Wednesday, July 13, 2011

AP for PR: Enhancing public relations credibility with one simple book

Kara Winton, APR, CPRC
Is it Fla. or FL? Do I capitalize the boss’ title? These details might seem insignificant, but quite the opposite is true. Nothing gives a news release, and the public relations professional submitting it, more credibility than having these details correct. Enter the “AP Stylebook.”

Join us Aug. 2 as former journalist and PR professional Kara Winton, APR, CPRC leads a hands-on discussion about why The Associated Press style is important, common mistakes made in news releases (NOTE: news releases not press releases!), how to establish your company’s own stylebook and tips for ensuring your company or organization has credibility even if your colleagues have never heard of AP style. We’ll explore the most applicable entries in the stylebook and see how, for example, Lee County Parks & Recreation created its own consistent style.

The 2011 stylebook was just released, and we’ll learn what’s new (e-mail is now email!). You might even win one to take back to the office with you. Bring along a copy of the AP Stylebook and be entered into a drawing for a brand new spiral bound book. Seasoned professionals are encouraged to bring their oldest copy of the Stylebook, and we will give away a second stylebook to the guest with the oldest version.

Utilizing her days as a newspaper reporter and her passion for AP Style, Kara will help you walk away with practical tips to enhance the credibility of your news releases. Kara has more than 20 years of media and public relations experience as a reporter at The News-Press, public information officer for the Fort Myers Police Department and account manager for Priority Marketing. She recently embarked on her newest career as a full-time mother and part-time graduate student. She has served FPRA in several capacities and currently is credentialing co-chair.

Join us Aug. 2 and don’t forget to bring your AP Stylebook! Register online today at

Meeting Details
Tuesday, Aug. 2
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre
Cost: $20 for members
$25 for nonmembers
$12 for students

Erin Comerford named FPRA’s Rising Star

President, Pam Nulman, APR, CPRC, presents Erin Comerford with the FPRA SWFL Chapter's Rising Star Award.
Erin Comerford, public affairs coordinator with the Lee County Port Authority, has been named the FPRA Southwest Florida Chapter’s 2011 Rising Star.

The Southwest Florida’s Rising Star award recognizes an up and coming leader in our chapter. Our Rising Star is someone who has shown enthusiasm and passion for the profession, and where ever you see them they are making a positive difference through their service to chapter events, career pursuits and in our community.

Erin joined FPRA in 2007 and quickly became active in the chapter serving as sponsorship chair, website chair and on the Lee County Port Authority Image Team. This past year she stepped up to the plate again and joined the 2010-11 board of directors as treasurer. Erin has taken her role as treasurer to heart and was responsible for moving our FPRA accounts to a new bank and developing easy-to-use and understand financial reports for the board to grab the information they need to make budget approvals. She has also been very creative in looking at new ways to generate revenue and hold down costs.

Erin is always quick to jump in with a smile and extra pair of hands. She has attended every meeting and event this past year, always ready to share her FPRA cheer and terrific southern hospitality. She “starred” in the FPRA “A” team video for our chapter last year and is helping to pull together auction items for the FPRA Education Foundation fundraiser on Sunday night of this year’s conference.

Erin truly exemplifies all the attributes the Rising Star Award embodies and is a tremendous asset to the Southwest Florida chapter and our profession.

New Leadership Team in place for 2011/12

Congratulations to the 2011-2012 FPRA Southwest Florida Chapter Board of Directors. At the July FPRA meeting chapter membership unanimously voted to approve the proposed slate of officers. Please extend your congratulations and support to these chapter members who have stepped up to the plate to lead our organization in the coming year.

2011-2012 Board of Directors

President: Carla Ulakovic
President-Elect: Jessica Clark, APR
Immediate Past President: Pam Nulman, APR, CPRC
Secretary: Laura Puerto
Treasurer: open
VP Communications: Kirsten O'Donnell
VP Member Relations: Melissa Simontis, APR
VP Community Relations: Tiffany Esposito
VP Professional Development: Kate Gooderham, APR, CPRC

Our chapter is still in need of a treasurer for the coming year. If you are interesting in joining the leadership team and making a difference in our chapter, please contact Carla Ulakovic.

