Progress, positivity, and endless possibilities.

Dear Members,

I apologize in advance for the length of this message.  There is a lot of information to cover.  

I hope this message finds you well. Can you believe it’s May already?! There are only 4 months remaining in this chapter year, and I wish I could slow the clock down just a smidge. I would be remiss if I didn’t start off by congratulating Greg Davis on a TRULY AWESOME COMMference Friday, April 26th.  In total, we had 45 attendees.  The lineup of 7 speakers was simply outstanding. Each presentation was informative, engaging, and thought-provoking. I found myself inspired by the diverse perspectives shared and empowered by the wealth of knowledge imparted. It’s evident that a tremendous amount of effort went into curating such a high-caliber roster of speakers, and it certainly paid off.  Greg – Once again, thank you for orchestrating such a phenomenal event. Your dedication to advancing our field in communications/public relations and fostering meaningful connections within the community is truly commendable. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this memorable experience and look forward to future COMMference events.

Here’s half of our attendees with our Keynote Speaker Sarah Schreiber before the afternoon break-out sessions started.  To see more pictures, visit our socials @OcalaFPRA.

Upcoming Events: We have some exciting events lined up for the coming weeks/months. Stay tuned for more detailed announcements (be sure to follow our socials and have your page notifications on) regarding dates, times, and how you can participate. Your involvement and enthusiasm makes our chapter thrive!

Key Dates to put on your calendar: 

  • Golden Image Award submission is open now – check out more information on the website
    • Entries Open: April 19, 2024
    • Early Bird Deadline: May 7, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. ET
    • Final Deadline: May 14, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. ET
    • Winners Notified: June 19-21, 2024
    • Golden Image Awards Gala: August 6, 2024 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay
  • Remaining Professional Development dates
    • Friday, May 10th
    • Friday, June 14th – **Per our Chapter Bylaws, 2024-2025 Slate of Officers will be presented at this meeting for voting in July. 
    • Friday, July 12th – **ANNUAL CHAPTER MEETING – per our Chapter Bylaws, elections will be held at the July chapter meeting. Please make every effort to attend this professional development meeting.  Thank you. 
  • August 4-7 – PR & Comms Summit in Tampa, Florida.  It’s a new name but the same great opportunity for learning, networking and celebrating with the best in the communications business! This year’s gathering of communications professionals will engage with captivating speakers on topics that will help them “summit” to the top of their game for the organizations they represent as they hear from communication leaders from leading brands such as Microsoft, Walt Disney World Resort, Paramount / MTV Studios and more.
  • SAVE THE DATE – Friday, August, 30th, we will be having our Annual Awards Banquet & Pass the Gavel/24-25 Board Installation.  This event will be an evening banquet (black-tie optional) dinner & gala, honoring our past, present and future.  Our past presidents will be specifically honored during our dinner event.  We will also be announcing our 2024 Wilton F. Martin, Sr. Communicators of the Year award winners (submission opens May 15, 2024), our 2024 Toni James, APR, CPRC, PACEsetter Award winner, recognizing our Golden Image award winners & nominees, and I’ll be handing out some special (and new) President Awards.  

Some important updates and reminders:

  1. Member Contributions: Your ideas, suggestions, and contributions are invaluable to our chapter’s success. If you have any thoughts on how we can improve our activities or if you’d like to volunteer for a specific project, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly or any member of the board.

  2. Community Outreach: Our chapter is committed to giving back to the community. If you know of any opportunities for us to contribute or if you have suggestions for charitable initiatives, please share them with us.

  3. Stay Connected: Remember to stay connected with us on our social media channels. It’s a great way to stay updated on chapter news, connect with fellow members, and engage in discussions.

  4. Feedback: We value your feedback. If you have any suggestions, concerns, or questions, please feel free to reach out to us. Your input helps us improve and better serve the needs of our members.

In the midst of our busy lives and daily challenges, it’s essential to take a moment to reflect on our journey this year and find encouragement in the progress we’ve made. As we embark on another month filled with opportunities and possibilities, I wanted to share some words of encouragement with all of you.

  1. Celebrating Progress: Each one of you has made remarkable progress on your personal and professional journeys. Whether it’s a small step forward or a significant milestone achieved, take a moment to celebrate your accomplishments. Your dedication and perseverance inspire us all.

  2. Embracing Challenges: Challenges (and change) are inevitable, but they also present opportunities for growth and learning. Embrace challenges with an open mind and a resilient spirit. Remember that every obstacle you overcome makes you stronger and more capable of achieving your goals.

