Archive for Tampa Bay Chapter

Breakout 3B: Become the Storytelling Hero: Literally!

Blogger: Brittany Jackson (Tampa Bay Chapter)

Become the Storytelling Hero: Literally!
Presented by: Lisa Gerber, Founder and President, Big Leap Creative Integrated Communications 

When session presenter Lisa Gerber’s dog, usually a playful pooch, couldn’t even lay down due to problems with canine hip dysplasia, she did what any loving pet owner would do — she Googled a solution. The first hit was a story published in a Seattle newspaper more than a decade ago. It was about a man whose dog had a similar ailment and the great lengths he went to ensure his pup received the best care.
Inspired by the story, Lisa took her dog to the same vet hospital mentioned in the article. After a minimally invasive surgery, Jackson was as good as new.

The moral? Stories done the right way generate awareness, influence action and have a significant impact.

Lisa gives these key tips to master the art of storytelling:

  • Get the protagonist right. We’re often tempted to tout our organization’s accomplishments in our PR or marketing materials, but Lisa’s advice is to put yourself in the mind of your target audience. Don’t always make yourself the hero, but focus on your consumer.
  • Remember, these are real people with real problems. When telling your story,  speak directly to the problem. Your target audience will not always seek out your organization, but they will always search for solutions to their problems.
  • Have a happy ending. There are no mysteries in brand stories. Be sure to let your readers know up front how you can help them.
  • Provide context. This gives your readers a richer experience and helps them make corrections.
  • Create emotional impact.  This doesn’t mean your copy has to tug at heartstrings. But, it does mean that your voice and tone should be clear and authentic. Don’t write what you wouldn’t say in person.
  • Get others to tell your story. Repurpose your online reviews into downloadable case studies and use hashtags to encourage your audience to share their experiences in their own words.
  • Walk the talk. The best stories fall flat if a consumer’s overall experiences don’t support it.

For more info, follow Lisa on Twitter @lisagerber and check out her blog at

GerberLisa Gerber is the founder of Big Leap Creative Integrated Communications, an agency focused on helping companies reach their business goals by providing content strategy and execution. She is a speaker, blogger and mountain girl with more than 15 years of PR experience in urban and resort development, financial services and the destination and outdoor industry.


Conference 101: Top 7 Takeaways to Make the Most of FPRA’s Annual Conference


Blogger: Brittany Jackson (Tampa Bay Chapter)

Conference 101: Top 7 Takeaways to Make the Most of FPRA’s Annual Conference

Meeting hundreds of your professional peers over four days of info-packed sessions and fun-filled mixers can be a little daunting, especially for an Annual Conference newbie.

“Conference 101,” a networking event geared toward first-timers, provides a casual atmosphere for attendees to connect and shake off those pre-conference jitters. Participants also received a handout of insider tips for getting the most out of FPRA’s 2016 Annual Conference.

Here are the takeaways:

1. Take advantage of the conference app. With the app, you can easily plan your conference with a customizable agenda and get a glimpse of conference attendees and each of the session topics.

2. Choose your sessions wisely. With so many options, choosing the perfect session may be a little difficult. Try to attend sessions that will enhance your skills or that directly impact a project you’re currently working on.

3. Get connected. That’s what it’s all about! Engage with other conference attendees, make connections and don’t forget to ask for a business card for follow-up.

4. Get connected (part 2). Take a step out of your comfort zone and meet new people you don’t already know. Be sure to perfect your 30-second elevator speech!

5. Take notes. Studies have shown that we remember more from a lecture or speech when we take notes by hand. So, be sure to jot down the many nuggets of wisdom you hear throughout the conference.

6. Get social. Follow the conference happenings online to get the scoop from every angle. Check out the FPRA blog ( and tag your posts with #FPRA2016AC, #ThinkFPRA and #FPRAIsForLeaders.

7. Follow-up. The end of Annual Conference is really just the beginning. Be sure to follow up with other attendees you’ve met along with the speakers. It’s key to nurturing the many new relationships you’ve just started to build.


Joe Curley Rising Leader Award Class of 2016

















Congratulations to the winner of the Joe Curley Rising Leader Award - Rhonda Leiberick, APR from the Central West Coast Chapter!













Congratulations to the entire Joe Curley Rising Leader Class of 2016!


Liz Anderson Jacksonville Chapter


Corrie Benfield headshot

Corrie Benfield Tampa Bay Area Chapter


LaurenDeiorio final head shot

Lauren DeIorio Ocala Chapter



Angelica DeLuccia Morrissey Space Coast Chapter


erin igram

Erin Igram NW Florida Coast Chapter


Erin Knothe

Erin Knothe Dick Pope/Pol County Chapter


Cindi Lane

Cindi Lane, APR Volusia/Flagler Chapter



Rhonda Leiberick, APR Central West Coast Chapter


Zoe Linafelt

Zoe Linafelt Capital Chapter



Joey Mazzaferro Gainesville Chapter


Vianka McConville

Vianka McConville Orlando Area Chapter


Nicole Stacey

Nicole Stacey Pensacola Chapter


PR2D2′s “Tour of Chapters” Video

FPRA’s very own PR2D2 visited all 15 chapters this past year. Check out the video highlighting his journey.

