Monthly Features of Our Ocala FPRA Members

December 2017- Klodiana Palushi, Publisher, Best Version Media

Where are you from? I was born in Albania but I have been calling Ocala my home since 2005.

Affiliation with public relations: I have been a publisher with Best Version Media since October 2012. We produce monthly direct mail magazines that go direct mail to affluent and retirement communities. We help:


We provide a beautiful, informative and relevant publication that serves as a pleasant reminder of why it is nice to live in the neighborhood.

Homeowners Associations

For HOAs, we provide an excellent and efficient communication tool for their neighborhood.


We provide a micro-targeted, consistent means of sharing their business with residents of highly desirable neighborhoods through advertising and sponsorships.

Little-known fact: I am a proud mom of my son Michael. He is the best thing that ever happened to me.

What attracted you to FPRA? Being a part of amazing group of leaders of our community.

Favorite aspect of PR: Building relationships and meeting new people.

Anything else to add? Looking forward to being a part of FPRA.


November 2017- Miranda Sullivan, Executive Assistant/Operations Associate, Neighborhood Storage/Neighborhood Workspace

Where are you from? I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and was raised here in Ocala, FL

Affiliation with public relations: I handle the social media platforms for Neighborhood Storage as well as the internal/external communications. I also communicate with small business owners daily through Neighborhood Workspace.

Little-known fact: I am a true dog lover. I actually have 4 dogs of my own. They are mostly rescues from abusive homes.

What attracted you to FPRA? I feel that FPRA will give me an opportunity to learn more about best methods of conveying information to the public, while also giving me a chance to network with people in my profession.

Favorite aspect of PR: Being in a PR type of position has allowed me the opportunity to network and meet people from all walks of life. I love getting the chance to share what Neighborhood Storage/Neighborhood Workspace are all about!

Anything else to add? I am a young professional and a mother of a 3 year old (along with my four fur babies!)


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September 2017- Heather Carrow, Education Program Manager, Master the Possibilities 

Where are you from?  Originally from Manville, New Jersey.  Currently residing in Ocala, Florida.

Affiliation with public relations: Education Program Manager at Master the Possibilities Not-for-Profit Lifelong Learning Center, responsible for marketing, outreach, and social media.

Little-known fact: I also enjoy acting and singing, and have performed at various community venues.

What attracted you to FPRA? The networking opportunities and leadership/development training.

Favorite aspect of PR: Being active and engaged on social media.  Making connections to build partnerships.

Anything else to add? I’m excited to be here!



May 2017- Starley Ard, Outreach Services, Marion County Election Center

Where are you from?  Ocala, Florida

Affiliation with public relations: Planning and executing community outreach services and maintaining communications between the public and the Marion County Election Center.

Little-known fact: I have my Associate in Science in Business Management, Marketing and Administration and am a certified Microsoft Office Specialist Master.

What attracted you to FPRA?  The opportunity to network and build relationships with other public relations practitioners and strengthen my PR skills.

Favorite aspect of PR: The countless opportunities to use creativity.

Anything else to add? I look forward to the opportunities and benefits I will receive as a member of the Florida Public Relations Association.


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April 2017-Petra S. Schmidt, Editor-On Top of the World News, On Top of the World Communities & Related Entities

Where are you from? Metuchen, New Jersey

Affiliation with public relations: As editor of the World News, I read and edit over 100 columns/articles per month. I also keep the Newsroom tab of up-to-date and forward press kits, when necessary.

Little-known fact: I speak German.

What attracted you to FPRA? Networking.

Favorite aspect of PR: Creating new PR documents to highlight new areas in our business.

Anything else to add? The PR portion of my job is a fairly new addition; I look forward to expanding my role.



March 2017-Kayla Hall-Abdool, Marketing Coordinator-On Top of the World Communities  

Where are you from?


Affiliation with public relations:

As the marketing coordinator at On Top of the World, I write most of the press releases for the company and all related entities.

