Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2014 APR Study Sessions Set to Begin with Informational Meeting January 9th

What better way to start the New Year than with plans to earn Accreditation in Public Relations (APR)? Please join us at 6 p.m. on January 9th, 2014 for an informational meeting to learn more. We will talk about the confidential accreditation process and discuss the next round of study session, which are set to begin in February. We'll poll those in attendance for the best days/times for the study sessions and plot a course for you to pass the exam and earn those coveted initials - APR!

Mark your calendars now:
6 p.m., Thursday, January 9th. Thanks to our friends at the Lee County Port Authority Public Affairs Office, we will meet at the Page Field Base Ops building. The address is 5200 Captain Channing Page Drive, and it's just off Fowler Extension behind Page Field Commons. For questions, email Credentialing Chair Dara Winton, APR, CPRC, at

Monday, December 16, 2013

Save the Date - January 2014 Luncheon

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 at the Crowne Plaza in Bell Tower
Emerging Trends and Myth Busting for Fundraising Auctions
What PR professional has not attended a fundraising auction, particularly during the winter season? Benefit auctions are booming and raised more than $110 billion worldwide for charitable causes last year. Fundraising auctioneer Scott Robertson, who raises $20 million annually and some 70 events, will examine the trends and also the myths associated with fundraising events that use auctions. He’ll offer PR professionals tips from timing and logistics and to winning techniques an strategies.
The speaker:

Scott Robertson, CAI, BAS, is a 20-year veteran auctioneer and principal of Lee County-based Scott Robertson Event Fundraising Consultants/Auctioneers. Serving Florida and the Eastern United States, Robertson is considered one of today’s premier professional benefit auctioneers. A full-time professional Benefit Auctioneer, Robertson annually conducts 60-70 fundraising auctions, raising more than $20 million dollars this past year. He is among an estimated 30 auctioneers nationwide that make fundraising auctions their full time profession. Scott has earned the Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (BAS) designation from the National Auctioneers Association – a designation earned by fewer than 1 percent of the nation’s auctioneers. For more information visit or call (239) 246-2139. 

2013 Merry Mixer Event Recap

With the holidays in full swing and our event calendars filling up with festive events, it was wonderful to get together with friends and meeting and mingling with new. Thanks to all those who were able to attend!
Wednesday evening, The Big Cypress Club at Germain Arena was filled with holiday cheer, good food, silent auction items and friends from near and far. Smiles were all around as well as warm wishes and hugs. 

Our silent auction ranged from a professional voice over to toy stuffed otters! We raised approximately $1,200 in profit at this years event.This money will help support student engagement, scholarship opportunities and professional development for the members of the Southwest Chapter!
Thank you Samantha Scott, APR and the leadership team for assisting with this event and a very special thank you to Kylee Pitts for organizing the event.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

APR Trivia November 2013

Question: How many years of public relations experience is required before I can pursue Accreditation in Public Relations?
            A. 2 years
            B. 5 years
            C. 10 years
            D. None of the above

Answer: D. There is no requirement for years of experience before a candidate can pursue Accreditation in Public Relations; however, the Universal Accreditation Board strongly recommends candidates have five years of PR experience. The less experience you have, the harder it is to apply the materials to the case studies presented in the examination questions.

Have you renewed?? The deadline is quickly approaching!!

It’s Membership Renewal time!

FPRA involvement and membership is about an investment in YOU, your career and your professional development.  Membership in FPRA provides many benefits including professional development, leadership opportunities, accreditation and certification, professional recognition, networking and professional resources just to name a few.  For more reminders about why you should invest in YOU, visit

If you do not renew by Dec. 31, your name will be dropped from the membership list.  Currently, the Southwest Florida Chapter has a 74% renewal rate and we want to get that up! If you have not received your membership application in the mail or if you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail

The theme for the State FPRA Association for the 2013-14 year is ThinkFPRA.  I want you to challenge yourself to ThinkFPRA all year long and about all of the benefits your membership provides you.  What have you done with FPRA lately?  ThinkFPRA! And renew your membership today!

Social Media Corner - November 2013

By Jodi Huntoon, Social Media Chair

Go Mobile!
Is Facebook a part of your holiday marketing mix and you’re looking for that extra push to meet your goals?  A recent article by InsideFacebook recommends ensuring that your content is mobile-friendly is key to the best exposure.  With everyone on the go during the holidays, traveling from here to there, waiting for flights, or even being snowed in,  chances are the idle time will be spent playing on mobile device.    So whether you’re posting a news release or a holiday promotion, be sure to test on your cell to guarantee that it is compatible with mobile devices. Facebook also suggests adding bright and large images to catch attention as folks peruse the newsfeed, you never know who may still be working on their shopping list or looking for last minute ideas. With 78% of US Facebook users accessing via mobile (and the number keeps growing), be sure you’re prepared!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Member Spotlight November 2013 - Susan Bennett, APR, CPRC

Susan Bennett, APR, CPRC, is the president and owner of Susan Bennett Marketing & Media, L.C., a full service public relations and marketing firm serving Southwest Florida businesses and non-profit organizations.  She is one of Florida’s most honored public relations professionals with more than 200 awards for her work, including all three state-wide Grand Image Awards from the Florida Public Relations Association, and special commendations from former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter for her national newspaper campaign to free American hostages held in Iran.  She has more than 35 years experience in media and marketing, having spent the better part of her career as a news and marketing executive with Gannett Co.

