History in the Making: FPRA’s 74th Annual Conference

September 12, 2012

The nation’s oldest PR organization in the nation’s oldest city, from the perspective of one of our chapter’s youngest professionals

By: Alayna Rivera

As we kick off this new board year for our local chapter, we also celebrate the 75th anniversary of the state association of FPRA. Next August, professionals from across the state will gather at FPRA’s 75th annual conference to learn, network, and further develop their skills as PR practitioners. The buzz for next year’s event was already growing at last month’s 74th annual conference, of which I had the pleasure of attending.

At the ripe, young age of 24, this was my first opportunity to participate in a full-fledged professional development conference. With only two years of experience under my belt, I eagerly applied for and was granted a scholarship from our Orlando Area Chapter to attend. I had already enjoyed my previous active participation which developed in 2011, when I joined the board of directors as the VP of Image Awards. I’ve just been reinstalled as the board secretary.

This year’s conference was held at the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort in St. Augustine. Such a historical location was fitting, given that FPRA is oldest PR organization in the country. It might just be a first-timer perspective, but I thought the interactive sessions and speakers at the conference were fantastic! The topics ranged from leadership development and social media, to PR storytelling and media relations. All of which taught me valuable lessons that I (am trying to, at least) put into practice in my own career.

One thing that was extremely memorable for me was attending the Golden Image Awards. My co-chair and I spent nearly seven months putting together the Orlando Area Chapter Image Awards Banquet earlier this year, so I can only imagine how much work it took to put on the statewide competition. We even had a number of our local winners go on to win state awards. I’m also proud to say that our chapter was honored by the state association as the best local Image Awards gala in Florida.

An unexpected benefit from the conference was the chance to build friendships. Even if you attend all of our chapter’s events, it’s often difficult to break the ice and really get to know your fellow members. However, being away at the conference for a few days gave me the opportunity to truly get to know those in our chapter. Especially in this profession, networking and developing relationships with others is invaluable at any stage of your career.

So if you’re on the fence about attending next year’s conference – from one newbie to another – I say go! It was both an amazing learning experience and a fun time to come together with other PR professionals under a common goal – to better represent our companies, clients and ourselves.

The 75th annual conference will be held at the Vinoy Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg from August 4-7, 2013. I hope to see you there!


Member News

September 11, 2012

9/12 member newsCongratulations to Jamie Floer, APR, CPRC, who recently joined HD Supply Power Solutions as Senior Communications Manager.

Congratulations to Kerry Martin, APR, who recently earned her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). Kerry is a Communications Strategist at Curley & Pynn.

The Orlando Area Chapter presented two annual awards during the August 2012 Chapter Breakfast. Congratulations to co-Members of the Year: Cassie Roach and Brian Craven; and congratulations to Susan Ennis, APR, CPRC, recipient of the Bob Davis Award.

Congratulations to Chris Gent, APR, CPRC for being honored with the Amigo Award from the Hispanic Business Council. The award recognizes individuals who have a track record of strong support for the Hispanic business community in Osceola County.

Share your news with FPRA-Orlando Area Chapter! To submit member news or contribute a relevant article and blog, please contact Nancy DeVault.

President’s Welcome

September 10, 2012

As I embark on this year as president of the FPRA Orlando Area Chapter, I want to take a moment to thank all of our members and the incoming 2012-2013 board of directors. I am very excited to serve as your president and am honored to have such a talented group of professionals working with me to bring you programs and services that enhance and promote the public relations profession.

It is an exciting year for FPRA. This November marks the 75th anniversary of the association, and our chapter will join the 15 chapters across the state in celebrating the past, present and future of our organization.

In the coming months, we will host our professional development workshop, monthly breakfasts, and networking events that feature innovative public relations practices and leaders. Our chapter also has committees which meet year-round; if you’re interested in working with other members and getting more involved with the association in this capacity, please let me know.

I look forward to seeing everyone at our upcoming programs and would love to hear your suggestions on how FPRA can better serve you in your profession. Be sure to stay connected with the Orlando Area Chapter in between programs by following us on Facebook  and Twitter and make sure to visit our new website at fpraorlando.org.


Thank you,
Allie Vatcher
President, FPRA Orlando Area Chapter



Quotes Calendar of Events

September 9, 2012

September Member Profile: Shannette Prince

September 9, 2012

Title & Company: Community Relations Coordinator, Early Learning Coalition of Orange County

Years in FPRA: 1

Favorite FPRA Event: “The FPRA Annual Conference has been my favorite so far. The conference this past August was my first and I found it to be extremely beneficial.  I asked so many questions and met a lot of the Orlando chapter members.  The sessions that I attended were very informative; but thanks to the bloggers, I felt that I was able to attend all sessions.”

Favorite Benefit of FPRA Membership: “The opportunity to foster professional relationships with other members in the field. Members are readily available to answer any and all questions because the varying levels of expertise among our group.”

Explanation of your job: “I am truly a jack of all trades in my position. I am responsible for making sure we are communicating with all of our target audiences consistently. I manage our website, social media, e-newsletter, act as a graphic designer, volunteer coordinator, community liaison, event coordinator, partnership developer, media coordinator, and I can go on and on but the list would be too long!  If I had to choose one task that I enjoyed the most though, it would be going out to our various early childhood centers to read to the students.  It keeps me grounded and reminds me of why the long hours are worth it.”

Exciting Achievement: When I made the switch from broadcast news to public relations.  I worked in news for four years and decided that trying to juggle my career and my family was more than I could handle at the time.  It has been great working for an organization that focuses on early learning and preparing all children for academic success in their earliest years.

Contact info: P: (407) 841-6607 ext. 129 / F: (407) 749-0282 / E:  sprince@elcoc.org  / W: www.elcoc.org /Twitter:  @ELCOC / Facebook: Early Learning Coalition of Orange County

Fun fact: I’m getting married this December, so I’m using everything I’ve learned in the field of PR to make this a memorable event for both our families!

APR Information Session on October 1, 2012

September 9, 2012

Have you been considering earning the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR)?

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.

Monday, October 1, 2012, at 6:15 p.m.

Mayor Carl Langford Park (Community Room)

1808 E. Central Blvd., Orlando, FL 32803

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

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

About the APR Workshops:

APR workshops last an hour and will be held weekly on Monday evenings at the Langford Park Community Room on East Central Boulevard, just east of the downtown core. The sessions are led by seasoned APR facilitators to guide a discussion 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.

If you are interested in starting the APR process, please contact:

FPRA APR Chair, Michael Lawrence, APR : 407.947.0163 michael.lawrence@cityoforlando.net