Quotes Corner

December 13, 2017

Stefania Markowicz
Director of Communication for Quotes, the PR Club at UCF

An Open Mind Will Open Doors You Didn’t Even Know Existed

I consider myself to be a curious individual. I question everything – but when I can’t find the answer to what I’m looking for, the “Type A” in me goes crazy.

Semester after semester, I couldn’t find the answer to a few recurring thoughts: where in PR do I belong? Do I go the corporate route? Am I more of an agency person? How about nonprofits or government?

I let these types of questions consume me for a lot longer than I should have, and soon became anxious over the apparent uncertainty of my future. It felt like everyone around me was figuring out what they wanted to do with their lives, which, given my personality type, made it pretty hard for me to remain calm about my situation.

After many continuous months of me desperately researching PR industries and asking people where they thought I would best fit in, I came to the realization that this attitude was taking a toll on me for the worse. So I stopped the obsession. All at once. I did a complete 180.

When it came time to getting internship offers, I decided to go at it with a positive mindset. This led to me having incredible opportunities at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and Seminole County Public Schools. I never would have pictured myself working at either of these organizations just a year ago, but it just goes to show how you can’t always pick the good experiences. Sometimes, the good experiences come to you. You just have to take it and run with them.

At the most recent Intern Pursuit, I had another recurring thought invade my head. This time, it was about the inability to see myself working at an agency. A lesser, but still prominent “Type A” came out in me again. I spent most of the evening of Intern Pursuit dodging the agency booths like bullets. Up until I impulsively tried something out of my comfort zone.

I walked right up to a woman named Kacie representing Curley & Pynn, a PR agency. We got to talking, and the conversation just felt right – I instantly knew I had made the right choice in introducing myself. In just a week (which felt like the longest week of my life), Kacie told me that she would love to bring me on the Curley & Pynn team for an internship with them in the spring. I happily accepted.

This is how I’m going to live my life from now on. Step by step, day by day. I may not know exactly what I want for myself in the future. And that’s perfectly okay.

Lastly, to all of my fellow students, I just have to say: don’t turn down an internship just because you think “it’s not right for you.” Taking a chance may just be the best decision you ever make.


Blog Post

December 13, 2017

Kacie Escobar
FPRA Orlando Area Chapter Treasuer

LeadershipFPRA Reflection: Leading and Managing

If you ask me, the LeadershipFPRA “Leading and Managing” session alone was worth the price of tuition. Far from your typical presentation of leadership definitions and management styles, what transpired was an inspiring weekend of self-reflection among like-minded colleagues with shared goals.

One of the most empowering takeaways was realizing that leadership stems from social influence – not authority or power. Anyone can be a leader in any department at any level of an organization. The key is knowing yourself and how to leverage your strengths to motivate and influence others.

To help us better understand ourselves, leadership coaches from The Maue Center kicked off the session with an exploration of our individual strengths and how they can be leveraged to mold us all into great leaders. Each class member completed a “Strengths Profile” and shared the results in intimate conversations about how these behaviors have shaped our lives and our careers.

As my top strength, Growth drives me to constantly seek new opportunities, learn new skills and invite feedback on my performance in the pursuit of personal and professional development. I feel most energized when I’m performing these activities, which certainly explains a lot … like my desire to be in FPRA and an ambition I’ve experienced since childhood that caused me to take school and extracurricular activities so seriously. Thanks to our leadership coaches, I now understand how to better employ Growth and other strengths to be a more effective leader.

Learning about strengths and how to see them in other people was invaluable – and just the beginning of a session that plunged even further into emotional intelligence, accountability, time management, managing up and so much more. The agenda also included time to brainstorm solutions to the barriers holding us back from leadership success, as well as the opportunity to develop individualized leadership development plans.

I’ve never been to group therapy, but I’m sure members of the LeadershipFPRA class would agree that this session sure felt like it. I drove home with an entirely new perspective, feeling invigorated and truly privileged to have begun this journey with such an outstanding group of colleagues from around the state. I can’t wait to see what the next session has in store.

Learn more about LeadershipFPRA.

Member PRofile: Marc Espeso

December 12, 2017


 Marc Espeso 
Digital Communications Coordinator for Orange County Government

Give a brief explanation of your job. 
The digital communications coordinator creates content for all aspects of Orange County Government – writing, editing and managing social platforms and internal/external newsrooms.

How long have you been a part of FPRA? Why did you join?
This is my second year in FPRA, and my first year on the board.  I joined FPRA to build a stronger network of colleagues, friend and  mentors. I also joined the organization in hopes to continue my education and work towards my APR and CPRC certifications.

What was your favorite FPRA event?
My favorite event is our holiday community fundraiser. I am always attracted to events that include an aspect of volunteerism. This year we are partnering with Orange County Animal Services. For more information on the event you can visit fpraorlando.org/events.

Tell us about an exciting achievement.
One of my most exciting achievements would be working with the NBA for the 2012 All-Star Games in Orlando. It was my first PR assignment, as well as my first earned media clip from the Ellen show.

What was your first job?
My first job was selling lemonade with my best friend in 1996. We made $3.

Tell us something people may not know about you.

Contact Information:
Marc.Espeso@ocfl.net, (407) 836-5357 (office)

Member PRofile: Alyssa Chandler

November 7, 2017

Alyssa Chandler
Public Relations Information Officer, Orange County Animal Serivces

Give a brief explanation of your job. 
Coordinate media relations, strategize and manage all advertising efforts, manage social media

How long have you been a part of FPRA? Why did you join?
Two years in FPRA – I joined to meet my peers and challenge myself in the field. I find that surrounding yourself with talented professionals encourages you to rise as well.

