Member PRofile: Michele Brennan

May 7, 2019
Michele Brennan

Michele Brennan
Strategic Communications Section Manager (FL, AL, MS), HDR Engineering

Give a brief explanation of your job.
We help our clients manage and navigate the social and political influence on their projects. We know that the best way and time to plan for social and political influence is at the project’s conception. Our philosophy is to be part of the conversation early, which allows us the opportunity to help define the project’s goals, maximize resources, and ultimately find solutions for our clients.

How long have you been a member of FPRA and why did you join?
I re-joined FPRA in February 2019 when I started my new role with HDR. I am looking forward to connecting with my peers, creating new partnerships, and continuing to learn from others in our industry.

What has been your favorite FPRA event so far?
In the past, I have enjoyed the educational workshops and panel discussions that have focused on a variety of topics. So much of what we do is influenced by current trends and events, it is important that we come together to listen, discuss and grow.

Tell us about an exciting achievement (personal or professional).
Living and playing in Orlando for the past 25 years has offered me so many opportunities both professionally and personally. Since I recently joined the HDR team, I am excited to see where this path shall take me! So stayed tuned, great things are ahead.

My previous role with the City of Orlando allowed me to be a part of numerous amazing projects. From developing a new visual brand to managing the process that gave us a new city flag to helping our community heal after the Pulse tragedy and numerous hurricanes, I am proud of my service and contributions. During my time with the city, my boss, mentor and friend Mayor Buddy Dyer gracefully taught me how actions speak louder than words, the importance of partnerships, and the power of compassion, all of which were woven into the many projects that hold a special place in my heart.

On a personal note, I am honored to serve on the board of directors for the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida. I am excited that our community is investing in a campaign to build a new Holocaust Museum for Hope & Humanity in Downtown Orlando. This new museum will stand as a beacon of light as we work together to build a more inclusive world where all people feel safe and respected– one free of anti-Semitism and all forms of prejudice and bigotry. I encourage everyone to learn more at holocaustedu.org and get engaged. Together we will build a culture of inclusiveness.

What was your first job?
It was the summer of 1987, when I started working in a TCBY yogurt shop (the original FRO-YO). It was my very first job and I loved it. I took the creative liberty of experimenting daily with flavors and toppings and created some tasty combinations that ultimately became customer favorites! My life-long lesson learned from that job… never be afraid to mix it up and try new, bold combinations.

Fun fact:
I love talking to and engaging with people. My colleagues will tell you, one of my favorite places is riding in an elevator. It is the best place to make someone laugh, share a complement, or wish them well. In less than 30 seconds, you have the potential to brighten someone’s day. Now that is powerful!

Contact Information:
Michele Brennan
HDR
315 E. Robinson Street, Suite 400
Orlando, FL 32801
Michele.brennan@hdrinc.com
407.664.5222


Quotes Corner

April 5, 2019

Expanding Intern Pursuit Attendance Among Students

By Emily Garcia, Quotes UCF

Emily Garcia

Walking into the Pegasus Ballroom filled with potential employers was one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my undergraduate career. I could feel my heart race as I walked in through the double doors for the first time. Slowly, my nerves settled behind the conversations I had. Even though this is my third Intern Pursuit, I still feel butterflies in my stomach. Each time it gets a little easier and easier, but this time, I had an advantage; I was a part of hosting Intern Pursuit.

In January, I joined the executive board of Quotes to serve as the director of communications. As such, I manage and produce content for all our social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. As this year’s Intern Pursuit rolled around, the Quotes board came together to plan how to increase student attendance. We decided to launch a new campaign to feature sponsored internship programs.

Through this campaign, employers were given the chance to highlight their internship positions on all three of our social media pages, receive a blog post on quotesucf.com and reserve their table ahead of time. Within the three weeks leading up to Intern Pursuit, our graphic designer, vice president, webmaster and I worked tirelessly to promote our new offer and post featured internships online. We received five offers including Orange County Public Schools, SIX the Agency, CCH Marketing, AdventHealth and Curley & Pynn.

In total, the five social media posts gathered over 2,500 impressions and 450 engagements across all three platforms. And our efforts to boost event attendance succeeded – we had over 230 students attend, a 13 percent increase from fall semester. It was such a joy to see my classmates and friends networking to find their next opportunity. The next day, I took an impromptu survey and asked “How did Intern Pursuit go last night?” I was met with glowing faces as they explained the upcoming interviews they had planned. This is why Intern Pursuit is so important. It connects students to their next adventure and provides endless opportunities for our futures. I’m so glad to be a part of it all.

 

Click below to expand and view images from Intern Pursuit.


Member PRofile: Kimberly Allen

April 5, 2019

Kimberly Allen
Communications Coordinator, Seminole State College of Florida

Give a brief explanation of your job.
As communications coordinator, I manage internal and external communications efforts for Seminole State – everything from news releases and ad copy to marketing materials and executive updates. I coordinate the promotion of college and community events to the media, as well as the content, development and use of the Seminole State website as a primary marketing, informational and recruiting tool for the college. I also serve as a PIO on the college’s Emergency Response Team.

