Quotes Corner

January 11, 2021

Looking Back at 2020 and to Our Hopes for the New Year

By Monique Mendez

Out with the old, in with the new. Although 2020 swept us into a wave of uncertainty, the world was brought together in an entirely unique way. Our homes became our offices and our friends became boxes on a video call. However, amidst these uncertainties, the public relations community stood alongside each other and supported their fellow PR professionals.

Quotes, the Ad/PR Club at UCF strived to do the same for their student members. The board brainstormed ways to get members involved and educated about the field of PR without leaving their couch, providing a toolkit of resources on the Quotes website. The COVID Resources page offered personal and professional resources to students, ranging from recorded FPRA webinars to online courses and podcasts.

Despite immense changes being implemented across the university, Quotes aimed to create a safe space for students to engage and learn about the PR field virtually. The team hosted virtual events throughout the fall semester, such as Creating a Digital Portfolio and Resume Writing 101. Additionally, the team launched their second annual Virtual Intern Pursuit to match students and employers for internships.

With 2021 already upon us, Quotes is excited for the new year and all the virtual events currently in the planning stages. Also, the team is looking forward to the unique social media campaigns planned with FPRA. One in particular will encourage graduating seniors to join FPRA Orlando as a student-to-professional member once they graduate.

Overall, Quotes will continue engaging members and promoting professional development, networking, and the understanding of public relations. To 2021, a year of growth.

Quotes has launched a COVID-19 resources page available for all students! It includes detailed resources for finding internships and furthering your professional development. View the resources page here.

Have something to add? Email quoteswebmaster1@gmail.com.

Member PRofile: Michael Lawrence, APR

January 6, 2021

Title & company: Communications Officer, Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS)

Give a brief explanation of your job: My main role is to serve as the spokesperson for Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS) and handle all media/public relations needs.  In addition, my other responsibilities include supervising our Community Involvement Department and our Communications Team comprised of Graphics, Marketing, Multimedia, and Web staff supporting our schools and district.  For those of you with children in our school-system, I also serve as one of the main voices on your many school district phone calls you probably receive at home throughout the school year.  #SorryNotSorry

How long have you been a member of FPRA and why did you join? I’ve been a member of FPRA for so long I actually don’t quite remember when I started.  I believe I joined after college once I started officially working in the PR industry as a way to network and learn from my fellow peers and professionals.  I’m guessing it’s likely been for approximately 17-19 years.

Can you share with us why you’ve decided to remain an FPRA member? In my opinion, there’s many benefits to being an FPRA Orlando member.  For me, it’s an opportunity to network and learn from my fellow PR practitioners.  Everyone in the Chapter comes with their own unique skillset, knowledge, and experience so, it’s great to be able to reach-out and know you can get help in areas that may not be your forte or bread & butter.  I also really enjoy sitting on the APR panels and assisting with Image Award Judging because I find it serves as a tremendous learning experience seeing how various organizations and/or individuals handled their various PR campaigns.  I always come away from that with a few best-practices or new ideas that I often wish to try myself in future tactics and/or campaigns.  Most of all, FPRA also serves as one big support group.  Only fellow PR practitioners know what we experience in our day-to-day work lives.  We all have similar stories to share and similar craziness we’ve experienced.  I feel like we’re able to lean on each other, laugh, cry and even sympathize together because only we truly know what it’s like to walk in each other’s shoes.

What has been your favorite FPRA event so far? As MANY of my fellow FPRA colleagues probably already know…it’s most-definitely the Image Awards Gala dancing the night away with my fellow PR Practitioners to the beats of the musical group “We Want More” (formerly the Kaj Bros.)!

Tell us about an exciting achievement (personal or professional): My greatest personal achievement hands-down is being a Dad.  However, on the professional side of things, I’d have to say the achievement I’m most proud of and that is the most meaningful/rewarding to me is being a mentor to my many former UCF interns who’ve gone on to have successful careers in the PR-industry and then subsequently watching them shine by paying their experiences and knowledge forward with interns of their own. It gives me great satisfaction to give back and hopefully lend some of my knowledge and experience to those just starting out.  It’s even more fun and surreal when your former interns start hiring your other former interns.  That’s when you know you’ve truly come full-circle and are beginning to quite possibly encroach on 5-degrees of Kevin Bacon status in-regards to UCF PR interns.

What was your first job?:  Technically, my very first job was in high school opening the Target in Oviedo, FL where I started as a Cart-Attendant/Cashier.  But, my first serious full-time professional job after graduation from UCF’s Master’s Program (Mass Comm.) was with the non-profit organization Senior Resource Alliance where I served as the Marketing/Communications Manager.

