Member PRofile: Chris Gent, APR, CPRC

December 14, 2015

Chris Gent, APR, CPRCGive a brief explanation of your job. 

My department holds responsibility for the utility’s internal and external communications, including marketing and advertising, media and public relations, employee outreach, special events and corporate philanthropy. KUA serves 67,000 electric customers in Osceola County.

How long have you been a part of FPRA? Why did you join?

I joined FPRA in 1995 as a way to foster my professional development and career growth. Since then, I have built a network with literally hundreds of public relations practitioners across the state. Membership in FPRA has allowed me to advocate for the profession, mentor students, earn recognition through its Golden Image Awards and Image Awards programs and serve in numerous leadership roles to support the association.

My year as FPRA State President was all about innovation and enhancing member services. During that year, we increased membership, we honored a record number of professionals for accreditation and certification, we increased the number of entries in our Golden Image Awards program and we waved goodbye to three-ring entry binders and welcomed a new electronic submission process. Over those 12 months as president, I traveled 6,080 miles and visited all 15 FPRA professional chapters—some several times—as well as two of our student chapters. It was an amazing experience!

What’s your favorite FPRA event?

My favorite FPRA event is undoubtedly Annual Conference. The conference is a tremendous opportunity to network with FPRA members and hear from speakers and thought leaders from across the country. The conference is a terrific way to expand your thinking through new perspectives, useful insights and timely case studies. The return on investment is solid and the value can’t be matched.

Tell us an exciting achievement.

Serving as FPRA State President was certainly an exciting achievement and a highlight of my career. I look forward to my next big adventure when I take over as chairman of the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce in 2017. It’s a much larger board than FPRA (85 total) and comes with more diversity and responsibility.

What was your very first job?

My first job was as a stock boy at an automotive repair garage in Satellite Beach, Fla.,at age 15. I received,opened and unpacked automotive parts, sortednew tires, organized vehicle batteries, made coffee in the customer lobby, cleaned bathrooms, swept parking lots, etc.Once I was old enough to obtain my driver’s license,I served as valet and delivered repaired vehicles to the customer’s home or business. I held that job until I graduated from high school. My biggest take away from that experience was the importance of always recognizing the contributions of your frontline employees.

Share a fun fact that people may not know about you.

Before my wife Laura and I were even dating we had the opportunity to visit the Dirty Dancing movie set in Lake Lure, North Carolina. It was so cool to walk around the small studio where Johnny Castle taught Frances “Baby” Houseman to dance,to see Johnny’s cabin and the staff cabins, to walk across the log where they practiced balancing, to walk up the stairs where Baby carried the watermelon and to stand on the stage where the “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” closing scene was shot. It remains one of my all-time favorite movies.

Laura and I have seven children, ages 21 to 2, and they keep life fun and very active!

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Holiday Charity Event

December 12, 2015

InspireMembers of FPRA Orlando met at the former Seminole Work Opportunity Program, working on their rebranding as Inspire, on Dec. 9 for a hands-on public relations workshop to develop a plan, materials, and ideas for the nonprofit orgaization to use year round.

Inspire 2Founded in 1980, the Seminole Work Opportunity Program provides vocational, educational, and employment training to adults with disabilities in Seminole and Orange Counties.

Special thanks to our sponsor:

KUA LOGO gold sponsor

Quotes Corner

December 11, 2015

Jacqueline KooserThe Season of Giving

By: Jacqueline Kooser
Quotes President

As fall semester comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on all of the influential experiences I have gained over the past three and a half years at UCF. As I sit here writing my last Quotes Corner blurb ever, two weeks away from graduation and the beginning of a new chapter, I can’t think of a better time to give a little of what I have gained. Below are my top 5 pieces of advice to incoming freshman, confused sophomores, and stressed out juniors and seniors who will be at this point one day.

Giving From One Young PR Professional to Another

  1. Don’t take student membership for granted. It’s such an opportunity to be able to eat breakfast with some of our community’s most accomplished PR professionals. Do whatever you can to participate in FPRA events throughout school. If you cannot afford to attend everything, look into being sponsored by a mentor, family member or a supervisor at work!
  2. Seek mentorship. There truly is no better feeling than knowing you have someone who will be transparent with you when it comes to making decisions in this thing called life. Not only will mentors always have your best interest at heart, but also they will always be in your corner with an extra bit of encouragement.
  3. Know what you can and can’t handle. Sometimes it’s hard to forget that being a student is a job within itself. Between leadership positions at school, internships, and studying and completing projects for class, time can easily slip away. Set goals, go for your dreams, and work hard, but remember to take care of yourself first.
  4. Be open-minded. This is an exciting time to be a young professional, for there is always something new to learn. It’s truly fascinating that there are so many perspectives and points of view in today’s society. Paying attention to the news and trending topics will effect how you think on your feet, and your ideas will be smarter and taken more seriously if you have a fresh perspective and an open mind to doing things differently.
  5. Embrace Orlando. I am so glad that I can sit here and say with a smile that I want to work here in Orlando after graduation. The FPRA Orlando chapter has brought a sense of community to my professional life and that is so hard to find. I aim to give back to the FPRA community throughout the course of my post-graduate career, and guide students such as myself throughout their professional development.

I could go on and on, but I think that these will do for now. As I continue to grow and learn throughout the next chapter of my life, I plan to apply all the values gained and lessons learned through being an active FPRA student member, and I hope to inspire students to do the same. Thank you for an incredible three and a half years – and Go Knights!

I would like to extend a huge thank you to my mentors, Jamie Floer and Laura Kern, and to my advisor Lindsay Hudock for the upmost support and guidance provided to me over the past year. I hope to make you proud!


Chapter Rewind: November Happy Hour

December 9, 2015

Communications professionals from the Orlando area came together for our networking happy hour event at KASA in Downtown Orlando.

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November 2015 networking event at KASA in downtown Orlando.

 

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November 2015 networking event at KASA in downtown Orlando.

 

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November 2015 networking event at KASA in downtown Orlando.