  3. Supporting One Another: We are a community bound together by a shared passion and commitment. Let’s continue to support and uplift one another, offering words of encouragement, lending a helping hand, and celebrating each other’s successes. Together, we can achieve great things.

  4. Staying Optimistic: In times of uncertainty, maintaining a positive outlook is crucial. Trust in your abilities, stay focused on your goals, and believe in the power of perseverance. Remember that even in the face of adversity, there is always a silver lining waiting to be discovered.

  5. Practicing Self-Care: Amidst our busy schedules, don’t forget to prioritize self-care. Take time to recharge, indulge in activities that bring you joy, and nourish your mind, body, and soul. Remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish; it’s essential for your well-being and success.

  6. Looking Ahead with Hope: As we look ahead to the future, let’s do so with hope and optimism. Trust in the journey that lies ahead, knowing that each step forward brings us closer to our dreams and aspirations. Together, we can overcome any obstacle and achieve greatness.

Let’s continue to inspire, support, and uplift one another as we journey forward together and finish this chapter year strong. With determination, resilience, and encouragement, there’s no limit to what we can achieve.

Thank you for your continued dedication and support to our beloved chapter. Together, we can make a positive impact within our chapter and beyond.  Wishing you all a month filled with progress, positivity, and endless possibilities.

Yours in service


Why do you love public relations?

I get asked this question a lot – “Why do you love public relations?”. Public Relations is a very social industry and for me, it’s fun and energizing to connect with so many different people—colleagues, stakeholders, media—in a day. Each day is different and I don’t think I could get bored if I tried!

PR is a creative gig.  Even more today, PR is not something that’s a paint by the numbers profession. Sure there are processes and techniques, but it’s not something that can be put on auto-pilot. Each project, campaign, task, graphic, press release, etc. takes focus and original thinking to be successful. PR is now more than ever about telling engaging stories using text, video, social media, etc. That requires artistic talent.

Is being in PR stressful?  My doctors and mentors like to remind me YES, it can be.  PR professionals often face the mental stress of working in a high-pressure environment. This can lead to more severe mental health problems like depression or anxiety – something we need to be aware of so we can have appropriate and attentive friends and colleagues in place to help when needed. It’s in these moments that I’m also reminded that PR people are also usually smart, funny, and quick to turn a witty phrase.   It’s also why I LOVE LOVE LOVE February!!!  It’s my favorite time of year to “Show a PR Colleague Some Love” and also support the Florida Public Relations Education Foundation (FPREF).  Not only is this a unique opportunity to send valentine’s to your PR faves, your tax-deductible gift will help fund scholarships for deserving public relations students in Florida, as well as educational and professional development opportunities for our professional members.  For more information, click here.  When you send or receive a valentine, be sure to spread the love on social media: #ShowaPRColleagueSomeLove.

Another FPRA member who needs a little extra love right now is our friend and past-president Ginger Broslet APR, CPRC. Ginger was in a terrible car accident in December and lost her handicapped accessible van and very, very expensive wheel chair.  Our chapter will be sending some happy mail to her, and if you would like to have her contact information to reach out directly, please contact me directly for her address.  You could also send her an FPREF valentine card too! 

And finally, a few chapter updates: 

  1. APR live online study sessions continue on Monday nights, 5:30 – 7pm on Zoom.  Contact Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC for more information. 
  2. There is no scheduled Coffee Talks for February, but if you would still like to gather together for some member networking please feel free to meet up! 
  3. This month’s webinar speaker had a schedule conflict, and I am trying to secure a back-up.  Notification and updates will go out on the website, email and socials as soon as possible. We had an INCREDIBLE turn out and response for our first one in January, so these definitely will continue. 
  4. Don’t miss out on this month’s Professional Development on Friday, February 9th! Register today and bring a friend. 
  5. COMMference is coming in April! Tentative save the date for Friday, April 26th! More to come. 

Yours in service,  Lindsay

New Year Resolutions

Dear Chapter –

Ringing in the New Year is a cause for celebration, for spending time with friends and family, and for offering happy New Year wishes.  Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits.  A lot can happen in a year and between the good, the bad, and the ugly, this may seem like an understatement for most. As glasses are raised and fireworks explode into the sky, it’s important to recognize the special symbolism that the New Year brings.  

This month we have 3 professional development opportunities!

