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.”