Media Mashup Panelist Questionnaire

June 11, 2015

Each of the panelists at this year’s Media Mashup event took the time to answer a few questions about themselves.

Eric Wright

  1. Title: Managing Director/Editor
  2. Media Outlet: i4 Business & SpaceCoast Business magazines
  3. Preferred contact:
    Phone: 321 622 5986
    Social media profiles:
  4. What is your role? Determining the editorial focus of each issue in order to tell the key business and entrepreneurial stories and trends in the region.
  5. What’s trending in your world? Orlando’s transition to an entrepreneurial/tech hub, the evolution of the urban core, the resurgence of Kennedy Space Ctn. and Port Canaveral becoming a cargo center.
  6. What is your biggest PR pet peeve?  Not understanding the dynamics of content marketing.
  7. How and when do you prefer to be contacted by PR professionals?  By email, explaining purpose or intent

Michelle Snow

  1. Title: Owner/Editor/Writer
  2. Media Outlet:,, plus others
  3. Preferred contact:
    Email: for Orlando/Central Florida stories; for everything else
    Phone: 407-412-7796
    Social media profiles: &, @citysurforlando & @zengrrl,
  4. What is your role/what do you cover? CitySurfing Orlando covers Orlando and Central Florida – attractions, dining, events, etc.   Zengrrl is my personal blog covering my life, travel, entertainment, body positivity, product reviews, and more.
  5. What’s trending in your world? PR-wise? I’ve noticed I’ve been getting a lot of what I call scatter-shot campaigns, where it feels like the PR person has emailed everyone in hopes that someone will bite without bothering to consider if it’s really a good fit.  On the plus side, I have also been getting more email pitches with all the info I need to craft a story (details, images, links to more info), which makes it more likely that I’ll consider the pitch.
  6. What is your biggest PR pet peeve? Getting invites or event information the day before the event. Also getting pitched for things that don’t fit my format – I get pitched at CitySurfing Orlando for events happening in Miami all the time.
  7. How and when do you prefer to be contacted by PR professionals?  I prefer email.  For events give me at least a week, preferably a two-week window.

Christopher Boyd

  1. Title: Freelance Journalist
  2. Media Outlet:  Various, including Bloomberg News
  3. Preferred contact:
  4. What is your role/what do you cover? Write on an array of topics, primarily financial.
  5. What’s trending in your world? I’m always searching for local news with national interest.
  6. What is your biggest PR pet peeve? Unfocused pitches that don’t consider the needs of news organizations. PR professionals should remember that reporters are drawn in many directions today and have very tight deadlines across multiple platforms. Consider how those platforms operate in only push story ideas that work well with them.
  7. How and when do you prefer to be contacted by PR professionals? Please use email for all initial contacts.

Andi Perez

  1. Title: Yelp’s Orlando Community Manager
  2. Media Outlet: Yelp
  3. Preferred contact:
    Social media profiles: @yelporlando on Instagram and Twitter. Facebook:
  4. What is your role/what do you cover? My role with Yelp is to connect locals to great local businesses. I do this in a number of ways including (nut not limited to) hosting 3-4 over-the-top-amazing events/month with businesses, writing a weekly newsletter (The Weekly Yelp), acting as the local liaison to businesses for all things Yelp, and partnering on existing events as an in-kind media sponsor.
  5. What’s trending in your world? Local, local, local! Orlandoans are now more than ever confident and expressive about the fact that amazing things are happening locally. They’re identifying more and more on a hyper-local level (think neighborhoods- Mills 50, College Park, Audubon Park, etc) and so should businesses. When a business can tie in the fact that they work with local makers, purveyors, farms, etc. it takes the experience to a new level. #LocalLove #OrlandoMade #OrlandoDoesntSuck
  6. What is your biggest PR pet peeve? I love my PR partners! The only thing I would say is being territorial about allowing me to speak directly to their client (a manager/owner of the biz). When I’m planning events I like to make sure we’re all on the same page and that includes meeting with/speaking with the person in charge of the biz on the event day. I’ll never go around my PR contact, but always like to conference with them and their clients.
  7. How and when do you prefer to be contacted by PR professionals? I prefer to receive emails from my fabulous PR partners that list a few upcoming events and how we could collaborate as well as listing current clients. This allows me to plan ahead, makes it less likely I’ll miss a press release, as well as keeping me informed in case I have a unique idea that might be of interest to another one of your clients.