  • Wednesday, January 3rd at Symmetery Coffee Talks resumes! To start the new year off, Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC, will give us an opportunity to set our New Year’s resolution toward accreditation! Bring your questions and Kevin will have the answer! 
  • Friday, January 12th at Taylor College attend our January Professional Development meeting with Pamela Calero Wardell, MBA, and delve into Annual Fundraising and how to leverage the power of community partnerships.
  • NEW!! Tuesday, January 23rd – FREE for members webinar series! Step up your PR game with “Keep it 100: Upskilling PR in the AI Era” presented by Cornell University Marketing AI certified expert Michelle Hayes Uhlfelder. This webinar promises to give you a fresh take on AI’s impact on PR as Michelle unpacks a practical toolbox of AI-driven techniques perfect for both AI rookies and seasoned pros. Come ready to learn, innovate, and level up your PR strategies in this tech-savvy age.  (Free for members and students; $10 for non-members.)

A New Year is like a blank book, and the pen is in your hands… or the keyboard is ready at your fingertips. I know this past year has had its fair share of ups and downs – but good or bad, these experiences have shaped who we are today and who we will be in the future.  Wishing you 12 months of success, 52 weeks of laughter, 365 days of fun, 8,760 hours of joy, 525,600 minutes of good luck, and 31,536,000 seconds of happiness.

Yours in Service, Lindsay

Wishing you a joyous holiday season!

Dear Chapter –

I am looking forward to seeing you at our Holiday Cheer Celebration on Saturday, December 16th, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at Elevation 89 located at the Ocala International Airport! Wear your ugly sweater, reindeer headbands, festive holiday attire, Santa hats and spread holiday cheer – come dressed in your best festive attire for a chance to win a special gift from me! Be sure to check out all the details on our website or Facebook event link for more information and to register! The cost is $25 per person, and includes a wonderful selection of food and free non-alcoholic beverages.  Guests are always welcomed (and encouraged!).  Friendly reminder – there is NO professional development meeting this month. 

December’s Community Service will also take place at our Holiday Cheer Celebration.  We will be collecting canned goods and pantry items to help restock Interfaith Emergency Services.  Not sure what to bring? Check out their website for more information and a list of suggested items

A few important chapter updates: 

  1. ICYMI – at our November State Board meeting, we voted and passed a motion to sunset all state-wide local image awards.  FPRA’s Golden Image Awards will be taking place at Annual Conference, and there are also some changes to that process.  Information was sent out in the FPRA State November 2023 News.  If you didn’t receive it, please let me know and I will forward you a copy. 
  2. At our November Professional Development meeting, I announced that we will be adding a member-benefit by hosting a monthly professional development webinar, in addition to our regularly scheduled in-person professional development meetings.  This will be free for members (statewide) and students, and $10 for non-members.  More information will come out in my mid-month update and the January newsletter. 
  4. Coffee Talks will resume in January with our VP of Accreditation Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC for anyone who would like more information about credentialing.  We will continue these on the first Wednesday of each month. 
  5. Don’t forget to connect with us on socials and join our Chapter Slack channel! 

During the holiday season, as we reflect on the good things we have, I think of you all. I appreciate what a pleasure it is to partner with you and hope that the magic of the  holidays and the coming year will bring you peace, happiness and success.  Wishing you a joyous holiday season! Enjoy these cute pictures at our attempt last year for Christmas photos. We’ll try again this year. Hopefully they’ll behave better. 🙂 

Yours in Service,  Lindsay 





Four things to admire about our next president, Tammy Gantt

I didn’t know Tammy Gantt prior to this chapter year, and I was missing out. She is one of the kindest and most well-rounded professionals I know. 

These are four things the board and I think you’ll most admire about her.

  1. We can’t think of one thing she can’t do.
    Tammy is always willing to help and contribute with a roll-up-her-sleeves work ethic. She knows so many people, and her list of contacts, resources and ideas is unassuming yet grandiose. If you don’t know what to do or who to contact, call Tammy.
  2. Her business acumen is a marvel.
    If you ever need to go into “battle,” Tammy is the person to have by your side. She is direct yet friendly. She keeps calm during chaos. She tackles complex problems and identifies creative solutions. She’s one of the best networkers we’ve seen — observing, actively listening and responding at precisely the right time.
  3. She sees the good in everyone and gives others the gift of her undivided time and attention. 
    Tammy takes the time to connect with others as individuals — checking on them when they’re sick, calling on a random Saturday to say hi and always finding something kind and uplifting to say. She has the best attitude and heart. Your success is her success.
  4. Tammy has a keen eye on diversity and inclusion. 
    She presented on the topic during May’s COMMference. She takes the time to find what others have in common, and she accepts others as they are.

