Chapter Rewind | Crisis Communications Professional Development Workshop with Sachs Media Group

November 7, 2017

By Jonathan Gabriel

(From left to right) Ron Sachs, Sachs Media Group Founder & CEO; Lindsay Hudock, FPRA Orlando Area Chapter President; John Peck, Sachs Media Group Vice President of Public Relations; and, Jeff Grainger, Florida Municipal Power Agency Public Relations Specialist II

Last month at the UCF Executive Development Center, the FPRA Orlando Area Chapter received hands-on training in the essentials of crisis communications from Ron Sachs, Jon Peck and the team at Sachs Media Group, a strategic communications firm headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida. Both Sachs, founder and CEO of the company, and Peck, vice president of public relations, worked in journalism and served as top communications aides for Florida governors.

“He is possibly the most accomplished media consultant in the state of Florida,” said Lindsay Hudock, FPRA Orlando president, about Sachs. “His thought leadership and ideas have created projects that generate local, state, national and even worldwide attention.”

Sachs and Peck split attendees into two groups and gave them a simulated crisis to handle. Picture the scene: a tractor trailer carrying potentially hazardous materials has exploded and burst into flames in the fictitious city of Jenkins, Florida. As the city’s PIO, what do you do?

Breakout Session

“We want you to think through the responses that would be required from the various agencies, including the city, your elected officials, police department, school district, local emergency management,” said Peck.

Of course, like a real crisis, things on the ground didn’t stand still, forcing communicators to adapt their strategies to accommodate new situations. As groups discussed effective responses, Sachs and his team shared new information learned about the crisis, including social media posts and TV news reports created especially for this exercise. Members of each group were selected as spokespeople and held a simulated press conference with questions from the media – played by Sachs and Peck – that they had to field on the fly.

Kacie Escobar taking the role as spokesperson during a simulated crisis

FPRA members learned the importance of developing a coherent plan, since in a crisis, events move fast. And thanks to Sachs Media Group, they now have a greater understanding of crisis communications that they can take back to their workplace.

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Quotes Corner

November 6, 2017

Domenica Aycart
Quotes, the PR Club at UCF Webmaster

This semester, I took on the challenge of redesigning the Quotes website. I wanted it to be attention-grabbing and very informative. Since Quotes’ website attracts our student members as well as employers, thanks to our Intern Pursuit section, the website must contain information that is relevant and useful to both.

With this in mind, I changed the layout of the site for a more sophisticated look, added all of the blogs written by our past and former members, created photo albums of our past agency tours and speaker meetings, and placed widgets that promote our different social media pages.

What I learned by working on the website is that you should do extensive research on the platform or platforms that you are using to communicate your message. Without proper research on the platform, you are not taking full advantage of the tools provided, which could really make a difference on how your content is received by your audience. For example, with WordPress, the platform our Quotes website runs on, it is essential to know how to properly use and strategically place the widgets on your page.

Using embedded widgets allows me to promote our social media pages and let members know about any upcoming events without having to send out constant reminders. To communicate effectively using WordPress, you should have a basic understanding of how analytics work; this allows you to keep track of your website’s traffic and top performing posts.

Receiving feedback from our faculty advisor, Lindsay Hudock, and my fellow executive board members has been essential to redesigning the website. They are constantly working with me to brainstorm the type of content our members would like to see on the website and what is the best way to display it. Their different points of view allow me to create content that really engages our members. For example, promoting the blog posts that past and current members have written is beneficial to both employers and students, since they allow employers to read about what we have been working on during the year, and it allows students to learn about the different ways you can better yourself in the public relations field.

Constantly updating our website with new blog posts and pictures from past events is a great way to establish good communication with our members, because keeping our content fresh keeps our members coming back to the website and allows future members to develop an interest in our club. Change is constant, and we need to take into account our audience’s needs. Sometimes events or meetings need to be rescheduled, and in order to keep our members and employers updated, it is of the essence to spread any changes on our website as well as our social media.

Being in charge of our website has been a very rewarding experience. I have learned new strategies on how to properly communicate with different audiences, and have mastered WordPress. I am very thankful to Quotes for giving me the chance to be their webmaster.

Visit the website at quotesucf.com.


Quotes Corner

October 11, 2017

Alyssa Harrell
Quotes, the PR Club at UCF

You’re Invited to Intern Pursuit
By Alyssa Harrell, Quotes UCF

Mark your calendars for Oct. 19 for one of the best opportunities to find an amazing intern! Quotes, the PR Club at UCF, invites you to attend our bi-annual premier internship event. Intern Pursuit is an excellent opportunity to meet talented and motivated students who are seeking an internship!

This event is held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Pegasus Ballroom of the Student Union on UCF’s main campus. Intern Pursuit is the largest internship fair unique to communication students. With over 200 students in attendance each semester this event offers a great chance to connect with students. Our goal is to help students combine what they have learned in their classes with what they learn from professionals like you.

If you are interested in being an employer at this event please fill out an application here

If you have any questions please feel free to email me at quotesevents@gmail.com

I look forward to sharing our best and brightest with you! #IPUCF


Chapter Rewind | The Importance of Political Communication

October 11, 2017

By Julie Hall, APR

Andy Gardiner, former Florida Senate president and current senior vice president of External Affairs and Community Relations at Orlando Health and FPRA Orlando Area Chapter President Lindsay Hudock.

Last month, the FPRA Orlando Area Chapter enjoyed a fascinating discussion with Andy Gardiner, former Florida Senate president and current senior vice president of External Affairs and Community Relations at Orlando Health. Andy provided his thoughts on the importance of political PR and how the communications landscape has drastically changed over his more than 17 years in politics.

Gone are the days when political candidates relied solely on the editorial boards of daily newspapers and direct mail to get their message out during a campaign. Today, thanks to social media, the speed of communication is much faster. Candidates have more control to get their message out first in the channel of their choosing. This creates more opportunities for candidates to tailor their political communications, strategically targeting their constituents and the most influential members of their voting “base.” Andy predicts the power of social media will only intensify in future political races at the state and federal level.

After Andy’s presentation, former FPRA state president Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC, installed the Orlando Area Chapter board members who had yet to take their official positions on the 2017-2018 board.

Julie Hall, APR
Vice President of Communications

Katarina Dos Santos
Assistant Treasurer

Caroline Tanner
Assistant VP of Membership

Jeff Grainger, APR (right)
President-Elect

A special thanks to our sponsor, Studio 17 Television, for helping make this presentation possible!

Studio 17 Television founder Walter Phuego


Member PRofile: Caroline Tanner

October 11, 2017

Caroline Tanner
Senior Director of Events and Communications
Easterseals Florida

Give a brief explanation of your job. 

Easterseals is a non-profit serving children and adults with disabilities in 40 of the 67 counties in Florida. Services provided include inclusive child development centers, vocational training, adult day training, military respite care, a recreational camp for all abilities and education opportunities for young adults. In my role, I am responsible for statewide PR and marketing for all our programs as well as leading a team of event managers in planning fundraising events in Tampa, Orlando, West Palm Beach and Naples.

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

I have been in FPRA for 10 years, eight years as a member of the Central West Coast Chapter and now into my second year as a member of the Orlando chapter. I joined FPRA because I knew nothing about marketing and PR as I had studied sociology and wanted to learn all I could to grow in the profession.

What was your favorite FPRA event?

Conference, Image Awards and the scholarship fundraiser

Tell us about an exciting achievement.

I have always loved being an FPRA member so one of my biggest accomplishments was serving as Chapter President of the Central West Coast Chapter of FPRA.

What was your first job?

My first job in PR was for Easterseals Southwest Florida, in Sarasota, as the Community Relations Director.

Tell us something people may not know about you.

I have lived in six countries and five states.

Contact information: CTanner@fl.easterseals.com


Quotes Corner

September 14, 2017

Sebastian Hernandez
Quotes, the PR Club at UCF

It’s a new year for Quotes, the student public relations chapter at UCF! Meet the new board here.

New Quotes member Sebastian Hernandez had this reflection to share:

“Life’s purpose is to live…” Brendon Burchard.

I started to bloom as a student when Dr. Manzueta, a mentor, friend and past professor, shone a light on unseen paths in the communication field.

My life before college was pretty average: never really good at sports, not the best in school, and not the most outgoing as a kid. But once my college career started, the influence of Dr. Manzueta and my family allowed me to discover my talents. And once college began, I had one goal in mind. A 4.0. That’s something I never really had in life. Goals. But I was driven to do more than just getting good grades. I wanted to truly learn, not only in the classroom but outside of it. Not only learn theories, but learn about people, because I can learn from every single experience and person I come across.

Everyone you meet will tell you your college years will fly by. That was exactly the case during freshman year, and during the last couple of weeks at Seminole State College, I realized my contribution to this world – my voice, and what I had to say. This built a new spark inside of me and I grew in awe of what I and many others consider a lost art. Communication.

As I excitedly tore open my UCF acceptance letter, I knew from the moment I was accepted I had to do something in the Nicholson School of Communication. I researched the majors and realized that my passions towards relationships drove me to one major only – advertising and public relations.

As my excitement grew over the summer, I realized that I couldn’t just focus on getting good grades again. I had to build relationships and keep learning. That’s why I decided to join Quotes. An unexpected feeling creeped in while at Quotes’ first social of the semester, a feeling of being home. And home isn’t where you are from but where you feel your true self.

As the Quotes social kickoff came to an end, I learned about the opportunities the organizations had to offer, such as networking and internships. And as the semester begins, I believe that Quotes will educate me in ways that a classroom setting will never be able to. Going on tours, seeing different agencies, listening to different speakers and networking will open untraveled paths in the field of public relations.

The like-minded people at Quotes gave me a sneak peek into what I want to do after graduation: building relationships, maintaining them and most of all, living my life’s purpose – communicating.


Chapter Rewind | Board Recognition & Installation Breakfast

September 14, 2017

By Alayna Curry, APR

2017-2018 FPRA Orlando Area Chapter Board of Directors

What a year! Last month, our chapter gathered at The COOP in Winter Park for our annual board recognition and installation breakfast. As outgoing chapter president, I kicked off the meeting with some of our major accomplishments for the year. Each member of the board played a crucial role in the great success we had and I’m thrilled that 15 of those people are sticking around for another year of leadership.

Next, we recognized the winners of our two annual awards, Member of the Year and the Bob Davis Award. This year’s Member of the Year is Kayla Stanley, APR. Kayla recently received her accreditation in public relations (APR) and immediately jumped back in to help others going through the process as well. Her company, Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA), is a huge supporter of our local chapter, sponsoring a number of our events over the last year. Her team also took home one of the top three awards at the state’s Golden Image Awards in August. I’m excited that Kayla has joined the 2017-2018 board, demonstrating that she’s a true leader and an extraordinary member.

Kayla Torpey, APR
Member of the Year

Our Bob Davis Award winner is Megan Paquin, APR. This award is given to someone who works tirelessly behind the scenes, and Megan did just that. She joined the board in a brand new role last year as VP of Sponsorships, working closely with several members of the board to help streamline the sponsorship process. Her efforts brought in more than $6,300 for our chapter! Megan wasn’t able to be at our breakfast, so two board members and I surprised her with the award in front of her peers later that morning at her office.

Megan Paquin, APR
Bob Davis Award

While all great things must come to an end, a new year of excitement begins again! Former state president Terri Behling, APR, CPRC installed the 2017-2018 board, which includes six new faces as well as our new chapter president, Lindsay Hudock.

Former state president Terri Behling, APR, CPRC installs our new chapter president, Lindsay Hudock

During her closing remarks, Lindsay challenged us with these wise words: Be the kind of leader that people want to follow. She’s worked hard to put together a strong team that I know will do an excellent job leading our chapter. It’s pretty neat that six of Lindsay’s former PR students from UCF are serving on the board this year. Clearly, Lindsay is the kind of leader that people want to follow!

Our board already has some great plans for the chapter this year! Stay tuned. You don’t want to miss it.