PRestige February 2016


Rack Focus on Leadership

movie cameraEach month, we focus on our chapter members and ways they extend their public relations and community leadership beyond chapter and office duties. Read on to learn how two chapter members booked public relations tactics in support of a community cause, how another two performed their support for a local organization, and how one of our newest chapter members went from beneficiary to benefactor for local families.

Library Lovers

Chapter members Carole Savage, APR, CPRC, and Toni James, APR, CPRC, joined with other “Library Lovers” to advocate against privatization and for restoration of $500,000 in funding cuts for the Marion County Public Library System (MCPLS) for 2015-16. A group of local public relations professionals headed by Joe Kays mobilized to get the word out that libraries matter in Marion County. Mounting a membership drive for the Friends of the Ocala Public Library, and joining forces with the Ocala Friends Advocacy Committee and the Marion Council of Library Friends, they distributed nearly 2,000 Save Our Libraries White Pages, 1,000 red yard signs and 250 car window stickers that appeared all over Marion County. They met with county commissioners individually and spoke at all Commission meetings for December and January to make the commissioners aware of the broad support the library system has, and energized hundreds to contact their commissioner directly about the library system’s need for funding.

Caring Artists

Chapter members Allison Campbell, APR, CPRC and Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC, took the spotlight at La Cuisine restaurant on Jan. 19 in support of Take Stock In Children. With Allison on the mic and Kevin on the piano and vocals, guests enjoyed a melodic evening while raising funds for the organization’s scholarship program. The scholarships help deserving low-income youth escape the cycle of poverty by focusing on their education. The event was also attended by chapter members Lauren DeIorio, Judi Zanetti and Beth McCall.

Special Helper

Chapter member Stacie Causey recently went from beneficiary to benefactor for a local cause dear to her heart. Outreach autism Services Network now counts Stacie as a new board member. The organization provides free educational and medical resources for parents and families of special needs children. As part of her leadership on the board, Stacie contributes marketing, social media and web content management advice to help the network reach more local families and bring them a new light of hope.



IMAGE Deadline Approaches

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FPRA/Ocala’s Mid-Florida Image Awards, Conducting Communications Excellence, is coming soon, Tuesday, April 19,  to the Reilly Arts Center. Guidelines and  entry rules are on the FPRA Ocala Chapter website. The fee is $45/members and $55/ non-members.The final IMAGE workshop is Wednesday, March 2. Submission deadline for Image and Communicator of the Year is Friday, March 11. It’s easier than ever to enter online!

PResident's Perspective - Take 6

Much love is spread during February, a month laden in reds, roses and rosy cards. It’s a month in which we make it a point to tell significant others in our FPRA 2015 NEW Cropped Barbra headshotlives how much their existence makes ours better. And while I’m not proposing a temporary, tawdry (think glitter and sparkle) re-brand of our effective FPRA association logo or the such to reflect how much those four letters mean to our profession, I will treat you to the top things I love about being “FPRA’d.”

  1. Exactly that. Being FPRA’d, to me, is belonging to a force of opportunities, of professional relationships and of vigor in the advancement of that which most of us call our favorite job – public relations. We all seek a sense of belonging, and FPRA succeeds at meeting this basic need.
  2. Endless goodies. No, I’m not just talking about having access to the contact information for hundreds of PR pros in our area of the state who also happen to be FPRA members. I’m also talking about the tons of resources available at my fingertips, 24/7 – blogs, websites, etc. By the way, have you “liked” the FPRA and FPRA Ocala Chapter Facebook pages for a taste of the latest PR happenings locally and across the state? And have you booked the 78th Annual Conference on your calendar yet (Aug. 7-10 in Tampa)?
  3. Friendly neighbors. No surprise here, I had to bring it back to my chapter. It’s the people I know, see and learn from every month (and, lately, almost every week). Until this year, I never really set off to explore (or snoop into) my FPRA colleagues’ business outside our regular chapter functions. What I have discovered is a talent beyond the practice I never before saw. We have community leaders, fighters (in the good sense of the word), advocates and, yes, even singers and pianists among our membership.

And so it goes for a Valentine’s Day-inspired column and all of its heart-shaped speak. After all, I think, all things loved come from the same place where good PR efforts begin – a place of opportunity and persistent hope.

Until next month, keep it reel’!



Ethics are Everything by Elaine McClain

Elaine“Oh, you work in PR? Spin doctor, eh?” Come on, you know you’ve heard that comment, or at least a variation of it. We know we don’t spin, we aren’t dishonest and we do ethical work, but many people have different opinions of our profession.

In fact, they might not trust us, if a 2015 study for PR Week is any indication. The study claimed that seventy percent of people just don’t trust public relations practitioners. And even our friends and family, many well-meaning, have likely referred to our profession as “spinning.”

So what do we say? How do we fight that false image and misperception in our own circles and succinctly explain our ethics? Reading and knowing our Code of Ethics can help as we answer questions and correct false assumptions about our profession.  Especially consider points 1-6: We adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth and correct ourselves immediately if we release erroneous or misleading information. We respect others’ ideas and opinions, and don’t engage in practices that would corrupt the integrity of channels of communication or government processes.

Do you have an “elevator speech” you give people when they say you “spin” or associate PR with unethical behavior? Do you have an explanation of the ethics of public relations that really resonated with your friends, family or co-workers? Tell us (email me here: and we may feature it in the next newsletter. Let’s help combat false stereotypes associated with PR. If we don’t, who will?

Study link for reference:


ACEs and Hors D'oeuvres

Chair Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC, toasted the first group of the year with discussion about the Academy Awards’ diversity issue and Chipotle’s health problems among other hot topics in the PR world, most of which we were all grateful not to have. If you have 10 years experience (25 of our members do), make sure you attend the next lively and informative quarterly get-together.

February Professional Development: Jeff Stevens, Ass't Web Manager, UF Health's Academic Health Center

Bearing Down: 20 Tips for Writing Persuasive Content for the WebJeff Stevens_MCM_9337

Responsive web design presents new challenges for content strategists: determining what content is presented and in what format across a bewildering array of devices and screens. Each site and situation is unique, and its content needs to be tailored specifically to its intended audience. In this session, Jeff Stevens will present 20 tips for writing targeted, persuasive content for your audiences and share examples from current websites to assist in developing best practices for your content planning.

Jeff Stevens is assistant web manager for UF Health, the University of Florida Academic Health Center, where he consults on content and social media strategy, information architecture, and usability for the more than 600 academic and clinical websites associated with the Center. With his team, Stevens overhauled the web presence of UF Health with an innovative approach to aggregated content that led to a 300 percent increase in online appointments and a 30 percent increase in overall web traffic within nine months. Stevens is also Creative Director for Union Design & Photo, a creative services boutique that has worked with hundreds of small businesses in developing branding identities. With almost 15 years’ experience in higher education web design and digital content strategy, he has been a frequent speaker for the Higher Education Web Professionals Association, and has been a speaker at the Healthcare Experience Design Conference, the UF Summer Journalism Institute, the Responsive Web Design Summit, the Content Strategy Summit, and for the Florida Public Relations Association. Stevens has a master’s degree in mass communications with an emphasis in advertising from the University of Florida and lives a stone’s throw from Gainesville with his wife, two children, three cats, and a dog that thinks she’s a cat.




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