Joe Kelley

  1. Title: News Director and host of Orlando’s Morning News
  2. Media Outlet: News 96.5 (WDBO)
  3. Preferred contact:
    Social media profiles: @talkradiojoe
  4. What is your role/what do you cover? I’m in charge of all news reporter assignments
  5. What’s trending in your world? The 2016 presidential election is a thing
  6. What is your biggest PR pet peeve? People who throw pitches at me without having the slightest idea of what my needs are
  7. How and when do you prefer to be contacted by PR professionals? Email or social media

Paul Brinkmann

  1. Title: Senior Business Reporter
  2. Media Outlet: Orlando Sentinel
  3. Preferred contact:
    Phone: 407-420-5660
    Social media profiles: @PaulBrinkmann,
  4. What is your role/what do you cover?   I cover general business news, jobs and economic news, and a lot of legal news. I write about interesting business people, breakings news, trends and economic development.
  5. What’s trending in your world? Economy is doing great, but still hasn’t resulted in higher wages.
  6. What is your biggest PR pet peeve?  People who don’t know what kind of story I’m looking for.
  7. How and when do you prefer to be contacted by PR professionals?   Email first, phone call followup.

Peter King

  1. Title: Correspondent
  2. Media Outlet:  CBS Radio News
  3. Preferred contact:
    Social media profiles:
  4. What is your role/what do you cover? Anything of possible national interest, from hurricanes to space to politics and more.
  5. What’s trending in your world? It changes daily.
  6. What is your biggest PR pet peeve? These are all tied for first place on my list; Emails from PR people I never heard of that start, “I hope you’re having a great day!”(you don’t care if I’m having a great day, you DO care that I will take your story pitch!) or “Following up on____” when they’re contacting me for the first time. People who don’t get that I am a national reporter and don’t work for an affiliate (look at the email address). Slow or no response when I call you. Press releases that say “Major Announcement” and provide no details(what’s major to you may not be major to me or our listeners). Press releases that come a day AFTER the fact.
  7. How and when do you prefer to be contacted by PR professionals? Email is always best. If I like something, I will definitely respond quickly. If I know it’s NOT a robo-mass email, I may also respond just to say “thanks” and acknowledge that it’s been received.

Daffnee Michelle Cohen

  1. Title: CEO/Founder Social Forza; Writer
  2. Media Outlet: *Please note-I write/have written for multiple sites including my own site of course,, The Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, The Orlando Sentinel, Xerox Business Blog, and
  3. Preferred contact:
    Phone: 413-344-5444
    Social media profiles:
    Twitter: @Daffneemichelle
    Instagram: @Daffnee

Megan Ribbens

  1. Title: Web producer
  2. Media Outlet: Orlando Business Journal
  3. Preferred contact:
    Phone: (407) 241-2916
    Social media profiles: @MeganRibbensOBJ, @OBJUpdate
  4. What is your role/what do you cover? I manage our website and social media platforms, as well as cover the local restaurant industry. I also write breaking news briefs for online.
  5. What’s trending in your world? New construction (across all industries), new restaurants and video on social media
  6. What is your biggest PR pet peeve? Pitching a story where the event has already happened or something your client won’t talk about. We’re a business-to-business publication, so our readers are looking for big deals and opportunities before the project is over. If your client won’t tell me if they’re expanding, if there are new opportunities to work with them, etc., it’s not a story for me.
  7. How and when do you prefer to be contacted by PR professionals? Email or phone at anytime.

Brendan Bunting O’Connor

  1. Title: Editor in Chief
  2. Media Outlet:
  3. Preferred contact:
    Phone: 407 928 0741
    Social media profiles: @bkeepz
  4. What is your role/what do you cover? Bungalower covers news in all of the downtown neighborhoods of Orlando. New buildings, restaurants, art projects and more.
  5. What’s trending in your world? #putabirdonit (a public art project I’m doing with Mills 50 that involves putting ceramic birds on a retired traffic light)
  6. What is your biggest PR pet peeve? People who think private messaging me on Facebook is better than a press release. Also, personal friend requests with no introduction (at least send me a PM) so they can invite me to all of their events.
  7. How and when do you prefer to be contacted by PR professionals? By email.