PR2D2 video screen shot

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 final group of members of this year’s class!


EGrayEstella V. Gray, Southwest Florida Water Management District.
Tampa Bay Chapter

From her chapter’s nomination in her words: “I am a fearless advocate for FPRA.”




CSmithCarin Campbell Smith, FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
Treasure Coast Chapter

From her chapter’s nomination in her words: ”I enjoy being a part of this organization that has given me so much professionally. I feel a responsibility to give back and play an active role in moving the chapter forward and making it even better.” 



SStrongStefany Strong, Volusia County Health Department
Volusia-Flagler Chapter

From her chapter’s nomination in her words: I am serving as Immediate Past President of the Volusia Flagler Chapter of FPRA. It is an honor to be associated with such great public relations professionals.”

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…Tampa Bay Chapter – Non-Profit Forum: Effective Public Relations and Media Practices

By Aileen Rodriguez, FPRA Tampa Bay Chapter Programs Co-Chair  and Juliette Lauer, FPRA Tampa Bay Chapter Social Media Chair

6 Takeaways written by Ashley Pero, Non-Profit Leadership Center


Panelist Jennifer McVan, Media Relations Manager at Florida Hospital; Franco Ripple, Public Affairs Director at CBS Radio; Aileen Rodriguez, President at AR Public Affairs; Susan Howarth, CEO at WEDU Studios

In July, the FPRA Tampa Bay Chapter and AR Public Affairs & Strategic Solutions partnered to host the 3rd annual Non-Profit Forum: Effective Public Relations and Media Practices. Created by AR Public Affairs, the event is offered free to Tampa Bay area non-profit organizations with the purpose of educating non-profit professionals on effective ways to work with the media to better promote their organizations.

Well known journalists and public relations experts spoke on a panel and discussed the topics of media relations, social media and crisis communications for non-profits. The event was underwritten by local sponsors. An audience of 150 guests attended the event; representing more than 120 organizations from across the Tampa Bay region.

Ashley Pero of The Nonprofit Leadership Center shares her six biggest takeaways with us below.

1. It’s all about the story! Each panelist shared how important the story is to getting coverage. Ernest Hooper of the Tampa Bay Times, “Journalists are passionate about telling impactful stories.” Before you send a press release or pitch your idea to the media ask yourself why people should care about this? How does this make someone’s day or impact their life? If you can answer those questions, there is your story!

2. If you know one reporter, you know one reporter. Personal relationships (just like in fundraising) are key. Get to know reporters who cover the things that impact your organization and get to know how they like to be communicated with and what moves them.

3. Make all information easy and accessible. Include all the important (who, what, when, why and how) in the body of your email. Attachments are fine, but with 600+ emails a day reporters need to be able to skim and see what is important – don’t make it hard for them!

4. Know where your audience is on social media and go there, don’t expect them to go where you want them to be. If you want to be on LinkedIn but your supporters, clients and the public you are trying to reach are on Facebook then you need to be on Facebook, not spending your time trying to get them on LinkedIn (hint: it would be a waste of your time).

5. Every organization should have a disaster and crisis communication plan. Disasters and crisis’s happen without notice (surprise) and you need to be ready to react and communicate. Take the time to prepare (and practice) now so when something goes wrong everyone knows what to do and how to do it. Scary but true, a poorly handled crisis can be the end of your organization.

6. You are your organization’s best advocate. You know your clients and the impact you are making in the community – you know your story. Be able to tell it and get it out there and you’ll have media wins. Just remember, it isn’t about how low your overhead is, it’s about the child that went to bed with food last night because of the work you do. Never forget the human angle.

If you’re interested in more information, visit the Tampa Bay Chapter’s event page or AR Public Affairs 2013 Non-Profit Forum page to download a copy of the 2013 Non-Profit Forum media resource guide and Social Media reference sheet.

Managing Media and Public Relations for the Bucs

Unless you’re ESPN, you’re not going to get invited into One Buc Place anytime soon! So join FPRA’s Tampa Bay Chapter for an exclusive tour and talk with Jeffrey Kamis, PR Director for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Managing Media and PR for an internationally-recognized franchise.

And someone will win an autographed football signed by Coach Raheem Morris!!

Note — space is limited and you must RSVP for security clearance. 48-hour cancellation policy is in effect. See for more details.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009
6:00 – 7:30pm
One Buccaneer Place – 3302 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Tampa