We also have a few committee chair positions still open and are looking for enthusiastic and passionate PR professionals to fill the slots. Contact Carla for more information and details on these fun and rewarding opportunities. Get involved, grow personally and professionally, and have fun! Be part of the 2011/12 FPRA leadership team.

President's Word: Summer Vacation

The Importance of Dialing Down and Disconnecting 

By: President, Pam Nulman, APR, CPRC

Fresh off a two week vacation, I am again reminded of how important it is for us all to step back, dial down and disconnect for a short period of time to recharge our batteries and re-energize our creativity and passion for our jobs and careers.

Today more than ever I believe we all need to take some down time and disconnect from the continuous bombardment of information, as well as our own desire to stay connected and relevant through sharing our own information.

A few years ago disconnecting meant primarily leaving work behind (which was hard enough) but now not only do we have to disconnect from work, but from the desire to post photos and share updates on every aspect of our lives as well. The very real urge to share our vacation experiences in real time is seductive and feeds directly into our digital addiction which makes it even harder to disconnect.

I understand the challenge of disconnecting and the need to have instant contact and access to information. We feel out of touch if we can’t check our email, Twitter feed or Facebook to see what’s happening in the world around us.

My secret to disconnecting? Vacationing somewhere where I’m forced to disconnect due to the lack of cell service - yes, there are still some places without cell service, even in the U.S. - because quite frankly I don’t have the willpower to completely disconnect on my own.

Last year it was two weeks in Belize and this year it was Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. While it always takes me a couple of days to decompress and go through my initial withdrawals, around about the third day I’m feeling fine without having my fingers wrapped around my phone.

Here are five positives for me when I disconnect:
  1. I sleep better. I don’t wake up in the middle of the night and I don’t reach for my phone first thing in the morning, which always kicks my stress level into gear.
  2. I notice and feel more connected to the world around me when my head isn’t bent down focused on a 2” x 4” screen.
  3. Conversations with family and friends are very different when everyone isn’t checking their phone every few minutes.
  4. I am much more apt to strike up a conversation with strangers and have met some extremely interesting people.
  5. If I do start thinking about work (and at some point I always do) I find I’m more easily inspired and can come to clear resolutions and decision much faster.
I am back home now and ready to jump back into work and life after a wonderful two week respite of communing with nature, connecting with family and meeting new people.

As for my phone, it’s a part of me again and on the way home I put it to good use scoping out vacation destinations for next year.

- Pam

Clear your calendars – it is time for PR University!

Join us on Friday, November 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. as we gather to be challenged and our skills put to the test at PR University – The Art of PR. This full-day professional seminar will examine trends in the changing market and the fusion of new media and traditional communication elements - all while giving you the opportunity to sketch your first idea or create another masterpiece!

The Art of PR will include presentations from some of the industry’s best professionals. Our feature presenter for the event will be Dr. Hank Hine, Director of the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg.

Coffee breaks and lunch will be provided.
Seats are limited for this event, so register early.
RSVP Deadline is October 28, 2011.

PR University - The Art of PR
Location: Crowne Plaza Hotel
Date: November 04, 2011
Time: 8:30 a.m.

Sign up now!

Tale of a PR Intern

By:  David Simmons

 Life as an Intern: Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce

Talk about the fastest month ever! My life as an intern at the Chamber was a great experience. I learned a lot about how the Chamber works and the events they host around the community. This experience provided me with a different outlook on PR which I loved. Even though I had planned events, I had no idea of the magnitude and diverse range of events the Chamber hosted.

The first major project I assisted with was the “B2B Business Expo.” I assisted Gabbi and Tiffany with all the details of the event. My job was to create a flyer/brochure, which was something that I had never done before. Five hours later, it was done. It was definitely a “high-five” moment, and I felt proud.

During my time as an intern, I was able to meet tons of people at events, meetings, and even the nicest volunteers who worked with the Chamber. Every person involved with the Chamber cares for his or her community and business, which provided me with an extremely positive outlook on businesses in 2011. The economy hasn’t completely bounced back, but it’s great to see the positive attitude among members. I am so grateful for this experience and cannot thank FPRA, and those involved, enough. My time at the Chamber was valuable and will definitely help with my future career goals. Thank you to Tiffany, Gabbi, and the Chamber Team.