How long have you been a member of FPRA and why did you join?
I joined FPRA in 2009 when I started my job at Seminole State. With my background in journalism, I needed to build my PR skills. My colleagues, who were already FPRA members, encouraged me to join because of the networking and professional development opportunities.

What has been your favorite FPRA event so far?
I really enjoyed the most recent Board Installation Breakfast. It was exciting to learn about and celebrate the achievements from the past year and to hear the vision for this year. It’s a reminder of the impact FPRA has on our profession. Plus, it’s a great way to reconnect with your peers if you’ve been away for a while.

Tell us about an exciting achievement (personal or professional).
With the solar eclipse in 2017, I had the awesome opportunity to co-lead a PR campaign for a viewing event at Seminole State’s planetarium. There was a lot of planning involved for this rare occurrence, but it was one of our most successful campaigns, garnering coverage from every major, local TV station and drawing a record crowd of about 15,000 people to our Sanford/Lake Mary Campus. The campaign earned gold in the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR) 2018 Medallion Awards.

What was your first job?
I had a summer job as an office assistant at St. Johns River Water Management District.

Fun fact:
I’m a proud military brat and grew up on an Air Force base in Germany. I wish I had learned to speak German, but growing up there was a wonderful experience.

Contact Information:
allenk@seminolestate.edu


Quotes Corner

March 7, 2019

Note: A reminder that if you haven’t signed your organization up for Intern Pursuit, now’s the time! Register here.

Finding the Right Path

By Albert Aronov, Quotes UCF

Albert Aronov

When I moved to Orlando, I believed in one thing: there was only one path for me to take. During my time at UCF, I have found the opposite is true. While there are hundreds of paths, the only challenge is being able to find the right door. I am a radio and television major, meaning that I work closely on broadcasting, news, shows, and whatever is on air. But I wanted to venture further into advertising and public relations, because I knew there was a market for me in that field. I took the knowledge that I learned and found I can easily apply all of this toward a career in Advertising and Public Relations. I spoke with my Ad/PR major friends, and they were able to guide me toward potential internships and related professionals, to position myself in this unique industry. After these past few years, I’ve learned more than I thought was possible. I’ve been able to apply this knowledge to other works, and I’ve seen myself grow in ways I did not anticipate.

With all that said, my advice to fellow students is to relax. You don’t have to struggle with self-doubt. You shouldn’t take other people’s paths and fool yourself into believing that’s the only way to go. It is going to be hard when you get out there, but you need to know that if your path doesn’t work, there will always be another one. You may have to cut professional (and personal) ties and defend your ideas but know it’s only the start of something larger. You will have to go down many roads to find the one that you have been waiting for. Take charge of your future, and find the path you are looking for.


Member PRofile: Vanessa De La Viña

March 7, 2019

Vanessa De La Viña
Local Public Relations Manager, Firehouse Subs

Give a brief explanation of your job.
I am part of the Firehouse Subs Headquarters Public Relations team. My role focuses on identifying, creating and securing media opportunities for franchisees in the Southeast, Northeast and Central regions of the U.S., as well as our Canadian franchisees, to build brand awareness and help drive sales locally and regionally.

How long have you been a member of FPRA and why did you join?
I joined FPRA shortly after starting my position with Firehouse Subs last summer in hopes of networking, learning and continuing to grow in my public relations career. I’m new to the PR industry and it has been so helpful to meet others in the field and learn about the various facets of the industry.

What has been your favorite FPRA event so far?
I recently attended the February breakfast event, which featured a discussion on behavioral economics with Dr. Elizabeth Schwab, and had a great time. It was a fascinating discussion and opened my eyes to a field I didn’t even know existed. Who knew the Fyre Festival documentaries could spark such an educational discussion?

Tell us about an exciting achievement (personal or professional).
In 2017, I was nominated for an Emmy for a documentary I hosted, shot, edited and produced about the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival in North Carolina. I was also part of the morning show team that won an Emmy for Best Morning Newscast a year later.

What was your first job?
I was the New Mexico Mobile Newsroom Reporter for KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas.

Fun fact:
It’s really weird, but I can’t attend a baseball game without getting hit by the ball. I guess it’s good luck?

Contact Information:
vanessa.delavina@firehousesubs.com


Quotes Corner

February 14, 2019

Quotes’ Bright Spring Semester and What it Holds in Store

By Oluwatoyin Lasisi, VP of Membership, Quotes UCF

Oluwatoyin Lasisi

As spring comes into bloom, Quotes plans to sprout its petals this semester. With new board members bringing fresh ideas and old ones upholding all that the club stands for, this semester will prove to be one of the best.

We have already seen strides in membership with nine new members and six more on the cusp of joining as well – this all within the first three weeks of returning from winter break. We are proud to be expanding as we have, and plan to go beyond potential advertising and public relations students, working to gain students from business, marketing and more. The public relations field is extensive and vast; we hope to reach students who might have looked past the many possible opportunities they have in the field.

The past weeks have been productive and eventful ones. We held a welcome back social at Pop Parlour and had a great turn out. We spoke to prospective and returning members about what we have planned this semester, what Quotes stands for, and our purpose. There was a small giveaway and the lucky winners won an assortment of prizes. The following week we held our first faculty panel. Four instructors from the Nicholson School of Communication and Media came out and spoke about previous experiences in their respective fields and careers. One of the faculty members that joined us was former FPRA Orlando President Lindsay Hudock. The panel was a huge success with students, many of whom felt it was informative and helped them get a more in-depth understanding of what the future looks like in their potential careers. The student feedback has been great and may even lead to the panel becoming an annual event. These events were just the beginning of what we have in store for the rest of the semester. Our next event will be a tour with the City of Orlando, which we are very excited about.

We strive to become better each semester and actively look for ways to improve the organization. These events and socials have really allowed us to see what our members respond to best. We hope to build on this for an even stronger foundation for the future.

Reminder: Don’t forget about Intern Pursuit!

The FPRA student chapter – Quotes, the PR Club at UCF –  formally invites you to Intern Pursuit on March 20 at the University of Central Florida.

The bi-annual internship fair, unique to students in communication-related fields, is from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Pegasus Ballroom of the Student Union.

Intern Pursuit has been highly successful in providing great interns to employers like you in the past. This opportunity to meet with more than 200 students and find an intern is a truly unique one. We strive to give students a chance to apply what they have learned in the classroom combined with what they learn from professionals like you.

If you are interested in being an employer at this event, please fill out the application.

New this semester:

Want to help your internship stand out? Learn how to become an Intern Pursuit Featured Internship.

Sponsorship Benefits – $60, form can be downloaded here.

  • Promotion of your internship as a Featured Internship across the club’s social media platforms in the weeks leading up to Intern Pursuit
  • Your internship, including description and benefits, featured on the Quotes website complete with a link to your website
  • Event signage identifying you as a featured internship in the ballroom at Intern Pursuit
  • The opportunity to select your Intern Pursuit table location in advance

All benefits provided on a first-come, first-served basis.


LeadershipFPRA Rewind: CN Winter Symposium

February 14, 2019

By Ali Beemer

LeadershipFPRA Class III’s year is in full swing, and as a member of the class, I have to say, it’s been an amazing experience thus far. The group of 15 professionals from across Florida, seven of whom are from the FPRA Orlando chapter, reconvened for our second session January 24-25. Our group was able to participate in FPRA’s Counselors Network (CN) Winter Symposium in St. Augustine – a professional development conference attended exclusively by senior-level professionals. Not only was it a fun networking opportunity, it also gave many of us in the leadership class learning opportunities that were unmatched in our industry.

Our itinerary began with the first speaker of the symposium, David Riggleman, communications director for the City of Las Vegas, who started a powerful discussion on the mass shooting tragedy that occurred on October 1, 2017, and the city’s response. It was a raw and emotional conversation for everyone in the room, no matter the experience level. We took away many important crisis key learnings from David, who had to remain calm through his own emotions and stages of grief during the tragedy itself. One of the most impactful takeaways was the importance of having an effective emergency response plan and implementing training across all levels for alignment when tragedy strikes. Many of us are so busy with our day-to-day responsibilities that we don’t prioritize training, particularly crisis training. It was a great reminder that crisis training should be a priority and the day-to-day is not guaranteed.

Next up was Mickey Nall, APR, CPRC, to discuss the ever-changing landscape of influencer engagement and PR strategy. This is a convoluted topic for many of us since the strategy and landscape continues to evolve daily. What makes someone an influencer? Are high numbers important anymore? Do they provide the ROI that’s worth the (sometimes extremely high) price tag? Mickey gave us a true deep-dive into the world of influencers currently and what’s next, including the rise of the micro-influencer – great news, a high following doesn’t always equal high return. Plus, some really important statistics to consider when looking to increase your influencer budget (i.e. More than 50 percent of women have purchased a product endorsed by an influencer, according to Digital Marketing Institute – I’m guilty of this). And who knew that Aunt Jemima was the first influencer (thanks, Mickey)?!

After the session concluded, it was time to explore the beautiful city of St. Augustine as a group. Tours of the historic (and beautiful) Flagler College and the unique St. Augustine Distillery were on the agenda, giving us the perfect opportunity to get better acquainted with our fellow colleagues. We concluded our evening with a group dinner and compared thoughts on our experience at the Winter Symposium. For many of us in LeadershipFPRA, it was our first time at this conference and we all agreed that the opportunities offered – the intimate group size, the open conversation and the schedule of events – all made this experience smart, engaging and fun.

Interested in becoming a part of LeadershipFPRA and joining the fun? Click here to learn more about the LeadershipFPRA program and stay tuned for information on joining next year’s program.

Photo credits: Chris Gent, APR, CPRC