Monday, September 30, 2013

PRU #DunkCity Panelist Seth Soffian, Staff Writer, The News-Press

Miami native Seth Soffian, a staff writer at The News-Press since 2000, graduated from the University of Florida in 1996 (a good year) with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in business administration. Seth covered Gators sports for The Independent Florida Alligator student newspaper before going on to work at the Palatka Daily News and Ocala Star-Banner, where he covered horse racing and the equine industry. Seth primarily covered local, regional and national golf news at The News-Press before taking over the FGCU beat full time as the university and its athletic programs continued to grow. Seth has freelanced for a number of regional and national publications and won numerous state and national writing awards. He most recently won the Associated Press Sports Writers’ top explanatory writing award in the 30,000-75,000 daily circulation category for a group of stories detailing the pervasive undercurrent of homophobia in women’s sports. Seth and his wife, Shannon, live in Fort Myers with their five children.

Friday, September 27, 2013

September 2013 APR Trivia

1. Question: How many APRs does the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association have (as of September 2013)?
A.   5
B.    26
C.    31
D.   45
Answer: C. Our 31 APRs join more than 4,300 active public relations professionals worldwide who have earned the prestigious APR designation.

Congratulations, Heidi Taulman, APR!!

Heidi Taulman, 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).

Taulman 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 31 in southwest Florida.

Taulman is the executive director for Lee Building Industry Association Builders Care, Inc. where she worked for seven years coordinating completion of more than 150 projects to provide no-cost emergency home repair and renovations services to needy, elderly, disabled and economically disadvantaged homeowners. In addition, Taulman serves in leadership roles with several local organizations, including the Southwest Florida Chapter of FPRA and ArtFest Fort Myers. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication from Florida State University.

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

Membership Renewal time is here!

It’s that time of year again – 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

Did you know?  That if you renew by Oct. 1st, a larger portion of your dues comes back to the local association to help with great programming and events?  That’s a bigger investment in YOU and your fellow FPRA members in our local Chapter! What are you waiting for?  Fill out that paperwork today! If you have not received your membership application in the mail or if you have any questions, 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!

From your President-Elect/Membership Chair, Heidi Taulman

A word from your FPRA Chapter President, Samantha Scott, APR

Happy fall! It’s amazing to think we’re already three quarters of the way through the 2013 calendar year and in the midst of fall. Don’t fret though, because we’re just starting the 2013-2014 FPRA year!

As your new President I’m honored and excited to help lead this organization and excited by the many activities we have to come. I say “help lead” because it would not be possible to operate this organization, put on the events, and provide professional development without our board and leadership team. If you don’t know them, or me, feel free to introduce yourself at an upcoming meeting or event; we’d love to meet you.

As I hinted at, we have many exciting opportunities to network with other public relations professionals and to enhance your career in the near future. The first of which is our annual PR University coming up on October 4th. Join us for a day of professional development as we learn how to “Create Slam Dunk Projects for Our Clients” and hear from our Dunk City panel!

Lastly, I’d like to remind everyone that our November meeting will be the first that we hold at our new location – Crowne Plaza Hotel at Bell Tower. Please make a note of the date (November 5) and the location.

I look forward to seeing you then and to growing with you this year. 

From the FPRA Student Chapter - Sherona Edwards

Recap of my Experience at the 75th Annual FPRA Conference

FT. MYERS, Fla. — I can remember like it was just yesterday, on Aug. 4, 2013 just weeks before entering into my Senior year at Florida Gulf Coast University, I was given the opportunity to attend the 75th annual FPRA Conference, Located in St. Petersburg, FL.  As a Communication major concentrating in PR, I can honestly say that the general sessions along with the breakout sessions have truly changed my outlook on what to expect once I fully enter into the field of PR. 
One of my most eye opening moments was when I attended the first general session featuring motivational speaker, Scott Burrows. In Burrows opening dialogue he quoted “Life is what you make of it,” as he proceeded into his speech, he began to explain what had happened for him to get to the point of testifying why “life is what you make of it.” Well, a while back in his youthful years, Burrows the All-American athletic prodigy had got into a bad car accident that ended up leaving him paralyzed.
 As he continued on with his life story, recalling all of the challenges, and failing moments that he endured; he reassured us that in life we will have failing moments but through it all we must “Be willing to fail, but unwilling to quit; our fears can paralyze us more than a person that is paralyzed. But if we go with what scares us, it will give you an unbeatable strength.” Closing with his last quote “Mindset: is what you do with what you can’t control,”  who would have thought that Scott Burrows would have taken one foot after the other foot off his wheel chair foot rest, to stand up, and begin walking across the stage. This ended with a standing ovation of applauses, and eyes full of life-touched tears.      
After witnessing such a remarkable moment such as that, I can truly say that my outlooks on life whether facing my fears, nurturing my strengths, and working towards bettering/ improving my weaknesses, have positively changed. Now that my senior year has begun, changes have been made, and I am striving to properly strategize, and execute my desired goals upon finishing up my final year at Florida Gulf Coast University. Go Eagles!

