Friday, December 28, 2012

I can't live without...

My wireless mouse and keyboard

By: Trish Robertson

Being a lefty in a right-handed world, you can get accustomed to certain things like cutting with regular scissors and even learning how to bat right-handed on a softball team, but some things like controlling your mouse with your right hand is just not comfortable.

My co-workers tease me regularly because I’m constantly re-arranging my office, but it’s been since I got my new wireless mouse and keyboard last year that I’ve rearranged anything.  Having these two items allow me to place everything exactly where I need it to feel comfortable without having to run wires and cables all across my office. 

Speaking of rearranging…I think it’s due time to see how my cork board looks behind me…

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Calling PR Pros!!

Have you ever considered volunteering in a leadership role for the Southwest Chapter of FPRA?  If so, this is the perfect opportunity for you, the chapter is searching for our next PR University Chair.  This position can be a single chair, or it can have two co-chairs.  PRU has been an annual event for years, so the resources and ‘blueprint’ are already in place, and previous committee members are willing to assist in the planning.  PRU chairs can also form a committee to help in the planning of this exceptional event.  This is a great opportunity to try out a leadership role for FPRA and start taking the steps to other positions in the future.  For more information about this, please contact Carla Ulakovic at  

Southwest Florida Chapter Community Connection: Opportunities to Give Back as a PR Professional

Interested in a new way to give back? How about the FPRA Community Connection?

As public relations professionals we have unique strategies and skills that may benefit our area’s non-profit organizations who are facing challenges generating awareness or raising funds.  You can help! 

By giving just a few hours per year of your time, you can be connected to one of our qualifying organizations to consult for advice on implementing a special event, creating a fundraising campaign or helping develop a PR plan.

Pro Bono Consultant requires:
*At least five years experience in public relations
*Three to four hours of your time per year as a pro bono consultant
*A follow up report to the FPRA Board

If you meet the criteria and are interested in giving back in this way, please email by Feb. 15, 2013 and let us know.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

President's Word

I know we all feel that the years go by faster and faster, which is probably due in part to the very busy schedules we all keep in the field of PR.  I hope that each and every one of you had a wonderful holiday with your families and friends.  I feel like we all have multiple families, with FPRA being a family in and of itself.  I have found that over the years I have made so many great friends due to my membership in FPRA, and I truly value them all.  Knowing how amazing this organization is, I hope you invite others to join our FPRA “family” to further enhance not only their professional lives, but their personal lives as well. 

We have a great opportunity coming up for anyone interested in learning more about our chapter.  Just before the January 8 business meeting at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater, we will host a  “new member orientation” that will offer an overview of the many ways FPRA can help you realize your professional goals and how to make the most of membership.  For more information, contact Melissa Cofta at  Make sure to sign up online for the January Business meeting as well, where Allison Blankenship will cover “Communicating Under Pressure.”   Let’s make sure that 2013 is another great year for the Southwest Chapter of FPRA!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December Member Spotlight

In a time of reflection of the past year and preparing for the new one, Tiffany Esposito-Kittinger, APR, certainly has accomplished a lot this year and has some pretty good advice for us pertaining to her journey earning her APR. If you are setting goals to finally get accredited, be sure to check out our interview below with Ms. Esposito-Kittinger!

What do you feel was your biggest challenge (or fear) was getting your accreditation (the test, number of flash cards, etc)? 
My biggest fear going in was the readiness review which is an oral presentation in front of a panel. Everyone told me that it was the easiest part but I was still concerned. It ended up being the easiest part and afterwards I was kicking myself for getting so worked up about it. In my opinion, the most difficult part of the process was the written readiness review portion that I had to submit prior to the oral presentation. It wasn’t difficult just very time consuming and I felt like I could constantly add to it.

In a short summary, can you provide the steps you took to get your APR (classes, readiness reviews…)?

The first thing I did was research. I wanted to know what I was getting myself into. I spoke to Kara Winton, the chapter’s credentialing chair, and she told me all about the process and where I could find additional information. I read everything on the UAB and FPRA websites regarding accreditation and decided it was something I was ready to pursue.

