Quotes Corner

August 7, 2014


Summer Break: A college prof heads to work instead of the beach

By: Joan McCain
Program coordinator of the Ad/PR program at UCF

With my oldest child starting college this summer, I decided to not teach a summer course for the first time since 2006 to spend as much time as possible before she started classes during summer session. I decided that in February, and over March’s Spring Break I took a dozen students on a tour of advertising agencies and PR firms in Chicago. I have done the same tour in New York and San Francisco every Spring Break since 2009.

Those tours remind me how much I loved working in an ad agency myself, and I decided to take that nostalgia and use it for, what I called, a “professional sabbatical.” The first agency I thought of calling was Fry Hammond Barr, in downtown Orlando. In my professional life before UCF, the company I worked for hired FHB as its agency, and I recruited and hired Sandra Gerlt, FHB’s associate creative director, to teach Advertising Copywriting as an adjunct.

I called Sandra and asked if I could be an intern in the creative department, writing ad copy three days a week over the summer.

The timing was perfect, as a recent Ad/PR alum, Cesar Vallejo, who had been hired as a copywriter, had gotten accepted into the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP) program, which is a 10-week summer internship program sponsored by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), and he would be working in Austin, Texas all summer. I could take his place.

So, I started three weeks before Cesar left for his internship to get trained. I went to FHB Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and wrote radio spots, print collateral, digital ads, and print ads for Stein Mart and Nemours Children’s Hospital. I spent 12 weeks as an intern.

I wanted to use this experience to see what has changed and learn new industry practices that I could bring to the classroom. And what has surprised me is how little has really changed. Yes, there are new digital tools for doing things like time sheets and file storage, and Facebook ads now require copywriters to write in Excel in a rigid character count (man, was that a culture shock). But the idea generation, the project management, the relationships between agency and client–none of that has really changed. It’s like riding a bike.

I am extremely grateful to FHB for giving me this opportunity and allowing me to work with its incredibly talented team. And this experience showed me how being an intern is an incredibly learning experience—no matter how old you are.



Member PRofile: Megan Mills

August 6, 2014

Magan Mills

What is your title and company name?
Communications Director
Greater Orlando American Heart Association/American Stroke Association

Give a brief explanation of your job.
I handle all communications functions of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Volusia/Flagler and Brevard. I’m also the state lead for media advocacy efforts working closely with our team in Tallahassee. In a broad sense, I manage, plan, direct, control and implement a strategic communications program, with an emphasis on health communications, media advocacy and public relations support for fundraising events, programs and initiatives.

How long have you been a part of FPRA? Why did you join?
I’ve attended various FPRA events and seminars sporadically for about five years, but am a proud member of less than two months.

What was your favorite FPRA event?
I always look forward to the FPRA Media Roundtable/Mashup event. Even if you attend each year, there’s always something new to learn in the fast-changing world of media relations. Plus, it usually helps spark a good story idea!

Tell us about an exciting achievement (personal or professional).
At my previous job at an agency, I had the opportunity to work with a few celebrities and networks I thought were so cool at the time. Now working in the non-profit realm, it changes your scope a little. We featured a family as our mission moment at the Orlando Heart Ball this past March. I got to know the family as we worked together on media and pre-publicity, but most importantly got to know Skylar, six-year-old heart transplant survivor. Helping Skylar’s mom articulate their story and how they’ve been affected by the works for the AHA, then seeing the crowd respond overwhelmingly with donations, support and kind words  — that trumped any star-struck high I thought of as an “achievement” at the agency.

Tell us something people may not know about you.
My guilty pleasures are crime shows and rap music.

Contact info:

Fall APR Workshops

July 31, 2014

APR Workshops Start Monday, September 8

If you’ve ever thought about becoming accredited, now is the perfect time to take that dream and make it a reality. By becoming an APR, you can take your career to the next level. The APR credential is a mark of distinction for public relations professionals who demonstrate their commitment to the profession and to its ethical practice. Candidates earn accreditation based on broad knowledge, strategic perspective and sound professional judgment.

Fall workshops begin Monday, September 8 with a free information session for prospective candidates to learn more about becoming an APR. Please join us.

When: Monday, September 8 at 6:30 pm

Where: Orlando Health Strategic Communications Office
45 W. Crystal Lake, Suite 201, Orlando, FL 32801 (Located in the SODO shopping complex)

Follow signs to Orlando Orthopedic Outpatient Surgical Center and take stairs or elevator to the second floor. The Orlando Health Strategic Communications office is located around the corner to the right when exiting off the elevators or directly across the hall when exiting the stairs.

*Free parking offered in the Crystal Lake parking garage
Are you ready for the APR?
This one-hour orientation is an overview of the APR process and covers these topics:

  • APR Overview
  • Study Guide
  • Knowledge | Skills | Abilities (KSAs)
  • Application Process

About the APR Workshops
The Orlando chapters of PRSA and FPRA will be hosting a free eight-week series of APR workshops on Monday evenings from September 8 – October 27 at the Orlando Health Strategic Communications office. The sessions are from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and led by seasoned APR facilitators who guide discussions on topics that will be covered on the APR computer-based exam. The workshops are not required “classes” but rather a professional development networking group of mentors prepared to help you succeed.

Visit the official Web site of the Universal Accreditation Board: www.pracceditation.org for the Candidate’s Process Chart for the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations and the Application.

To learn more, contact:
PRSA APR Coach Mandy Taylor, APR: 407-758-2581, mandy.taylor@orlandohealth.com
FPRA APR Coach Sheridan Becht, APR, CPRC: 407-780-4497, sheridanbecht@embarqmail.com