The FPRA internship features several different PR experiences, and next I will be heading to the Lee County Library Systems to work with Margie Byers, and several events that they have planned. Stay tuned for the next installment of “My life as an intern.”

Credentialing Corner

By: Kate Gooderham, APR, CPRC

The purpose of the “Credentialing Corner” is to give FPRA members ideas they can use. As you’ve seen over the past two years, the ideas have run the gamut. My idea this month is really simple: Do something different. So often we are so busy that we just put one foot in front of the other and keep going – take care of kids, go to work, spend time with our spouse and so on. After awhile, we lose our creativity --our most prized possession.

I’ll tell you about some of the things I do in hopes these ideas may help you. First, I go to the FPRA annual conference. Not only do I learn a great deal, but it completely changes my days from doing to listening and thinking. I’m a great note taker, so I have two pieces of paper -- one is for notes from the speaker, and the other is for ideas the speaker inspires. Often they have nothing to do with what the speaker says. At conference, I’m just more open to them.

Second, I exercise. I swim, bicycle and walk, which provide opportunities to think. Yoga teaches me how to herd those thoughts. Other exercises force us to think only about the activity, giving the mind a change. I understand golf is like that. All of the above give you a chance think differently.

Finally, I look for new challenges that force me to look at the world in a new way. I just became a certified race director and am part of a group putting on the Galloway Captiva Triathlon. The whole process has taught me a great deal about myself and my capabilities. Whatever you choose, do something different to stimulate your mind.

State Conference Update: Networking event and measurement session added

"The Phil" Founder and CEO,
Myra Janco Daniels
This year’s jammed packed state conference August 7-10 has added two new events: a special networking event on Monday evening, August 8th at the Naples Philharmonic and Art Museum and a new breakout session "Using Monitoring and Measurement to Advance Organizational Goals," offering insight on how best to use quantitative and qualitative metrics to better your PR efforts.

If you haven’t been to “The Phil” this is your chance to get a behind the scenes tour at one of Southwest Florida’s cultural gems. Complimentary beverages and hors d'oeuvres will be served while you mingle with fellow PR pros. This unique opportunity to enjoy the facility - normally closed at this time of year – is extended to the FPRA by its founder and CEO Myra Janco Daniels, who will also be the conference opening speaker on Monday, August 8.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from industry leaders, learn the latest in trends affecting our industry and connect with PR professionals throughout Florida.

Early registration ends July 15. Act now and reserve your spot at the professional development and networking event of the year. Register online here.

Professional Philanthropy: Giving of Your Time

Dr. East was the guest speaker at the July FPRA Business Meeting.
Dr. Julia East spoke to the Southwest Florida Chapter of FPRA on the various aspects of philanthropy and how to determine what to volunteer, whether it is your time, services, or money. She also went over the questions you should ask before joining a Board for a non-profit to determine if it is something that you can be passionate about and work with.

Many times, when an individual is considering volunteering their time, or joining a Board for a non-profit, there is a wide range of research that goes into it. Some people research everything about the organization, while others may not do any research at all, and everything in between.

Dan Whicker, Dr. Julia East and FPRA President, Pam Nulman, APR, CPRC
What are some of the ways that you can volunteer for a non-profit without serving in a Board role? You can bring something to the organization that you handle for your every day career, in our case, Public Relations. Volunteering to handle some of the PR services for the organization would be very helpful. Additionally, in the PR field, many of you have network connections to various vendors and suppliers that could be helpful to the organization. Taking the step to connect the two would be another great way to offer your services.

Maybe you only want to volunteer your time without the focus on your specific set of experiences. In that case, you can just contact the organization and state you want to help in any way possible, but make sure you do set parameters. Otherwise it could turn out badly for you and the organization. Let them know maybe that you can only volunteer so many days a week or for a set amount of time, but you are willing to do whatever is necessary in that time frame. This allows the parameters to be set out up front and there will be no surprises.

You could also involve your families, kids, or friends to make it like an adventure. This could become a traditional event by coming a certain day of the week, or time of year, like every Thanksgiving. Then the organization knows to expect you and what you can assist with.

Money is always welcome at non-profits, because it is a resource that they can use to purchase what they need. Another resource that would be helpful is if you or your employer has any excess items, like paper or materials, to donate that to the non-profit as well. Materials like this can be used by any organization.