After I made the commitment I started attending the study sessions with Kara. They were once a week for about three hours. I was getting married three months after I started this process and was determined not to study on my honeymoon so the next thing I did was create a timeline with Kara’s help. We set milestone dates, scheduled my oral review, submitted my official application to the UAB and I started studying. Kara does an amazing job structuring the study sessions to make the entire process palatable. I did small sections of the written readiness review each week and worked on my oral presentation plan and materials as I went. I think the key to the process is to take it in small bites. It is a lot of work and not something you can do in a weekend. I also studied the flash cards as I went and the day before I sat for the written exam I literally did nothing but study flash cards for 13 hours just memorizing definitions and concepts.

During this time I was also taking two graduate courses at FGCU so I treated it like another class and did the work alongside my homework. I did my readiness review oral presentation a month before I took the written exam and sat for the written portion five days before my wedding. I received the official letter in the mail stating that I passed the day of my wedding. It was the best wedding present ever!

If you can give a piece of advice to someone who is preparing to take the next step and earn their APR, what would that be?

Something I would have changed was to have completed the study sessions before submitting my written readiness review and doing my oral presentation. After I was finished with the entire process I felt like I could have added a lot more to my readiness review to make it better but since I was on a tight timeline I rushed through it a bit. Someone once told me that a graduate degree is not a sprint, it’s a marathon and I feel like the APR process is the same way. It should be more of a marathon than a sprint.

Some other advice…don’t be afraid of it. It is not as scary as it looks. It can be overwhelming at first but the great thing is that you can go at your own pace. It is an incredibly rewarding experience and I honestly learned more through the accreditation process than I did in my undergraduate degree (which is in PR). 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Image Tip!

Your 2013 Image Committee has already started working on this year’s program. We held our first call with the state association, have developed a theme and will be putting out deadlines for submitting your entries shortly.

But, in the meantime, we want to tell you something that will really help as you think about your projects and prepare to enter the competition. It is quite simple, but very important – the “devil is in the details!”

We know it seems obvious, but it really may be your key to success. Image guidelines are very specific. Since projects are different, there must be a uniform approach to presenting an entry so that judging can be fair and impartial. And remember, PR professionals are sticklers for details and they are the ones who judge your entries. There is a certain way to submit or present your entry, what should be included and how your presentation materials need to be formatted. We have seen award-worthy projects fail to win or, even worse, be disqualified for wrong formatting, sloppy presentation and typos in written materials.

Put most of your effort into the 2-Page Summary. Seventy percent of your score is based on the summary of your project that states the reason and need for development of the public relations program or tool, how it was implemented and the results. Make sure you address five elements - Research, Objectives, Implementation, Evaluation and Budget. And it should be clear, concise and factual. 

Judges then review support materials for professionalism, innovation and design to score the remaining 30 percent of the entry. Please think about what you can include to help them understand or appreciate your project. Don’t lose valuable points by failing to include support materials that detail what you have presented in the summary. Show the judges what you did – this is your opportunity to be creative!
Read the Call for Entries, use the checklist and follow the specific directions. And, of course, your Image Committee is here to help you at any time.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Join us! January 2013 Chapter Luncheon

I Wish I’d Said That! 
How to Motivate, Persuade and Communicate Under Pressure

With Allison Adams Blankenship

In a crazy world of tweets, texts and viral videos, you only have a few seconds to get your message heard.  Discover how to cut through the clutter with a message that is targeted and persuasive in just 3 simple steps.  Increase your client compliance up to 93% by using one single word.  And, create immediate buy-in and motivation by answering the one question every person asks.

Allison Adams Blankenship is an author, trainer and motivational speaker on accelerating results through powerful communication and priority management.  Blankenship is one of FPRA’s first 100 APRPs and the former regional director of Public Relations for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.  She is the author of 3 books on communication, life-balance and change and was named the Florida Speaker of the Year by the Florida Speaker’s Association.

January Luncheon
Tuesday, January 8th 2013

$20 for members    $25 for non-members    $10 for students

Register today!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monthly APR Trivia: December

Question: Candidates for Accreditation in Public Relations must master the art of writing SMART objectives in the public relations planning process. The acronym reminds candidates that objectives must be: (S) Specific, (M) Measurable, (A) Attainable, (R) Realistic and (T) _____. What does T stand for?

