Thursday, March 29, 2012

Image Awards Luncheon has moved: Tuesday, April 17

On Tuesday, April 17, the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) will recognize the best public relations, communications and marketing efforts in Southwest Florida during the past year at the 2012 Local Image Awards Ceremony. The luncheon will be held at Art of the Olympians Museum and Gallery in downtown Fort Myers. Networking and lunch will begin at 11:30 a.m. followed by the awards ceremony at 12 p.m.

Art of the Olympians, Harborside Event Center, Lee County Port Authority,  CenturyLink, Power Purchasing, April’s Pie Company, Riverchase Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, Nulman PR & Marketing, The Cooper Group,,  Lee County Electric Cooperative, Inc. and J.J. Taylor Companies, Inc.

Be sure to come out and support our Chapter members!

The cost to attend the 2012 Local Image Awards is $25 for members, $30 for non-members and $20 for students. For more information or reservations, visit

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Conference Scholarships Available

This year, our Chapter is helping members discover “A Treasure Trove of PR Tactics and Strategies” by offering a limited number of full and/or half scholarships to members to attend the annual conference

A full scholarship will cover the registration fee for the entire conference and events, however, recipients are responsible for their own personal expenses such transportation/hotel. A half scholarship will cover a one-day conference registration; recipients are responsible for their own personal expenses such transportation/hotel. There is a limited amount of funds set aside to support this scholarship program and the type of scholarships awarded will reflect the applications received.

If you are interested in applying for a conference scholarship, please submit a short essay (two or three paragraphs) covering the following:
  • Involvement in FPRA (past and present)
  • Financial Need for scholarship.
  • Indicate whether you are applying afor a full or half scholarship.
Applications should be emailed to Carla Ulakovic  by April 10, 2012 for review by committee. Scholarship recipients will be announced at the Local Image Awards luncheon on Tuesday, April 17.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

APR Trivia - April

Q: Do I have to be a member of FPRA to pursue accreditation?

A: APR candidates must be a member of one of the 10 participating organizations, and FPRA is one of those 10. Plus, members of the Southwest Florida Chapter of FPRA receive special support during the accreditation process as a benefit of membership.

Chapter Facebook Page Gets a New Look

Our Chapter is ahead of the social media curve and has transitioned into the Facebook Timeline template. The page has been updated to coordinate with the branding of our Chapter web site.

Do You Know Someone Who Would Make a Great FPRA Member!

By Carla Ulakovic

If you are receiving this newsletter, then you have already made a great decision and investment by joining the Southwest Florida chapter of FPRA.  But we all interact with so many other professionals in our area, and many of those are either new to the area or just not aware of the amazing benefits that come with membership.  If you know of someone that you think would be a great part of our FPRA family, let Jessica Clark, APR know and she will be happy to reach out to that individual. 

Also, the membership database was purged at the end of 2011, so all members who had not renewed by then were removed from the list.  If you know someone who was a member, and has not renewed, remind them of the great programs that we have throughout the year that help to enhance our profession and our careers. 

If it is the cost of membership that may hold back potential members or renewals, don’t worry, there are still a few partial member scholarships available from the Southwest Chapter of FPRA.  We know that many individuals and organizations have had to make budget cuts or limit participation in many professional organizations.  If you are interested in a membership scholarship, please send two to three paragraphs outlining your financial need, involvement in chapter activities, your commitment to professional development and how your participation in FPRA will benefit the chapter and your professional career to Jessica Clark, APR.

If you have questions about membership or renewals, you can contact the president-elect and membership chair, Jessica Clark, APR at (239) 454-2071 or

Discover Gold with FPRA

With our Local Image entry deadline behind us and the Local Image Awards Luncheon right around the corner, have you thought about moving to the next step with Golden Image Awards?

In the next few weeks FPRA members across the state will be working towards “Discovering Gold” for the Golden Image competition. The Golden Image Competition is conducted annually by the Florida Public Relations Association to recognize outstanding public relations programs in Florida and to encourage and promote the development of public relations professionalism in our state. Entries are due to state May 18.

Start Thinking Annual Conference

Join fellow FPRA members in discovering a "Treasure Trove of PR Strategies and Tactics" in St. Augustine from Aug. 5-8, 2012, at the Renaissance Resort at World Village Golf.

Expect to hear from industry leaders with companies including Wells Fargo, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Lockheed Martin, Abernathy and MacGregor, NPR Nightly Business Report and more on a variety of topics and case studies. Be sure to check out the Conference Agenda.

To register or make your room reservation today, click here.

SWFL Supports Every Member Campaign

By Carla Ulakovic

In February, the Florida Public Relations Education Foundation (FPREF) launched its 2012 “Every Member Campaign” to raise $25,000 to help support programs like scholarship funds for college students, Annual Conference scholarships for its professional members and to support the APR program.

The Southwest Florida Chapter is asking members to join together and support the professional development of professional members and students by making a contribution. The Southwest Florida Chapter Board has voted to match funds donated by our Chapter members up to $300. The campaign runs through May 1.

President’s Word: Spring Forward with FPRA

By Carla Ulakovic

Clocks aren’t the only things Springing Forward this March at FPRA.

It is a time in which we all have an opportunity to move our careers forward through professional development and accreditation opportunities. We begin looking to cultivate new relationships and encourage members to join our Board or Leadership Team.  At the local level, we are working to showcase our areas best public relations practitioners through Local Image Awards and then elevate this opportunity with Golden Image.

Springtime also marks the halfway point in our annual PR journey and allows us an opportunity to see the labors of Fall blossom. We are able to take a moment to see all of the wonderful things our Chapter has already accomplished due to the support and planning of our members. We’ve met our membership renewal goals, have hosted dynamic programs and have grown our treasury to a very healthy point.

This spring, let your careers blossom and enhance your professional experiences through FPRA!

Exploring the Treasures of FPRA

By Carla Ulakovic

State - Take a moment to explore the State website ( to uncover treasures of the organization.  Check out the PR Resources section and discover links to clipping services, research resources and industry publications.

Local - Be sure to check our job bank for PR opportunities at

Spring into PR!

By Pamela Cox-Nulman, APR, CPRC

Join budding PR stars on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at Florida Gulf Coast University for an informative session on career tips, plus a networking session to help public relations students begin the transformative process from student to professional.

Panelists include FPRA Southwest Florida Chapter President Carla Ulakovic; Luis Otero, Saks Fifth Avenue; Melissa Simontis, APR, PACE Center for Girls; and Barbara-Anne Urrutia with the Lee County Port Authority. They will share tips for landing that all important first job after graduation.

During the meet and greet after the panel discussion professionals and students will have the opportunity to mingle and share thoughts and concerns on internships, jobs and how to stand out in a crowd. 

Plan to join us as we help our PR students spring into a career in PR!

Date: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Where:  Florida Gulf Coast University
Time:  5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m

For more information contact:  Phyllis Ershowsky, APR, CPRC  239/565-5996

I’d be lost without…. A new feature

All of us have tools of the trade that we cannot survive without.  Each month we’ll share one tool.  If you have one for us, send it to

I'd be lost without our web-based project/time management system, BaseCamp. It keeps track of all the jobs, people involved and  related files.  Here's their site:

Samantha Scott, APR - Grand Poobah (Owner)

March Lunch Recap

On Tuesday, March 6, the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association welcomed Rose Rundle, General Manager of the Harborside Event Center, as she spoke on Events, Publicity and Having A Plan.

Her number one take away was be organized! Start your event planning at least 180 day out and ensure your committee members know there reporting roles and responsibilities.
Rundle was joined by Don Paight, Executive Director of the Fort Myers Redevelopment Agency.  He touched on the upcoming canal project in downtown Fort Myers and how it relates to events in the area.

After lunch the group took a walking tour of downtown Fort Myers that showcased historical views and future plans for the River District.

Take the Leadership Leap!

Nominations Open for 2012-13 FPRA Leadership Team.

By Pamela Cox-Nulman, APR, CPRC

Leap into a leadership role and experience the personal and professional growth that comes with being part of the first Public Relations organization in the country.

The Florida Public Relations Association has been serving the public relations industry since 1938, and here in Southwest Florida we’ve been the premier PR organizations for the past 26 years.

At the end of the day though, our organization is only as strong as the leaders who are willing to step up (or this year “leap”) into a leadership role to guide our chapter.

Leadership terms run for one fiscal year, from September 1, 2012 – August 31, 2013. Nominations are now being accepted. Contact Pam Nulman, APR, CPRC, nomination committee chair, or Jessica Clark, APR, president-elect, for more information and to find out how you can provide the leadership power to drive FPRA’s continued success.

Board Positions:
V.P. of Communications
V.P. of Member Relations
V.P. of Professional Development
V.P. of Community Relations

Expanded Leadership Team:
Credentialing Chair
PRU Chair
Education Chair
Social Media Chair
Media Relations Chair
Newsletter Chair
Website Chair
Hospitality Chair
Programs Chair
Image Chair

Social Media Corner: Customer Service?

Social media for customer service? Yes, social media channels like Twitter and Facebook can be great tools for monitoring customer sentiment and fixing problems. Learn how in this month's Social Media Corner.

By Samantha Scott, APR

In public relations part of our job is to manage the relationship between our client or our employer and their audience/customers. Social media is an excellent tool to do this - in real time. In addition to Google Alerts (, social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and review sites like Yelp, Google Places and Yahoo! Local can be real assets to brand management and customer service.

A great example is Best Buy's Twelpforce. Created to empower employees to help customers, it's live on Twitter. The company also links to it from their site under customer service. Employees of Best Buy actively seek out tech and product questions/needs and respond to them.

Comast also has a team of people monitoring the web for negative posts, complaints, etc. If one is found, a team member replies and tries to resolve the issue, or they set an appointment to get the problem taken care of.

More than ever before, it's critical for businesses to manage their brand and be sure they are taking care of their customers, lest they start to lose market share. Using social sites, where people are sharing their feelings, issues, joys, etc. is ideal. If businesses LISTEN and MONITOR their brand name and account pages, they can learn what their customers like, need, hate or want. It also shows that the company CARES about what matters to the customers and goes a long way to building/maintaining critical relationships. PLUS, it's all measurable!