Board Participation:
Board training is always something that would be great to go through if you can find it in your area, or receive it from the non-profit organization that you are considering becoming a Board member for.

Before volunteering, know some key things:
  • Do you care about what the non-profit does, do you know what it does?
  • Talk to past Board members to learn about the Board and non-profit
  • Do your due diligence in the organization
  • Make sure that the primary reason you are volunteering is because it feeds your soul, or is something you are passionate about.
  • Questions you should ask before joining a Board:
  • Does the non-profit have Director/Officer insurance, and if so how much?
  • Will you be expected to make a financial contribution to the organization and if so, how much or how often?
  • How long is the term?
  • Are there any pending lawsuits?
  • What are your expectations on meetings/attendance/time participation?
  • Who else is on the Board and can you work together?
  • What is the relationship between the Board and the non-profit staff?
  • Ask to see the form 990 and any audited financials.
  • Do they have a strategic plan?
  • Do you understand their mission?
  • Who would be the lead staff member you work with or report to and can you work together?
  • Look at any partner agencies. How do the work together? Are there any duplicate services?
  • Have you visited the site to see how services are offered?
  • Look at their by-laws and codes.
  • Ask to see Minutes from previous Board meetings.
  • If it is a local non-profit, does it report to a national branch? If so, how is that relationship?

Michelle’s Angels Foundation

A special “Thank You” goes out to Michelle's Angels Foundation, our sponsor for our July 12th business luncheon. Michelle’s Angels Foundation is a faith based, non-denominational 501c3 charity which provides love, hope and compassion to those who quietly suffer. Founded in 2004, the Michelle's Angels Foundation is lead by a unique team of volunteer professionals across America from New York to Florida, Texas to Tennessee.

President Pam Nulman, APR, CPRC, Sponsor Randy Mitchelson and President Elect,
Carla  Ulakovic at the FPRA SWFL Chapter's July business meeting.
 The Foundation is special in many ways including its partnership with singer/songwriters (the Foundation refers to them as Angel Artists) from across America who provide their gifts of music in hopes that by doing so, they are comforting the hearts of those who are hurting. Michelle's Angels provides free services such as:
  1. on-line Prayer List and Remembrance List
  2. moving and compelling stories on its website
  3. Hope Concerts in an ailing community
  4. bedside performances before patients of hospitals, cancer treatment centers, surgical wards and HOSPICE’
The Michelle's Angels Foundation is touching lives while turning away no one regardless of their faith, ethnic origin, location or nature of their suffering. The Foundation's online Prayer List is an unprecedented community of prayer which has repeatedly been credited with restoring the faith, hope or courage among those afflicted with anyone of life's many challenges.

The online Remembrance List is intended to comfort families who have lost a loved one while providing all who visit the Foundation's website with an opportunity to learn more about one who has passed and then remembering them in their prayers.

Other examples of programs initiated by the Michelle's Angels Foundation include but are not limited to monthly outreach calls to people on the prayer list who are suffering to insure they are OK and not in need of any assistance. The Foundation is also conducting a national campaign in search of kidney donors. Each year on the first Wednesday of March the Foundation stages its "Gentlemen, Hug Your Brides Day", a sentimental reminder for husbands to appreciate their brides.

Southwest Florida companies that share similar values to the spirit of Michelle's Angels can support the organization through sponsorships of events like Hope Concerts or sponsorship of "Gentlemen, Hug Your Brides Day". In addition, employees within organizations can get involved as angel volunteers, providing professional help in areas such as accounting, event organization, website communications, social media and contacting people who are listed on the Michelle's Angels prayer list to let them know someone cares.

One Southwest Florida business supporting Michelle’s Angels is National Web Leads, a Southwest Florida based company that delivers technology solutions to the internet marketing industry. Led by owner Randy Mitchelson, National Web Leads is living the spirit of our July meeting theme - Professional Philanthropy: Giving of your time. National Web Leads has partnered with the Michelle's Angels Foundation and invests both financial and professional resources.

One of National Web Leads' customer groups is financial institutions. In that light, National Web Leads is underwriting the creation of a Financial Toolbox service for Michelle's Angels. This will provide families with access to experts and resources to help deal with the financial ramifications of life altering and life shortening circumstances such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and other life challenges.

For more information on Michelle’s Angels visit: