Membership Scholarships

Membership Scholarships 2017-2018

The FPRA Gainesville Chapter is pleased to announce that it is once again offering the Kim Faenza Membership Scholarship to a qualified professional from a local non-profit organization, as well as the James Terhune Membership Scholarship for a public relations professional who graduated from UF in the last five years. Both scholarships will cover the membership of the recipients from November 1, 2017 through October 31, 2018.

Click here to apply for the Kim Faenza Membership Scholarship (for non-profit PR professionals).

Click here to apply for the James Terhune Membership Scholarship (for recent grads).

The application deadline for both scholarships is Friday, Oct. 13. Applications will be reviewed by a committee, and applicants will receive notification within the next month. For more information, please contact Joey Mazzaferro, vice president of member services, at

It's that time of the year-Membership Renewals!

FPRA Membership Renewal

Fall is in the air and so is FPRA membership renewal! We enjoy having you as a member of the Gainesville Chapter and hope you have come to value your FPRA membership just as much. There are so many benefits to keeping your FPRA membership current! (Link: Memberships expire October 31, 2017. Renewal letters have been mailed, and e-mail reminders will start soon. You can renew your membership via the paper form you received in the mail or online at

That’s not all… those who renew by October 31 will be entered into a drawing to win TWO tickets to the Florida vs. UAB football game Nov. 18 in The Swamp! (They’re in row 15!)

REMINDER: There is no longer a grace period for late renewals. Renewals received after November 1 will not be processed unless accompanied by a $25 late fee. Prorated rates do not apply to renewing members.

If you have any questions, contact President-Elect Lindsey Robertson, APR, at


FPRA Gainesville Chapter Elects 2017-18 Board Members

Gainesville, Florida (August 18, 2017) — The Gainesville Chapter of The Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) recently installed 14 public relations professionals who live and work in the Gainesville area to its chapter board of directors to serve for the 2017-2018 board year. The following individuals will hold office for a term of one year beginning September 1, 2017. The FPRA Gainesville Chapter meets for lunch and educational programs on the third Thursday of each month at the Sweetwater Branch Inn in Gainesville. For additional information, please visit

  • President: Allison Downey, APR/Marketing Communications Manager for Exactech, Inc.
  • Immediate Past President: Erin Morton, APR, CPRC/Sr. Manager of Corporate Communications & Family Services for RTI Surgical, Inc.
  • President-Elect: Lindsey Robertson, APR/Marketing Communications Manager for RTI Surgical, Inc.
  • Vice President/Member Services: Joey Mazzaferro/Public Relations Specialist II for the University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning
  • Treasurer: Sarah Coulson/Marketing Program Manager for CPAmerica International
  • Secretary: MaryBeth Head/Producer and Director for Two-Head Video, Inc.
  • Director, Accreditation & Certification: Diane Choate, APR/Public Relations Specialist for MAPEI Corporation
  • Director, Communications: Patricia Vernon/Manager of Public Relations and Communications for Haven
  • Director, Community Relations: Amy Azoulay/Director of Communications for United Way of North Central Florida
  • Director, Educational Services: Joey Martinez/Public Relations Specialist for Haven
  • Director, Electronic Media: Leah Harms/Marketing Coordinator for University of Florida Communications
  • Director, Image Awards: Marbella Miller/Marketing Communications Senior Specialist for Exactech, Inc.
  • Director, Professional Development: Colleen Raccioppi, APR/Marketing Communications Senior Manager for Exactech, Inc.
  • Director, Programs: Jon Thomas/Vice President of Forest Meadows Funeral Home & Cemeteries


About FPRA Gainesville: The Gainesville Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Chapter was founded in 1968 as the Osceola Chapter. Members came from Gainesville and the surrounding areas and quickly established a tradition of personal and professional development, mentoring and community service. Today, the chapter numbers nearly 100 professionals and students who work in corporate, educational, government and nonprofit settings. For more information, visit FPRA is the nation’s oldest public relations organization with nearly 1,200 members in 15 professional and 11 student chapters across Florida. For more information, visit .



Two-Head Video of Gainesville wins FPRA Golden Image Award

Gainesville, Florida (August 18, 2017) — Two-Head Video, a local video production company and a long-standing member of the Gainesville Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA), was presented with an FPRA Golden Image Award for excellence in public relations programming at FPRA’s annual banquet and state conference held recently in Orlando.

FPRA Gainesville Chapter Board Member Mary Beth Head and D.J. Head of Two-Head Video took home an FPRA Golden Image Award for their Sea Turtle License Plate Video Campaign in the category of Digital Tools of Public Relations. This award recognizes the professional efforts dedicated to assessing a challenge, developing a plan for video implementation, and successful results based on qualitative and quantitative outcomes.