Little-known fact:

Born and raised in Belize, came to the US to study in 2008 and  got my degree in 2011. Love working in marketing/PR ever since then.

What attracted you to FPRA?

I was attracted to FPRA to be a part of a professional group where I can learn more about PR and meet people in the same field as I am and also networking.

Favorite aspect of PR:

My favorite aspect of PR is communicating and interact with the press. Media Relations.

Anything else to add?

Graduated from University of South Florida with a Bachelors in Mass Communications and an emphasis in Public Relations.



January 2017 – Nick Zoller, Public Relations and Communications Director – Marion County Board of County Commissioners

Where are you from?

I’m a Florida native, grew up in Atlantic Beach, headed to Boston to start my foray into public relations. After a couple of years, I returned to Florida and lived in the Tampa Bay area from 2012 to 2016. I’m brand new to Ocala, I arrived in Oct. 2016.

Affiliation with public relations:

I am the Public Relations and Communications Director for the Marion County Board of County Commissioners, overseeing overall branding, messaging and marketing strategy and directing the efforts of the Office of Public Information. I’ve also recently completed a Master of Science degree in Mass Communications at Florida International University.

Little-known fact:

I’m an extremely shy person in my personal life, colleagues would never guess!

What attracted you to FPRA?

Public Relations is a field I somewhat naturally fell into and over time I have come to truly respect and enjoy the camaraderie I’ve found with other professionals from all different industries. FPRA seems like an excellent organization to continue growing my network of professional relationships.

Favorite aspect of PR:

Telling the untold story.

Anything else to add?

I’m always willing to lend a helpful eye or ear, don’t ever hesitate to bounce ideas off of me. Collaboration with other professionals truly does lead each project to greater heights of success.


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September 2016 – Michelle Zimmerman Marketing Director and Public Information Officer at Munroe Regional Medical Center

Where are you from?

I’m a Florida native, originally from Miami. Grew up in Orlando, but have been in Ocala since 1979.

Affiliation with public relations:

I am the Marketing Director and Public Information Officer at Munroe Regional Medical Center. I’ve been at Munroe for 22 years and in a Marketing role for 19 of those.

Little-known fact:

I love to ride my Harley!

What attracted you to FPRA?

Most of my career at Munroe has focused on marketing-specific activities and tactics. In 2014, with the transition of Munroe to Community Health System, our then PIO left the hospital and I’ve had to pick up the PR “ball” and run with it! FPRA struck me as a group of talented individuals that I could learn from.

Favorite aspect of PR:

I’ve enjoyed the relationships I’ve already made in just a few months. The chapter members are very willing to share their expertise, provide advice and a willing, supportive ear. I’ve called on several for advice over the last two years and couldn’t be more pleased with what I’ve learned from them.

Anything else to add?

I’m looking forward to continuing to learn more from my fellow members!


August 2016 – Nicole Pulcini MasonP1020706 Director of Community Affairs – Kids Central

Where are you from? 

I was born in Alamogordo, New Mexico, raised in St. Petersburg, Florida until 13 years old, and spent ages 14 to 30 in Gainesville, Florida. I consider Gainesville my home and just purchased my first home there.

Affiliation with public relations: 

After working both in the marketing field and social services, I seized the opportunity to combine my child welfare and marketing experience into one position as the Community Development Coordinator for Kids Central. I was promoted and named Director of Community Affairs. A key component of this position is building and maintaining relationships with the communities Kids Central serves. Additionally, I am responsible for corporate communications, media relations, marketing, fundraising, event planning and more.

Little-known fact: 

I have worked with many exotic animals including Capuchin monkeys, prehensile-tailed porcupines, parrots, alligators, lots of reptiles and venomous snakes.

What attracted you to FPRA? 

The camaraderie with other public relations professionals is what attracted me to FPRA. In my industry, public relations professionals are uncommon. The opportunity to network and connect with fellow PR professionals is important to me.

