Give a brief explanation of your job.
As public information officer for Orange County Parks and Recreation (the original theme parks of central Florida!), I promote various special events – such as Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ Jazz in the Park and Fish4Fun, maintain 130 web pages, write weekly internal and monthly external e-newsletters, handle social media, reply to news and public inquiries, and work with the Mayor and County Commissioners for ground breakings, ribbon cuttings and grand openings (I’ve done about 35 total). Additionally, I founded the LGBTQ Pride & Allies of Orange County, and serve on the executive committee of Orange County Government’s United Way campaign (which raised $574,000 last year) and as the County’s team captain for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
How long have you been a part of FPRA? Why did you join? #myFPRA
In 1983 I attended my first FPRA seminar, “Public Relations on a Shoestring,” in Orlando. In 1991 I became a member of the Central West Coast Chapter, where I earned my APR (1993) and CPRC (1994) designations, and later worked my way up the ladder to president of the Tampa Bay Chapter 1998-1999. I’ve been in the Orlando Chapter since 2007.
Professional development and connections have been the key to my success in this field for 34 years: writing, media relations, crisis communications, web site content and social media, as well as knowing other pros to team up with or consult when I need to solve a problem or develop an idea.
What was your favorite FPRA event?
In my office from the 1998 state FPRA meeting is a photo of me flanked by the two greatest mentors a girl could ever have: the late Edie Anson, APR, and Ginnie Duffey Troyer, APR, CPRC.
Tell us about an exciting achievement.
In 2014 my BFF Karen Castelloes (a retired Orange County teacher) and I co-founded and now co-chair the Jefferson R. Voss Education Fund for the Zebra Coalition – a network of organizations which provide services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and all youth (LGBT+) ages 13 – 24. Our fundraising efforts have endowed a scholarship for LGBTQ students and allies at UCF from which we have awarded $4,000 in the first two years; a generous donor also provided funds for GED, vocational training and other colleges.
What was your first job?
My first job was working for a retail warehouse; my first real PR position was assistant director of Central Florida Health Fair in Orlando.
Tell us something people may not know about you.
I’m a five-year breast cancer survivor. I’m the proud mom of two sons: Matthew is a U.S. Marine, stationed in North Carolina for Cobra helicopter mechanics, and Andrew just completed his second year at USF – Tampa for mechanical engineering. I play flute, piano, tennis and golf!