Kayla Becker

  1. Title: Orlando My Way reporter
  2. Media Outlet: WESH 2 News, NBC affiliate
  3. Preferred contact:
    Phone: 407.620.0620
    Social media profiles: @kaylabeckertv  for twitter and Instagram
  4. What is your role/what do you cover? Entertainment and travel scene in Central Florida
  5. What’s trending in your world? Theme parks, events, restaurant openings, vacations, resorts, celebrities, attractions
  6. What is your biggest PR pet peeve? Too many emails pitching the same thing.
  7. How and when do you prefer to be contacted by PR professionals? Email from 9-5 during the week.

Rafael Palacio

  1. Title: Editor
  2. Media Outlet:  El Sentinel Orlando
  3. Preferred contact:
    Phone: 407-420-5058
    Social media profiles:, Twitter @El_Sentinel,  Instagram @El_Sentinel
  4. What is your role/what do you cover? As an editor, I oversee all the Spanish-Language products of Orlando Sentinel – print and online. However, I do like writing on new businesses and attractions uin Central Florida.
  5. What’s trending in your world? How many incredible things are happening in Central Florida ! Every week we have a new attraction, business or official announcement, which means opportunities for all!
  6. What is your biggest PR pet peeve?  I don’t have many, because I used to work for a PR firm, Burson-Marsteller, as well as for a Venezuelan official agency.  However, I must say that I don’t like when I email a PR executive letting him/her know that we run a story about his/her client, and they ask me to send a PDF ! Sorry, ain’t no have time for that!
  7. How and when do you prefer to be contacted by PR professionals? By email, anytime — but Thursdays!

Cindy Barth

  1. Title: Editor
  2. Media Outlet: Orlando Business Journal
  3. Preferred contact:
    Phone: (407) 241-2889
    Social media profiles: @CindyBarthOBJ
  4. What is your role/what do you cover? I oversee a staff of nine and deal with everything from newsroom management, coordination of events and editing to mentoring, and design and photo assignments.
  5. What’s trending in your world? News coverage is getting faster and faster, which means that we must be present immediately on anything of major significance to the Central Florida business community. This, in turn, has allowed us to re-evaluate our approach not only to online and social media coverage, but how we present news in the weekly print edition.
  6. What is your biggest PR pet peeve? Anyone who doesn’t bother to understand what we do and do not cover.
  7. How and when do you prefer to be contacted by PR professionals? I’m typically in the office most of the day and can be contacted either by phone or email. I try to respond as quickly as possible to any inquiries and am happy to accept questions or inquiries about potential story pitches, if you’re not sure whether it’s something we’d be interested in.

Mark Baratelli

  1. Title: Owner
  2. Outlet: The Daily City
  3. Contact:
    Phone: (407) 308-1417
    Facebook: com/TheDailyCity
    Twitter: @thedailycity
    Instagram: @thedailycity
  4. Role/Beat: Anything creative in Central Florida: fun new snacks, interesting new gifts, cool new brands, secret events, being in the know, little sweet reasons to visit a store/restaurant/business
  5. Trending in your world: Orlando might be getting a cupcake ATM.
  6. Biggest PR pet peeve: I don’t have one
  7. How/when do you prefer to be contacted? Phone

Valerie Boey

  1. Title: Reporter
  2. Outlet: FOX 35 Orlando
  3. Contact Info:
    Twitter: @vboey

Mila Ferrer

  1. Title: Blogger/Social Media Specialist/Online Community Manager
  2. Outlet: HuffPost Voces, Jaime, mi dulce guerrero, Familias con Diabetes ,
  3. Contact:
    Phone: (787) 507-3288
    Facebook: com/Jaimemidulceguerrero and
    Twitter: @dulce_guerrero and @FamiliaDiabetes
    Instagram: @jaimemidulceguerrero
  4. Role/Beat: Diabetes advocate and Educator
  5. Trending in your world: Diabetes Technology
  6. Biggest PR pet peeve: Pitches for diabetes cures, and lack of awareness and proper use of diabetes terminology when presenting a diabetes story.
  7. How/when do you prefer to be contacted? Through email

