Wednesday, June 26, 2013

President's Word

The SWFL Chapter of FPRA has had a great month!  The annual Media Breakfast was a great success, with more than 70 people in attendance.  The panel offered great insight with tips and information to help our PR pros get their message out.  Thanks again to Steve McQuilkin with the News-Press, Krista Fogelsong with NBC-2, Jean Gruss with Business Observer, Waddy Padilla with Florida Weekly, and Amy Tardif with WGCU.  

A SWFL Chapter member received her APR, and we are so proud of her.  Congratulations Betsy Clayton!  Gaining accreditation is a challenging process, that takes time and dedication.  I know that Betsy worked hard for this, and we are thrilled to add another APR to the chapter.  

And membership is still climbing!  The Board approved three new members at the recent meeting, and there are still a few more applications to review.  Thanks so much to everyone who promotes the chapter and its benefits!   Having more local professionals join the organization not only supports their personal and professional growth, but it helps the chapter to grow as well with the expertise of our membership and the knowledge they bring to the chapter.

This year has been so fun as President, and we still have a few more months.  Make sure to sign up for the July 9 meeting where Dr. Christine Wright-Isak will discuss branding.  This is also our annual meeting where the membership votes on the incoming Board and Leadership team, and we hand out the chapter awards.   It is one you won't want to miss!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Diary of a PR Intern: First Taste in the Field

By: Michael Clavelli

  My first internship was with the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce. While there, most of my duties included prep work such as putting together folders for meetings, stuffing gift bags, and also contacting the places of business that were represented by the chamber about running low on their menus and brochures or confirmation for events. 

  During my internship, I was able to apply my knowledge of research by helping an aspiring theater group find a grant to help fund their mission. I also helped make the first draft of a brochure that was to be given out exclusively to members of the chamber. And one of my most meaningful experiences working with the chamber was making connections with the professionals who worked at the chamber and receiving a letter of recommendation which I am very grateful for.

  In my second semester, I took what was supposed to be the capstone course of my studies, Campaigns. This course required me to work as part of a team to put together a purposed campaign for real clients presenting it at the end of the semester. Because this course was designed for seasoned PR seniors, there was some concern considering my recent interest in Public Relations and my limited experience in the course work. Although I had only taken one course before hand, all the experience I had gained from my internship at the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce and my involvement with the FGCU chapter of FPRA really helped me persevere in this course. I was confident that with hard work and dedication that I would be able to pull it off.

  Our group’s campaign was for the current members of the Florida Association of Public Health Nurses. Despite my very recent introduction to the PR curriculum, I took the initiative to position myself as the group leader on this campaign. In this position I was in charge of coming up with the strategies and tactics for the campaign and also the proposed budget. I was also in charge of the final editing of the campaign book and presented the majority of the campaign to our clients. In the end I received an A in the course and learned a great deal about putting together a successful campaign. 

  During this summer semester I am enrolled in Public Relations Strategies, where we dissect several different case studies. Currently, I am also working as an intern for the Florida Public Relations Association. I am assisting Phyllis Ershowsky and Kate Walter, at PKE Marketing Solutions with the preliminary work for SWFL’s FPRA Chapter’s Media Breakfast. The theme of the event is communication through the ages and I have been given such duties as putting together a slide show of old and modern communication tools. Much of the time I have spent so far has been dedicated to contacting individuals involved with the event, and also contacting other FPRA members about possible assistance with the event. Phyllis and Kate have been very helpful and I have learned a lot about what it takes to put a professional event together. 

Continue following some of our student members of SWFL's Chapter of FPRA on our blog! 


Monday, June 24, 2013

Meeting Recap: Media Breakfast

The Media Breakfast on June 13 was another great success.  Big kudos go out to the special events committee members who coordinated this program, and worked with local sponsors to offset any costs.  Thank you to Pushing The Envelope and Edison State College for their sponsorship of the event, and LCPA for providing programs and support to the event itself.  

The panel of experts included Steve McQuilkin with the News-Press, Krista Fogelsong with NBC-2, Jean Gruss with Business Observer, Waddy Padilla with Florida Weekly, and Amy Tardif with WGCU.  Vicki Moreland with the LCPA served as the event moderator, and helped to manage the flow of questions that were submitted to the panelists.  Attendees were able to write questions on the note cards provided at their tables, or they could ask questions live throughout the event.  All panelists offered great tips to members, and were very engaging before, during, and after the presentation.  

Some of the tips included getting to know the reporters for various organizations as well as their 'beats', creating and email headline that is brief and relays the story so when reporters receive the message they know what to expect, going straight to the point in a news release, learning about editorial calendars for publications as well as the deadlines, and more.  

