2020-2021 Board Slate

May 20, 2020
  • PRESIDENT: Kacie Escobar, APR
  • PRESIDENT-ELECT: Ali Beemer
  • IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT: Megan Paquin, APR, CPRC
  • SECRETARY: Cynthia Velasco
  • TREASURER: Kenneth Morgan-Schleuning
  • ASSISTANT TREASURER: Linda Laguardia
  • VP MEMBERSHIP: Leah Santiago
  • ASSISTANT VP MEMBERSHIP: Paula Machado
  • VP STUDENT OUTREACH: Rachel Ilardi
  • VP ACCREDITATION: TBD
  • VP PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Jose Luis Dieppa
  • VP PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT & MEDIA MASHUP: Melisa Inanc
  • VP IMAGE AWARDS: Ashlynn Webb
  • VP IMAGE AWARDS : Kali Hammond
  • VP COMMUNICATIONS:
    Annabella Pujalte (media/email)
    Valerie Moses (web/social media)
  • VP OF SPONSORSHIPS: Vanessa De La Vina

Quotes Corner

May 11, 2020

Quotes, the PR Club at UCF charges on through COVID-19

By Emily Garcia

Emily Garcia

The recent halts and changes due to COVID-19’s spread has been difficult for everyone. But, when UCF announced that spring classes had been canceled, Quotes rallied together to do the best they could to keep the club’s activities and spirit going. Their efforts accumulated to the #QuotesChargesOn campaign.

This campaign started by shifting Intern Pursuit, the club’s biannual internship fair, online to adhere to the state’s policy of no public gatherings larger than 10 people. The event typically hosts over 60 employers and 200 students looking for internships. Within 24 hours of UCF’s announcement, Lindsay Hudock, Quotes’ faculty advisor, sprang into action, drafting messaging points to go out to students, faculty and employers regarding Intern Pursuit.  Monique Mendez, Quotes’ webmaster, and Aspen Arias, Quotes’ director of events who planned Intern Pursuit, worked together to move Intern Pursuit online. Arias collected more information on internship qualifications and instructions for students on how to follow up if they were interested in the position. The Quotes’ website consolidated all the employer information in one place for students to scroll through instead of networking in person. Within two hours of the web page going live, the employer list had 436 views with over 1,000 hits on the website.

After Intern Pursuit, Quotes worked with FPRA to create a series of webinars addressing students’ main concerns like registering for fall classes, job hunting in a post-COVID world and how to get the most out of a virtual internship. These webinars have been promoted through Quotes’ social media pages, free of charge for any student who is interested in joining the webinar. In addition, Quotes has put together a list of educational resources on its website for students to access in their free time. These resources include online certifications, like Google Analytics and LinkedIn Learning, to help keep students motivated. In addition, Genesis M., Quotes’ director of social media, launched an Instagram Story campaign to showcase a day-in-the-life of Quotes’ board members. Participants have answered questions about internships, talked about their positions in Quotes and their own personal experience at UCF.

As president of Quotes, I am disheartened that the club’s remaining events were canceled. This is a strange, and oftentimes stressful, time for everyone, but I am so proud of the executive board of Quotes. Our group has worked tirelessly to make useful content and provide professional development resources to students despite social distancing restrictions. Together, Quotes is charging 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.


Member PRofile: Valerie L. Moses

May 10, 2020

Valerie L. Moses, MBA, Senior Relationship Manager, Additional Financial

Give a brief explanation of your job.
I manage our public relations efforts, and work with our community partners to enhance brand awareness and provide financial education.

How long have you been a member of FPRA and why did you join?
I officially joined FPRA in 2018, but I was actually a member of the student chapter, QUOTES, during my time at UCF! Professional development has always been important to me, and I wanted to join an organization where I could learn as much as possible while meeting others in our industry.