David Glass

  1. Title: Publisher
  2. Outlet: Florida Technology Journal
  3. Contact:
    Phone: (321) 800-5220
    Twitter: @davidcglass
  4. Role/Beat: Technology, Digital Media, Events, Venture Capital
  5. Trending in your world: Drones and robots
  6. Biggest PR pet peeve: Sending a press release in PDF format. Press releases should alway be in the body of an e-mail.
  7. How/when do you prefer to be contacted? E-mail

Barry Glenn

  1. Title: Editor
  2. Outlet: Orlando magazine
  3. Contact:
    Phone: (407) 318-7250
    Twitter: @orlandomag
    Instagram: @orlandomag
  4. Role/Beat: The editing staff consists of me and a managing editor putting out Orlando magazine monthly and Orlando Home+Garden So I do everything—assigning stories and photos, writing stories and columns, editing, writing headlines and photo captions, coverage of social galas, attending community events, Facebook postings, technical issues such as dealing with broken down computer servers, you name it. As far as what we cover — personality profiles (they can range from the 50 Most Powerful people to a boat tour guide to a photo gallery entrepreneur); dining; the arts; travel; health and beauty; fashion. We have a lot of reader interaction through various polls, including Dining Awards and Best of Orlando.
  5. Trending in your world: The continuing emergence of downtown, with the opening of the performing arts center. Orlando City Soccer Club’s popularity is still a big story. Also the city’s increasing prominence on the tech startup scene.
  6. Biggest PR pet peeve: Phone messages from PR professionals asking me to get back to them as soon as possible. I barely have time to respond via email, much less return a phone call. Also, sending pitches without having looked at our magazine. The majority of story ideas I receive just don’t fit our mission or demographic (for instance the head of a corporation is stopping in town and I get a request to interview him or her).
  7. How/when do you prefer to be contacted? Email; any time.

David Hall

  1. Title: TV News Anchor
  2. Outlet: WKMG
  3. Phone: (757) 582-9577
  4. Role/Beat: With the help of my team I tell stories and give you the news here, nationwide and worldwide.
  5. How/when do you prefer to be contacted? Contacting me by phone is best.

Paula Machado

  1. Title: Reporter
  2. Outlet: InfoMás
  3. Contact:
    Phone: (407) 620-4366
    Facebook: com/PaulaMachadotv
    Twitter: @PaulaMachadoTV
    Instagram: @PaulaMachadoTV
  4. Role/Beat: I cover news and entertainment in Orlando and Tampa. I also anchor a weekly show.
  5. Biggest PR pet peeve: Phone calls to make sure I received an email or to pitch. Just text me. Most of the time, I’m out on the road doing a story and someone calls me to recite a whole press release on the phone. I know it’s terrible, but I personally don’t have time to be on the phone. Sorry!! Oh and second pet peeve: know who you’re pitching to. If you do not have a Spanish spokesperson, I most likely will not attend. Make sure you have one for Hispanic media. It makes it so much easier and more likely we will cover.
  6. How/when do you prefer to be contacted? Through email and text

Iza Montalvo

  1. Title: Editor in Chief
  2. Outlet: La Prensa Orlando
  3. Contact:
    Twitter: @prensafl

Bob Moser

  1. Title: Business Reporter
  2. Outlet:
  3. Contact:
    Phone: (407) 420-5685
    Twitter: @bobmoser333
    LinkedIn: com/in/bobmoser333
  4. Role/Beat: I cover property acquisition, early-stage development and business growth in Osceola County and Southwest Orange County, with a key focus on the I-Drive tourism corridor. I am also covering the Brazilian business community and Brazilian investment in Grea
  5. Trending in your world: An ever-greater shift from free news content to premium paid content, with more subscription paywalls on news sites. There are few products in our economy that are given away for free. High-quality news reporting takes a lot of time and resources each day from professional journalists, and consumers have to be reconditioned to understand the value of that news, and that there will be a price involved in accessing it.
  6. Biggest PR pet peeve: I asked around to my GrowthSpotter colleagues, and shared pet peeves were PR agents who don’t provide their business cell phone, or don’t respond to calls/emails as soon as possible during business hours. You know we’re working on a daily news cycle with high pressure, and we will be more responsive in the future to PR agents who prove easy to get in touch with. Also, PR agents who push too hard to control the message of their company and its executives. We’ve seen PR agents interrupt executives during conference calls to “adjust” the message, or demand to see story text before publishing. That doesn’t foster a good relationship between the company and news reporter.
  7. How/when do you prefer to be contacted? I’m often very busy during the day and not at my desk, so e-mailed press releases are the best way to make first contact. I read every e-mail within 24 hours, but if I don’t respond to a release it is because I did not find it a good fit for GrowthSpotter’s coverage focus.