What was your favorite FPRA event?
Definitely Wondermade! Marshmallows + friends + public relations = GOALS.

Tell us about an exciting achievement.
I recently got accepted into grad school at the University of Florida. I will be pursuing a master’s in public relations starting in January and I’m so excited to continue growing.

What was your first job?
Right out of college, I was the Community Relations Director at a chiropractor’s office.

Tell us something people may not know about you.
I just got married in October! We honeymooned in Thailand and it was the vacation dreams are made of.

Contact Information:
Alyssa.Duross@ocfl.net / Cell: 407-405-4579

Chapter Rewind | Crisis Communications Professional Development Workshop with Sachs Media Group

November 7, 2017

By Jonathan Gabriel

(From left to right) Ron Sachs, Sachs Media Group Founder & CEO; Lindsay Hudock, FPRA Orlando Area Chapter President; John Peck, Sachs Media Group Vice President of Public Relations; and, Jeff Grainger, Florida Municipal Power Agency Public Relations Specialist II

Last month at the UCF Executive Development Center, the FPRA Orlando Area Chapter received hands-on training in the essentials of crisis communications from Ron Sachs, Jon Peck and the team at Sachs Media Group, a strategic communications firm headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida. Both Sachs, founder and CEO of the company, and Peck, vice president of public relations, worked in journalism and served as top communications aides for Florida governors.

“He is possibly the most accomplished media consultant in the state of Florida,” said Lindsay Hudock, FPRA Orlando president, about Sachs. “His thought leadership and ideas have created projects that generate local, state, national and even worldwide attention.”

Sachs and Peck split attendees into two groups and gave them a simulated crisis to handle. Picture the scene: a tractor trailer carrying potentially hazardous materials has exploded and burst into flames in the fictitious city of Jenkins, Florida. As the city’s PIO, what do you do?

Breakout Session

“We want you to think through the responses that would be required from the various agencies, including the city, your elected officials, police department, school district, local emergency management,” said Peck.

Of course, like a real crisis, things on the ground didn’t stand still, forcing communicators to adapt their strategies to accommodate new situations. As groups discussed effective responses, Sachs and his team shared new information learned about the crisis, including social media posts and TV news reports created especially for this exercise. Members of each group were selected as spokespeople and held a simulated press conference with questions from the media – played by Sachs and Peck – that they had to field on the fly.

Kacie Escobar taking the role as spokesperson during a simulated crisis

FPRA members learned the importance of developing a coherent plan, since in a crisis, events move fast. And thanks to Sachs Media Group, they now have a greater understanding of crisis communications that they can take back to their workplace.

Quotes Corner

November 6, 2017

Domenica Aycart
Quotes, the PR Club at UCF Webmaster

This semester, I took on the challenge of redesigning the Quotes website. I wanted it to be attention-grabbing and very informative. Since Quotes’ website attracts our student members as well as employers, thanks to our Intern Pursuit section, the website must contain information that is relevant and useful to both.

With this in mind, I changed the layout of the site for a more sophisticated look, added all of the blogs written by our past and former members, created photo albums of our past agency tours and speaker meetings, and placed widgets that promote our different social media pages.

What I learned by working on the website is that you should do extensive research on the platform or platforms that you are using to communicate your message. Without proper research on the platform, you are not taking full advantage of the tools provided, which could really make a difference on how your content is received by your audience. For example, with WordPress, the platform our Quotes website runs on, it is essential to know how to properly use and strategically place the widgets on your page.

Using embedded widgets allows me to promote our social media pages and let members know about any upcoming events without having to send out constant reminders. To communicate effectively using WordPress, you should have a basic understanding of how analytics work; this allows you to keep track of your website’s traffic and top performing posts.

Receiving feedback from our faculty advisor, Lindsay Hudock, and my fellow executive board members has been essential to redesigning the website. They are constantly working with me to brainstorm the type of content our members would like to see on the website and what is the best way to display it. Their different points of view allow me to create content that really engages our members. For example, promoting the blog posts that past and current members have written is beneficial to both employers and students, since they allow employers to read about what we have been working on during the year, and it allows students to learn about the different ways you can better yourself in the public relations field.

Constantly updating our website with new blog posts and pictures from past events is a great way to establish good communication with our members, because keeping our content fresh keeps our members coming back to the website and allows future members to develop an interest in our club. Change is constant, and we need to take into account our audience’s needs. Sometimes events or meetings need to be rescheduled, and in order to keep our members and employers updated, it is of the essence to spread any changes on our website as well as our social media.

Being in charge of our website has been a very rewarding experience. I have learned new strategies on how to properly communicate with different audiences, and have mastered WordPress. I am very thankful to Quotes for giving me the chance to be their webmaster.

Visit the website at quotesucf.com.

Quotes Corner

October 11, 2017

Alyssa Harrell
Quotes, the PR Club at UCF

You’re Invited to Intern Pursuit
By Alyssa Harrell, Quotes UCF

Mark your calendars for Oct. 19 for one of the best opportunities to find an amazing intern! Quotes, the PR Club at UCF, invites you to attend our bi-annual premier internship event. Intern Pursuit is an excellent opportunity to meet talented and motivated students who are seeking an internship!

This event is held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Pegasus Ballroom of the Student Union on UCF’s main campus. Intern Pursuit is the largest internship fair unique to communication students. With over 200 students in attendance each semester this event offers a great chance to connect with students. Our goal is to help students combine what they have learned in their classes with what they learn from professionals like you.

If you are interested in being an employer at this event please fill out an application here

If you have any questions please feel free to email me at quotesevents@gmail.com

I look forward to sharing our best and brightest with you! #IPUCF