What has been your favorite FPRA event so far?
My favorite FPRA event so far was the 2018 Annual Conference in Ponte Vedra Beach. It was my first introduction to FPRA as a full-time working professional, and I met so many amazing PR practitioners from all over the state. (Any event with a designated chocolate break is a win for me!) I can’t wait to connect with everyone at the 2021 conference.

Tell us about an exciting achievement (personal or professional).
One of my most exciting accomplishments was being named in UCF’s 30 Under 30 in 2019. I am so proud to be a double UCF Knight and to represent my alma mater!

What was your first job?
My first job was working as a teen reporter for The South Florida Sun-Sentinel in high school. Some of those articles still live on their website today.

Fun fact:
Outside of my role at Addition Financial, I run a travel and lifestyle blog called Wellness & Wanderlust.

Contact Information:
VMoses@additionfi.com


Quotes Corner

March 10, 2020

How Quotes Learned to Address and Implement Change When it’s Needed

By Annabella DelGrosso

Annabella DelGrosso

A few semesters back, after Quotes’ bi-annual internship fair, Intern Pursuit, we got some new feedback that struck a chord with us. While most of the feedback was positive, some employers expressed concern about a lack of students visiting their tables. Unlike other semesters, students seemed uninterested in some of the companies tabling at Intern Pursuit. Featured Internships were going to be the change we needed to showcase employers’ internship opportunities and office culture.

To address these issues, we looked inward to see what Quotes could do. First and foremost, we wanted to improve the quality of student’s knowledge about the companies attending and the internships those companies were offering. We had already been posting our employer checklist every semester before Intern Pursuit, but that just wasn’t enough to engage students. In addition to our employer checklist, we decided to implement a new program that would not only benefit employers, but the students as well.

In order to reach these students, we decided that our Instagram page would be a strong platform to showcase the program. With this in mind, we knew that we wanted to create posts dedicated to Featured Internships, specifically a couple of months before Intern Pursuit. Flash forward to three very successful semesters having used Featured Internships. Of course, we’re still adjusting the program to make it even more engaging and appealing, but most importantly, we have added value to Intern Pursuit while also increasing interest from employers.

Acknowledging the problem is first on the list of implementing change. In our case, that meant having open communication with our employers and students on how to improve. If Quotes never addressed the original concerns employers were communicating, we wouldn’t have the program we have today that is now an Intern Pursuit staple. It’s not too late to register your company as the next Featured Internship. To learn more about signing up, click here.


Please Note: On March 26, instead of gathering in the Pegasus Ballroom, a virtual Intern Pursuit will launch on the Quotes website. Quotes will take all the information you provide in this form about your internship opportunity, expectations and requirements and make it available to students.

Quotes is asking employers who would like to be included to please complete this brief registration by March 23. You will also have the opportunity to upload a PDF or JPEG flyer to be made available to students if you’d like. For more information, please contact Lindsay Hudock or Rachel Ilardi.


Did you know Quotes started a monthly newsletter? On the Record is a monthly e-newsletter distributed to all Quotes members. Each issue features an FPRA professional in the “Tips from PR Pros” section. Want to offer your two- to three-sentence advice? Email your name, title, company, headshot and advice to Amy Raleigh.


Member PRofile: Melisa Inanc

March 10, 2020

Melisa Inanc
Public Relations Specialist, Florida Municipal Power Agency

Give a brief explanation of your job.
Florida Municipal Power Agency is a wholesale power agency owned by municipal electric utilities. I support internal and external communications of our organization, ranging from newsletters, website management and social media, to issues management. Overall, I help generate positive publicity for our organization and 31 municipal utilities we serve in Florida.

How long have you been a member of FPRA and why did you join?
I have been a member of FPRA for four years. What started out as a resource to make connections turned into an opportunity to make friends, build life-long relationships and grow personally and professionally. One of the best decisions of my career.

What has been your favorite FPRA event so far?
I really enjoyed our Changing Perceptions: The Rise of Behavioral Economics program in 2019. It was very interesting to expand my knowledge on how people perceive brands and the role we play as communications professionals to influence behaviors. It was one for the books.

Tell us about an exciting achievement (personal or professional).
One of my favorite moments was helping with the ground breaking of my organization’s solar project. This allows customers of 16 municipalities in Florida receive solar electricity at the most economical price. I was proud to play a part in that.

What was your first job?
I worked as a Marketing Specialist at an engineering consulting firm, Power Grid Engineering where I helped with marketing, event planning and communications initiatives for the organization.

Fun fact:
I was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, and took a leap of faith and moved to Florida in 2012. I was up for the challenge to learn English at a later age and major in a communications field.

Contact Information:
melisa.inanc@fmpa.com


Member PRofile: Rachel Ilardi

February 25, 2020

Rachel Ilardi
Communications Specialist, Curley & Pynn Public Relations Management

Give a brief explanation of your job.
I support the agency’s campaigns to create, enhance and maintain relationships with the stakeholders of our clients. This work varies from day-to-day and can include responsibility for creating social media calendars, providing updated research, proactive pitching and more.

How long have you been a member of FPRA and why did you join?
I joined FPRA in 2017 as a member of Quotes, the PR Club at UCF, during my first semester at the university. I was new to the industry and wanted to learn as much as I could. When I discovered there was a club on campus dedicated to helping me do just that, I joined right away.

What has been your favorite FPRA event so far?
There have been a lot of great events! One of the highlights was FPRA’s tour at the Electronic Arts (EA) studio in Orlando. It was my first time taking a tour with FPRA and getting a behind-the-scenes look at PR in the video game industry really opened my eyes to the possibilities in this industry.

Tell us about an exciting achievement (personal or professional).
This past year has been full of moments I’m so grateful for. Over the last year, our Quotes Executive Board hit quite a few milestones, winning Image Awards at the local and state level, increasing student attendance at Intern Pursuit, and catapulting club membership into the hundreds. I also graduated summa cum laude from UCF at the end of 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations and a minor in Writing and Rhetoric. And finally, the end of January marked my first month working with Curley & Pynn.

What was your first job?
My first job was working as a clerical assistant at True Property Group, a local construction defect restoration company. I worked there through high school and the majority of college, working my way up to an administrative assistant and eventually, marketing consultant.

Fun fact:
I love aerial silks and lyra. I had to take a break from them a while back due to a knee injury, but hope to get back to them soon.

Contact Information:
rilardi@thestrategicfirm.com


Quotes Corner

February 25, 2020

How Social Media Helps College Students Get Involved

By Genesis M.

Genesis M.

Genesis M.

Starting life at a new school can be overwhelming, but starting at the University of Central Florida (the largest university in the country) is even MORE frightening. There are a wide variety of clubs to join, classes to take and people to meet. The summer before fall 2019, I researched all the clubs on campus. In this search, I found Quotes, the PR Club at UCF. I immediately followed them on all social media platforms and tried to get involved virtually. I participated in Q&A sessions through Instagram stories, commented on postings and even sent direct messages with any questions that would come up. The community that Quotes created on social media gave me the confidence to go all-in once my first semester started. The attention to detail that they had was admirable. Every event would be promoted a few times to gain traction. What worked best for my peers and I was sharing the events on Facebook to see who was going to what. It would get us excited to attend!

As the director of communication for Quotes now, I see how much work it takes to put the time and effort into social platforms. We plan every post that goes out. There are constant questions from current and prospective members with no days off.  Having this attention to detail, I see our members more engaged. People like to take polls on Instagram stories and share events on Facebook. This makes them feel valued and heard (which they are!). When our followers feel this way, they are more likely to attend an event because they are familiarized and comfortable with Quotes’ culture. If it weren’t for the previous director and her dedication to her duties, I and many others would not have joined this club. I plan to keep this culture going as long as I serve on the board.

A lesson to be learned from this: Social media is our friend if we use it correctly. Engage in your followers and they will engage in you, your product, organization or business.