5 Takeaways: Wesley Wilcox

Wesley WilcoxWesley Wilcox’s presentation, “The key to staying transparent with the public during an election”

  1.  Marion Countians cast 205,540 ballots in the Nov. 3, 2020, general election – 25% in-person on Election Day, 36% by mail and 39% at early voting sites. Historically, about 40% of people vote on Election Day, but this year, a historic number of ballots were cast at early voting sites, averaging about 6,000 a day.
  2. Marion County was one of the first counties in Florida to use ballottrax – a system that texts voters real-time updates about their vote-by-mail ballot from the time it was requested until it is counted. The majority of users were 65 or older. Wilcox himself voted by mail as shown in this day in the life of a ballot video.
  3. Biggest myth: Thinking voting by mail is not counted or only counted if needed, or thinking mail carriers throw out ballots. Florida has robust election laws that include ballot tracking and signature verification processes as well as strict deadlines for registering to vote, requesting a vote-by-mail ballot and receiving the ballot to be counted. “For most people, I have 5 to 15 signatures on file,” Wilcox said. “We also use a software algorithm to match signatures.” Out of the 74,000 vote-by-mail ballots cast, about 200 were rejected, and of those, the majority didn’t have a signature on the back of the envelope.
  4. Allegations of voter fraud occur during every election, but cases are few and mostly misinformation.
  5. On the historic 2020 election: “I knew it was going to be hard; it’s hard in normal times,” Wilcox said. To get through it: “Behave like a duck. Be calm on the surface, and paddle like crazy under the water.”

5 takeaways from Charlotte Bireley’s presentation, “Marketing During a Global Pandemic”

1. Do your research.

When COVID-19 caused more than 8,800 tourism industry job losses on Florida’s Treasure Coast – Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties – data revealed people were willing to drive three hours to smaller communities, beaches and outdoor places.

2. Be ready to pivot.

“We were all in survival mode,” Bireley said. She shifted the marketing message, developed a “nearcation” campaign and targeted people who were still willing to travel. Her team also verified that all destinations were safe and helped manage a webpage that listed open locales.

3. Take a chance on an edgy approach.

When enticing travels to visit, the tagline tapped into human nature’s rebellious side. Showing images of people riding horses on a pristine beach, potential visitors were told, “Don’t come here,” “Nothing to see” and “Don’t book a deal here.” Did visitors listen? The campaign resulted in $50,000 in hotel bookings, exceeding expectations.

4. Partner.

Bireley leveraged existing and new partnerships. She already had strong relationships with her counterparts in Indian River and Martin counties. “We’re one region and share similar assets” she said. The team also leveraged small business programs at a local college and identified the need for a local chapter of the lodging and restaurant association to help businesses, especially mom-and-pops.

5. Have reserves.

“It was smart to remain fiscally conservative (before the pandemic) and keep money in reserves,” Bireley said. Having money saved – originally in case of hurricanes – was “critical to keeping things going.”

5 Takeways: Cherrietta Prince

The Impact of a Personal Public Relations Story

Cherrietta Prince, local business owner and ambassador for the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership     


5 Takeways from Cherrietta Prince’s “Twists & Turns in a PR Career”

  • Represent a product or service you believe in, and it will be easy.
  • Identify your markets and audiences. Ask: What do I want, how do I look and how do I want to look?
  • If you don’t have PR skills, you can’t have a successful business.
  • Without PR, no one knows who you are. No one knows you are the best. Engage the right people.
  • Make sure every word you speak is thoughtful.

Tina Banner Announces Record Year for FPRAEF Fundraising

As chair of the Florida Public Relations Association Education Foundation, Tina Banner, APR, CPRC announced a milestone gain for the Foundation. Banner announced more than $10,500 had been donated by members and chapters across the state. This amount exceeded Banner’s fundraising goal for the year by 68 percent.

Banner, who serves as the College of Central Florida PR/Marketing manager, was especially pleased to introduce to attendees one of the two college students who received scholarships from the Foundation.

“I’ve always had a passion for professional development and pursuing education goals,” says Banner. “After joining the staff at the College of Central Florida, that passion has grown as I see first-hand the excitement of students preparing for their careers. The timing of my job change and serving as the chair of the FPRA Education Foundation this year was a bit of serendipity to bring two areas of my career together in a meaningful way.”


OCALA FPRA April Professional Development Program – “Connecting Through Stories”

SPEAKER: Jessica McCune, RN, LMHC

DATE: Fri., April 20, 2018

TIME: Networking 11:30 – Program Noon – 1:00 p.m.

LOCATION: Ewers Century Center Teleconference Room

CF • 3001 SW College Road • Ocala, FL 34474

REGISTER: http://www.fpraocala.org/event-registration/

OCALA, FL – Jessica will walk us through the why and how stories connect us with others so they can hear our ideas. Stories enhance our relationships which are the bedrock of our contentment, health and prosperity.