Member Spotlight - September 2013 - Michelle Avola-Reese

Michelle Avola-Reese is the Director of Marketing and Development with The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools.  The Foundation is a non-profit education foundation which enhances and enriches the quality of public education for students and educators through programs, resources and experiences.  This is made possible through corporate, individual and educational partnerships.  Some of their programs include Student Advocacy and Mentoring Partnership (STAMP), STEM@Work, ArtSpeak, Take Stock in Children, Dancing Classrooms, the Education Resource Center, Golden Apple Teacher Award Recognition, Collegium Quality Teacher Education, Classroom Grants, Anti-Bullying Initiatives and more.  Their goal is to help students achieve at their highest potential and equip educators with the resources they need to be the best.

Prior to joining The Foundation, Michelle was the Executive Director of a local non-profit advocacy group, making a tremendous impact in Collier County for the past seven years.  She also spent seven years with Xerox Corporation as the National Sales Training Manager.  She has three sons currently enrolled in Lee County Public Schools.  Her love for these boys is the major driving force behind her passion to further The Foundation’s efforts.  “Quality education and enrichment activities today help shape and grow the leaders of tomorrow.  My boys have big dreams, and I want to do everything I can to help them, and their peers, be everything they can be!”

Since joining The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools in June, Michelle has immersed herself in planning, marketing and fundraising for the many programs and events for the new school year, and has brought on the Florida Everblades / Germain Arena as a new partner.

Social Media Corner - September 2013 recently posted an article entitled “The 5 Types of Facebook fan (and how to keep them).”    Understanding what your fans are looking for; what kind of content they like and ultimately what keeps them as a happy customer may be the key to boost your engagement and reach your Facebook objectives.  So, how do these five profiles influence your marketing plan? (TEASER)
The five groups are the following:

Potential customers:  Potential customers may have seen an ad or have heard about your company via word of mouth.  If the time is right and your content has convinced them that they need to reach out for business, it is likely that they will remain a fan or stay as such until they are ready.  Should they be a potential large customer, perhaps posts can be tailored to content that may serve their needs and make them want to bite!

Friends/Employee:    The article provided an interesting fact on asking friends and employees to “like” pages to boosting numbers.  While it may get your fanbase up to your specific goals, this could also hurt your engagement scores.   Is there a way we can get our supportive friends, family or employees to engage with the content we are sharing?   

Contest Junkies:    If your page frequently has a contest or sweepstakes, it’s a safe bet that you’ve got fans who liked your page just to be the lucky winner.  And, if there isn’t another contest in the near future after one has ended, there is a good chance that they will split if posts don’t include anything regarding a contest.  So how do you keep them on board?    Things such as teasing another upcoming contest and offering coupons will most likely keep these contest junkies addicted. 

Happy campers:  The best fans to have, the happy campers are actively engaged and eager to share their positive experiences with you and the rest of your fans.  Keeping them happy with conversational posts, such as asking for opinions will certainly keep them engaged and willing to share their opinion on why your brand is the best.  If they post something groundbreaking on your page—go ahead and give them the credit and share it. 

Fair-weathered friends:
These fans may have had a positive experience with your brand and will follow to stay up to date, but if something goes awry, they could provide negative feedback.  The best way to handle any concerns or negative comments is address it.  Back up your comments with factual information, reminding them of the value of your service or product. 

While these profiles may not completely change your facebook analytics, it could provide reasoning as to why some folks are behaving the way they are on your page.  By building your social media calendar to suit all of the above, your Facebook objectives can be met.

Submitted by your social media chair, Jodi Huntoon.