Guest Speakers for Quotes

January 10, 2014

The UCF Student PR club, Quotes, is looking for guest speakers. The group meets weekly on Monday evenings at 6:30 p.m. at UCF. If you are interested in volunteering your time to speak to the students on a PR topic of your choice, email Sara Channing at for more information.

The following dates are available:

  • 1/27/2014
  • 2/3/2014
  • 2/10/2014
  • 2/17/2014
  • 2/24/2014
  • 3/10/2014
  • 3/17/2014
  • 3/24/2014
  • 3/31/2014
  • 4/7/2014
  • 4/14/2014

2014 PR Resolutions

January 10, 2014


By: Zenaida Gonzalaez Kotala 
UCF News & Information

January is usually a time for resolutions, a time we all promise ourselves to find ways to improve our personal or professional lives. This year I promised myself to be a little more organized when it comes to paperwork. I’m extremely organized when it comes to campaigns and strategies, but that pesky paperwork tends to get stacked and neglected. It always costs me hours or work hunting down forms and such, which I could avoid if I had taken the time to organize it all in the beginning of the year.

So I set up my files and am ready to roll. The move got me thinking about what veterans in our profession might suggest as potential New Year’s resolutions. So I decided to ask a few friends to give me their suggestions. Then I asked some of my friends who are working journalists to suggest what they’d like to see from us. I also asked a few local reporters who I work with to give me their two cents.

From the public relations side I heard several suggestions from “becoming better jugglers” to “engaging in more social media.” From journalists it was a lot about “less spinning” and “doing research before pitching a story.”

Rather than give you a long narrative, check out selected responses from the two points of view. I think there are probably some lessons here from both sides of the house.

From the PR perspective:

Joe Manio, Canadian public relations firm

“Do more proactive image-building, to be better placed in case of a need for crisis management.”

Jamie Floer, FPRA member

“Stay current on the tools and trends that apply to my industry niche … To provide journalists good, targeted, truthful, easy-to-use information in a timely manner. Their role as the fourth estate has remained a constant is our society – the only difference is that time element, which we all struggle to meet with accuracy and integrity.”

From the journalism perspective:

Susanne Cervanka, Asbury Park Press

“PR people need to resolve to not use automated systems to develop their email lists. All they gain is a first-class ticket to my junk folder since I block everyone who sends emails that start “Dear [name]/scervenka/Cervenka, Susanne. Also, just because it’s in the same state does not mean it’s ‘local news’ to me.”

Pia Christensen, Managing Editor/Online Services at Association of Health Care Journalists

“First, before you pitch me, pay close attention to what I’m interested in. Read our website and follow me on Twitter and you’ll get a good idea. I get dozens of off-topic pitches everyday. Second, if you send out a press release via email, be sure to post that press release online first and include a link in your email. It strongly increases the chances that I might share it.

Lizette Wilson Chapman, Tech and VC reporter for Dow Jones

“No last minute embargo changes. No ‘take back’ quotes from seasoned interviewees and no emails that are more than 4 sentences.”

Frank Oliveri, Defense and Foreign Policy Writer for Congressional Quarterly

“Stop viewing the press as both a threat and a venue all at once. Don’t stonewall us on basic information but then be upset with us when your pitches, blatantly self-serving, fall on deaf ears…”

Kevin Spear, Orlando Sentinel

“Be honest, be real. The world is full of ups and downs and surprises. So when public relations strives to always put a bright spin on matters, my gut nags me that not all is right and good with organization X. I feel compelled to suspect and seek out the guilty and it’s only a matter of time management whether I do investigate organization X and put its story on the front page of my newspaper. This may not be true for all reporters, but I value and respect honesty, frankness, confidence and a willingness for an organization to sometimes proactively say something didn’t go well.”


Make 2014 the Year for your APR Credential!

January 8, 2014

By: Lisa Nason, APR
Orange County Government

Congratulations and kudos to the candidates who participated in the Fall 2013 Readiness Reviews, held on December 3 and 4 at the Orange County Administration Building in downtown Orlando.  This round of Readiness Reviews featured four outstanding candidates, all of whom advanced to the APR testing phase!

In addition to wonderful candidates, we salute the many skilled APRs from PRSA and FPRA who served as panelists, including:

  • Scott McCallum
  • Carolyn Reis
  • Allen Moore
  • Heather Keroes
  • Kena Lewis
  • Mandy Taylor
  • Jennifer Bisbee
  • Mandy Kimmer
  • Geo Morales
  • Jackie Benton
  • Sheridan Becht

APR Information Session on Feb 3, 2014

APR 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. Please join us for a free information session to learn more.

In partnership with PRSA, the Spring APR calendar has been finalized. We will hold our Spring 2014 organizational/informational meeting on Feb. 3.

Monday, Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m.

Orange County Administration Building 201 S. Rosalind Ave Orlando FL 32801 (Map)
*Free parking in the Orange County lot (on the Liberty Ave. side of the building, between Jackson and Church Street)

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

APR workshops last an hour and will be held weekly on Monday evenings from Feb 10 through March 24 at the Orange County Government Administration Building. The sessions are 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 website of the Universal Accreditation Board for the candidate’s process chart for the examination for accreditation in public relations and the application.

To learn more, contact:

PRSA APR Coach Kathleen Prihoda, APR: 407-828-3814,
FPRA APR Coach Lisa Nason, APR: 407-836-7343,

Member PRofile: Jeff Marshall

January 8, 2014


What is your title and company name?
Senior Coordinator of Communications, Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority

Give a brief explanation of your job.
I am responsible for all of the Expressway Authority’s direct communication with the public. I am also responsible for and the agency’s social media channels and OrangeTV broadcasts. I handle media relations and am the editor for all Expressway Authority publications. I also oversee outside contractors that support our communications efforts.

How many years have you been a part of FPRA? Why did you join?
This is my second year in FPRA after being a Quotes member while at UCF. While I graduated from UCF with a degree in advertising/public relations, I spent the first part of my professional career in the media. I joined FPRA to be active in the PR community and to help in ongoing professional development.

What was your favorite FPRA event?
So far, my favorite event has been meeting the Orlando Sentinel’s editor Avido Khahaifa.

Tell us about an exciting achievement (personal or professional).
One of the most exciting times in my career was being a part of the 2001 Turner Cup Champion Orlando Solar Bears. Being in the locker room after the game was electric and something I’ll never forget.

Tell us something people may not know about you.
I’m a member of the Central Florida Officials Association and officiate football at various levels, including high school.

Contact info:
Office: 407-690-5342
Cell: 321-662-3612

January Service Project: Celebrating the Extreme Village Makeover for Give Kids the World

January 7, 2014

This month, the Give Kids the World Village is celebrating its 25th Anniversary with an exciting new initiative, the Extreme Village Makeover!  This 70-acre, nonprofit “storybook” resort in Kissimmee is taking two weeks to completely renovate 100 vacation villas at Give Kids The World Village, and FPRA members are encouraged to support this initiative. Give Kids the World provides week-long, cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

Save the Date for a celebration event held at the culmination of the build-out period: Saturday, January 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  FPRA volunteers are needed to set up tables, chairs and decorations, serve food and clean tables.

Prior to volunteering your time at the Village, we hope you’ll take time during the two weeks of the Extreme Village Makeover project to post on your social media channels and engage with your networks about the good work being done by countless volunteers, sponsors and donors.

During the project, FPRA Orlando will be providing updates to all members on the Extreme Village Makeover project, so you are encouraged to share those messages with your friends! Follow @GKTWVillage and on Facebook at

To join the FPRA team for serving on Saturday, January 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., register here.

  • Note:  All FPRA volunteers should select FPRA as group affiliation in the drop-down box.  After completing the online volunteer application all volunteers 18 years of age and older will be sent a link to complete a background check. Both forms only take a few minutes to complete.

We look forward to sharing this day of service with you and appreciate all you can do to promote the initiative!

Chapter Rewind: Backstage Pass to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

January 7, 2014

By: Kerry Martin, APR 
FPRA Orlando President-Elect

Last month, the Orlando Area chapter of FPRA offered its members a special look at the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts currently under construction in downtown Orlando. Armed with hard hats, construction vests and eye goggles, we set out on an afternoon tour of the facility including the impressive 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater, 300-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater and education spaces.

When it opens in fall 2014, the Dr. Phillips Center will be one of less than 40 arts centers in the world with the venues and offerings of this caliber. Fortunately for the FPRA members in attendance, representatives from the communications teams were there to share with us the strategy for opening one of the most transformative venues in the Central Florida community. Director of Marketing for the Dr. Phillips Center, Jennifer Pennypacker, provided her insight on building not just a campaign, but an arts organization, from the ground up, while Treva Marshall of TJM Communications shared the challenges and tactics of both building community awareness while also trying to fundraise.

Having the opportunity to walk through the construction site and understand the approach for building this iconic brand was a memorable experience for all, and the FPRA Orlando Area chapter is grateful to the staff of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts—especially associate director of marketing, Rachel Steele—for making it happen.

Check out photos from the event on Facebook and Flickr. If you were there, make sure to tag yourself!

Call for Nominations: Central Florida PR Professional of the Year for Career Excellence

January 7, 2014

As is tradition within the FPRA Orlando Area Chapter family, we mark the beginning of each year by accepting nominations for the Public Relations Professional of the Year Award for Career Excellence.

This award is the most prestigious honor bestowed by the Orlando Area Chapter of FPRA and will be presented to the 2014 winner at the annual Image Awards banquet in April.

We strongly encourage you to nominate a local public relations professional that demonstrates:

  • Experience and leadership in the public relations profession;
  • Contributions made back to the profession;
  • Contributions made to the community and charitable organizations; and
  • Lifetime achievement, service and awards.

Please send a summary, 500 words or less, explaining why you feel your nominee should receive the award. If available, please also send your nominee’s current resume. Submit your nomination by Friday, February 14 to Allie Vatcher, Immediate Past President, at Please be sure to include your name and phone number.

The winner will be selected by the previous Public Relations Professional of the Year Award recipients.  These practitioners have previously won the award:

2013 – Dan Ward, APR

2012 – Sara Brady

2011 – Sheridan Becht, APR, CPRC

2010 – Chris Gent, APR, CPRC

2009 – Maureen Brockman

2008 – Susan Howard, APR

2007 – Danielle Saba Courtenay, APR

2006 – Jane Hames

2005 – Jim DeSimone

2004 – Ann Marie Varga, APR

2003 – Susan Blexrud

2002 – Carol Brinati

2001 – Bette Jore, APR, ABC

2000 – Bill Warren, APR, CPRC

1999 – Nickie Sarner

1998 – Ron Pecora

1997 – Jan Donlan

1996 – Frank Stansberry, APR

1995 – Randy Berridge

1994 – John Rutherford

1993 – Carolyn Fennell

1992 – Todd Persons

1991 – Linda Costa, APR

1990 – Kay Bartholomew

1989 – Frank Hutsell and Karen Plunkett, APR

1988 – Bob Davis, APR, CPRC

1987 – Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC

1986 – Truman “Duffy” Meyers

1985 – Holly Bennett Thatcher

1984 – Joe Curley, APR, CPRC