Thursday, May 30, 2013

Diary of a PR Intern


By: Michael Clavelli

My name is Michael Clavelli and I am a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) serving as Vice President of FGCU’s student chapter of FPRA. It was not until the summer of 2012 did I decide to pursue a career in public relations. Ever since then I have been working to fully immerse myself into the world of PR. 

I began my studies with the course: The Principles of Public Relations. In this course we were taught the basics of the very diverse field of PR. The curriculum covered everything from the pioneers of the PR industry to important PR tools such as press kits, press releases, the professional use of social media, campaigns and much more. Toward the end of the course we took the knowledge that we had learned from the class and applied it to a mini campaign that we were assigned to simulate. Completing this course is what really reinforced my decision that I wanted to be a public relations practitioner.
 During my first semester as a public relations student, a friend and I decided to join the FGCU’s Florida Public Relations Association’s student chapter. With the student chapter still on shaky ground, I wanted to become even more knowledgeable and involved with PR and become a part of the foundation and growth of FPRA’s student chapter. I was later nominated and elected as the Membership Director for our chapter.
Our new board was comprised of seven motivated, enthusiastic and intelligent students who, together, were able to get FGCU's student chapter up and running. As a chapter we held events and brought in PR professionals from the area to present their knowledge about PR to our members. As the Membership Director it was my job to promote the chapter and to inform our current and potential student members about upcoming activities of the chapter through class announcements, flyers, banners and tabling. I acquired a wealth of experience and knowledge from being a part of this chapter and I was able to network with professionals and PR professors at the university, who I now call mentors. Presently, I was just recently elected to be the Vice President of the upcoming year.

For the upcoming year FGCU FPRA hopes to gain further recognition from not only the FGCU student body, but also from FPRA's Southwest Florida Chapter. We will be including more of an interactive element to the chapter, such as hands-on workshops, promoting other clubs/chapters at FGCU, holding more events and running fundraisers. We plan to become more directly involved with FPRA by attending conferences and networking with professional members. We want this year to be our most successful year ever and to leave a strong foundation for our future leaders to build upon. 

If you'd like to learn more about FGCU's Student Chapter of FPRA, please contact Michael Clavelli: 


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

President's Word

I know I have a few more months as chapter president, but having just completed the chapter notebook for the State office, I know that the SWFL Chapter has really had a great year!  The achievements from this year are a result of a wonderful Board and Leadership team, and as I read over the notebook, I was so proud of what this Team has done.  

As PR professionals, we are constantly moving in our day-to-day responsibilities.  It is nice to know that you have an experienced group of friends in the same field who understand your chaos and embrace it with you.  However, it is even better to know that there are so many other professionals in this group that work together as a team to help each other professionally and personally.  Teamwork, it is what I truly believe makes every project, campaign, event and program successful.  At times some team members carry heavier work loads than others, but inevitably that works out when someone needs help covering a different area.  As much as working in PR can make you feel like you are working non-stop, for anyone to achieve positive results takes teamwork. Seeing all the great opportunities and programs provided to the SWFL chapter this year is a direct result of 22 people working together, and that doesn't count the committee members and member support provided for various events and activities. 

I love what I do!  I love this career path I have taken because it has brought me so many friends and opportunities.  PR has taught me so much as well. I probably sound like a broken record, but I am so grateful for my membership in FPRA, for the great friends I have because of it, for the awesome experience and ideas I have learned from others so far, and for the 2012-2013 Board and Leadership Team who has made this year a blast!  Make sure to stop and recognize those on your team and really appreciate the efforts of all members! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May Member Spotlight

Matt Visaggio is Principal and Founder of Visaggio Community Consulting, LLC (VCC) and Director of Business Development for Atilus™.

Matt has a strong background in grant source research and proposal preparation for all types of grants, including federal, state, local, and foundation grants. He serves as the contracted director of development for the Literacy Council Gulf Coast, the second largest literacy nonprofit in the United States. Matt takes a holistic approach to public sector fundraising, emphasizing strategic planning and public relations efforts.

Since founding VCC in 2010, Matt has assisted a variety of clientele with their grant writing needs, including the Lee County Office of Sustainability for the for the Sustainable Communities Notice of Funding Available from HUD. He spent five years developing and managing public relations efforts for State Representative Gary Aubuchon (Cape Coral) and developed a highly successful Teen Outreach Prevention program in Suncoast Estates for the Children’s Advocacy Center. Matt teaches courses at Edison State College in both Public Policy and Community Relations.

Matt has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including Literacy Volunteers of Lee County, The FGCU Alumni Association and the Lee County Coalition for a Drug-Free Southwest Florida.

1.) As our newest chapter member, what are you hoping to get out of FPRA?

I hope to have the opportunity to network with public relations professionals to hone and refine my skills. Additionally, I hope to provide a benefit to the chapter by offering my experience in technology, public policy, and community relations. Looking toward the future, I hope to utilize chapter's institutional knowledge in preparing for APR certification.
2.) Do you have any special projects or goals coming up in the near future either professionally or personally?

