Quotes students strike gold at Annual Conference

August 9, 2012

By Kacie Boniberger

Students from the University of Central Florida’s Quotes Chapter attended the 10th annual FPRA Student Conference on August 7. Nathalie Almonte, Kacie Boniberger, Katarina Dos Santos, Angela Fonseca, Ivan Hernandez, and Devin Shoemaker gained professional insight during the conference.

Networking emerged as the most valuable tool for students throughout the conference, as they were quickly humbled by the prestige of professionals in attendance. An unexpected chat with Oscar Suris, leader of the opening discussion on Closing the Perception Gap, at Starbucks proved the value of networking and served as a highlight of the day. “We were fortunate to be able to mingle with professionals on a level playing field,” explained Devin Shoemaker, Quotes Director of Communications.

After kicking off the day with breakout sessions – led by Joe Hice, APR, CPRC, Susan Ennis, APR, CPRC, Steve Smith and Mickey G. Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA – these young professionals moved into more intimate sessions with Hice and Steve Momorella. Sitting with industry gurus and entertaining relevant topics, such as Launching Your Big Career In PR and The Incredible Online Newsroom, lead to increased engagement and a conversational feel. Quotes members left the conference already in anticipation of next year’s events, and a desire to share their new-found knowledge and refreshed passion for public relations to student peers.

“Overall, the conference served as a valuable transitional tool for young professionals looking to break into the field. We are enthusiastic about incorporating what we learned today into general meetings, and hope to increase student attendance next year,” summarized Almonte, Quotes President.

For more information about the annual conference, please visit the FPRA.

Quotes student chapter members meet professional Steve Smith.

Orlando Area Chapter shines at Annual Conference

August 8, 2012

By Nancy DeVault

Orlando Area Chapter members attended the 74th Annual Conference of Florida Public Relations Association, themed A Treasure Trove of PR Strategies and Tactics, on August 5-8. Members included: Sheridan Becht, APR, CPRC; Joe Curley, APR, CPRC; Nancy DeVault; Susan Ennis, APR, CPRC; Amanda Forbes Mestdagh, APR; Chris Gent, APR, CPRC; Cynthia Lambert, APR; Mary Ann Horne; Nicole Huie; Laura Kern; Jean Kingsford; Shannette Price; Roger Pynn, APR; Alayna Rivera; Lorena Streeter; Timothy Trudell; and Andrea Vaughn. Here’s a recap of ways these individuals participated in the conference’s four proactive days.

Day 1 Highlight: Rising Leader Class of 2012

After a fun first day at Conference filled with golf outings, exploration of the Foundation of Youth, and welcome receptions, Sunday’s festivities concluded with the Hall of Fame Recognition and Appreciation Gala, benefiting the FPRE Foundation. This event included a celebration of the Rising Leader Class of 2012 composed of seven young professionals representing their perspective local chapters, including Orlando Area Chapter’s Nancy DeVault, as nominees for the Joe Curley Rising Leader Award Presentation.

Day 2 Highlight: Presidents Luncheon Honors

State President Melanie Mowry Etters, APR, CPRC, CPM, welcomed all Annual Conference attendees to a special luncheon honoring outstanding individuals and area chapters who significantly contributed to FPRA and the profession as a whole. Orlando Area Chapter received two annual distinctions: Image Awards and Leadership Development.

Etters shared that in addition to hosting an incredible local event in April, the Orlando Area Chapter secured the most entries of all Image Awards events throughout Florida. Alayna Rivera, OAC’s Vice President of Image Awards, and Amanda Forbes Mestdagh, APR, OAC Chapter President, accepted the recognition plaque for this category. Next, Amanda accepted honors in the category of Leadership Development, a chapter recognition earned for implementing a board of director’s leadership succession plan and a commitment to cultivate future chapter influencers.

Serving as a presenter at the Presidents Luncheon, Orlando Area Chapter’s Susan Ennis, APR, CPRC recognized those practitioners who recently earned their APR and CPRC credentials. Susan will continue her role as State Vice President of Accreditation and was sworn in as a member of the 2012-2013 State Board of Directors, along with OAC’s Chris Gent, APR, CPRC, who will assume the role of State President-Elect. OAC’s Cynthia Lambert, APR was also sworn in to commence her local chapter leadership as President-Elect for the OAC’s 2012-2013 term.