The FPRA Golden Image Awards have become a standard of public relations excellence in the state of Florida. Winners demonstrate the very best examples of innovation, planning and design. The awards competition includes four categories: Public Relations Programs, Printed Tools of Public Relations, Digital Tools of Public Relations and Student Projects in Public Relations.

About FPRA Gainesville: The Gainesville Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Chapter was founded in 1968 as the Osceola Chapter. Members came from Gainesville and the surrounding areas and quickly established a tradition of personal and professional development, mentoring and community service. Today, the chapter numbers nearly 100 professionals and students who work in corporate, educational, government and nonprofit settings. For more information, visit FPRA is the nation’s oldest public relations organization with nearly 1,200 members in 15 professional and 11 student chapters across Florida. For more information, visit .

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2017 FPRA Annual Conference

Members of the FPRA Gainesville Chapter traveled to Orlando in early August to attend the FPRA 79th Annual Conference: PR It’s Personal – Research, Relate and Respond. On Sunday, after attending sessions on accreditation and chapter leadership, Gainesville Chapter slithered off to Universal Studios in Slytherin attire to take part in the President’s Reception and take in the sites of Diagon Alley. The conference officially opened on Monday morning with a keynote address from Ann Rhoades, architect of the Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways corporate cultures. She shared her experiences and offered best practices on creating a corporate culture that is personal. She pointed out that engaged employees outperform expectations and are 87 percent less likely to leave. Getting to “yes” for employees means that companies will get to “yes” for their customers. “Hold employees accountable, but reward them how they want to be rewarded.”

After attending the breakout sessions, Gainesville Chapter members sat together for the President’s Luncheon and cheered as our chapter won two President’s Awards for Chapter Administration and Community Service. The cellphone photos came with the traditional presentation of the Dillin Dessert. This year it featured chocolate and peanut butter. Yum. After attending afternoon breakout sessions, chapter members gathered at the Monday night’s networking reception and then had a chance to share conference experiences with one another at Maggiano’s Little Italy.

Tuesday featured two compelling presentations by keynote speakers IKEA Director of Business Analytics & Consumer Insight Mary Lunghi and at the lunch session, Scott Stanzel, director of corporate communications from Amazon, spoke about focusing on delighting customers and how it informs their business model. After some great breakout sessions, USF Professor Susan McManus, Ph.D. spoke on conducting, evaluating and using research. With just an hour or so to spare, Gainesville Chapter Members participated in another tradition and met before the Golden Image Awards Banquet for camaraderie before heading downstairs for the chapter picture and the Golden Image Awards Banquet. We cheered on chapter members Two-Head Video for their win of a Golden Image Award for their Sea Turtle License Plate video campaign.

On the last day of conference, attendees were treated to Colby Jubenville, Ph.D. speaking on personal relations and personal branding, harkening back to the theme for this year.  He advised attendees to lead their teams by “affirming and validating team members’ worth and potential in a clear way so that they can see it for themselves.” And he left attendees with this thought, “Help others to find their voice.”

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July Program featured Crosslinear Consulting’s Julieanne McGuinness

FPRA Gainesville Chapter welcomed Crosslinear Consulting’s Head of Operations and Intellectual Capital Julieanne McGuinness who discussed the importance of social responsibility in the workplace.

Today, we are answering the question of whether social responsibility in the corporate world leads to increased profitability and explaining how companies who use their resources to affect change will be able to attract better talent from the workforce, have fewer customer issues, and experience increased profitability in doing so.

McGuinness shared impactful data that indicated a return on investment when companies practice thoughtful social responsibility.

“Research and data speak to the positive effects of social responsibility for companies, whether big or small,” said McGuinness. “Essentially, we don’t have a commerce structure if we don’t have social responsibility.”

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FPRA Annual Conference Scholarship Winner Announced

The Gainesville Chapter of FPRA is excited to annouce that this year’s winner of the 2017 FPRA Annual Conference Scholarship is… Sarah Coulson!

Sarah will not only be representing our chapter as a member but also as a part of the 2017 Joe Curley Rising Leader Class. Congratulations, Sarah!


June Program featured University of Florida Communications Assistant Vice President Nicole Yucht

At our June Program, we were joined by University of Florida Communications Assistant Vice President Nicole Yucht who leads a team of talented communications professionals and has the distinct honor of being responsible for the University of Florida’s brand. She oversees the institution’s marketing and identity standards, media and public relations, social media, web and campus outreach efforts. Every day her team has the opportunity to present UF to the world through inspired storytelling and illuminating visuals on unexpected channels to enhance UF’s reputation.

