By Jennifer Izzo
I had the opportunity to speak with the FPRA-OAC Member of the Year, Jamie Floer, APR, regarding the start of her career and her involvement in #HAPPO. Below she offers advice for fellow professionals and a look at how FPRA has helped her grow.
Jamie Floer, APR
Wragg & Casas Public Relations, Inc.
Senior Account Executive
University of Central Florida
What was your very first job?
My first professional job after college was at a daily newspaper in Southwest Florida. I was a print journalist for more than a decade before I became a public relations professional.
When and how did you first get involved in the PR profession?
My journalism experience opened the door to public relations for me because I developed an expertise in the utility industry, which I still follow. That expertise led to a position as head of public relations for a national engineering firm that specialized in power, water and solid waste. I built that program from scratch into an award-winning public relations department.
Name one lesson you’ve learned through a difficult situation…
I was laid off suddenly a few years ago. What I learned was not to be naive about layoffs, and not to think that just because you do a good job that it won’t happen to you. In my case, I accepted four Image Awards for my work the day after I got the news I was no longer part of the team. From that, I think everyone should be very proactive and not wait for the inevitable when it comes to corporate downsizing.
If you could give your fellow professionals one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
I always urge my fellow professionals to “pay it forward” because I truly believe in the altruistic outreach that we do as a profession and want to see that never change. It’s karma – you give your best and it will be reciprocated.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
I would say I don’t think I’ve yet attained my biggest accomplishment in my career. In my personal life, I have an amazing husband who supports me in everything I do.
What book(s) do you recommend that PR professionals read?
As my friends know, I am always reading three things at once — something for work, some cerebral fiction and some kind of complete junk. For work right now, I am enjoying Chris Brogan’s take on “Trust Agents” — it’s a good book from a Web legend (it’s also co-authored by Julien Smith) about how to gain trust in the virtual world. I especially liked his “Archimedes Effect” chapter. Good stuff.
How did you become involved with HAPPO (Help a PR Pro Out) and what has been your favorite part?
I was asked to be a Florida champion for the grassroots Twitter campaign #HAPPO because of my passion for helping people find jobs in this tough economy. The effort, which will have follow-ups so stay tuned to http://www.helpaprproout.com, basically tried to start a dialogue between job seekers and employers with opportunities. It is kind of like matchmaking for jobs. My least favorite part is not knowing yet if those matches were made. If there are any success stories out there, please let me know, but that has been hard to track so far.
How has FPRA helped your career and professional development?
I am a past president and feel very strongly that belonging to a professional organization is good for your career. As someone who made the transition from journalism, becoming involved was part of the resources I used to learn about the profession and eventually I attained Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), which I would highly recommend.