Outgoing Chapter Presidents, including Amanda Forbes Mestdagh, APR, were applauded for their leadership and transition into the essential coaching role of Immediate Past President. Finally, all participants heard motivational messages from State Past Presidents including OAC’s Sheridan Becht, APR, CPRC.

After a full day of general sessions, breakout lectures, and celebrations, Orlando Area Chapter members enjoyed a delicious team dinner at Columbia Restaurant in downtown St. Augustine.

Day 3 Highlight: Student Attendance, Breakouts, and Image Awards

Two Orlando Area Chapter members – Susan Ennis, APR, CPRC and Joe Curley, APR, CPRC – each served as conference breakout session presenters. Susan led informational presentations and discussions on the APR and CPRC processes. Joe Curley shared his insight on transitioning from a PR employee to employer.

Orlando Area Chapter student members representing ‘Quotes’, UCF’s PR Club, were in attendance for a full day of general sessions and young professional breakout meetings. Student members included: Nathalie Almonte, Kacie Boniberger, Katarina Dos Santos, Angela Fonseca, Ivan Hernandez, and Devin Shoemaker

That evening, Orlando Area Chapter sponsored the Reception of Presidents, an elegant champagne welcome and chapter photo function. Immediately following, members attended the 55th Annual Golden Image Awards reception to celebrate those exemplifying the standards of public relations excellence in Florida. Orlando Area Chapter is pleased to announce the following Golden Image Award honors

Judges’ Award

Windjammer Landing “Steals”


Anson-Stoner PR Team


Award of Distinction

OUCARES Employee Fund Drive

Timothy Trudell


Award of Distinction

Florida.HIGH.TECH 2011

Curley & Pynn


Judges’ Award

Florida Hospital: Best in Care

Michelle Lynch, Dawn Vaughn, McMurry, Inc.

View the complete list of  2012 Golden Image Award Winners here.

More Highlights:

Three OAC members served on the Annual Conference Blog team including Nancy DeVault, Alayna Rivera and Amanda Forbes Mestdagh, APR. These members, and other from neighboring chapters, contributed timely posts to keep non-participating members up to speed on all conference activities. Check out a complete blog recap here; plus, view all Annual Conference Images here.

Orlando Area Chapter members at the 2012 Golden Image Awards

Thinking About Accreditation (APR)?

August 8, 2012

APR information and/or  study sessions will begin in October for any FPRA or PRSA members in the Orlando area.  Our chapter’s study process has proven higher success rates than the national average because we offer expert guest lecturers, provide examples from peers who have recently earned their APR, and target our lessons to the key examination areas. The first session will be held on Monday, October 1st at 6:15 p.m. (location TBD). Don’t miss out on these FREE opportunities!  For further information, please contact Michael Lawrence, VP of Accreditation,  call 407-947-0163.

August 2012: Member News

August 8, 2012

Elizabeth Baranik received the prestigious Rising Star Award from the Florida Society of Association Executives. The annual award honors  individuals for their leadership, dedication, and professionalism in FSAE and in their current positions.  Recipients are nominated by their peers and then a committee selects the winners according to a strict criterion of excellence and achievement.

“FSAE is all about leadership, commitment and the success of our members and their organizations which represent over 1.5 million professionals,” said Chairman of the FSAE Board of Directors John Ricco, CAE.  “The FSAE award recipients are outstanding leaders who have so excelled in their profession to have achieved the respect, admiration and ultimate recognition of their association and their peers.  We congratulate each of the honorees and their organizations for encouraging their professional development.”

The Rising Star Award was created to honor a FSAE member who has contributed significant time and talent to FSAE’s success or within their current job. Congratulations to Rising Star, Elizabeth Baranik,  Marketing Manager – Group & Travel Markets, Hard Rock International, Orlando, FL.

Vianka McConville has joined Curley & Pynn as a Communications Specialist. Vianka McConville brings unique experience in professional services and customer service operations to her new role. Before joining Curley & Pynn, McConville served as the team lead of client services for KEL Attorneys, where she informed clients of lender and legislative impact on foreclosure cases, and updated them on related news stories. In addition, McConville aided management with internal and external communications.

An active member of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA), McConville worked on the FPRA Grand Image Award-winning Gator Nation Campaign, through which many proud University of Florida graduates and students shared pride in their alma mater.

McConville graduated from the University of Florida (UF) with a Bachelor of Science in public relations and a minor in business administration. She had an active college career and gained valuable experience through her volunteer work and internships at Insight Financial Credit Union, David Greenberg Communications and CBR Public Relations. McConville served as director for the Public Relations Student Society of America Fundraising Committee and as president of the Student Government Association at Seminole State College.

