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.”  

 Notes:

  • 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. 

COMMference: THE CONFERENCE FOR COMMUNICATORS

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. 

Scholarships

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,
h.
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,

h.

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,

h.

Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC

President’s Perspective: Four holiday wishes for you

I struggled with what to write this month. I thought about reflecting on lessons learned in 2021, sharing a Christmas poem I wrote when I was about 12 or doing a public relations spoof on “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” But, alas, no. The writing Gods did not come.

After watching the vertical cursor blink for far too long, this is what I really want to say:

May the magic of the season reinvigorate your purpose and passion – for getting what you want is the easy part and knowing what you want is the hard part.

May the magic of the season turn your crazy ideas into reality – making the impossible possible and the ordinary extraordinary.

May the magic of the season bring you a muse and results. You are pros with the incredible responsibility to inspire the indifferent.

And may the magic of the season bring you joy, hope and wonder – joy in the present moment, hope for all of life’s adventures yet to come and wonder for those who are curious know and see what others do not.

Here’s to good health and abundance in 2022!

With kindness,

h.

Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC

President’s Perspective: Five Things to be Grateful for

I have two speeds – stop and go.

I am a past and future thinker. I too often look in the rearview mirror ruminating about how I could have done things differently. I recount in painstaking detail what’s next – writing and rewriting my to-do lists. I have sticky notes, index cards and random slips of paper everywhere, and I maintain no less than five notebooks with bulleted action items.

As I type these words, I pause, put my hand over my chin and purse my lips in dismay. No wonder I feel stressed and overwhelmed; no wonder balance is a challenge.

In my insatiable quest for more and better, to get things done and to achieve, I sometimes forget to slow down, reflect and be present in the moment.

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, I pledge to pause – to express gratitude for all that I have and all that is right and to show appreciation for all the aspects I enjoy about public relations and my work as a communications manager at Duke Energy. 

Thank you, power plant workers, for providing one of life’s essential services and powering our lives 24-hours a day. I am most at home when I’m with you boots on the ground in the thick of the action at a humming power plant.

Thank you, Duke Energy, for giving me flexibility to work at my power plant and at home – and for trusting me to prioritize how I complete my work.

Thank you, public relations profession, for giving me a variety of complex work that fuels my brain and never feels boring – from managing communications for $5 billion in projects to deploying 11 times to support hurricanes.  

Thank you, Accredited in Public Relations and Image processes, for teaching me the formula to strategically serve my clients. I feel great satisfaction when proving my actions led to tangible results.    

And Thank you, FPRA Ocala Chapter friends and colleagues. You are pros, and I am learning a tremendous amount from you through this experience as your president. We’re getting into the rhythm of the new chapter year, and I’m excited about all we will accomplish together. 

I look forward to seeing you all in-person for our next professional development session on Nov. 19.

With kindness,

h.

Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC

President’s Perspective: Decisions through Data

Check your emotions at the door and bring me data, please!

Before I start any major project, I start with data. I love data. It’s unemotional. It confirms or refutes my assumptions and provides me the gut check I need to develop strategic stakeholder engagement and communications plans that produce tangible results for my clients. 

In August, we sent a member survey, and 46% of you completed it, helping us identify your needs and preferences.

Survey says

  • You are a member of the Ocala Chapter for our professional development and networking opportunities. 
  • You prefer in-person meetings, and you want to continue meeting at the College of Central Florida. 
  • Our top three communications channels are this newsletter, standalone messages and monthly professional development meetings. 
  • You mostly use Facebook for social media updates about chapter activities. 
  • You are most likely to attend four socials, our annual professional development seminar in May and Annual Conference in August.

I’m most moved by how you described the chapter’s personality and purpose.

I’ve always thought the chapter is warm, welcoming and inclusive, and the caliber of PR professionals is impressive. Members genuinely care about each other. We look out for each other’s best interests and sincerely want each other to be successful.

I had a hunch you might feel the same, and the survey confirmed my assumptions. 

You said the chapter is professional, organized, friendly, positive, engaging, approachable, kind, accepting, energetic, open to ideas, helpful, experienced and dedicated to advancing the profession.

I couldn’t agree more; you are pros!

With kindness,

h.

Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC

President’s Perspective: Why I (finally) said yes

The best jobs I’ve ever had have picked me.
 
In 2002, I ran for Alachua County School Board, beat the third person in the primary election but lost by 3% in the general election.

After campaigning for nearly a year, I needed a job, and a friend told me Marion County Fire Rescue was looking for a public information officer.
 
My first thought: No! I do not want to move to Marion County.
 
I interviewed. Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC, was on the hiring panel. I promised the fire chief Marion County citizens would know more about the fire department in the next four years than they had known in previous four decades.
 
Marion County Fire Rescue chose me, and I continue to benefit from that experience in ways I’m still discovering. 
 
In 2010, after establishing Marion County’s first Office of Public Information, I applied for a community relations manager position at Progress Energy, which later became Duke Energy.
 
I didn’t get that job, but the hiring panel saw something in me that I wouldn’t have seen in myself and forwarded my resume to Corporate Communications.  
 
The director called and asked if I would be interested in working as a nuclear communicator at the Crystal River Nuclear Plant.
 
My first thought: No! What in the world am I going to do at a nuclear plant?
 
The Crystal River Nuclear Plant chose me – and working there will undoubtedly be the best 10 years of my career.
 
In recent months, I’ve been putting out there that I want someone to see something in me that I don’t see in myself and to choose me for the next step in my career.
 
That’s exactly what happened – but not quite the way I envisioned.
 
I can’t remember everything Allison Campbell, APR, CPRC, said to me on May 28 when she asked me to be the next FPRA Ocala Chapter president, but I had an aha moment I just couldn’t shake.
 
How could I say no to an association that has made me the strategic practitioner I am today? How could I say no to a chapter that serves as a compass, always moving us in the right direction? How could I say no to this group of PR professionals, who are never bereft of ideas to make an agency stronger and better?
 
After years of evading this leadership role, I said yes. I said yes to our FPRA Ocala Chapter pros, who are relentless in their pursuit of excellence.
 
The best jobs I’ve ever had have picked me. 
 
For your friendship and encouragement, I am grateful.

With kindness,
h.
Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC