Quotes Capital Connection Trip 2016
By: Joel Hawksley
Quotes Vice President of Membership
On April 6, 2016, members of Quotes, the PR Club at UCF and Ad Club departed from the University of Central Florida for the opportunity to experience a live press event, network with professionals and tour VisitFlorida, Sachs Media Group, the Capitol and more. It was an adventure to learn more about the public relations career opportunities available in capital cities.
FPRA Orlando Vice President of Student Outreach Lindsay Hudock, an Ad/PR instructor in the Nicholson School of Communication, organized and led the Quotes Capital Connection 2016 trip. This was the second year Hudock provided this opportunity to the students.
Quotes and Ad Club members, graduate and undergraduate students Tiffany Berthiaume, Christopher “Frenchie” Gulizia, Sean Murtha, Karen Rodriguez, Erica Michele and Joel Hawksley had the opportunity to experience an extremely well organized and educational discovery of the public relations field and the state capital from the professional perspective.Hudockcredited Sandi Poreda, APRwithBulldog Strategy Group and the Capital Chapter of FPRA with helping coordinate the trip.
On the first day in Tallahassee,thegroup participatedin a live press event with the city of Tallahassee and Leon County to announce Tallahassee/Leon County as First Dementia Caring Community in Florida, part of the Department of Elder Affairs’ Dementia Care and Cure Initiative. Communications leaders Allison Faris, manager of public information and marketing with the city of Tallahassee, Ashley (Marshall) Chambers, communications director with Florida Department of Elder Affairs, Heather Teter, APR, public information specialist with the city of Tallahassee, Mathieu Cavell, director of Leon County community and media, Britney Smith, Leon County community and mediaand Mike Bellamy, public information officer for Tallahassee Fire Department took special time away from their day to put together a Q&A after the press event.
Hudock continued the trip by giving the students a real life experience of a working lunch at the Paisley Café. Executive Director Liz Joyner, and Deputy Director Christine J. White, of The Village Squarewould discuss where grass roots meets public issues in the nonprofit arena so the students could experience a different side of public relations
Rounding out the business day would be a visit to VisitFlorida to see how Public Relations Manager Kenneth Morgan-Schleuning and the others on the communication team manage the state brand and a meeting with Executive Director Mandy Bianchi of the Epilepsy Association of the Big Bend to see how public relation professionals meet the challenge of championing a cause.
The conclusion of day one was an evening networking event with FSU’s FPRA student chapter executive board and FPRA Capital Chapter.
On the second day of the trip the group would have breakfast with local, state and national media to have a candid conversation with our media partners on the PR/media working relationship.
The next stop, the capitol building, where Director of Communications Ashley Carr, Office of Jeff Atwater the Chief Financial Officer, Deputy Chief of Staff on Communication Katie Betta, Office of the President of the Florida Senate, Communication Director Jenn Meale, Office of Commissioner Adam H. Putnam, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Communications Director Michael Williams, Florida House of Representatives took the time to talk about the communication opportunities in the legislature and how they work. Then Jeff Takacs from the Office of the Speaker, Florida House of Representatives gave the students a tour of the capital. This incredible opportunity brought the students a new awareness of the history and importance of the people who work in the capital.
Next was another working lunch for the students at The Edison to have a discussion with Bow Stern on the challenge of community building. Then the tour would wrap up with Public Affairs Associate Drew Piers,Sachs Media Group educating the students on the importance of being prepared and exercising being prepared for the unforeseen crisis communication. Piers would introduce the students to several of the team and conclude with a meeting with Ron Sachs.
The Quotes Capitol Connection Trip 2016 was very successful and thesescholarsdepartedwith an even greater appreciation of public relations, publicity, press agentry, public affairs, lobbying, issues management and crisis management. They learned how important it is to develop an excellent working relationship with each other and the media to best serve their publics.