Andrea (Andi) Sell has been retained as the Vice President of Business Development & Public Relations for Capri Contractors.  “She will be instrumental in raising awareness as to the expertise Capri has in the areas of commercial and residential construction and development,” per Sunia Piermont, Principle of Capri.  Andrea is well-known as a community advocate and a local Public Relations, Marketing, Business Development, Event Planning, and Fundraising Consultant.

Capri Contractors, Inc. is a locally owned minority firm founded by Mario Prieto and his family in 2001.  Experience encompasses both Commercial & Residential properties.  Projects include: Homes, Hotels, Corporate.

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Professional Development Workshop Committee

August 3, 2012

The Orlando Area Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association is now planning its annual Professional Development Workshop.  The workshop will take place in October and a committee is now forming to plan the event.

Committee members play a vital role in planning this annual professional development event.  You’ll have an opportunity to help with theme development, sponsorships, event logistics, promotion and more!  If you are interested in serving on the Professional Development Committee, please contact Julie Primrose or Lauren Hyer.

August 2012 Member Profile: Lorena Streeter

August 3, 2012

Title/Company: Marketing / Communications Manager, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits

Years in FPRA: Eight

Favorite FPRA Event: “Fortunately….Image Awards (since I am transitioning into the FPRA board position to head up Image Awards)! I worked on the Image Awards committee for a couple years.”

Favorite Benefit of FPRA Membership: “The monthly meetings. A lot of my work is very ‘behind the scenes’ so the monthly breakfasts not only are terrific learning opportunities, but it’s nice to get out from behind my desk and talk to others in the profession.”

Explanation of your job: “If it’s in writing and comes from ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, I probably had something to do with it. In addition to PR, I write, edit or proofread (and sometimes all three) most of our marketing materials, including a monthly employee newsletter, a bimonthly wine publication, a (new) quarterly beer publication, our blog and Twitter (someone else handles Facebook)—including monitoring seven wine supervisors who officially tweet for ABC—substantive copy for several of our web pages and signs in our stores, in-store messaging (aka Muzak), radio ads…”

Exciting Achievement: “Just one? ‘Cause I do try to have them on a daily basis. They’re better than naps for getting you rejuvenated. That probably sounds flip, but for me, even small things qualify, because our lives are made of those moments….why not celebrate them? I’ll admit, though, that somewhere around the top of the list sit things like getting my first book published, getting interviewed by Channel 6 a couple of years ago about our cork recycling program, and even my job—when I started with ABC, we didn’t even have a marketing department, and I created my job. Graduating from law school counts, although it turned out I hated practicing law. See? Life is FULL of exciting achievements.”

Contact info: lorenas@abcfws.com; 407-851-0000 x 2541

Final thoughts? “Well, unless you want my philosophy of life, the universe, and everything, I’ll just go with this: if you’re putting off volunteering with FPRA (or anything else you want to do), stop. You have to be involved with your own life, because no one else is going to live it for you. At your retirement party, what do you want them to say about you? Now go out and be that person.”

September Breakfast: How to Survive (and Thrive!) When You Host the President – Or Any High-Profile Visitor

August 2, 2012

You’re invited to FPRA’s September Breakfast Program:

Thursday, September 27, 2012
University Club (150 E. Central Blvd., Orlando, FL)
8:00 a.m. – Registration
8:30 a.m. – Presentation

When you organize an event around the most powerful man in the world, a few things are different. Like having your personal phone conversations tapped, for example. And there’s more – much more.  Melanie Forbrick, APR, Vice President of Communications at Siemens Energy, will share lessons learned from hosting the President of the United States, including fun stories and behind-the-scenes insights from her once-in-a-lifetime experience.

You’ll also learn Melanie’s tips for working with high-profile visitors, such as:

·         How to pitch your location or event for the visit

·         Helping speech writers with messages, not just facts

·         Branding the location for photos and media

·         Engaging online audiences through blogging and repurposing video feeds and photos

Register NOW!

About the Speaker
Melanie Forbrick, APR, is responsible for directing strategic external and internal communications in support of Siemens Energy’s global business objectives. In this role, she oversees communications activities in the global Energy Service Division, including strategic communications planning, marketing communications, events and tradeshows, advertising, media relations, internal communications, and visual graphic production. In addition, Melanie oversees communications for Siemens Energy, Inc. in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.