Nicole presented on the ever changing media landscape and shared what University of Florida is doing to stay ahead of the trends and their pursuit to enhance UF’s reputation and stature.

She shared a mobilization strategy UF uses that includes thinking outside the box in terms of storylines, approaching opportunities as a team, telling stories on their own channels, using all tools in the thought-leadership arsenal, joining current conversations, providing media training to faculty experts and supporting efforts with paid media.

Thanks Nicole for sharing your knowledge! Go Gators!

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PRmageddon: From Crisis to Control

In the heat of the moment during a crisis, it can be very challenging to craft messaging and respond in a thoughtful manner. Preparing for the inevitable on a sunny day is always a best practice and having the opportunity to rehearse is invaluable.

Area public relations professionals gathered recently to hear several speakers present on crisis communications and rehearse a crisis situation with Sandi Poreda, APR, of Bulldog Strategy Group and Officer Ben Tobias, Public Information Officer for Gainesville Police Department at the FPRA Gainesville Professional Symposium PRarmageddon.  “Recognize and define your role in the crisis, who is going to respond and what is the message going to be,” said Sandi. “Be purposeful, not reactive.”

After you generate a list of questions you think media would ask in a scenario, take it a step further. “Think of five to ten questions that you hope they don’t ask,” said Officer Tobias. “If you screwed up, be honest.”

Sandi echoed this sentiment, “Lead with compassion, follow it with conviction, commit to making it right and close with optimism.”

Orange County Sheriff’s Office PIO Jeff Williamson, PhD advised remembering to be compassionate in your response in crisis situations. “A storm is always coming, so prepare yourself and remember that you must demonstrate compassion.”

As a crisis unfolds, all of the facts of the situation may not be readily available.  Just message on the facts that you do know and do not speculate.  “They are not going to expect you to know everything right away, so  just be honest and say that you will find out and get back to them,” said Officer Tobias. Sandi advised, “Don’t let perfect get in the way of good.”

During a crisis, always update your internal audiences and stakeholders regularly. Share the same information you are sharing with the public and the media. “Don’t let your employees read about it in the news before you told them,” said Officer Tobias. This is made easier when there is just one spokesperson who should remain messaging throughout the crisis.  “If you have three different people answering three different ways, it is going to look like you are leaving information out or not revealing something,” said Sandi.

After the crisis, debrief on what worked, didn’t work, what you missed and how you can do better next time. “Improve your crisis communications plan accordingly and then share it back out to your team,” said Sandi.

“Be honest with yourself in the evaluation process,” said Officer Tobias. “You will only make yourself better when the next crisis hits.”


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May Program featured James Bates, Fox Sports football broadcaster and owner of b8sy productions

James Bates Discusses His Personal Brand

After he likened his invitation to speak to a room full of public relations professionals to a Mike Myers and Chris Farley SNL skit about not speaking the correct language, James Bates started his presentation with this bit of advice that he had received as a young man, “Take your job and your work seriously, but not yourself.”

A former University of Florida (UF) football player, James is a Fox Sports football broadcaster, painter ( and teaches a play-by-play broadcasting class at UF College of Journalism and Communications. “It’s all about being a passionate storyteller,” said James about being an on-air talent. “As a broadcaster, you want to make the viewer feel like they are at the sports bar with their friends – you want it to be organic. In how many places and in how many ways can someone see the game or read about it? I’ve got to entertain.”

James recently reflected on his time playing at UF with the Florida Gators Softball team at the invitation of Head Coach Tim Walton. “I am so blessed to have played at UF, so I was telling these players about how you can start living in a bubble as a student athlete and taking things for granted.” The two other things James takes seriously are being appreciative and staying positive. “Why would I waste a day by being negative?”

He describes his work as an artist as “folk art and grittiness.” Through, James shares his love for painting.  “I stay true to whom I am – I’ve got to let it (humor) out, but it works and people like it.”

James also shared his experiences working on the film, The Waterboy. He heard about the opportunity from a friend while he was still in Texas. “I just love Sandler, so I drove from Houston to Orlando.” Many auditions and meetings later, he finally met Sandler. “He is a sweet guy and Henry Winkler and Cathy Bates were too. It is so good to meet people who so appreciate life. “

He left us with this thought as we all readied to head back out into the world, “Be you, be true and tell the truth. This way you don’t have to worry about what you said or did.”

That translates just fine. Thanks, James!

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