla.)

How We Are Working to Establish Florida as the #1 Travel Destination in the World
November 21, 2013, Gainesville Chapter (Gainesville, Fla.)

NASA Public Affairs – Past, Present and Future
November 21, 2013, Capital Chapter (Tallahassee, Fla.)

Moving People to Action Through Direct Marketing
November 21, 2013, Orlando Area Chapter (Orlando, Fla.)

Topic/Date TBD, Space Coast Chapter (Viera, Fla.)

Topic/Date TBD, 2013, Jacksonville Chapter (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Topic/Date TBD, Treasure Coast Chapter

October – Networking Around the State

Map_small copyThis October, public relations professionals across the state of Florida will fill their minds with tricks of the trade at Florida Public Relations Association chapter events. Learn more about the professional development and networking opportunities available near you below, and #ThinkFPRA.

PR University: Creating Slam-Dunk Projects for Your Client
October 4, 2013, Southwest Florida Chapter (Fort Myers, Fla.)

Handling the Media and the Casey Anthony Trial
October 4, 2013, Nature Coast Chapter (Hernando, Fla.)

How to Write Right Again
October 8, 2013, Volusia – Flagler Chapter (Daytona Beach, Fla.)

Managing the PR Function: A Seat at the Management Table
October 16, 2013, Central West Coast Chapter (Sarasota, Fla.)

October Membership Mixer
October 17, 2013, Gainesville Chapter (Gainesville, Fla.)

October 17, 2013, Space Coast Chapter (Viera, Fla.)

NASA Public Affairs – Past, Present and Future
October 17, 2013, Capital Chapter (Tallahassee, Fla.)

Marketing to the Power of ONE
October 17, 2013, Jacksonville Chapter (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Professional Development Workshop
October 24, 2013, Orlando Area Chapter (Orlando, Fla.)

Topic/Date TBD, Ocala Chapter

Topic/Date TBD, Treasure Coast Chapter

Peek Inside…Orlando Chapter – A Lesson from Coach Smart Scores Big

Guest Blog: FPRA-OAC Member Nancy Kinnally shares how Michael Smart, media coach who served as the OAC’s guest speaker in February 2013, influenced her work.

Nancy Kinnally & Susan Spencer-Wendel pictured beside the Mediterranean Sea in Cyprus (the birthplace of Susan’s biological father) during travels in 2010 to meet relatives Susan had never met before.

Welcome to my double life. By day: director of communications for The Florida Bar Foundation. By nights, weekends and vacation days: lifelong best friend, cheerleader, and self-appointed volunteer assistant publicist for Susan Spencer-Wendel, whose book “Until I Say Good-Bye: My Year of Living with Joy” was released March 12, 2013 to international media fanfare and landed on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Susan, formerly an award-winning journalist for the Palm Beach Post, is dying of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. She wrote her life-affirming memoir using her right thumb on her iPhone, since she is otherwise paralyzed and has lost the ability to speak clearly. The book reached number two on Amazon’s bestsellers list the day after its release. Universal has bought the film rights to her story, so a major motion picture may be next.

Susan’s real publicist, Rachel Elinsky of HarperCollins, generated the media firestorm that erupted the week of the release. I claim no credit. But my support for Susan has sometimes spilled over into the PR realm, and when Michael Smart of MichaelSmartPR spoke to the FPRA Orlando Area Chapter on February 13, my instincts took over. I saw Michael as the consummate PR guru and as someone who would appreciate Susan’s story. And − as he collected e-mail addresses from the audience to add to his distribution list − I saw him as someone with a large audience. Michael, who shared with us the cheer he came up with when he coached his son’s flag football team, the Honey Badgers, coached us all on how to write the perfect e-mail pitch. So after being schooled, I decided to practice what I’d learned right  back on Coach Smart.

My pitch scored big when Michael turned it into one of his widely broadcast e-mails. Two days after the book’s release, he sent an e-mail telling how I had contacted him after his speaking engagement. He shared Susan’s story and included the link to her book’s fan page.

“I recommend the Today show piece that aired in yesterday [in March] as an encouraging and guilt-trip-free lesson on priorities and strength facing adversity (and includes a sound bite from Nancy). More coverage from NPR, USA Today, Huffington Post, and many more outlets does the same,” Michael wrote.

Michael continued, “Thanks to the expertise of the publicists at Susan’s book publisher, her message is reaching tens of millions of people. And because a devoted friend and PR pro is leaving no stone unturned, contacting everyone she can think of, even a visiting PR speaker, with carefully customized outreach and follow-up, you’re reading about it now. Many thanks to Nancy for sharing, may God bless Susan and her family, and best wishes to all of you as you balance the loves of your lives with the powerful discipline you practice.”

Many thanks to you, Michael, for being a positive force in our profession and for reaching out to support my friend, whose tap, tap, tap with her right thumb has shown us how easy it is to tap three letters: J-O-Y.

If you are interested in receiving Michael’s weekly PR writing and pitching tips, register in the sign-up box on his website,

Why Image Awards? Insight of a 2012 Image Award Winner

By Nina Zapala, director of public relations, Anson-Stoner

Nina Zapala, director of public relations, Anson-Stoner

The Anson-Stoner PR Team won two honors at the 2012 Golden Image Awards in the Press Release Category, including: Windjammer Landing “Steals” Headlines—Award of Distinction and Windjammer Landing “Steals” Headlines—Judges’ Award.

Entering the FPRA Image Awards is an ideal way for Anson-Stoner to showcase its prowess in the PR industry. The Image Awards, through the evaluation process, allow the agency to compare itself regionally via judge’s feedback in areas such as: comments, scoring and the overall review of the entry. These are invaluable tools as they provide the agency an opportunity to review its strengths and weaknesses in the areas of campaign strategy, planning, implementation and measurement. This evaluation is also used internally to help educate the PR team and bring up discussions of current campaigns for improvement and evaluation. Of course, Anson-Stoner also uses this award as a way to generate local and regional press highlighting the agency’s expertise in the area of public relations.

Another benefit of entering the Image Awards is that it allows Anson-Stoner to educate clients on the value, role and importance of public relations. Specifically, this 2012 Image Award case allowed Anson-Stoner to educate clients on the impact that a single press release may have on awareness and positioning.

Anson-Stoner also believes that the Image Awards generate positive news both internally and externally for clients. For example, clients benefit from winning awards as this news reflects exceptional work and can be shared amongst employees. Externally, news releases can be generated, mentions can be posted across client social media channels and the agency also suggests a copy of the award be prominently displayed in the office. This is a win-win for the client as this news spreads to customers as well.

Why did Anson-Stoner choose the press release category? The Image Awards press release category was entered for several reasons. Today, many naysayers say the press release is dead. We disagree. Any communication that is well written and timely, and offers beneficial information to its target audience is as valuable as a white paper, a content rich blog post, a client fact sheet, and more. Anson-Stoner created a press release as part of the overall campaign strategy for Windjammer Landing Resort to help generate awareness in the U.S. and position the resort as a family-friendly, affordable option to travelers visiting Saint Lucia.

We assumed the Golden Image Award was bestowed on Anson-Stoner for the following reasons. First and foremost, the press release accomplished a crucial goal for the resort in generating awareness about the property in the U.S. on a national level. Secondly, the press release highlighted the fact that the resort was family-friendly and affordable—two marketing objectives that were part of the overall positioning for the client. Thirdly, not only did the press release get picked-up in key target markets, but it was also syndicated to top dailies in the U.S., thus generating awareness for the client in secondary target markets.

The rewards for entering the Image Awards are multi-faceted and Anson-Stoner believes that the ongoing success of any great PR campaign is through learning, evaluation and peer review. These tools allow the agency to grow and keep abreast of the ever-changing PR landscape.

Learn more about your local chapter’s image awards program by visiting

How to Survive (and Thrive!) When You Host the President – Or Any High-Profile Visitor

When you organize an event around the most powerful man in the world, a few things are different. Like having your personal phone conversations tapped, for example. And there’s more – much more. Melanie Forbrick, APR, Vice President of Communications at Siemens Energy, will share lessons learned from hosting the President of the United States, including fun stories and behind-the-scenes insights from her once-in-a-lifetime experience.

You’ll also learn Melanie’s tips for working with high-profile visitors, such as:

• How to pitch your location or event for the visit
• Helping speech writers with messages, not just facts
• Branding the location for photos and media
• Engaging online audiences through blogging and repurposing video feeds and photos

Thursday, Sept. 27
8 a.m. Registration/Networking
8:30 a.m. Breakfast/Program

University Club of Orlando
150 East Central Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32801

Complimentary parking is provided at the University Club of Orlando

About the Speaker
Melanie Forbrick, APR is responsible for directing strategic external and internal communications in support of Siemens Energy’s global business objectives. In this role, she oversees communications activities in the global Energy Service Division, including strategic communications planning, marketing communications, events and tradeshows, advertising, media relations, internal communications, and visual graphic production. In addition, Melanie oversees communications for Siemens Energy, Inc. in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.


Public Relations and the Law

The legal dimension of public relations grows in importance and influence each year. The process of maintaining favorable relations between an organization and its publics often involves balancing the marketing effects of communication with the legal ramifications of both the topic in question and the method of communication itself. Closely tied to the legal dimension of public relations are the ethical ramifications of decision making and the process of relating those decisions to an organization’s publics. Not all legally sound decisions are ethical, and not all ethical decisions are legal.

At our May 24th breakfast, Miami attorney Jason Gordon will provide important legal information you need to successfully practice public relations while staying away from legal troubles.

Mr. Gordon, a South Florida native and alumnus of the University of Miami and the University of Florida Levin College of Law, is an attorney with Heller Waldman P.L. in Miami. Mr. Gordon brings years of legal experience dealing with business and commercial litigation and on issues involving public relations practitioners. Topics Mr. Gordon will address during his presentation will include:

  1. Common terms in contracts for PR work which can lead to trouble, including unclear terms;
  2. Terms that should be included in contracts;
  3. Protecting the PR professional’s work, including rights to use and avoiding responsibility for incorrect information or statements to the public; and
  4. Media law and issues to consider when dealing with the media.

So come join us on May 24 for a robust discussion on topics of great importance to PR practitioners!

May 24, 2012
8:00 a.m. – Registration/Networking
8:30 – 9:30 a.m. – Breakfast/Presentation

The University Club
150 East Central Boulevard
Orlando, FL 32801

Register here

One-on-One with NASA’s Director of Public Affairs


Learn what it takes to leverage news media, television, web, social media, events and internal communications for one of the country’s most recognizable brands – NASA. Join FPRA’s Orlando Area Chapter on Thursday, Jan. 26 as we welcome Lisa Malone, APR, CPRC, director of public affairs for NASA, Kennedy Space Center. Known as the ‘Voice Of NASA’ by many for her years as the female launch commentator and her various roles within NASA’s public affairs department, Lisa will discuss the news and events leading up to the end of the space shuttle program and how public relations played a role in showcasing the programs accomplishments and making the best of the news for NASA, even when the news angle was not always favorable.

Register at