Quotes Corner

August 7, 2014


Summer Break: A college prof heads to work instead of the beach

By: Joan McCain
Program coordinator of the Ad/PR program at UCF

With my oldest child starting college this summer, I decided to not teach a summer course for the first time since 2006 to spend as much time as possible before she started classes during summer session. I decided that in February, and over March’s Spring Break I took a dozen students on a tour of advertising agencies and PR firms in Chicago. I have done the same tour in New York and San Francisco every Spring Break since 2009.

Those tours remind me how much I loved working in an ad agency myself, and I decided to take that nostalgia and use it for, what I called, a “professional sabbatical.” The first agency I thought of calling was Fry Hammond Barr, in downtown Orlando. In my professional life before UCF, the company I worked for hired FHB as its agency, and I recruited and hired Sandra Gerlt, FHB’s associate creative director, to teach Advertising Copywriting as an adjunct.

I called Sandra and asked if I could be an intern in the creative department, writing ad copy three days a week over the summer.

The timing was perfect, as a recent Ad/PR alum, Cesar Vallejo, who had been hired as a copywriter, had gotten accepted into the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP) program, which is a 10-week summer internship program sponsored by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), and he would be working in Austin, Texas all summer. I could take his place.

So, I started three weeks before Cesar left for his internship to get trained. I went to FHB Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and wrote radio spots, print collateral, digital ads, and print ads for Stein Mart and Nemours Children’s Hospital. I spent 12 weeks as an intern.

I wanted to use this experience to see what has changed and learn new industry practices that I could bring to the classroom. And what has surprised me is how little has really changed. Yes, there are new digital tools for doing things like time sheets and file storage, and Facebook ads now require copywriters to write in Excel in a rigid character count (man, was that a culture shock). But the idea generation, the project management, the relationships between agency and client–none of that has really changed. It’s like riding a bike.

I am extremely grateful to FHB for giving me this opportunity and allowing me to work with its incredibly talented team. And this experience showed me how being an intern is an incredibly learning experience—no matter how old you are.



Chapter Rewind: 2013 Professional Development Workshop

November 4, 2013

In the Public Eye
By: Lorena Streeter
FPRA Orlando VP of Professional Development

There’s just something about the first chilly day of fall … like Mother Nature replacing an air-conditioning system with even cooler … yes, it was chilly. Yes, there were technical glitches (the Wi-Fi wasn’t working). But isn’t PR all about making it shine when you can’t find the Tarn-X? Maybe that’s just me. Regardless, the OAC-FPRA Professional Development day defied the elements and drew nearly 50 people—many of them non-FPRA members—out to Leu Gardens for five great presentations.

Leading off were Rick Roach (Orange County Public Schools) and Ron Thomas (Full Sail University) in our first pair of breakout sessions.

Rick, who’s not on social media (he’d rather meet you over coffee), noted that Orange County is the 9th largest school district in the country. He then led into a discussion of things that most companies face: How to turn a negative into a positive, bad things happen, how do you prepare, is there a pipeline for good news?

He also included examples of OCPS challenges in the good news/bad news mix.

In his presentation “Marketing Your Crisis,” Dr. Thomas spoke about being prepared in crisis situations, whether they’re routine emergencies (spring break in Panama City Beach) or all out crises. The four phases of emergency management, as Dr. Thomas explains, are: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. Interestingly, these stages were tied to the four Ps of marketing. “How do you promote your product without being crass during the response stage of a crisis?” he asked. The answer: lend cars marked with your company’s logo to the cause.

The second pair of breakouts were led by Grant Heston (UCF) and Megan Licata, APR (Fry Hammond Barr).

Grant’s session—titled “What a Playboy Playmate Taught Me about Issues Management”—addressed some specific situations faced by UCF in recent years and key takeaways from those situations.

Access Magazine—how to deal when a model takes a controversial picture on your campus and it’s on the cover of a campus magazine

  • It’s important to talk to your other teams—in this case, the Athletics Dept.
  • Get a handle on the facts before the problem gets bigger
  • 90% of the time you only know 10% of what’s happening
  • Don’t assume something is going to go away

UCF’s freshman honors dorms possibly not opening on time for the fall semester—do they tell the students and parents and prepare alternative housing, or just hope that the building will be finished on time?

Good Morning America calls because they heard 500 of your students were caught cheating after they got ahold of a test ahead of time, and they’d like to come take a look at your testing lab and interview your professor and students. What do you do?

  • Is it best to be upfront and try to dissolve the “problem” before it gets even bigger?
  • When possible, prep who is speaking as much as possible for the best outcome

Grant’s tips on surviving in issues management

  • Relationships matter
  • Establish a process to discuss issues
  • Listen inside and outside, and to your gut
  • Shorten the lifespan
  • Know your organization’s “heat index”

Megan Licata, APR and Kate Thomas’ talk on “Peabody Ducks: End of an Era” began with the portrayal of the Peabody as a beloved hotel in Orlando, and the trials of promoting it as a business destination using a small flock of ducks as iconic ambassadors. When the hotel was unexpectedly sold, Megan and Kate struggled with being told to remain silent and wanting to help quell the fears the Orlando residents had about the ducks. “What is going to happen to the ducks?” was asked countless times, even going national in its exposure. In their talk, Megan and Kate presented a very real problem they had to fight to be in charge of, regardless of whether or not they would be with the hotel after the sale—a serious possibility hanging over their heads. However, a duty to convey the correct message to the public and to preserve the name of the Peabody eventually led the duo to a successful final Peabody campaign and introduction of the new Hyatt Regency Orlando. The in-depth presentation provided a good look at balancing the different interests, messages, and audiences during a business negotiation that involved more than just the principals.