About the Speaker: Jessica McCune is a Registered Nurse and Licensed Mental Health Counselor working for Hospice of Marion County. She educates tirelessly about Health Advocacy and the importance of ‘keeping our affairs in order’. Our health is the infrastructure we stand upon as we pursue happiness and peace. She volunteers with the arts and enjoys applying storytelling as a path for healing and insight. She has worked in preventive medicine, whole person health and the combination of body, mind and spirit her entire career, but specifically since 1999 here in Marion County, Florida. She holds a BS in Nursing from Baylor University and a MS in Counseling Education from the University of North Texas plus a MA in Storytelling from East Tennessee State University. She has presented workshops throughout the country for professional health organizations since 2005. She is passionate about the power of art in healing and storytelling is the SEED ART. A member of NSN and FSA (Florida Story Association) she was honored to join the line- up of performing Tellers in 2017. Again in November 2017 she was invited to share the power of Storytelling in the TEDx Ocala venue. Jessica McCune’s The Story of Peace is stored on YouTube as part of the TEDxOcala event. She received the FSA Distinguished Service Award in 2014 and NSN’s 2014 Oracle Award for Service and Leadership in the Southeast Region.

Please RSVP to Christy Jergens
payment can be made by visiting the Registration Page.

Jingle, Mix and Mingle at the Holiday Social

(Ocala) Join Marion County public relations professionals as they ring in the holidays, mix the wine for the 2018 Mid-Florida Image Awards and mingle with friends.

The festivities will begin as attendees gather at the Corkscrew, one of Ocala’s lovely downtown venues.  The Corkscrew hosts will teach participants about wine making and allow members to mix a signature batch that will be used at the 2018 Mid-Florida Image Awards and Communicator of the Year event. Mark your calendars now for Thurs., April 26, 2018 for that event.

Often, the monthly professional development luncheons do not leave enough time for networking, a valuable source of professional development. The Jingle, Mix and Mingle will give FPRA members and guests an opportunity to catch up on the latest personal and professional projects. Delicious hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Attendees are encouraged to bring diapers to support the Diapers in December Drive for the Early Learning Coalition of Marion County.

Register now!

The art and science of storytelling: A case study from an award-winning project

Heather DanenhowerOCALA FPRA September Professional Development Program

TOPIC:          The art and science of storytelling: A case study from an award-winning project

SPEAKER:    Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC, Communications Manager, Duke Energy

DATE:            Fri., Jan 19, 2018

TIME:            Networking 11:30 – Program Noon – 1:00 p.m.

LOCATION:   Ewers Century Center Teleconference Room at CF 3001 SW College Road

REGISTER:   http://www.fpraocala.org/event-registration/


OCALA, FL – Go behind-the-scenes with Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC, as she describes how she helped solve a public relations problem by telling the remarkable story of Andy Hines – a WWII veteran, prisoner of war in Nazi Germany and one of the most beloved leaders in Duke Energy’s history.

For seasoned PR practitioners or the relative newbie, Heather will offer something for everyone, including real-world strategic communications tips organizations can immediately put to use.

Speaker Bio: Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC, is a communications manager for Duke Energy Corporate Communications – overseeing Fossil/Hydro, Operations Support and Water Strategy/Hydro Licensing/Lake Services across Duke Energy’s six-state territory. She is based in Crystal River, Fla., and serves as the lead spokeswoman for the decommissioning Crystal River Nuclear Plant, three combined-cycle natural gas plant construction projects in Florida and the Carolinas and several other high profile initiatives.

Prior to coming to Duke Energy in 2010, she worked for 12 years in media and public relations.

Heather served Marion County government as a fire rescue and county commission spokesperson, crisis communicator and manager of the Office of Public Information. She also worked in television markets in Orlando and Gainesville as a broadcast news editor, producer and on-air reporter.

Native to Florida, Heather graduated Cum Laude from the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio/Television. In 2010, she graduated from the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business with a Master of Business Administration degree. In 2011, she earned her Accredited in Public Relations credential, and in 2016, she became a Certified Public Relations Counselor.

The Ocala Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association builds better public relations practitioners and communicators through professional development, networking opportunities and ethical practices.   Formed in 1980, the chapter boasts a strong membership representing nearly every industry in the area, including: government, associations, nonprofit, education, healthcare, legal, corporate, retail, agencies and small business. Members are committed not only to the betterment of our profession, but also to our community through a number of community service projects held each year.


LeadershipFPRA: Leading and Managing

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” -John F. Kennedy

The second LeadershipFPRA class had our first session today. Carolyn Maue, Executive Coach and Consultant at the Maue Center facilitated the leading and managing session. My classmates and I took a strengths profile prior to the session. It was very energizing for me to spend the day analyzing my personal strengths and weaknesses and how I can use these in my professional life.

