Register for our September program – PR on the Pod!

Has your organization considered entering the world of podcasting? You’re in good company. According to Apple, there are more than 525,000 active podcasts on iTunes. While many brands have found podcasts to be an effective PR and marketing tool, getting started is often the hardest part.

Chad McLeod, APR, CPRC, principal of McLeod Communications, a PR and communications strategy consulting firm based in Lakeland, Florida, suggests potential podcasters start with their goal in mind. What do you anticipate receiving as a return on your time investment? Who do you want to reach? Why do you want to reach them?

During the FPRA Gainesville September luncheon, Chad will discuss his experience as a podcaster and share additional tips for organizations considering a podcast. Chad and his brother, Joe, who’s also his business partner, are the co-hosts of PR & Politics, a weekly podcast that reflects their everyday conversations about politics, political communications and PR stories of the week.

Chad spent five years as an aide to U.S. Senator Mel Martinez and is always up for a friendly political discussion. He served as president of FPRA Tampa Bay in 2014-2015 and is a UF grad (PR major, College of Journalism and Communications, Class of 2004).

LeadershipFPRA Pays Off for Past President

Following her completion of the LeadershipFPRA program, Erin Morton, APR, CPRC, found a deeper appreciation for her craft and honed her leadership skills. She shares her LeadershipFPRA journey and what the program taught her about business and herself.

As I neared the conclusion of my year as president of our chapter last year, I began to think about the next step in my professional development journey. I was interested in continuing to develop my leadership skills, and I had heard so many great things about the LeadershipFPRA program from friends and colleagues who participated in the inaugural class. I am so glad that I applied and was granted a space in the second class of the LeadershipFPRA program. And I am incredibly grateful to the Gainesville Chapter for awarding me a partial scholarship, which allowed for my participation.

As the program’s description states, “LeadershipFPRA provides our members with the tools they need to become stronger leaders in the organizations, their communities and FPRA.” I couldn’t agree with this summary more. Beginning with the program’s orientation, I was so impressed with the level of detail put into each and every session. The program’s orientation was followed by five seminar-styled leadership training classes facilitated by leaders in communications and other disciplines throughout the state, and the year culminated with a graduation ceremony and recognition during Annual Conference.

LeadershipFPRA provided such a wonderful opportunity to take time out for myself – to focus on getting to know my leadership style, further develop my leadership skills, and enhance my knowledge in areas of business that are very different from my own. One of the most valuable aspects of the program is the relationships built with communications professionals throughout the state – from different industries, varied levels of experience and unique insights.

The program promised that participants, “…will be better equipped to not only function as PR professionals in their respective workplaces, but also strengthen their rightful seat at the boardroom table and to evolve into further leadership roles in FPRA, their communities and the industry in general.” I could not agree with this statement more, and I’m so glad that I made the investment in my leadership journey through the LeadershipFPRA program.

FPRA 80th Annual Conference Scholarships

The Gainesville Chapter of FPRA is happy to announce that we will be funding three scholarships to FPRA’s 80th Annual Conference Aug. 5-8 at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort and Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach. We will be awarding two scholarships for professional members and one scholarship for a student member.

The scholarships cover one full conference registration, including access to general and breakout sessions throughout the three-day conference, food at all conference functions and a ticket to the Golden Image Awards.

Please note travel and lodging expenses are not covered in the scholarships. The recipient of the scholarships should expect to cover these costs on his or her own.

The deadline to apply is Friday, June 15 at 5 p.m.


Questions? Contact President-Elect Lindsey Robertson, APR, at

May 2018 Program


Just 15 years ago, John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse was just “making a living” but not living his dream. “Each of us have gifts to share. You’re the only one stopping yourself,” he told FPRA Gainesville Chapter in May. “So much of what we believe determines the life we live.”