Favorite aspect of PR: 

The networking and development opportunities.

Anything else to add?

I am excited to pursue my APR!


July 2016 – Lauren Debick, Marketing Communications Manager, Ocala Health

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and moved to Central Florida six years ago.

Affiliation with public relations:

I am Manager of Marketing Communications at Ocala Health which gives me the opportunity to establish relationships between the community and Ocala Health. I also have experience in developing public relations plans for financial advisors from a previous position. I am also two classes away from receiving my Master’s Degree from the University of Denver in Professional and Organizational Communications with a focus on PR and Marketing.

Little-known fact:

I am a licensed Zumba Fitness instructor.

What attracted you to FPRA?

I was attracted to working with a group of PR professionals. I know there is a lot I can learn from the different members with their various backgrounds and expertise. I am also excited to get more involved in the community and collaborate with different area professionals.

Favorite aspect of PR:

My favorite aspect of PR is being able to create and maintain relationships with the community through creative means such as social media strategies and being able to put a strategic plan into play that is beneficial for the different parties involved.

Anything else to add?

I am looking forward to getting to know everyone!




June 2016 – Barbara Carbaugh, Community Relations Manager                         Hiers Baxley Funeral Services

Where are you from?  Florida native, born and bred. I’ve lived in Tampa, Gainesville, Orlando, Wesley Chapel and now I am happy to call Ocala home!

Affiliation with public relations: After earning my BS in PR from the University of Florida, I worked for Curley & Pynn Strategic Public Relations in Orlando. You might say the rest is history because I have been working directly in PR, or, at the very least freelancing, ever since.

Little-known fact: In my young adult and early mom days I did print and lifestyle modeling as well as corporate training films and television commercials.

What attracted you to FPRA? I became a member right out of college. I knew it was the best way to network & keep current in the industry.

Favorite aspect of PR: The people! Everyone I’ve ever come across in FPRA has always been very genuine. Everyone wants to help each other succeed both personally & professionally.

Anything else to add? I am SO GLAD to be back! Throughout my career I have gone through phases of being active and inactive in FPRA due to typical life events, e.g., raising children, growing our family business, etc. With my youngest entering high school in the fall, I feel able to commit to active involvement again!

maclyn-head[1]March 2016 – Maclyn Walker, MSW, Project Director, Measure Up Marion

Where are you from?

Ocala native but most of my school years were spent in Tallahassee.

Affiliation with public relations:

Most of my experience has been through working in the world of health and human services including Outward Bound Schools, United Way of Marion County, Munroe Regional Medical Center, and now the Measure Up Marion initiative, communicating to the community information on program or project services.

Little-known fact:

I don’t know how to make coffee.

What attracted you to FPRA? The opportunity to learn from so many vibrant, intelligent people who know how to tell their story in such a way that people want to listen.

Favorite aspect of PR:

The interweaving of science and creativity. What appeals to me most is the combination of the science of human cognitions and behavior with artful communication and enough technology thrown in to keep it interesting.

February 2016 – Elizabeth Austin, Event Coordinator for the City of Inverness, FL

Where are you from?

Florida native from St. Petersburg, but moved two years ago to Inverness, Florida.

Affiliation with public relations:

I’ve always been interested in advocacy, so throughout my career I have found myself in the realm of public relations in the government and nonprofit sectors. I work now for a small but innovative City government in which I wear many hats from developing strategy with agencies, working tourism partners, event coordination, website development and public information releases.

Little-known fact:

I am a leapling, what they call someone who is born on February 29—leap day. I’ve only had 8 true birthdays in my life and looking at the “big” nine in 2016.

What attracted you to FPRA?  The high level of education offered year-round and motivators within the group. I have met so many bright and energizing FPRA members, and look forward to learning more.

Favorite aspect of PR: Goal achievement. I love to complete a project and see the results go beyond my original expectation.