Professionally, our firm Atilus is managing the web development, marketing and public relations efforts of Rick Johnson Auto and Tire and Cornerstone Builders of Southwest Florida. We hope to provide public relations and marketing services that continue to promote and reinforce their respective images as generous corporate citizens and trustworthy businesses in Lee and Collier Counties. Additionally, Atilus is excited to continue to pursue meaningful ways to support Florida Gulf Coast University. Seven of our ten team members are FGCU alumni!

Friday, May 10, 2013

APR Trivia: May

Question: How many APRs are there worldwide?
A.     5,000
B.     1,000
C.     10,000
D.     500

Answer: A. There are 5,000 APRs worldwide, including nearly 30 right here in Southwest Florida.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Membership Now Half Off!

If you know anyone who may be considering becoming a member of the Southwest Florida Chapter of FPRA please share with them exciting news - membership is now half off! 

Caught your eye, didn't I?

Due to the structure of our organization, our fiscal runs November 1 - October 31 so as of May 1 non-members can apply for a 6-month membership, which equates to half the price of a full membership! This would be effective from the date of their application approval by the board through October 31, 2013. Alternatively, they can also sign up for a year and a half membership, which would be valid from the date of their application approval through October 31, 2014

Let's keep our chapter strong and growing and look for people who might want to join FPRA. The 6-month membership is a great way for them to try us out and then decide to join for a full year!  

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

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Local media professionals share insights at FPRA Media Breakfast

Local media professionals share insights at
FPRA Media Breakfast

FORT MYERS, FLA. (May 8, 13) – Five local media professionals will share their diverse perspectives and experiences at the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association’s annual media breakfast from 8-10 a.m. Thursday, June 13, at the Holiday Inn Airport/Town Center in Fort Myers. The event helps local businesses learn how to obtain the best results from their media relations campaigns and programs.
The presenters will be Krista Fogelsong, news anchor, Waterman Broadcasting; Amy Tardif, news director, WGCU-FM; Osvaldo Padilla, editor, Florida Weekly; Jean Gruss, editor, Business Observer; and Steve McQuilkin, business and real estate editor, The News-Press Media Group.

The event is sponsored by Pushing the Envelope and Edison State College, and additional sponsorships are still available.

Established in 1938 and the oldest public relations organization in the country, the FPRA is dedicated to developing public relations practitioners.

The Holiday Inn Airport/Town Center is located at 9931 Interstate Commerce Drive. Admission is $40 for FPRA members, $50 for nonmembers and $15 for members of the FPRA student chapter. Reservations can be arranged by visiting For more details or for sponsorship opportunities, contact Phyllis Ershowsky at 225-2764 or e-mail

Registration for this event will open soon!

Monday, May 6, 2013

I can't live without...

Congrats to Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations on celebrating 30 successful years in the industry!

Here is what Laurel Smith, APR could not live without:

"I could not live without the wise counsel, ongoing collaboration and frequent reality checks provided by our firm’s founder, Amy Gravina, and my partners, Tina Matte and Sharon Arnold.  As our firm celebrates its 30th anniversary, I am grateful for an amazing professional support network that includes our officemate, Melinda Isley, and FPRA members who willingly and generously share sources, ideas and advice."

Friday, May 3, 2013

Social Media Corner: How Employers are using LinkedIn for Recruiting

As the online social networking world is expanding, there are now better ways for businesses to recruit superior employees through LinkedIn. Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms are more associated with your personal brand; LinkedIn is focused on building your professional brand. Here are some ways that employers are now using LinkedIn for their recruiting needs and what you can do to get your profile noticed.

After ensuring that your profile is complete and all your details and keywords are filled in, the first task is to develop a personal network of professionals to whom a recruiter can send a request for a referral for a job opening. In addition to building this “referral chain”, people are also building authentic relationships virtually. Strong relationships, not large contact databases build this kind of success. While you are building your network of professional contacts, don’t forget to stay in touch with former, trusted colleagues for potential future employment. 

One of the valuable components of LinkedIn that is underused is the “Networks Updates” feature. When you log in to LinkedIn your home page pops up and it shows the status updates from your connections. This is your professional billboard and without updating your status every day, you are invisible to all of your connections. In order to make yourself more visible it is recommended that you update your status once a day to give you the opportunity to make a pitch, talk about an event or announce something special. This is a way to stay top of mind with your connections. Remember that your LinkedIn updates should be professional and not be used the same way as your Facebook and Twitter personal updates.

Another way to boost your presence in the LinkedIn world is by joining groups. There are participant groups that share interests, backgrounds, specializations or experience. Join these groups, there may be job openings posted, other members could give you a referral or you may be contacted by a potential employer just for being a part of a focused group.

With over 200 million members worldwide, and new members joining every second, LinkedIn is the go-to social media tool for a job hunt or to boost your professional brand.  LinkedIn has proven to be a huge traffic driver for many employers and a valuable lead source. LinkedIn is a dynamic network of individuals representing employees in over 2 million businesses and for the future employees out there…this is huge!