Ocala Chapter pros — we are in for an incredible year with Tammy as our next president.

With kindness,
Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC
Ocala Chapter president

Don’t leave money on the table

“I don’t like free money,” said no one ever!
To give back to our members, we are offering two partial scholarships, one for Annual Conference and another for the LeadershipFPRA program.
Both applications are due by Thursday, June 9, and the board will select recipients during our June 10 board meeting.
If you’re interested in applying, fill out this Annual Conference scholarship application and click the “submit” button, and fill out this LeadershipFPRA scholarship application and email it to me at [email protected].
“At conference, you will receive a year’s worth of professional development in just a few short days, meet wonderful new friends and feel an amazing sense of pride to be part of the Ocala Chapter,” said President-elect Tammy Gantt, who has received an Annual Conference scholarship in the past. “If attending conference is meaningful to you, then apply. It doesn’t matter if you are new to the chapter or haven’t been involved in leadership yet.”  


  • FPRA’s 83rd Annual Conference, “Your Ticket to Success,” will be held at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes Orlando, Aug. 7-10. The early-bird registration deadline is July 11. Also book your hotel early; rooms will sell out. Full conference and single-day options are available – and you can attend the Cosmic PR Golden Image gala, even if you don’t plan to attend Annual Conference.
  • Led by the Ocala Chapter’s own Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC, the state association’s LeadershipFPRA program provides members with the tools they need to become stronger leaders in their organizations and communities. The program is formal, consisting of orientation and five full-day sessions held over12 months. Regardless of how new you are to the public relations profession or how long you may have practiced, this program will help you hone leadership skills good for a lifetime. Class size is limited to 21, applications are competitive and the deadline to apply is June 15.

You are #pros, and pros don’t leave money on the table.

With kindness,
Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC
Ocala Chapter president

You get what you give: Seize these three opportunities

I once heard Carole Savage-Hagans, APR, CPRC, describe FPRA like a gym membership.
You get out of it what you put into it, she said. As we prepare for the last quarter of the chapter year, May-August, these three opportunities will keep you in PR shape. 


On May 20, the Ocala Chapter will host COMMference, our full-day or half-day professional development seminar at the Hilton Garden Inn, 120 E. Silver Springs Blvd., in Ocala, from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. The RSVP deadline is May 11. Special thanks to Lauren Debick, APR, and her COMMference committee – Greg Davis, Katie Hunnicut, Kristina Donohue and Chris Bradford. 

“Cosmic PR” Golden Image Awards and Annual Conference

Even if you couldn’t meet the February Mid-Florida Image deadline, didn’t win or don’t think your winning local entry is ready for the state competition, SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY into the “Cosmic PR” Golden Image Awards competition by May 13.  
In 2015, I didn’t win at the Mid-Florida Image Awards competition for my ReciPe for Results entry, but I incorporated feedback from the local judges and won a Golden Image Award at the state competition. 
While you’re at it, register for “Your Ticket to Success,” FPRA’s 83rd Annual Conference and your passport to professional development. The early-bird registration deadline is July 11. Also book your hotel early; rooms will sell out. 


The Ocala Chapter is offering two partial scholarships, one for Annual Conference and another for LeadershipFPRA. If you’re interested, fill out this Annual Conference scholarship and click the “submit” button, and fill out this LeadershipFPRA scholarship and email it to me at [email protected]. Both applications are due by May 31.
Like I Carole said, you get out of your FPRA membership what you put into it – and as local #pros, I hope you seize these opportunities. More details are below.
With kindness,
Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC
Ocala Chapter president

Even if you don’t win, you won.

When I submitted my first Image entries in 2007, all four of my entries were disqualified. Anyone who has competed knows how crazy submitting four entries is. (I didn’t know what I was doing!) My entries were disqualified because I didn’t precisely follow the rules, teaching me an important lesson.
I want to congratulate those of you who entered the Mid-Florida Image Awards competition on Feb. 27. I hope you celebrated your job well done and don’t fret.
Even if you don’t win, you won. Here’s why:

  1. The Image competition isn’t for the meek or mediocre. Judging is subjective, but the rubric is precise and detailed. Having all elements to enter means you are already driving results for your organization. 
  2. Going through the process – as daunting as it is – forces you to be a stronger, more strategic and more consequential communicator, and lessons learned after every submission will stay with you.
  3. Your Image entry can double as your Accredited in Public Relations (APR) readiness panel project. Elements the APR panel will need to see – research/situational analysis, planning, implementation, evaluation and budget – are the same elements the Image judges will critique. That two-page summary and support PDF will live in perpetuity.  