Jeffrey Rembert

  1. Title: Associate Editor
  2. Outlet: FORWARD Florida magazine
  3. Contact:
    Phone: (407) 399-6870
    Twitter: @ForwardFla
  4. Role/Beat: My primary role is editing copy following page design and prior to going to press. I like the excitement of a looming deadline.  The general answer is we cover business development.  The get-the-discussion-going answer is we provide in-depth coverage of issues that can affect the Florida business community.  As such, we have seasoned journalists aboard.  Some of the issues are more subtle than one might guess.  So we’re not only a business magazine but also a news organization.  Our latest edition featuring Cuba is a great example.
  5. Trending in your world: Cuba, energy, education, trail mix and space.
  6. Biggest PR pet peeve: Haphazard writing. Unsubstantiated facts.
  7. How/when do you prefer to be contacted? If by phone, PR professionals can contact me during traditional business hours, or 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. If by text, PR professionals can venture into the evening hours though I might not respond until morning.  But I’ll have the evening to chew on an answer or the pitch.  If by email, PR professionals can write at any hour.  I might not be awake to respond but again I’ll have the evening to consider my response.  It’s OK to use multiple methods as my daily schedule – and where I’m at – determines what I’m liable to check first, voice mail, text message or email.

Jen Vargas

  1. Title: Managing Editor
  2. Outlet: Central Florida Top 5
  3. Contact:
    Email: (blog); (personal)
    Phone: (407) 222-7174
    Twitter: @CentralFLTop5, @jenvargas (I’m also @EnzianFilmSlam, @OrlandoStrides, @RelayHuntersCrk, @WIFTFL, @orlandotech)
  4. Role/Beat: Central Florida Top 5 covers five broad topics: News & Events, Business & Tech, Culture & Charity, Food and Tourism. My previous role began in 2012, as a Multimedia Contributor, where I supplied photo, video and guest blogging coverage. My new role at Cen
  5. Trending in your world: In the Central Florida Top 5 world, love of local is trending. For me personally, tech and travel opportunities seem to be the biggest trend!
  6. Biggest PR pet peeve: My biggest PR pet peeve is not reciprocating. It’s a fantastic privilege to be invited to cover events and happenings in and outside of our community! However, with as much time as we/I spend crafting a great post (including time spent covering it), it’s mutually beneficial to have the PR folks share said piece. In the past, this has been a one-way street. As one of our area’s oldest and most trusted blogs, having that partnership only works when both parties share the love.
  7. How/when do you prefer to be contacted? I am very fortunate to get to run into PR professionals quite a bit in my field(s) of work, so a certainly don’t mind a verbal invitation, but I do appreciate an e-mail follow up. With all the email I get (individual)ly as well everything we get for Central Florida Top 5, it is definitely a challenge to keep our editorial calendar open! Thankfully, with our new team in place (and a PR person to help divvy our admin stuff), we now have help trying to organize it all. Another pet peeve I have, and it falls more in line with this question, is timeliness. Some PR professionals in the area have a bad habit of sending out releases with only 1-2 days notice. While I realize some events come up last minute, others require more… logistical consideration. Especially on our end.

Sarah Wilson

  1. Title: Associate Editor
  2. Outlet: Turnstile Media Group – Community Media division, which publishes the Winter Park/Maitland Observer, Seminole Voice, Central Florida Senior, and Baldwin Park Living magazine.
  3. Contact:
    Phone: (407) 563-7026
    LinkedIn: com/in/sarahwilson0711
  4. Role/Beat: I write, photograph, edit and plan content for the Winter Park/Maitland Observer, Baldwin Park Living magazine, Seminole Voice and Central Florida Senior. I primarily cover anything and everything happening in the city of Maitland, and the community of Ba
  5. Trending in your world: The redevelopment of downtown Maitland, historic preservation in Winter Park, and Oviedo on the Park opening.
  6. Biggest PR pet peeve: Phone calls about pitches irrelevant to our coverage areas.
  7. How/when do you prefer to be contacted? Email, with a follow-up phone call if necessary.

Conference Scholarship – Apply by June 26

June 8, 2015

Apply to win a scholarship to this year’s annual conference, PR Now: Stronger. Smarter. Faster., to be held at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate on August 9-12. Since this professional development event is once again right here in our backyard, this is a great opportunity to attend!

The FPRA Orlando Area Chapter will award up two scholarships to local chapter members for either the conference registration fee of $725 or the hotel accommodations. To apply, please email your responses to the questions below to Kerry Martin, APR at by June 26, 2014.  Please limit your answers to 75 words or less for each question and be sure to include all information outlined below:

  • Name:
  • Company:
  • Title:
  • Years in public relations:
  • How long have you been a member of FPRA?
  • In what ways have you been involved with FPRA? (Committees, events attended, positions held, etc.)
  • How will the conference scholarship benefit your career and current job?
  • What do you hope to learn by attending conference, and how do you intend to incorporate it in your daily position?
  • What is your greatest need, a conference scholarship or a hotel accommodations scholarship?

To be eligible, you must be an active member in good standing with the Orlando Area Chapter. Your chapter involvement and financial need will be considered.  Please note that the scholarship covers the $725 conference registration fee and excludes lodging, food outside of meals included in the regular conference registration and all other related expenses. A hotel-only scholarship would include a reimbursement amount for three nights at the conference room block rate of $129/night including applicable taxes and fees.

All scholarship winners will be required to participate on the conference blogging team and to write a short article for PRoclaimer discussing what they learned and how it enhances their profession.

Quotes Corner: Knights and Squires

June 2, 2015













Knights and Squires Program Begins with a Bang 

By: Jacqueline Kooser
Quotes President

While mingling with UCF Ad/PR alumni in New York City this past spring, FPRA board member Shaloni Prine approached students about a new mentoring program that would be piloting this spring. The Knights and Squires program brings together a handful of communications students with professionals in the field. For three months, pairs of mentors and students are required to meet three times, as well as communicate effectively about obstacles, achievements and ideas for their future. Mentors and students came together to meet for the first time on April 8 at a breakfast. Once pairs were revealed, participants were able to discuss their plans for the summer and get to know each other one-on-one.

As someone who recently changed her major, I was very eager to be paired with a mentor who I had heard great things about. Jamie Floer, APR, CPRC has been my mentor for the past two months. When I learned that she would be guiding me through this program, I was nothing short of ecstatic. When telling her my goals for the summer and my opportunities that needed decision making, she gave me professional feedback and advice. Seeing her in action at professional events such as the FPRA Image Awards and the latest FPRA breakfast has been a learning experience within itself, for she always greets me with networking advice and asks how things are going.

The Knights and Squires program isn’t just a way to make connections and expand your network, it’s a way for professionals to give back to the UCF community, and for students to further their knowledge of the field before graduation. I have been lucky enough to keep in touch with those I traveled to NYC with who are a part of the mentorship program, and it’s nice to know that we can all agree that this program has been an amazing opportunity. I am eager to see how the program grows through the semesters to come, and I can’t wait to hear from future students the benefits they find through what UCF Alumni has to offer them.

Special thanks to Shaloni Prine for introducing students to the Knights and Squires program. We are very thankful for all that you do for the community!

