Second installment of MERGE networking series

February 3, 2012

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The second installment of the MERGE networking series and scholarship fundraiser kicked off at World of Beer – UCF on Thursday, February 2nd. Seventeen public relations students, professionals and FPRA members attended the event, raising $170 in scholarship funds for the UCF Nicholson School of Communication’s Scholarship and the Organizational Communication Program of the Hamilton Holt School of Rollins College.

A $10 scholarship donation covered entrance to the event, one complimentary draft beer provided by World of Beer – UCF and a chance to win one of four sets of two UCF basketball tickets. Congratulations to the lucky winners of the UCF basketball tickets: Jon Hanson, Brittany Englert, Chad Kunerth and Jason Holic! Combined with a $1,000 scholarship fund donation from event sponsor, Bright House Networks, this MERGE event raised a total of $1,170!

FPRA extends our appreciation to our sponsor, Bright House Networks and partner, UCF Alumni Association for making this opportunity possible. Look for upcoming information on the next MERGE event and networking opportunity at

Member Profile: Denise Ward

February 2, 2012

Business Title/Company: Public Information Officer, Seminole County Department of Health

Years in FPRA: 1 year

Favorite FPRA Event: Chapter Breakfast: Bungo Box. I enjoyed learning how their company handled marketing and thought their strategies could definitely fit some of my needs/limitations.  I remember thinking “I can use that!”.

Favorite Benefit of FPRA Membership: The opportunity to learn from other members.  In government, I am limited with training opportunities for my field and the FPRA breakfast events allow me to learn and apply relevant information to my role at the Seminole County Health Department. It helps me to focus my ideas.

Explanation of your job: I wear several hats but as Public Information Officer, I am responsible for representing the Seminole County Health Department in the media.  This can include reactively supplying information or sound bites to media outlets or proactively distributing press releases on important public health information to the community.  As part of that responsibilities, I work in the Seminole County Emergency Operations Center during times of disaster, hurricanes, forest fires, crashed planes, etc.  Additionally, I handle all marketing of the Seminole County Health Department. For example, I worked with firms to rebrand our website.  Once everything was completed, I now have the ability to edit all our marketing pieces to fit our ever changing needs.  And finally, I manage two health education programs that are funded by state grants.

Exciting Achievement: H1N1 media! On my first day back from maternity leave, I was part of a team that closed the first school in Florida due to a case of H1N1.  Through the entire epidemic, I managed media relations concerning the first death due to H1N1, the first to receive vaccine and the first to offer clinics to the public in Florida.

Contact info: Denise Ward,, 407.963.4629

FPRA Image Awards 2012

February 2, 2012

The Image Awards competition is conducted annually by the Orlando Area Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association to recognize outstanding public relations programs in Central Florida and to encourage and promote the development of public relations professionalism in our state.

The Image Awards have become a standard of public relations excellence in the state of Florida. Winners demonstrate the very best examples of innovation, planning and design. The awards competition includes four divisions of categories: Public Relations Programs, Printed Tools of Public Relations, Audiovisual Tools of Public Relations and Student Projects in Public Relations. To qualify for judging, an entry must incorporate sound public relations research and planning. Entries also must meet the highest standard of production, execution and evaluation of results and budget.

Important Dates

March 16, 2012 @ 5pm

Image Award Deadline for Entries

April 18, 2012

Orlando Science Center

May 18, 2011 @ 5pm

Golden Image Awards Deadline for Entries

August 7, 2012

Golden Image Awards Gala

The Renaissance Resort World Golf Village

Download Call for Entries

Give Kids The World Names Betsy Culpepper as Communications Director

January 30, 2012

PR/Marketing Veteran Supports Organization’s Communication Needs

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (January 25, 2012) – Give Kids The World (GKTW), a Central Florida non-profit “storybook” resort for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families, announced that Betsy Culpepper has joined the organization in the role of Director of Communications.

“We are blessed to have someone with Betsy’s background and knowledge join our organization,” said GKTW President Pam Landwirth. “Her experience creating and implementing strategic communications initiatives will greatly benefit Give Kids The World, helping us to expand recognition of our brand to reach new potential wish families, volunteers and donors.”

Culpepper is a 25-year veteran in corporate communications, with extensive experience in public relations, media relations, marketing and special events for both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors.  For the last 15 years she has served in various managerial roles at Orlando Health, most recently as the Director of Marketing & PR for Arnold Palmer Medical Center where she oversaw all communications strategies for Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. Previous positions include: Communications Director for Orlando Health, Communications Director for Central Florida YMCA, Marketing Coordinator for Walt Disney World Resort’s Blizzard Beach, Community Relations Manager for Bayfront Medical Center and Senior Staff Member for former Senator Bob Graham’s office in Washington, DC.

In her role as Director of Communications for Give Kids The World, Culpepper will lead a communications team in the development, implementation and administration of a communications strategy that will expand the organization’s footprint locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. She will oversee a team of five in areas including: corporate communications, public relations, community relations, social media, grant writing, graphic design and branding.

A resident of College Park, Culpepper is a well-known leader in Central Florida serving on the boards of dozens of nonprofit organizations and community associations including:  Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Orlando Foundation, March of Dimes, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Central Florida Gator Club, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church and the Junior League of Greater Orlando, where she served as president from 2006-2007. Additionally, she served on the Nominating Board for the City of Orlando in 2008—a role in which she was appointed by Mayor Buddy Dyer.  Culpepper has received numerous awards in her career including the Public Relations Association of America’s prestigious International Silver Anvil Award for her comprehensive communications campaign for the opening of Winnie Palmer Hospital.

“Each and every one of my previous roles has prepared me to begin my new journey and new mission at Give Kids The World.  I’m honored to be part of something so magical, something so much greater than ourselves,” said Culpepper.

Culpepper, who joined Give Kids The World on January 3, reports to Eric Gray, Vice President of Advancement.

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About Give Kids The World:

Recognized as the highest rated charity in America by Charity Navigator, Give Kids The World Village (GKTW) is a 70-acre, non-profit resort in Central Florida that creates magical memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. GKTW provides accommodations at its whimsical resort, donated attractions tickets, meals and more for a weeklong, cost-free fantasy vacation. With the help of many generous individuals, corporations and partnering wish-granting organizations, Give Kids The World has welcomed more than 115,000 families from all 50 states and more than 70 countries. For more information about GKTW and its mission, visit