By Ali Beemer
LeadershipFPRA Class III’s year is in full swing, and as a member of the class, I have to say, it’s been an amazing experience thus far. The group of 15 professionals from across Florida, seven of whom are from the FPRA Orlando chapter, reconvened for our second session January 24-25. Our group was able to participate in FPRA’s Counselors Network (CN) Winter Symposium in St. Augustine – a professional development conference attended exclusively by senior-level professionals. Not only was it a fun networking opportunity, it also gave many of us in the leadership class learning opportunities that were unmatched in our industry.
Our itinerary began with the first speaker of the symposium, David Riggleman, communications director for the City of Las Vegas, who started a powerful discussion on the mass shooting tragedy that occurred on October 1, 2017, and the city’s response. It was a raw and emotional conversation for everyone in the room, no matter the experience level. We took away many important crisis key learnings from David, who had to remain calm through his own emotions and stages of grief during the tragedy itself. One of the most impactful takeaways was the importance of having an effective emergency response plan and implementing training across all levels for alignment when tragedy strikes. Many of us are so busy with our day-to-day responsibilities that we don’t prioritize training, particularly crisis training. It was a great reminder that crisis training should be a priority and the day-to-day is not guaranteed.
Next up was Mickey Nall, APR, CPRC, to discuss the ever-changing landscape of influencer engagement and PR strategy. This is a convoluted topic for many of us since the strategy and landscape continues to evolve daily. What makes someone an influencer? Are high numbers important anymore? Do they provide the ROI that’s worth the (sometimes extremely high) price tag? Mickey gave us a true deep-dive into the world of influencers currently and what’s next, including the rise of the micro-influencer – great news, a high following doesn’t always equal high return. Plus, some really important statistics to consider when looking to increase your influencer budget (i.e. More than 50 percent of women have purchased a product endorsed by an influencer, according to Digital Marketing Institute – I’m guilty of this). And who knew that Aunt Jemima was the first influencer (thanks, Mickey)?!
After the session concluded, it was time to explore the beautiful city of St. Augustine as a group. Tours of the historic (and beautiful) Flagler College and the unique St. Augustine Distillery were on the agenda, giving us the perfect opportunity to get better acquainted with our fellow colleagues. We concluded our evening with a group dinner and compared thoughts on our experience at the Winter Symposium. For many of us in LeadershipFPRA, it was our first time at this conference and we all agreed that the opportunities offered – the intimate group size, the open conversation and the schedule of events – all made this experience smart, engaging and fun.
Interested in becoming a part of LeadershipFPRA and joining the fun? Click here to learn more about the LeadershipFPRA program and stay tuned for information on joining next year’s program.
Photo credits: Chris Gent, APR, CPRC