In her current role, Susan works with businesses, both large and small, as well as non-profit organizations to help them accomplish their marketing goals through innovative, creative solutions.  For example, she created the Grande Dames Tea for the PACE Center for Girls, the Edison-Ford Gala for the Edison-Ford Winter Estates Foundation, and is one of the organizers of the annual Community Easter Sunrise Service at City of Palms Park, the annual Community Prayer Breakfast for 1,400 community leaders on the National Day of Prayer, and several annual events for CCMI presented by Sam Galloway, Jr.

Prior to opening her public relations firm 1991, Susan served on the launch team of USA TODAY while working simultaneously as Marketing Director of The News-Press in Fort Myers.  During her USA TODAY tenure, she orchestrated the USA TODAY launch party on the White House lawn for 8,000 guests, including the President of the United States and the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. She also was part of the Blue Ribbon Panel that opened the first 15 markets for USA TODAY.

In the area of civic involvement, Susan is a Trustee Emeritus and past Chairman of the Board of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, an Advisory Board member of Grandeur Magazine and the Above Board Chamber of Florida, an inaugural member of the Impact Initiative of the Golisano Children’s Hospital, and a charter member of the Tiger Bay Club, among many other civic organizations.

Susan has earned both a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and a Master of Arts degree in mass communications from the University of Florida in Gainesville, where she continues to be involved as a Distinguished Member of the President’s Council.

“Be good, do good, and goodness will follow,” is her life-long motto.

President's Word - December 2013

Happy Holidays!

Can you believe it? It’s already December and we’ve just wrapped up all the left over turkey, stuffing and casseroles. We’re readying for more family activities and holiday happenings – and of course FPRA fun too, right?

Our next meeting is the Merry Mixer on December 11. This is our annual holiday gathering where we come together to raise funds to support our chapter’s commitment to student engagement, scholarships and professional development. Register today for food, cocktails, a fabulous silent auction and lots of cheer!

Lastly, if you haven’t renewed your membership yet, please do so soon! The drop dead deadline is December 31st. After that you won’t receive any of the membership benefits (like this newsletter or discounts at luncheons) anymore. You can still renew – we’d hate to lose you! You can email for details.

As always, thank you for being a member of the Southwest Florida chapter of FPRA and for what you bring to our profession. I wish you a very happy holiday season and fantastic New Year!

Think FPRA!

Samantha Scott, APR

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 2013 Meeting Recap

Last week, members of the SWFL Chapter of FPRA settled into their new meeting location at The Crowne Plaza Hotel located at Bell Tower.  The focus of the meeting centered around stories NOT to send to the media around the holidays and also offered some insights on how to pitch ideas, stories, and events during the season.  Our panel included three local media pros: Lois Thome of WINK-TV, Tammy Ayer, editor of Grandeur Magazine, and Darrel Lieze-Adams of Waterman Broadcasting.
A few tips that all of our panelists seemed to agree on included avoiding clich├ęs, doing research on reporters and developing relationships, and following deadlines.  A few unique tips from each included Lois’s advice to pull out the stories that were thought to have fallen into the “black hole” and try to pitch them with a new and unique angle.  Tammy also reminded us that print media is more than just print.  Print is now multi-media and may include photo galleries and video, so don't be afraid to send a story in various formats.  Darrel also reminded us of proper etiquette when it comes to the relationships between PR pros and the media.  He also  gave our chapter some insight regarding new ways to keep the media in the loop about events by adding items to community calendars and submitting news tips.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Next week's luncheon at the Crowne Plaza in Bell Tower

Don't forget!! Starting next week, Tuesday, November 5th, we will no longer have our monthly luncheons at the Royal Palm Dinner Theater. Instead, they will be located at the Crowne Plaza in Bell Tower Shops. Mark your calendars and enter the address in your GPS! The Crowne Plaza is at 13051 Bell Tower Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33907.

This month we have a great luncheon topic you won't want to miss - the do's and don't's of holiday story pitches! Get your holiday story questions answered by an all-star panel.

Have you registered yet? If not, click here to get signed up and learn more!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Holiday Giving

'Tis the season to be giving. Many of our members have events and fundraising drives they're working on, either with their companies or as individuals.

Looking for a great cause to be a part of? Click one of the links below to learn more and get a deeper look into some local fundraisers.

CAN IT! To benefit CCMI

Southwest Florida Goodwill Foundation's Tux and Trees Gala on December 7th

President's Word from Samantha Scott, APR - October 2013

Hello again,

As we venture into November most us become quite busy with many fall activities, work events – and of course the holidays! I would encourage you to make time for your professional development and FPRA activities too.

Your committed board has worked hard to put together an exciting slate of events. For those of you who attended PRU in October you know what I’m talking about! This month we have our luncheon scheduled for November 5th with a media panel discussing how to pitch during the holidays, so be sure to register now. We also have our annual Merry Mixer coming in December, so keep a look out for updates.

Most importantly, however, is your membership. The renewal deadline was October 31st. Don’t fret if you didn’t get yours in on time though. You can still renew – we’d hate to lose you! You can email for details.

As always, thank you for being a member of the Southwest Florida chapter of FPRA and for what you bring to our profession. I look forward to seeing you soon!

P.S. We’re still looking for a few key sponsors too. If your company would be interested in being an annual sponsor or a luncheon sponsor, be sure to reach out to Tiffany Whitaker for details. Get your spot before they’re all gone!

Think FPRA!

Samantha Scott, APR