Prestige August 2015


PResident's Perspective August from Jenifer Lowe: Final Thoughts

This year has been one of growth and accomplishment. Our chapter and its board have exceeded my expectations and I could not be more proud to be your president this past year. The fire that was ignited in me – and subsequently our chapter – at the 2014 FPRA Annual Conference has been burning steadily all year and I’m ready to head back to conference next week and throw some sparks. Our flames will be raging at the opening ceremony and president’s luncheon where three of our members will be recognized for their newly acquired CPRC status. We will burn bright at the Golden Image banquet where we will watch and cheer for our peers who will receive awards for excellence in public relations practices. There are numerous chapter awards, delegated by FPRA State President Rachel Smith, APR, CPRC, for which we hope to be the recipient of at least one.

If you’re unable to attend conference this year, please follow the conference blog. Our very own Jessica Fuchs will be serving on the blog team. As a former conference blogger, I can attest that it is a fantastic way to get the best notes for all the speakers featured throughout the three-day event.

Lastly, I want to thank each one of you for making my presidential year a blast. I’ve truly enjoyed communicating and networking with all of you. I’ve learned more about our association, our chapter, our profession and myself during this time. I’ve learned we have an endless supply of experienced leaders at our fingertips; not just locally but across the state. Developing relationships with these professionals to feel comfortable enough to use their resources was a valuable growth opportunity for me. I’ve learned that our members have the passion and ability to propel our chapter to the next level; they need only be challenged. I’ve learned just how excited a grown person can get over a Starbucks gift card or free umbrella. I am most comfortable when I’m in control and have my project blueprints, red pen and white-out in front of me at all times. However, being a true leader forces you to delegate, guide, advise and support. I hope I’ve done all of those things for you this year.

Join me for the conclusion of our chapter year during the “Great Fire of 2015” at our chapter bonfire and family fun day. Mark your calendar for Saturday, August 15, 4:00-8:00 p.m. All members and family are welcome. RSVP and pot luck dish sign up ASAP at

On fire for FPRA, Jen Lowe, Ocala Chapter, President

August Professional Development: A Tale of Two Cities: Rebranding UF & Shands

Melanie Fridl Ross, MSJ, ELS, is chief communications officer for UF Health, where she oversees news and publications, marketing, public relations, strategic communications and public affairs, advancement communications, creative services, and Web services for Gainesville and Jacksonville. Ms. Ross also serves as senior producer for the public radio series Health in a Heartbeat and for the animal health program Animal Airwaves, overseeing operations for both nationally aired consumer health series. In addition, she is on the adjunct faculty at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, where she teaches news reporting.

Ms. Ross joined UF in 1992 from The Tampa Tribune, where she was a reporter. She holds a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in journalism with a concentration in newspaper administration from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. She is a board-certified editor in the life sciences.

She is a past president of the 5,600-member American Medical Writers Association and a past president of the organization’s Florida chapter. She also is a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of Health Care Journalists, the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences and the National Association of Science Writers. She is a past memberof the Council of Science Editors.


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