Inspired to organize a barbeque fundraiser to help a Texas family, John re-discovered his dream of being a cook and began his challenging but eventually successful journey of creating 4 Rivers Smokehouse. While the business has grown, John stays focused on community involvement and those in need by supporting a multitude of impactful charitable organizations in Florida.


John challenged everyone in the room to close their eyes and imagine what they would do with their talents and gifts if all of the risk was taken out of it. “Do what you do for the right reasons,” he said.

April 2018 Program

In April, Drew Piers, partner and director of campaigns at Sachs Media Group in Tallahassee offered a summary of the most previous Florida legislative session and a look ahead for issues for Alachua County. Drew handles a variety of clients who want to message to Florida legislators, and he presented four best practices in creating sustainable public relations campaigns which apply to his work at Sachs as well as across the profession. Your message must be relevant, resonate with your audience (in the right way with the right message), connect with your audience how they want to connect, and be delivered by the right messenger who will define how people perceive your message all the while reinforcing the value of your organization or business.

January Program


For our January luncheon event, FPRA Gainesville hosted a panel presentation on Richard Spencer’s recent controversial visit to Gainesville. Facilitated by FPRA Member Steve Shepard, the panel speakers were Officer Ben Tobias of the Gainesville Police Department, University of Florida (UF) Director of Communications Margot Winick and Melissa Lutz Blouin of UF Health Communications. Panelists shared their public relations and communications experiences while working together with other agencies and organizations to help maintain peace in the Gainesville community during the Spencer visit. Panelists noted that having one voice on social media for all of the agencies and organizations involved as well as having at least one meeting under one roof were both best practices which made for a successful collaboration. They also agreed that having more meetings for all involved would be something to implement if they were faced with another similar event. All through the year, these three panelists practice crisis communications drills which also contributed to the successful collaboration among one another. Positive messaging on social media from UF President W. Kent Fuchs reminding students and community members that UF stands for tolerance and diversity was noted as a large contributing factor to successful external communications. During the event, UF also established a website that was dedicated to updates so that students and community members alike could find updated and official information in a centralized place.  Many thanks to the panelists for sharing public relations and communications best practices!


November Program

There are many ways your personal brand can be compromised online, and John David from David PR Group shared several examples during his presentation at the Gainesville Chapter Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) FPRA Monthly luncheon in November with both FPRA and Advertising Federation (AAF) members and guests. John shared several examples of individuals who had difficulty securing gainful employment after their personal brand had been compromised by other people.

He had several best practices to share including checking the level of security and controls on any social media sites you are on so that others can only tag you in a photo if you allow it. Not on social media? John advises to get on because you want to be in control and manage your brand. For example, it is a best practice to claim that Yelp listing for your business before someone else does. This way, you remain the authority on those pages and the information that is shared there. The same can be said for social media for your personal brand. You don’t have to post often, but at least claim an account in your name so that no one else can. For example, Warren Buffet has a Twitter account but rarely posts. However, his Twitter account ranks higher than his biography if you do a search for him.

John’s best advice is follow the rules and the law, know who your friends are, and don’t document everything. The famous golden rule still applies: respect yourself and respect others. Be thoughtful, genuine and authentic while posting on any social media site or online.

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FPRA Gainesville Chomp and Learn Luncheon Bundle

You do the math…

One check
One payment
One time
Eight opportunities to hear awesome speakers and network with fellow FPRA Gainesville Members.

Starting in December FPRA will now be offering a one time payment option for all FPRA monthly programs for members.

If you can’t make it, another person from your company, an FPRA Member or a non-member whom you designate can go in your place. Buy an FPRA Gainesville Chomp and Learn Luncheon Bundle of eight luncheons for $126 before December 31, 2017, and have the convenience of submitting only one payment while receiving one luncheon for free. That is eight total luncheons for just $126.

Please be aware that the purchase must be made before December 31, 2017, and that this is a one-time payment which will not be refunded. Bundle includes all luncheon programs from January 2018 through August 2018.