The event was held at the Holiday Inn and more than 70 people attended the buffet-style breakfast, with several guests in the mix.  And many of those guests have already submitted membership applications, or started the process of learning more about FPRA membership.  This truly was a great event for all who attended!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

SWFL's Chapter of FPRA proudly announces their newest APR!

Betsy Clayton, APR, of the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) recently earned professional public relations accreditation, and received the designation of Accredited in Public Relations (APR).

Clayton joins the more than 4,300 active public relations professionals worldwide who represent an elite group of highly skilled professionals committed to practicing with exemplary ethical standards, including 28 in southwest Florida.

Clayton is the waterways coordinator for Lee County Parks & Recreation, coordinating public relations efforts for the county’s 190-mile Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail and annual fall special event, the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival. She also is the acting public information officer for Lee County. Her work with Lee County followed a 17-year career as a newspaper reporter. Clayton earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.

To earn accreditation, candidates must pass an oral presentation and rigorous written examination administered by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), which is an alliance of eight national and statewide professional associations dedicated to furthering the field of public relations and the development of public relations professionals. FPRA is a member of the UAB.

The Florida Public Relations Association is dedicated to developing public relations practitioners who, through ethical and standardized practices, enhance the public relations profession in Florida.  For more information on the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association, visit

Monday, June 17, 2013

New job opportunity in SWFL

We know someone who is hiring in SWFL….more details in the members only section

Thursday, June 13, 2013

June Member Spotlight

Kara Minoui 
Public Relations Coordinator
Shell Point Retirement Community 

Kara Minoui is the Public Relations Coordinator for Shell Point Retirement Community, where she handles media relations and oversees the community's Discovery Club. Kara was a member of the Southwest Florida Chapter of FPRA from 2007-2009, and served as the Vice President of Communications from 2008-2009.  From 2009-2011, she was a board member for the Gulf Coast Society of Fundraising Executives. She was delighted to return to FPRA earlier this year.

In New Jersey, her professional background was originally in academic and medical publishing. After moving to Florida, Kara had the good fortune to be hired by Gravina, Smith & Matte.  "Working with Amy, Laurel, Tina and Sharon was the absolute best introduction to the field of public relations--I was hooked!" she said.

A member of The Sanibel School Fund since 2008, she also enjoys volunteering with Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida Troop 228 with her daughters Emily and Claire (as long as she can bring her coffee maker when they go camping.)

Kara says she feels blessed to be part of Lynn Schneider's talented and dedicated marketing and communications team at Shell Point, and she plans to pursue her APR in the upcoming year.  She adds, "Now I have to do it, since this is being published!"

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Save the Date: Chapter Luncheon July 9th with Christine Wright-Isak, Ph.D.

Christine Wright-Isak, Ph.D.

Dr. Wright-Isak received her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Chicago, and then went directly to work in business, achieving national recognition as a branding and messaging expert. She began at BBDO New York helping GE manage their corporate brand, and launching the Lever 2000 brand. After five years, she moved to Young & Rubicam where she helped the U.S. Army Recruitment Command understand changing generations of warriors, lectured at the U.S. Army War College, and developed marketing communications for Colgate, DuPont, KFC, Jell-O, Dr Pepper and other brands. 

Chris served as Chief Judge of the national Advertising Effectiveness Awards (Effies) and won the Advertising Research Foundation’s highest award for advertising research excellence, the Gold Ogilvy medallion, for her work on the launch of Colgate Total toothpaste in the U.S.

Most recently Chris helped successfully reposition the Champion brand for Hanesbrands®.  In SW Florida she has provided branding guidance for numerous firms, small businesses and professional practices, including Arthrex, and the Collier County Public Schools.  She also helps community institutions and citizens groups with marketing issues, adapting “big brand” integrated marketing communications strategies for small business entrepreneurs.

Today as a professor Chris continues to consult with brand marketers while she educates business students at Florida Gulf Coast University.  “Dr. Chris” is the faculty advisor who helps returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans transition to civilian success through achieving their college degrees.  Today she will discuss “The Impact of Digital Communications on Advancing Your Brand.”
This event is sponsored by


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

2013 FPRA State Conference! Have You Signed Up Yet!!

We are getting closer to what is considered Florida’s # 1 Professional Development Conference for PR Professionals.  Mark your calendars for Sunday, August 4 through Wednesday, August 7, 2013 to attend conference at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club in St. Petersburg Florida.  This year celebrates the 75th anniversary of FPRA, and will have a range of excellent speakers.  Some of the topics include optimizing digital communications, corporate social responsibility, overcoming challenges, handling challenging media situations and more.  To register for conference, visit  You are still able to register for the conference using the 'early bird' rate.  Additionally conference attendees receive a special room rate of $139 at The Vinoy if you register through the FPRA website.  Make sure you don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity.  

