Maria Copeland serves as Director of Educational Services for FPRA Gainesville and she credits her membership with giving her the opportunity to meet other PR professionals in the area as well as update her skills. She uses social media to connect with the students she mentors and encourages them to step out of their comfort zone and network in the business world. “I feel like it is so important to stay engaged in what is happening around you because so much is changing in the way we communicate. That is why I love working with these UF students! They are bright, charming, energetic, and they keep me updated on all the new gadgets and apps!”
She currently works as a public education coordinator at LifeQuest Organ Recovery Services, Gainesville, Fla. Although she is part of the public relations department she focuses mostly on outreach efforts that increase donor registrations, including public speaking, volunteer management, and special events coordination. She also serves as the liaison in the tax collector offices in North Central Florida for Donate Life Florida, and is a member of several state and national committees working to implement awareness campaigns.
Prior to working for LifeQuest, Maria worked as a teacher for seven years and at Florida Power & Light where she had experience rotating through many different departments. She graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in public relations. Prior to that, she lived in Sarasota, Florida where she was born and raised. She considers herself a weekend warrior and loves trying new things and visiting her family in Cozumel, Mexico.
Her hope for the future is to better utilize her first language, Spanish, and to learn more about the international side of public relations, as well as marketing to the Hispanic population. “The great thing about PR is that it has so many facets and no matter where you are, those skills are marketable.” Maria hopes to stay involved with FPRA and continue to hone her public relations skills, meet new people and serve where needed.