The next time you’re attending an FPRA Gainesville Chapter event, be sure to say hello to our 2012 Rising Star of the Year: hard-working PR professional and active FPRA member, Allison Downey.
Allison grew up in Ft. Myers, Fla., before moving to Gainesville to begin life as a Gator at the University of Florida. While pursuing her bachelor’s in public relations at UF, Allison worked as an intern at RTI Biologics. After finishing up her degree, she joined the Corporate Communications team full-time at RTI, a leading provider of sterile biological implants for surgeries around the world.
Allison is currently seeking a master’s degree in mass communications from UF with a specialization in science/health communication.
“I hadn’t considered public relations in the healthcare field until I started working for RTI, where I really became passionate about organ and tissue donation,” Allison says. “It was here that I decided that I want to continue my career in PR within the donation community.”
Beginning as a student member in 2008, Allison has gotten involved in FPRA in a variety of ways, including serving as a past member of the Annual Conference Committee and the Image Awards Committee, and as a current member of the Community Relations Committee. Allison has served as director of the Community Relations Committee (2011-12) and director of the Image Awards Committee (2012-13) in addition to serving on the FPRA Gainesville board last year and again this year.
“I love the network of PR professionals here—there are a lot of opportunities to learn and grow from those who have been in the field a long time,” says Allison, who plans to seek her APR in the near future. “There are a lot of great educational opportunities through FPRA, and I’ve been lucky to have had amazing mentors over the last few years.”
Last year, as director of the Community Relations Committee, Allison’s service went above and beyond with a two-part project to help beautify Gainesville’s St. Francis House, which helps provide basic necessities to the impoverished and hungry in the community. The committee’s first volunteer effort focused on drastically improving the landscaping around St. Francis House, while the second effort included painting residents’ bedrooms. Many members of FPRA came out to assist with the volunteer projects.
“It was so rewarding to bring the communications professionals in our area together to give back to the community,” she says.
In December 2012, Allison was awarded FPRA Gainesville chapter’s Rising Star of the Year Award, which is given to an up-and-coming FPRA member who has demonstrated emerging leadership traits along with active involvement in chapter activities throughout the year.
Of the award, Allison says, “I am truly humbled by this award. I can’t tell you how much confidence FPRA has given me that I’m on the right career path. I feel even more energized in my passion for and commitment to public relations. I look forward to continuing to try to make a difference in my field and in FPRA.”