Fun fact: I’m really into all things Sports, Star Wars, & Punk Rock/Ska Music.  UCF Games, Warped Tours, & chillaxing on the beaches of Scarif are my jam.

Contact Information:

Michael Lawrence, Communications Officer
Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS)
400 E. Lake Mary Blvd.
Sanford, FL 32773
(O):  407.320.0471
(E):  michael_lawrence@scps.k12.fl.us

Member PRofile: Cynthia Lambert, APR

December 4, 2020

Title & company: Public Information Manager at MetroPlan Orlando

Give a brief explanation of your job: My organization is responsible for creating Central Florida’s long-term transportation vision – a $27.9 billion plan for the year 2045. Incorporating public input is vital to creating a plan that meets the  community’s needs. My job is to communicate complex transportation concepts in an understandable way and to ensure the public has a voice in the planning process. I develop and manage our public relations efforts, including public  information, community outreach, research and production of all print and  electronic materials.

How long have you been a member of FPRA and why did you join? I joined FPRA as a student member of Quotes while finishing up my Ad/PR degree at UCF. But I really didn’t get active with the chapter until I joined as a professional member in 2005. I was fortunate enough to work for a boss who encouraged professional development and involvement in FPRA right from the beginning. I served on the chapter board for many years, earned my APR, and eventually became chapter president in 2015. FPRA has played a key role in my career development by helping me stay on top of industry trends and offering opportunities to develop my leadership skills.

What has been your favorite FPRA event so far? Image Awards, because it’s a fun celebration of all the awesome work being done around the state and a chance to support our fellow PR practitioners.

What was your first job? My first job as a young teenager was babysitting for family friends. It helped me develop people skills, that’s for sure! My first “real” job was an internship with Progress Energy (now known as Duke Energy) during a very active hurricane season. It taught me a lot about crisis PR.

Fun fact: My husband and I love traveling around the world. We’re passionate about discovering new places and experiencing different cultures. I’ve been to 29 countries – and I can’t wait to add more to the list when this pandemic is over!

Contact Information: CLambert@metroplanorlando.org

Quotes Corner

November 10, 2020

Virtual Intern Pursuit: Setting Up Students and Employers for Success

By Amy Raleigh

Last semester, in order to adhere to the CDC guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Quotes took the initiative to move its once in-person Intern Pursuit to a completely virtual platform through its website. Instead of 60 employers and over 200 students gathering in the Pegasus Ballroom at UCF, students scrolled through the Quotes website and were able to look at their options for an internship virtually.

Quotes carried the virtual platform into this semester as well. With the previous experience we had in an online setting from spring, and the wonderful process that was left behind for the new Quotes board, we wanted to take it a step further and implement operations that would benefit students and employers to the fullest extent.

In doing so, Quotes created a Google Drive where members could submit a 30-60 second elevator pitch of themselves, as well as their resume. In comparison to last semester’s completely virtual platform, this gave students the chance to introduce themselves to potential employers on a more personal level. Access was given to the employers to look through accordingly. To prepare for this, Quotes hosted a new “Creating a Digital Portfolio” event for members. Quotes also continued to host other annual events in preparation for Intern Pursuit, including Zoom meetings for Intern Pursuit Bootcamp and Writing Resume 101. We also gave members the chance to send their resume to a professional for peer review.

Employers benefited from some newer implications as well. This semester, Quotes changed its Featured Internship opportunity, giving employers who chose this option access to the Google Drive with student’s information one week earlier. In addition, we promoted their internship opportunity on our social media channels. Our website layout was changed, and our Featured Internships were displayed at the top. Drop down boxes were implemented for each registration, making the name of the internship stand out and reducing the amount of scrolling required for students as they read through the multitude of opportunities available to them.

Although this online platform is still new, Quotes has worked hard to make it the best opportunity for all who participate. Our website reached over 200 clicks in just 1 hour. And with over 50 employer registrations, and four featured internships, Quotes can only continue to strive to improve for the semesters to come. We cannot thank every employer, student and supervisor enough for all of the incredible work they put in to making this event happen.

Quotes has launched a COVID-19 resources page available for all students! It includes detailed resources for finding internships and furthering your professional development. View the resources page here.

Have something to add? Email quoteswebmaster1@gmail.com.