November 2015 – Katie Young, Public Information CoordinatorKatie Young - HeadshotCity of Ocala

Where are you from? Ocala, FL

Affiliation with public relations:

Public Communication Coordinator for the City of Ocala

Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from the University of Florida (2013)

Little-known fact:

I am a sixth generation Ocalan.

What attracted you to FPRA?  My first experience with FPRA was in 2010 when I attended a meeting as a non-member while attending the College of Central Florida. Five years later, I am excited to be back in the industry and be a member of the Ocala chapter. FPRA is great simply because of the networking opportunities it provides to members. When looking to promote an event or brainstorm communication strategies, the relationships created through this organization definitely come in handy!

Favorite aspect of PR: My favorite aspect of PR is the organized chaos that it brings each day. I love driving to work not completely sure of what my day will bring, but always knowing that it will be something exciting and worthwhile.



Member Profile is back!

Just who is this man? Where is he really from? Why is he constantly talking about hand-washing? Learn everything you ever wanted to know about our new Chapter Secretary.

October 2015 – Craig Ackerman, Public Information Officer
Florida Department of Health in Marion County

CraigAck2013_smWhere are you from? Born and raised in Phoenix, Ariz. Lived in California, Virginia, New Mexico, South Korea and Germany.

Affiliation with public relations:  Public Information Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Marion County. Most of my PR background is in the Air Force public affairs career field.

Little-known fact:  When I was editor of a regional news service for the U.S. Air Forces in Europe, the Air Force sent me to Tempelhof Air Base—now Berlin Tempelhof Airport—to write stories and take photos as the Berlin Wall came down. It was a fantastic time to be there, and I even managed to dig some pieces of the wall out with my pocketknife.

What attracted you to FPRA?  There are some talented people in the Ocala Chapter doing some great stuff in the community. This is a great place to meet other PR practitioners, get a broader sense of what is going on in the region, and steal some great ideas.

Favorite aspect of PR:  I guess I get the most satisfaction when I am able to take a complex issue or something highly technical and make it understandable to a broad audience.

Anything else to add? Be sure to get your flu shot. And wash your hands. No, wash them right now. Keyboards are really dirty, and don’t get me started on your mouse.


January 2015 – Lauren DeIorio, Fund Development Director
Public Education Foundation of Marion County

Where are you from? Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. GO CARDS!!

Affiliation with public relations:  In my current role as the Fund Development Director for the Public Education Foundation, I spend quite a large amount of time with various business leaders where my role requires me to spread the mission and goals of the Foundation.

Little-known fact:  I modeled for the Elite modeling agency in New York City during my early 20’s. It allowed me to fund some of my college tuition but it also allowed me to meet people from different walks of life as well as to travel to some very interesting places.

What attracted you to FPRA?  I credit a lot of people in Ocala who are a major influnence on my professional career. Two people in particular were Allison Campbell & Kevin Christian. I knew they had strong ties to the Ocala Chapter and I knew they were heavily involved with every aspect of what FPRA does.   I also knew that if they were dedicating that amount of time to the organization that it was certainly an organization that would be extremely beneficial to my success.

Favorite aspect of PR: 

My favorate aspect of PR is interacting with people. I started my professional career in public accounting where my job required me to be sitting behind a desk all day with very limited interaction with people. I recognized early on that I really wasn’t happy doing this. I loved people and needed a change professionally. Although the change came in the role of “mother” first, I did manange to slowly move into the direction of PR & Marketing by working with various non-profit groups. For me PR is such an art. It embodies more then what we have been taught in school. I am learning that PR involves skills like listening to people & what they have to say, reading people’s body language to know that sometimes they are speaking one thing but they really feel differently, and even placing myself in other people’s shoes & trying to look at their perspective even if it conflicts with my beliefs. All of these things play a huge role in how I craft a message to my audiance.  

Anything else to add?

As I said earlier, there were lots of people in Ocala that mentored me along the way and I am so very thankful for their help. I hope to be able to continually learn from PR professionals around me. FPRA gives me this opportunity.