APR Trivia: June

Question: True or False: Questions concerning media relations represent the largest portion of questions on the written examination for Accreditation in Public Relations?

Answer: False. Media relations questions total only 5 percent of the written exam. The largest section of the test (at 30 percent) comes from the RPIE model: Researching, Planning, Implementing and Evaluating PR programs.


Monday, June 10, 2013

I can't live without...

Viki Moreland of Lee County Port Authority survives by turning to what we all probably consider a go-to manual in Public Relations:

"My AP Stylebook and a nifty book for any grammarphobe called 'Woe Is I'."

If you have something you can't live without, share it with chapter members by emailing:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Social Media Corner: The New Face of Disaster Response

In the United States alone, an average of 400 people die from disasters that also costs the economy $17.6 billion dollars. Social media is now the “go-to” tool for those that are responding to these cataclysmic events.

Online social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter often serve as breaking news roles for natural disasters. These are the first websites that mention the news and because both outlets are seen and used by millions of users, these sites help communicate the news to a large mass of people. Social media has played a large part in allowing people to ask for help, present volunteers and raise money once these disasters occur.

They ways in which social media helps in disasters are vast. Survivors use social media to contact friends to make sure they are safe, download disaster-related apps, let loved ones know they are safe themselves, buy supplies and retrieve emergency information.

Social media has a proven track record of success during natural disasters. When the tsunami hit Japan in March, 2011, Facebook recorded 4.5 million status updates from around the world. There were 1,188 tsunami-related tweets sent each minute during this time. When the earthquake hit Haiti in January, 2010, 2.3 million tweets were sent out in resulting in $3 million raised in the first 48 hours to the Red Cross. At its peak, Instagram users uploaded pictures related to Hurricane Sandy at a rate of 10 photos per second. A staff of 23 Red Cross volunteers monitored 2.5 million Sandy-related social media posts, tweets and pictures.

The results of a recent study released by the Red Cross has shown that the public is now seeing social media as an important medium to communicate with their friends, loved ones and colleagues and help seek help before, during and after an emergency situation. From locating survivors, to raising money, it is clear that social media is quickly becoming the most efficient outlet for managing disaster response.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Media Breakfast: Meet the Panel

Media Breakfast Panel

Krista Fogelsong

Krista grew up in Montana and got her start in TV as a reporter at KMOT-NBC in Minot, ND where she also attended Minot State University and received her BA in Broadcasting. In 2002 she moved to the Sunshine State and worked as the Main Anchor at FOX4 in Fort Myers for five years.  Krista moved back up North for a few years and worked as the Main Anchor in South Bend, IN where she helped start up an ABC news operation. SWFL was beckoning her back home. She is happy to be giving you the morning news for NBC2.  

Amy Tardif

Amy Tardif is the Station Manager and News Director for WGCU-FM. She’s responsible for the sound of the public radio station, is a reporter and occasionally hosts Gulf Coast Live. Her documentary Lucia’s Letter on human trafficking received a 2011 Peabody Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, among others. She serves the RTDNA (Radio Television Digital News Association) Board of Directors for which she helped write an e-book on plagiarism and fabrication.

Osvaldo Padilla 

 Osvaldo Padilla is the managing editor of Florida Weekly. A graduate of the master’s program at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, he has covered Capitol Hill for media outlets in Oregon and the Keys, and served as a reporter for WINK-TV and the News-Press. During his time at Florida Weekly, the paper has won dozens of awards including General Excellence from the Florida Press Association. 

Jean Gruss

 Jean Gruss is the editor for the Lee and Collier areas of the Business Observer, a regional publication that covers business news from Tampa to Naples. Before joining the Review in 2005, Jean was an editor with the Kiplinger business publications in Washington, D.C. Jean started his media career in 1991 with the Panama City (Fla.) News-Herald where he was business editor. From 1994 to 1999, Jean was a business writer for The Tampa Tribune.

Steve McQuilkin

Steve McQuilkin  is the New Economy and Education editor at The News-Press. Steve is on his second stint as the business editor of The News-Press, where he has also been executive metro editor, data editor and real estate editor. Steve is an investigative reporter and was on the team that recently broke the story about Hertz Global moving its world headquarters to Estero. He is also on a team investigating the Lee school district administration.

Sponsors for the Media Breakfast

Edison State College                               
Pushing the Envelope

Annual Sponsors

Lee County Electric Cooperative – Platinum Sponsorship
Shell Point Retirement Community – Platinum Sponsorship
Flame Productions – Premium Sponsorship
Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. – Deluxe Sponsorship
Charlotte Behavioral Health Care – Deluxe Sponsorship
JJ Taylor – Deluxe Sponsorship