Member PRofile: Linda Laguardia

November 6, 2020

Title & company: Public Relations Coordinator, Universal Orlando Resort

Give a brief explanation of your job: At Universal Orlando Resort, I’m responsible for securing media coverage from statewide and national outlets through pitching and executing publicity strategy for our annual events, including Halloween Horror Nights, and attraction launches.

How long have you been a member of FPRA and why did you join? I started attending FPRA events in 2018 because several colleagues on my team invited me. I loved the professional development programs and continuing education opportunities being offered to PR professionals. I officially became a member earlier this year and now proudly serve on the board as Assistant Treasurer.

What has been your favorite FPRA event so far? Media Mashup! I loved hearing from journalists and learning best communication practices.

Tell us about an exciting achievement (personal or professional): Shortly after graduating with my bachelor’s degree in broadcast media, I was accepted into the NBCUniversal Page Program in New York City– NBC’s early career rotational media program, which I dreamed of being a part of since high school. As an NBC Page, I supported various departments across the NBCUniversal portfolio and contributed to teams in production, business and publicity. I also gave tours of NBC Studios in 30 Rock and worked in audience services for shows such as the TODAY Show and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. I am so grateful for the NBCU Page Program because it gave me a well-rounded understanding of the media industry and led me to my job today.

What was your first job? I filmed and edited videos for my university’s communications team.

Fun fact: I married my high school sweetheart. We dated for 9 years before getting married!

Contact Information: Linda.Laguardia@universalorlando.com

FPRA Launches Statewide APR Study Course

October 13, 2020

Interested in taking your career to the next level with your APR (Accredited in Public Relations) and couldn’t attend our chapter’s fall study sessions? Thanks to a new statewide APR Prep Course launching in November by FPRA state, you can begin your APR journey before year-end.

An informational session will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, Oct. 27, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Participating in the informational session doesn’t obligate you to participate in the course if you decide it’s not the right time after all. To receive a Zoom link for the informational session, contact Lisa Murray, APR, CPRC, FPRA vice president of accreditation and credentialing at lisadmurrs@gmail.com.

Classes for the new FPRA state online APR prep course will run a total of 10 weeks on Tuesday evenings starting at 6:30 p.m. and each class will last approx. 1 to 1.5 hours.

  • Info Session – Oct. 27
  • Class 1 – Nov. 10
  • Class 2 – Nov. 17
  • Class 3 – Nov. 24
  • Class 4 – Dec. 1
  • Class 5 – Dec. 8
  • Class 6 – Dec. 15
  • Holiday Break – No Class Dec. 22 or Dec. 29
  • Class 7 – Jan. 5
  • Class 8 – Jan. 12
  • Class 9 – Jan. 19 (This last class will include a roundtable discussion with credentialed members from around the state)

If you have overall questions about earning your APR or CPRC (Certified Public Relations Counselor), contact Pam Nulman, APR, CPRC, chapter vice president of accreditation at pam@nulmanmediation.com.

Quotes Corner

October 13, 2020

The “Zoom Age” through a Quotes member’s eyes 

By Abbigale Martin

Upon entering Quotes, I was skeptical of how the dynamic would be different through our university’s new world of Zoom and virtual events. Fortunately, I am thankful to say that my experience with Quotes, just halfway into the semester, has already exceeded my expectations.

Quotes during the “Zoom age” has been exceptionally interactive online. The switch to a virtual format strengthened my connection with fellow members through quick email responses and willingness to make one-on-one calls, an unexpected but valuable tactic to networking with the board and guest speakers.

At the virtual events and socials, I feel like I am a part of a collaborative community. Specifically, gatherings such as the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) social and Intern Pursuit Bootcamp have opened opportunities for panel sessions and chances to receive professional advice from the workforce.

One key takeaway from the FRPA social was the opportunity to have a one-on-one meeting with one of the guest speakers, Ali Beemer. As a full-time public relations specialist at Universal Orlando Resort, Ali was more than helpful in establishing resume development and sharing the ins and outs of the PR industry from a communication background. Particularly, I found her advice on obtaining hard skills, like navigating Microsoft Suite and Adobe Creative, in the workforce to be very helpful.

Additionally, my takeaway from Intern Pursuit’s Bootcamp was interacting with the guest speaker Devon Chestnut, communications and public relations manager at Cox Communications. The conversation consisted of virtual interview tips and different ways to stand out as a whole. One piece of advice that stuck out was the need for a video resume. A video resume serves as a visual supplement that shows personality and highlights skills and experiences. Before our meeting, I was not aware of this concept, but Devon’s advice has changed the game for me, and I feel much more confident for my future interviews.