Answer: Timely. SMART objectives must be measured over a specified time period.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Going Mobile with Social Media

By: Jessica Boles

The future of mobile social networking is inevitable. Nearly half of the world’s social media users are visiting media sites from their phones. What does this mean for marketing your company or business?

More people these days are “on the go” and using their cell phones for not only phone calls and text messages, but social media networking. Consumers are watching videos, using apps and creating message services (think “Text-to-Win” contests). Companies can create videos using Viddy, a new social network focusing on sharing 15 second clips. They can post their videos to YouTube. They can create mobile apps from AppMakr, MyAppBuilder or MobiCart. They can create messaging services through Short Message Service (SMS) or Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). The possibilities are becoming endless.

One of the biggest misconceptions for small businesses is assuming that mobile marketing is for large corporations and huge budgets. Not so. A good social media marketer can create a buzz in the social media without spending a dime. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Don't forget to renew your membership! 5 reasons you should register today!

Membership Renewal Deadline 12/31!
Attention all non-renewed members, the renewal deadline (12/31/12) is QUICKLY approaching! If you haven't done so yet, let me give you a few reasons to take care of it:

  1. You can do it online -!
  2. You'll avoid paying the $25 late fee!
  3. You must renew by December 31st to be included in the printed 75th Anniversary Membership Directory. 
  4. If you have your APR, you can no longer use that designation if you don't maintain membership in one of the UAB organizations.
  5. You'll miss out on all the awesome perks of SWFL chapter membership!

Have questions or need help? Contact Samantha Scott, APR at

2012 Merry Mixer Recap

As we begin our journey into the holiday season, many would probably consider our chapter’s Merry Mixer as a kick-off to this year’s holiday party season!

Last Thursday evening, the Art of the Olympian’s lobby was filled with auction items, good food and smiles from an attendee population that seemed to have tripled from last year’s event. And if you stayed after the auction, you may have even been able to catch a little dancing from our chapter president…
Some attendees this year had all the luck during the Chinese auction raffle! With items from hand-crafted wreaths to end zone Everblades tickets, each donated item from local companies and individuals will be sure to make someone’s holiday season bright! 


We raised approximately $1,900 in profit at this year's mixer.  This money will help support student engagement, scholarship opportunities and professional development for the members of the Southwest Chapter!

Thank you to Jessica Clark APR and to all of the leadership team  for assisting with the event. And another huge thank you to our wonderful and very appreciated sponsors:  LCEC, Shell Point Retirement Community, Flame Productions, Charlotte Behavioral Healthcare, JJ Taylor, Owen-Ames-Kimball Company, Costco Wholesale, Jack & Michael Elias, Inc, New Beginnings Entertainment, Art of the Olympians, and Riversedge Lifestyle Photography.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

APR credentialing classes are coming up soon!

2013 APR study sessions set to begin with informational meeting 

Are you ready to take your career to the next level? Are you interested in pursuing Accreditation in Public Relations (APR)? Join us at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 16, 2013 for an informational meeting. We will talk about the accreditation process and discuss the next round of study sessions set to begin in February. We’ll poll those in attendance for the best days/times for everyone involved and plot a course for you to pass the exam and earn those coveted initials – APR!

Mark your calendars now: 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 16. If you are interested in attending, please email me and I will let you know the location of the meeting. Or if you have questions, please feel free to email me as well.

Credentialing Chair

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

You're Invited!

To PRSA's Gulfcoast Chapter Holiday Mixer

Wednesday, December 5th
The Hilton Naples - Holiday Lobby Bar
5:30 - 7:30 PM  (come anytime)
$15 for appetizers and first drink

Bring a book for kids at Grace Place  - Early Readers from Pre-K to 3rd Grade and Toddler Board Books.





Save the Date for FPRA Conference 2013!