Member PRofile: Susan Vernon-Devlin

June 2, 2015













What is your title and company name?
Vice President of Public Relations
Massey Communications

Give a brief explanation of your job.
My job involves managing a small PR team; we’re a boutique agency that concentrates on marketing and branding. The agency provides advertising, design and PR services. I manage a book of 5-10 clients, for whom we provide traditional PR services: press releases, pitches, speech writing and talking points, creative connections for speaking engagements and expert positioning. We also provide social media management, event planning and website content management. My specialty is crisis communications; those clients usually come to my attention via referrals from current and past clients. Crisis communications involves skilled media relations, selecting and training a presentable spokesperson, monitoring every social and web platform, setting up lines of communication and working with various governmental agencies, legal entities and the community to reach a resolution that is acceptable to all involved.

How long have you been a part of FPRA? Why did you join?
I have been a member of FPRA for about a year. I joined the organization because members of several chapters lent their support to me on projects and in particular when I was managing the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman crisis in Sanford in 2012 and 2013. I’ve had the opportunity to share my experiences and expertise with FPRA through several speaking engagements and wanted to have an opportunity to learn from its members.

What was your favorite FPRA event?
The Media Mashup and other half day seminars are my favorite FPRA events. The annual conference is a bounty of learning, but since I’ve only attended one so far, I’ll have to attend more before it can take the spot of favorite.

What position will you hold on our board next year?
I’ll be serving as Assistant VP of Membership alongside Julie Hall.

Tell us about an exciting achievement (personal or professional).
My most exciting achievement personally is having travelled to 38 of the 50 United States. I hope to get to all 50 before my time is up. I’ve also traveled to England, France and Italy, as well as to the two countries that border the US, Mexico and Canada. You might say having been given my first passport at age four months instilled in me the desire to travel. Professionally, I’m not sure I’ve had that ultimate exciting achievement yet, but I’ve come pretty close.

What was your first job?
My first job was at a Burger King. I was the drive-thru cashier, I had the 3-9 p.m. shift. It was boring because more people came into the restaurant than drove through, and I hated smelling like hamburgers at the end of the night. I quit after the restaurant was held up one afternoon right before my shift started.

Tell us something people may not know about you.
In my life I have lived in 13 different houses/apartments.

Contact Info:
407-421-0244 cell
Twitter: @PRpro12


Chapter Rewind: May Breakfast

June 2, 2015









Purpose and Profit: Work Together to Solve Social Problems
By: Gabriel Soltren

Shawn Seipler, Chief Executive Officer of Clean the World, was the guest speaker at our May chapter breakfast.

Seipler left his job as Vice President at Channel Intelligence after learning that 9,000 children die every day from diseases that could be reduced by washing their hands. While staying at a hotel he asked an employee, “What happens to the soap after I’m done using it?” He learned that more than one million bars of soap were being thrown away every day in the United States. If you take all that soap, you can save kids that are dying from pneumonia and other diseases. The idea started a global social enterprise.

In 2009, Seipler recruited his Puerto Rican relatives and started recycling soap in his one car garage. They sent soap to earthquake victims in Haiti and the effort was featured on Fox News Orlando, Fox News in New York and nationally on CBS News.

Clean the World became the first benefit corporation in Florida. According to Siepler, Clean the World has a profit motive and a heart motive. B-corporations are required by law to pursue profits and philanthropic missions. In 2015, Clean the World had 50 employees in Orlando, Las Vegas and Hong Kong. Fifty-five percent of their employees were minorities and they had distributed more than 25 million bars of soap in 99 countries.

Clean the World helps improve sanitary conditions in several ways. People use the soap for personal hygiene and also to wash their clothes. In Nepal, after the 2015 earthquake, doctors needed soap to wash their hands after treating patients. Clean the World provided them with soap until their supplies arrived.

Hotels provide used bars of soap for recycling. “Many of the housekeepers in hotels are from countries that we are helping,” Siepler said. One third of housekeepers in Florida are reportedly from Haiti. They applauded the effort.

Soap makers are also partnering with Clean the World. For example, a Unilever manager noticed that the manufacturer was discarding good soap made with the wrong color or wrong fragrance. The manager suggested donating the soap to Clean the World. They donated the soap and Clean the World provided a report showing how their donation was used. Click here to read “Unilever Donates Soap by the Truckload.” A Clean the World video was one of the most viewed Associated Press stories in 2015. “Recycling Used Bars of Soap to Save Lives” had more than one million views in less than 60 days.


2015-2016 Board Slate

May 12, 2015

We are pleased to propose the following members for chapter leadership positions in the upcoming board year:

  • PRESIDENT: Laura Kern, APR
  • PRESIDENT-ELECT: Alayna Curry
  • SECRETARY: Kacie Boniberger
  • TREASURER: Lauren George, APR
  • ASSISTANT TREASURER: Vianka McConville
  • VP MEMBERSHIP: Julie Hall
  • ASSISTANT VP MEMBERSHIP: Susan Vernon-Devlin
  • VP STUDENT OUTREACH: Lindsay Hudock
  • VP ACCREDITATION: Jeff Marshall, APR
  • VP PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT & MEDIA MASHUP: Heather Smith, APR & Maria Isabel Sanquirico
  • VP SCHOLARSHIP FUNDRAISERS: Cristina Calvet-Harrold & Thevenin Campton
  • VP IMAGE AWARDS: Judy Froelich & Judith Pariseau
    • Shaloni Prine (web)
    • Gabriel Soltren (email)
    • Mary Ann Horne (social media)
    • Lauren Neuman (media)

We’ve also added committee positions to our board. These are non-voting members, but will assist our team throughout the year.

  • PROGRAMMING: Sara Brady
Additional nominations may be made by written petition signed by at least 15 percent of the qualified voting members of the Orlando Area Chapter and filed with the secretary, Skye Guthrie, prior to the last day of May. Any additional nominations will be published in the June newsletter. If no additional nominations are made, these members will become the elected chapter board and will be installed at the August breakfast program.

Quotes Corner: Home Away from Home

May 11, 2015













Home Away from Home: Quotes in the Capitol
By: Barbara Lopaciuk
Quotes Director of Recruitment 

It is 7:15 a.m. on a Monday morning and a group of seven Nicholson School students and myself are on our way to Tallahassee. We spent the four-hour commute listening to music and discussing our excitement. Our group arrives at noon and Quotes faculty advisor Lindsay Hudock greets us. We gather and revise our itinerary for the day. Finally, we have begun this amazing three-day adventure.

Our group begins the day by touring Zimmerman Agency, followed by a tour at BowStern. Each tour was comprised of insightful information, from overarching communication strategies to company rituals. This was my chance to gain knowledge about what these companies search for in a potential employee. More importantly, some tactics that are utilized, in order to set their companies apart from competing firms.

Tuesday is here. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this my entire life. Today is the day that my interest within Public Affairs will be validated. We begin our morning at Sachs Media Group. We are presented information from a few team members in regards to past and current campaigns, as well as further insight how Sachs Media Group plays a role during legislative session. After, we meet the City of Tallahassee communication team. Over lunch, each team member showcased a project they created. I am in awe. These projects have been especially prepared for us, the UCF group. We are lucky individuals!

After lunch, my excitement picks up a second wind. I am walking on a cobblestone road headed to the Capitol. I snap a quick “selfie” with the building in the background and here comes the butterflies. I clear security and wait for the elevator to arrive with my chin held high, and my shoulders back. We enter a conference room where the Seminole County Chamber of Commerce gives us a warm welcome. Legislators enter and leave as they can, giving our group the opportunity to ask prompting questions about bills that will be proposed to the floor. The Tuesday excursion doesn’t stop here. We are led to the Florida Senate. I am astonished. We enter the doors and my eyes begin to water. A feeling of relief overcomes me. This is where I belong; I know it. Senator Andy Gardiner enters the floor and I can’t believe I am witnessing such an interesting public figure speak with such a mellow yet powerful voice.

Wednesday has arrived and I am grateful, but it is bittersweet. I don’t want to leave Tallahassee. I want to begin my life here now. Just when I thought this voyage was over, a new opportunity has been presented. I can’t believe it; I am going to tour the Supreme Court. Me: a young college student.

When leaving Tallahassee, I am sitting in the front seat of the car, gazing out the window. I am smiling, ear-to-ear. Tallahassee is where I want to begin my career in Public Affairs. I know I have a long road ahead and there may be various halts in the path, but traffic clears. I will crush those obstacles and graduate from the University of Central Florida to begin my professional life surrounded by influential people, in a powerful city. Until 2016 Tallahassee, you were a sweet treat.


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