You’ll look back in wonder: How in the world did I do this? And you’ll exclaim: It sure was a lot of work! But then you’ll exhale, and a relaxed smile will appear on your face. Brave is the person who shares their work to be judged by others. No matter the outcome, you’ll be glad you got into the Image arena – because even if you don’t win, you won.

With kindness,
Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC

P.S., I logged a grueling 46.5 hours on my Image entry, and the perfect analogy came to me in the wee hours. Entering the Image competition is a lot like childbirth. You forget how painful it is, because if you remembered, you’d never do it again!

Four things to love about public relations

When I was 14, I would tell people I was going to be a reporter and host the Emmy Awards.

I would also tell people I was going to be a spokesperson for AT&T. I can’t tell you why I chose AT&T, but the Friends and Family campaign was popular at the time.

I achieved those childhood dreams, surviving six years in a television newsroom and becoming a spokesperson – not for AT&T but for Marion County Board of County Commissioners and now Duke Energy.

I’m not sure why my teenage brain chose journalism and public relations, but these are the four things I love about our profession.  

  • Being in the know. Call me noisy or perhaps just curious; I love having the inside scoop, being first to know and sitting at the table that makes decisions.
  • Variety. Last week, I wrote project messages for a slide deck our CEO uses for earnings, launched a survey to measure an internal rebranding campaign, gave a presentation about a new business model, managed communications for a fire, updated our website, planned a plant tour and led a hiring process. Public relations is never boring, and I love the mix of strategies and tactics we use to serve our clients.
  • Continuous learning. We’ll never get too full of ourselves in public relations. Just when I think, “I’ve got this,” something I’ve never experienced will happen. I love learning and growing.
  • Tangible outcomes. I love proving how my work and recommendations influenced outcomes and produced measurable results.

You all are pros. What do you love about PR? Send me a line. I’d love to hear from you.

With kindness,


Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC

Three New Year’s resolutions you can keep

The start of the new year is magical. The slate is wiped clean, hope is strong and the impossible seems possible. I set lofty goals for myself this time of year, and these are three New Year’s resolutions I will keep.

1. Submit your best work into the Mid-Florida Image Awards competition.
No time is a better time than the present to start working on your Mid-Florida Image Awards entries. The call for entries will be available next week. You’ll have several weeks to write and gather your materials. And, the gala, including our annual Communicator of the Year Awards for individuals and institutions, is set for Wednesday, April 13. Allison Campbell, APR, CPRC, and Lisa Varner, APR, CPRC, will provide more details soon.
Image Awards recognize the best in research, strategy, implementation and execution in the public relations profession in four divisions: Public Relations Programs, Collateral of Public Relations, Digital Tools of Public Relations and Student Projects in Public Relations.
Competing in the regional competition will prepare you for the state competition.
Going through the process is also particularly helpful for aspiring APRs (Accredited in Public Relations). Writing your two-page summary and gathering your supplemental materials will give you a project to highlight as part of your readiness review panel and help you prepare for the exam. Plus, following the Image process simply forces you to be a better and more strategic practitioner.

2.  Attend the Ocala Chapter’s May 20 professional development seminar.
We will host a day-long professional development seminar on Friday, May 20, offering three ticket options: Morning session 8-11:30 a.m., afternoon session 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. or all-day session 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.. The seminar will include a media panel, social media trends, business literacy, diversity, equity and inclusion and other topics that you can immediately incorporate to produce tangible results.
Seminar co-chairs, Lauren Debick, APR, and Katie Hunnicutt are looking for committee members. Contact Lauren at [email protected] by Jan. 10, if you’re interested.

3.  Plan now to attend Annual Conference.
August sure seems like a long time from now, but you know it will be here in a hot second. FPRA’s 83rd Annual Conference will be held Aug. 7-10 at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. Rooms will sell out, so plan to book your room in May and take advantage of the early-bird rate. 
Annual Conference is the largest and most anticipated public relations event of the year. The four-day conference includes nationally recognized keynote speakers, breakout sessions, networking and social opportunities. FPRA’s Golden Image Awards gala is also held during Annual Conference, a must-attend highlight of the year for Florida’s public relations practitioners.
With you, our FPRA Ocala Chapter pros, I welcome 2022 with enthusiasm and optimism.

Happy New Year!


With kindness,


Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC