2014-2015 Board Slate

May 7, 2014

The FPRA-OAC nominating committee is pleased to announce the slate of officers for the 2014-2015 Board of Directors:

Kerry Martin, APR

Laura Kern, APR    

Immediate Past President
Cynthia Lambert, APR

Skye Guthrie

Nicole Huie

Asst. Treasurer 
Cassie Roach

VP Membership
Lorena Streeter

Asst. VP Membership
Stefanie Macfarlane, APR

VP Accreditation
Sheridan Becht, APR, CPRC

VP Student Outreach
Shaloni Prine

VPs Professional Development and Media Roundtable
Kacie Boniberger
Lauren Cook   

VPs Scholarship Fundraisers
Brian Craven
Courtney Austin
Christine Dellert

VPs Image Awards
Margaret Donaldson
Jeff Marshall

VP Media Relations
Vianka McConville

VPs Technology and Interactive Media 
Alayna Curry
Julie Hall
Michael McCarthy, APR

Additional nominations may be made by written petition signed by at least 15 percent of the qualified voting members of the chapter. Please send additional nominations to Allie Vatcher by May 31.

If you’re still looking for ways to get involved, you can join one of our committees. Contact Amanda Mestdagh, APR if you’d like to volunteer.

  • Media Roundtable: This half-day workshop is a partnership with PRSA and gives members an opportunity to interact with media representatives from various outlets. The program also includes a keynote luncheon speaker.
  • Scholarship Fundraiser: This committee plans fundraising events to benefit the students of the University of Central Florida and the Hamilton Holt School at Rollins College.
  • PRoclaimer Newsletter: Assist with the research, development and writing of the monthly newsletter.
  • Accreditation:  Organize, plan, promote and execute the accreditation process for members of the Orlando Area Chapter. Coordinate the preparation and testing of accreditation and certification candidates.
  • Professional Development Workshop: A half-day program offered in the fall for public relations practitioners and representatives from all organizations.
  • Image Awards: Help plan one of our signature events, an annual competition to recognize outstanding public relations programs in Central Florida.
  • Membership: Assist with retention, recruitment and relations of members for the Orlando Area Chapter.


Quotes Corner

May 6, 2014

Marissa Rivera

Congrats Grad, Now What?
B:y Marissa Rivera

Since I was a little girl I’ve found Dr. Seuss’ books inspirational. I used to read them underneath my favorite mango tree on our farm in Puerto Rico (oh, the memories). For my grade school graduation, my mom gifted me Oh, The Places You’ll Go!  I remember reading it and enjoying the summer breeze and that’s about it. As silly as that may sound, it wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I discovered the true magic of this book. I was sitting in what would be my last language arts class. My teacher, Ms. Reiker, wished us all a farewell and sat down to read 20-something nervous, enthusiastic high school seniors Oh, The Places You’ll Go!  It was then when these words were forever with me:

“So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s a great balancing act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”

You can attribute 98 and ¾ percent of my success in the past four years at UCF to this quote, but now what? This quote doesn’t ease all the questions that are running through my post-college grad brain.  In search of some answers I reached out to Joan McCain, Instructor & Ad-PR Area Coordinator.

Are the odds in my favor while playing the job-hunt game?

“Don’t go into your job search from a negative place. It is a strong job market for recent college graduates. Anyone who wants to find a job, and is willing to put the time into finding one, will get one.”

Should I focus my job search on finding the right company?

“Don’t limit yourself to ‘working for a company I truly believe in’ (as I hear countless times). Companies are not people, and they don’t love you back. Believe in doing a good job and you will be happy no matter where you work.”

How can I land the job of my dreams?

“What will really put you on the fast track to getting promoted, making more money, getting to your dream job is hard work. Talent only gets you so far. Hard work is the great equal opportunity equalizer because anyone can work hard.”

Member PRofile: Courtney Austin

April 29, 2014


What is your title and company name?
Vice President
KAptiv Marketing, LLC

Give a brief explanation of your job.
I am very fortunate to be in business with a great PR practitioner, Laura Kern, APR. I help to manage our clients’ brand online via social media channels, website management, SEO, content creation and blog postings. Most of our clients are from the ever-growing Orlando tech industry and have a B2B focus. In my career I have been fortunate to work with many consumer-based organizations and I plan to use that experience to help develop KAptiv’s B2C clientele.

How long have you been a part of FPRA? Why did you join?
Four years off and on. I became involved with FPRA as a student member in college which continued into my professional career. I then left Orlando to be with my husband in California while he served in the Marines, and just recently moved back from Austin, Texas. I’m excited to be part of the association again, it has consistently provided me with resources, continuing education and great peers to brainstorm with and provide advice.

What was your favorite FPRA event?
The Roast and Toast was my favorite event. It was an amazing event for the Orlando business community and provided scholarship opportunities for students.

Tell us about an exciting achievement (personal or professional).
Back in Austin, I had the opportunity for my first social media campaign focusing on a limited edition breast cancer awareness product. With the support of a strategic partnership within our audience, we reached our sales goal within a month and under budget. Personally, I’m excited to embark on my first entrepreneurial venture with Laura with KAptiv Marketing.

Tell us something people may not know about you.
In February my husband and I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa at 19,341 feet. It was a once in a lifetime experience and was the most physically challenging adventure we have taken together.

Contact info:

Chapter Rewind: Image Awards 2014

April 29, 2014


By: Vianka McConville
VP of Image Awards

FPRA’s Image Awards is a night of celebration for all PR professionals – a night to pat each other on the back for a job well done in the previous year and enjoy a cocktail or two with friends and colleagues.

This year’s Image Awards did not disappoint as FPRA members and professionals in the field convened at the Mezz in downtown for good food and an entertaining program. The night’s emcee, Central Florida News 13’s Marla Weech, began the awards ceremony by making the crowd laugh and kept the program rolling. She also shared what we have all been waiting for … to get the news assignment editors to read a release, send it to newsdesk@mynews13.com!

Here are photo highlights of the evening:

We raised the bar during networking and cocktails as guests got into the Roaring 20s theme with props for fun photos.


Guests enjoyed a buffet of food for dinner and dessert.



This year’s PR Professional of the Year, the University of Central Florida Associate Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs, Grant Heston, gave a touching and funny speech in accepting the honor. He successfully wooed the crowd as a rock star worthy of his venerated rock group, U2.

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Marla Weech skipped an evening behind the news desk to host our awards ceremony and we truly appreciate that she did. 


Congratulations to the night’s big winners, Curley & Pynn and Florida Hospital Best in Care Team! Curley & Pynn received the Grand All Image Award and Grand Image Award in Division B. The Florida Hospital Best in Care Team won the Grand Image Award in Division C.   



Click here for the full list of winners or here for more photos of the evening.

We look forward to having you join us for the 2015 Image Awards. Until then, remember to submit your entries for the 2014 Golden Image Awards for statewide recognition. Entries are due May 16. Further information can be found here.