FPRA Conference 2013!
Mark your calendars to attend the FPRA State Conference from August 4-7, 2013 in St. Petersburg Florida.  The conference this year will celebrate the 75th Anniversary of FPRA at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club, and rooms will be $139 a night plus tax.  The cost for conference this year will be $695 for members who sign up before July 20, 2013.  After that date, members will pay $775.  The conference cost for non-members is $900 before July 20, and $925 after July 20.  Stay tuned for more details about this exciting event as we get closer to the date!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

President's Word

I still can’t believe we are nearing the end of the year 2012!   Each year seems to go faster and faster.  I am sure most of you are in the holiday mindset, with Thanksgiving last week and Christmas right around the corner.  This is the time of year where we usually stop and reflect on what we are thankful for and spend time with loved ones or help others in need.  As PR professionals, our schedules are always full with events, networking, media relations, programs, and more, so it is nice to know we have a time of year to stop and look at all the great things we have in our lives.  I am thankful all year for so many things: my family, my friends, my job.  But I also want to say how thankful I am for FPRA, because this great organization has helped me accomplish so many thing professionally, receiving my APR and learning about the position I have here at Shell Point.  It has also brought me some of my closest friends, people that I may have met in passing at events, but have truly gotten to know through our FPRA connection.  In many cases, our families spend time together outside of work.  So, even though I should try to think of my blessings throughout the year, I am glad there is a time that makes me stop and really recognize the important things in life, and I would like to say that I am thankful for each and every one of you!  I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday season!

Monday, November 26, 2012

I can't live without...

 Apple iPad
 By: Jessica Clark, APR

This year I purchased an Apple iPad, and I am so glad that I did.  I have had an iPhone for a few years now, and rely on it for so many things regarding my personal and professional schedule.  So I knew that I loved the platforms, apps, and programs that were part of the Apple products.  

One of the main reasons I purchased the iPad was to use as a mini-computer in meetings.  I was always carrying my large laptop to every meeting to take notes and to access the internet, and it was such a cumbersome thing to have.  Now with my iPad, I can carry it in my purse, and I have a cover that contains a keyboard, so I can use it as a computer in meetings.   I purchased a few special programs that assist in my needs with the creation of and storage of documents, and those help with my record keeping.  The keyboard operates as a blue tooth, so I can have the keyboard out of the cover and on the desk closer to me without wires or worrying about connections.  And being able to access the internet in meeting areas and hotels has been great as well.  

I guess you could say I love Apple, as I use both my phone and my iPad to email, keep my calendar, store and take photos, keep up on social media, and more.  Plus, the entertainment and game apps are always handy when you are in a waiting room or have down time.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

November Member Spotlight

Jessica Boles, Director of Marketing, Charlotte Behavioral Health Care

Jessica Boles serves as the internal and external communication link for Charlotte Behavioral Health Care. serving over 10,000 consumers annually. Some of Jessica’s duties include establishing brand identity to raise awareness of the Agency’s mission and assists her community via media services, including preparation & distribution of the following: press releases, monthly email newsletters, website, program & agency brochures, marketing material and social media outlets. Jessica also develops strategic marking campaigns to build search engine results and traffic to CBHC’s website. She also serves as the CBHC liaison to the Fred Lang Foundation Board and provides support as Event Chair for the annual fundraising event – Summer Ball and is responsible for seeking additional funding through grant searches and preparation of grants in collaboration with appropriate agency staff.

How long have you been an FPRA member?

February 2012

What is the most rewarding benefit you have found by being an FPRA member?

Annual Conference was a great way to meet others in my profession and make friends with more of our chapter members.

What’s a fun fact that no one in your chapter knows about you?

I love to fish! I have a team, Liquid Addiction and we compete in a multitude of tournaments in Lee County. I also help out at The Flats Tournament, Chix-N-Stix, The Calcutta Redfish Tournament and many others around town.

Friday, November 16, 2012

PR University 2012 Recap

Another successful PRU occurred last week.  Thank you to our guest speakers and to those who attended and made this event so successful!  And a very special thank you to all our sponsors and to Carla Ulakovic and Michelle Nagel who made this event extraordinary!

If you could not make the event, please be sure to check out the below news release by Gail Dolan detailing the many useful topics at this year's event.

FPRA’s PR University one-day workshop of “Pump up the Volume” was a big success

The Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) hosted its annual PR University November 8th at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Estero, FL. Entitled “Pump up the Volume,” the professional development program featured local and national experts in event execution, branding law, nonprofit marketing strategies, and traditional and social media to help attendees hone their marketing and PR skills.

Lydia Antunes Black, Executive Director of the Lee County Alliance for the Arts urged nonprofit organizations to not only market their products and services, but to market their impact on the community as well to put a face on how it impacts the quality of life in the community it serves.

Chris Cifatte, news anchor at Wink-TV offered tips for contacting and sending press releases to WINK-TV, their news cycles, and the kinds of stories they seek to showcase daily.

Attorneys Edward Livingston and Bryan Loeffler of The Livingston Law Firm in Naples spoke on the importance of protecting trademarks and copyrights of company brands and provided guidelines to writers and graphic designers when producing web content.

John Korff of Korff Enterprises, Inc. of New York City provided interesting insights into event planning and crisis communications in sport and event marketing. As a veteran in the entertainment industry, he provided attendees with examples of how he has creatively generated publicity and attendance at professional tennis and golf tournaments, triathlons, concerts, and balloon and music festivals all over the country.

Mary Briggs, APR, CPRC, System Director for Media Relations for Lee Memorial Health System shared statistics from the Pew Research Center on how the public obtains its news—and how that is changing. She provided thorough insights on how to anticipate reporters’ needs and prepare and submit press releases that will be welcomed and published.  

The topic of social media concluded the day’s program, as Rafael Sangiovanni, social media strategist for rbb Public Relations of Miami discussed the growing importance of using visuals in the social media, including how to build a corporate brand using Pinterest, best practices for Facebook, and recent changes at Twitter and LinkedIn.

Sponsors for the event were The News-Press Media Group, PKE Marketing & PR, Simplify PR, Embassy Suites Hotel, and Verizon Wireless. Annual sponsors of FPRA, SW Florida Chapter are LCEC, Shell Point Retirement Community, Flame Productions/Internet, Owen Ames Kimball, Charlotte Behavioral Health Care, and J.J. Taylor Companies, Inc. 


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Monthly APR Trivia: November

Question: How many flashcards must a candidate memorize in advance of the written exam for Accreditation in Public Relations?
      A.     121
      B.     200
      C.     323
      D.     625

 Answer: 323. Candidates who are members of the Southwest Florida Chapter of FPRA receive the flashcards in three convenient formats: as labels in a Microsoft Word document, as a Microsoft Excel document and in an electronic flashcard format for viewing on computers and/or smartphones.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Social Media Corner: Getting Into Instagram

By Jessica Boles

Instagram defined is “a free photo sharing app that lets users click pictures from their mobile phones, apply an optional "filter" to the image and share it with their friends via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram's own social network.” You can take pictures within the Instagram app, filter and even title your photo to share with other users or e-mail to yourself. With 58 photos being uploaded per second, folks these days are taking pictures more than ever before.

Besides being one of the most popular social media outlets for individuals, businesses are taking this a step further and using this handy little app to give them better visibility in their communities. Some suggestions for these businesses include the following: Taking pictures of your products and showing them off. Taking some “behind the scene” shots, give sneak previews and introducing new employees to your followers.

Just like Facebook, companies can use this social media outlet to build brand awareness and direct their marketing campaigns toward a targeted audience. Using Instagram for business is an easy way to take advantage of promoting your products and services and more companies are leaning towards this app to help with their media campaigns and social media marketing efforts. 

Renew your membership and receive a FREE registration to conference this year!

Attention members:

Everyone who completes their renewal by December 31 (the final deadline for renewal without paying a late fee) will be entered into a drawing for a full conference registration at the 2013 Annual Conference valued at more than $600!

You can renew today online by visiting Renew Membership at 

If you have questions or want details, please contact Carla at

Friday, November 9, 2012

Renew Today!

Don't Miss A Minute of Membership! Renew Online

Did you know you can renew your annual FPRA membership online? If you haven't sent in your renewal yet, or if you misplaced your renewal form, all you have to do is go to Renew Membership at

Don't miss a minute of the networking, professional development, credential opportunities and other 
benefits. Renew TODAY!