The luncheon keynote was a briefing on the use of social media site Pinterest for marketing and PR purposes, presented by Kim Matlock, Hard Rock International’s Director of Digital and CRM. In part a “Pinterest 101,” the session covered the basics, including statistics (80% of users are female; the average visit is 14 minutes), and dove into the “why” of Pinterest. The site is based on visual appeal and interest—rather than relationships—making it a useful site for branding and connecting over content—what your brand is about, which fortunately creates more statistics: people follow brands they connect to, they make shopping decisions based on pins, and they share with their friends.

Orlando Members Shine at State Conference

August 13, 2013

Several members from our chapter were honored for leadership and excellent public relations programs at the state conference this month. Thank you for making your chapter proud!

State Board Executive Committee Installed


Three Orlando Area Chapter members were officially installed as members of the state board’s executive committee. Chris Gent, APR, CPRC will lead the state association this coming year as President. Amanda Forbes Mestdagh, APR will serve as VP of Technology and Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC will serve as Counselor’s Network Chair.

Awards for Service to FPRA

Congratulations to Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC, the winner of the Past President’s Award, which recognizes a senior member who has served the association time and time again. This special award recognizes a member who has achieved success in the field of public relations, but who has not forgotten FPRA.

Congratulations to Kerry Martin, APR for being honored as a member of the Rising Leader Class of 2013! Members of this class are up-and-coming FPRA members who have demonstrated emerging leadership traits along with dedicated active involvement in FPRA chapter activities and participation in programs, functions and events.

Congratulations to Cynthia Lambert, APR, the winner of the 2012-2013 Doris Fleischman Unsung Heroes Award! This award is intended to recognize an individual who consistently provides support and assistance to FPRA. It is meant to honor a member for his/her “behind the scenes” work and FPRA volunteer efforts that go unnoticed by chapter members and are not recognized by other awards programs.

Golden Image Awards

Congratulations to all the folks below who won big at Image Awards! View photos from the gala hereClick this link to view the complete list of winners by category.


UCF News & Information
Zenaida Kotala
Category A: Public Relations Programs; Division 9: Special Events
Golden Image Award & Judges’ Award
UCF’s Asteroid Encounter

Fry Hammond Barr
Allison Pope-Shutts
Christina Morton, APR
Category A: Public Relations Programs; Division 9: Special Events
Award of Distinction
Nemours Children’s Hospital Dedication Ceremony

MetroPlan Orlando
Cynthia Lambert, APR
Mary Ann Horne
Division B: Printed Tools of PR; Category 1: Annual Report
Grand All Golden Image Award, Golden Image Award, and Judges’ Award
What’s Next?: MetroPlan Orlando 2012 Annual Report

Curley & Pynn
Division B: Printed Tools of PR; Category 3: Magazine
Golden Image
Florida High Tech Corridor Council – florida.HIGH.TECH 2012

UCF News & Information
Zenaida Kotala
Division B: Printed Tools of PR; Category 6: News Release
Award of Distinction & Judges’ Award
Milky Way Cupcakes: A Savior for NASA’s Non-Manned Missions?

Florida Hospital Best in Care Team
Florida Hospital Experience Network
Division B: Printed Tools of PR; Category 6: News Release
Judges’ Award
100 Seizures a Day: Surgery Saves Boy’s Life

Curley & Pynn
Division C: Audio/Visual/Online Tools of PR; Category 4: Online Newsletter
Award of Distinction & Judges’ Award
Visit South Walton – South Walton “What’s New” eNewsletter

Florida Hospital Best in Care Team
Florida Hospital Experience Network
Division C: Audio/Visual/Online Tools of PR; Category 6: Video –Public Service/More than one minute
Judges’ Award
Epilepsy Explained: Finding the Right Treatment


December 15, 2010

ORLANDO, FL…Fry Hammond Barr, a leading full service marketing and communications agency based in Orlando, recently promoted Maria Aller to interactive art director and Annika Sundell to public relations account executive.

“I am pleased to announce the recent promotions in the creative and public relations departments,” stated Pete Barr, Jr., president and CEO of Fry Hammond Barr.  “These promotions will help strengthen the agency and allow us to continue to provide our clients with the exceptional service they expect.”

Maria Aller - Fry Hammond Barr

Maria Aller

Aller, who has been with Fry Hammond Barr since 2008, was recently promoted to interactive art director.  Her responsibilities in this new role with Fry Hammond Barr’s digital unit include directing user experience through the visual design and usability of online display advertisements, websites, smart phone applications and social media assets. Aller has seven years experience in an advertising agency and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla.

Annika Sundell - Fry Hammond Barr

Annika Sundell

In her new role as public relations account executive, Sundell will lead a variety of public relations disciplines including media relations, community relations, social media, research and consultation for multiple clients. With Fry Hammond Barr since 2008, Sundell earned an MBA from the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business in Winter Park, Fla.

About Fry Hammond Barr

Fry Hammond Barr, best known for its results oriented communications programs, represents many retail and consumer brands including Bright House Networks, Nemours, Stein Mart, The Peabody Orlando and Moffitt Cancer Center.  As a full-service agency with offices in Orlando and Tampa Bay, Fry Hammond Barr offers a wide range of services including advertising, public relations, interactive and marketing communications consulting.  The agency was founded in 1957 and currently employs a team of approximately 60 professionals.  In 2009, the agency’s billings were more than $70 million.