As a Human Communication major, I decided to join Quotes to deepen my understanding of the social media world. I find that human connection on social media thrives off interpersonal skills as well as creativity. I am thankful to have Quotes as my “bridge” to the more creative side of this industry, and I am looking forward to more virtual events in the upcoming months!

Quotes has launched a COVID-19 resources page available for all students! It includes detailed resources for finding internships and furthering your professional development. View the resources page here.

Have something to add? Email quoteswebmaster1@gmail.com.

Member PRofile: Alayna Curry, APR

October 6, 2020

Title & Company.
Media Relations & Public Affairs Manager at Orlando Health

Give a brief explanation of your job.
At Orlando Health, I handle proactive/reactive media and issues management for Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. I work closely with our OB-GYNs and pediatricians to educate the community on important health and wellness topics. During a crisis, I also serve as the public information officer when the hospital incident command system (HICS) is activated.

How long have you been a member of FPRA and why did you join?
I have been a professional member of FPRA since 2010. I was sort of volun-told to join by my first employer so that I could network with other young professionals and continue learning and growing in public relations. I was asked to join the board that year as VP of Image Awards, and I continued to volunteer in a number of other positions before serving as chapter president in 2016-2017.

What has been your favorite FPRA event so far?
I’ve always enjoyed going to the FPRA Annual Conference, but the 2018 conference in Ponte Verde was my favorite. I enjoyed the time away from the office to focus on learning from others in my field and spending quality time with my fellow chapter members. Getting a little beach time was a big perk too!

Tell us about an exciting achievement (personal or professional).
In February, I’ll be celebrating 10 years as a licensed Zumba fitness instructor. Back in college, I would have never imagined that fitness would become such a huge part of my life. For all of us, COVID-19 has changed how we do things. When gyms closed down, I had to get creative with how I could still take care of my health (as I’d recently had a baby) and encourage my students to stay active as well. I started teaching virtual Zumba and other fitness classes weekly for six months straight. I just completed my first fitness challenge group with 10 women and it was a huge success! I’m about to launch the registration for the next round on my new website: www.workoutwithmom.com.

What was your first job?
My first (and only) job before starting in the PR field was working as a church secretary. It was so great to have a flexible job that allowed me to attend school full time and participate in multiple internships.

Fun fact:
I’m a registered breastmilk donor. Despite struggling with breastfeeding my first child, my second experience has been completely different. I’ve been blessed with more than enough, so much that I don’t have enough freezer space. I went through an intense screening process with the Mother’s Milk Bank of Florida and now my milk is provided to premature babies in NICUs across the state of Florida. I have met and surpassed my goal of donating 1,000 oz. and my son and I were recently featured on the front page of El Sentinel, sharing the story of our donation journey.

Contact Information:

Instagram: @alaynajcurry

Member PRofile: Quinn Monplaisir

September 9, 2020

How long have you been a member of FPRA and why did you join?
I became a member of FPRA in January as a student because I was taking the class to prepare me for the PR certification exam.

What has been your favorite FPRA event so far?
My favorite FPRA event so far was the event on how to communicate on a shoestring budget.

Tell us about an exciting achievement (personal or professional).
Graduating from UCF.

What was your first job?
Marketing Intern at AdventHealth.

Fun fact:
I’ve traveled to nine countries.

Contact Information:


Quotes Corner

September 8, 2020

Quotes shifts to a virtual format this semester 

By Isabela Roselione

The new world of Zoom and virtual events can be daunting for any organization. Quotes, the Advertising and Public Relations Club at UCF, has taken these new challenges in stride by filling our fall semester calendar exclusively with virtual events. We’re very excited to introduce new and familiar events in the new virtual platform, including Intern Pursuit prep events and even advertising programming to cater to the other half of our degree program at the university.

Executive board meetings, socials for members and other events that would typically have been in person are being moved to video conference meetings. This has provided greater opportunity for a variety of speakers and presenters to join Quotes. The virtual format has also provided flexibility for members, and Quotes has seen growth in membership as well as attendance for our events.

The plan for this semester is to put the safety of our members and guests as a top priority. Quotes is again hosting the biannual event, Intern Pursuit, virtually on October 28, 2020. We look forward to when we can all meet safely in person again. For now, through the computer will have to do as we work toward a safer world and Quotes continues to charge on.

Quotes has launched a COVID-19 resources page available for all students! It includes detailed resources for finding internships and furthering your professional development. View the resources page here.

Have something to add? Email quoteswebmaster1@gmail.com.