If you’ve attended a luncheon or other FPRA event during the last year, you’ve probably had the opportunity to meet Laura Aguiar, APR. Whether greeting attendees at the door or assisting speakers with their presentations, she has been a highly visible presence at FPRA functions, showcasing her spirit, dedication and enthusiasm for public relations. These qualities are what led to Aguiar’s selection as the chapter’s 2012 Member of the Year.
The Member of the Year award is a special honor recognizing one of the organization’s professional members. It is given to an active FPRA member whose commitment of time, energy, enthusiasm and skill contributed significantly to the Gainesville chapter’s success above and beyond typical expectations.
“I have benefitted so much through participation in FPRA. Not only am I a better practitioner than when I started, I have numerous friends and colleagues in the industry here,” says Aguiar. “I try to be active in other community organizations, and FPRA Gainesville is the most organized and most dedicated as a whole than any other group that I know. Serving on our board is incredibly motivating, and we have leaders who continuously volunteer and tackle great projects. That is why it is so amazing to be singled out for my own part!”
Aguiar juggles a very busy schedule. In addition to working full-time as the manager of public relations and government affairs at Gainesville Regional Airport, she serves on the FPRA Gainesville board and on the board of Titletown Gator Club, organizing club communications and events. She is a member of both the Alachua County Hospitality Council and the Community Advisory Council for Gator Growl. In addition to all of the above, she is currently pursuing an MBA through the University of Florida’s weekend Executive program.
In all that she does, Aguiar brings a wealth of knowledge about the communications field. After receiving her B.S. in Telecommunications, News from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism, she worked with Gainesville’s WCJB TV 20. After a year there, she spent 10 years producing broadcast news programs in Honolulu, Hawaii; Savannah, Ga.; and Mobile, Ala.
Following her TV news career, Aguiar made the transition to marketing and communications. She spent three years working for Marine Corp Community Services in Okinawa, Japan before joining the Hilton Head Island-Blufton Chamber. At the chamber, she was honored for her work with an APEX Award for Marketing and PR writing, and was recognized several times by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives.
In her current role with Gainesville Regional Airport, Aguiar helps to increase public awareness about the airport as well as reminding residents to “fly local.”
Since joining the chapter, Laura has quickly become a leader in FPRA Gainesville Chapter and continues to work diligently for the organization. According to one nomination, “As programs director last year, she not only brought in a diverse array of speakers for our monthly programs, but also worked diligently to ensure they were planned with plenty of time to promote the presentations. In addition, she helped recruit new members to the chapter and supported other board members and their initiatives.”
Aguiar has served as the FPRA Gainesville Chapter’s programs director (2011-12) and currently serves as its secretary. She is married to GySgt David Aguiar, retired USMC who is currently pursuing a degree in engineering.