Five Takeaways from leading and managing session
1) Identify your strengths: You may have experience with a personality test or another profiling assessment that determines your strengths and weaknesses. Another way to figure out your strengths is to think of something you remember doing as a child that you still do now, but most likely much better. The idea is strengths often have deep roots from childhood.
2) Interrupt the day: As a leader, another important concept to recognize is the necessity of taking time throughout the day to pause and refocus. Give yourself permission to take the space and time needed to ensure you are using your strengths in the best way possible and change behaviors if needed.
3) Weaknesses: Weaknesses are not a negative thing and can be approached and handled in several ways.
-Partner with someone who has your weakness as a strength
– Work on improving the weakness
– Decide if dedicating time to working on the weakness is beneficial. If not, refocus on your strengths.
-”Sandwich” the weakness between two strengths
4) There is no “right way” to accomplish something: Leaders can use different strengths to accomplish goals. Just because someone goes about something a different way than you, using their unique strength; does not make it wrong.
5) Every team you are on can be a great team: The “recipe” for a great team includes, trust among team members, good team conflict, commitment to the team, accountability, and attention to results. Any team we are on can be a good one if these pieces are in place.

Thank you to LeadershipFPRA and the team at the Maue Center for an excellent session and for giving me many things to contemplate.
I am looking forward to our next group session in January!


Ridesharing battle in Florida: How Uber drives results in Florida with sound public relations

Does your organization struggle to grow from regulatory constraints? Learn from the Uber Public Affairs Manager, Javier Correoso as he shares how the ridesharing pioneer used public relations strategies to revolutionize an industry.

Since Bosses Day is Monday prior to the luncheon, treat your boss to a seat at the luncheon on Friday! This is a topic all executives will enjoy.

SPEAKER: Javier Correoso, Public Affairs Manager, Uber Technologies – Florida

Javier Correoso is the Public Affairs Manager for Uber Technologies in Florida. In this role, Javier manages Uber’s communications throughout the state, helping build Uber’s brand and profile with the media, third parties, and policy makers.

Prior to joining Uber, Javier was an advisor to Senator Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign and consulted on many successful political campaigns and initiatives across the United States and Latin America. These included Senatorial campaigns in Florida and Colorado, Congressional races in Florida, Texas, and Arizona, and ballot initiatives.

Prior to founding National Capitol Strategies, Javier served in various roles, including Chief of Staff, in the United States Congress.

Javier is a graduate of Florida International University, where he double majored in Communications and Political Science.

Please RSVP to Christy Jergens at [email protected];
payment can be made by visiting http://www.fpraocala.org/event-registration/

RSVPs cannot be guaranteed without payment. Cost is $20 for members reserving early and $25 for guests and for members who pay at the door, or pay online at the ticket URL listed.

The monthly meetings begin with networking from 11:45 a.m. – Noon with lunch and presentations from Noon – 1 p.m.

Sponsored By:

Ocala Leaders at FPRA Conference

OcalaGIThe public relations professionals in the Ocala/Marion County area were proven to be among the leaders in the state, and received recognition at the Florida Public Relations Association Annual Conference Aug. 6-9, 2017 at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes.


VP of Annual Conference

Ginger Broslat, APR, CPRC of Ginger Broslat Communications and the Heart of Florida Health Center’s Measure Up Marion Program, served as the VP of the Association’s 79th Annual Conference. Broslat worked with FPRA Executive Director Cheray Keyes-Shima, APR, CPRC and her team at Sarasota’s KSC Public Relations and Advertising to coordinate the venue, recruit speakers and sponsors and generate excitement for attendee registrations.

The theme graphics, PR: It’s Personal: Research Relate Respond, were created by Ocala’s John Tripodi of Neptune Advertising. Marc Rice, owner of Digital Fury Productions served as a Diamond Level sponsor and produced the promotional video, credited in part to the record-breaking attendance numbers.

Broslat and Keyes-Shima recruited keynote speakers including Ann Rhoades, architect of the corporate culture of Southwest Airlines and Co-Founder of JetBlue Airways, Mary Lunghi Director of Business Analytics and Market Insight at IKEA US, Scott Stanzel, Director of Corporate Communications at Amazon. Cox Communication Director of Community Outreach Devon Chestnut, APR, CPRC conducted a breakout session on internal communications.


Five Ocala Members Graduate From Leadership FPRA

Carole Savage, APR, CPRC, the first director of Leadership Ocala/Marion, served as the VP of Leadership FPRA in its inaugural year. Savage and Broslat, along with United Way of Marion County Executive VP of Resource Development Tina Banner, APR, CPRC, Career Source Citrus Levy Marion Communication Manager Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC, and Heirs Baxley Funeral Services Community Outreach Manager Barbara Carbaugh comprised five of the 17 members graduating as part of Class Pynn. The first class has been named to honor Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC, who envisioned the program during his year as Association president in 2015-16.


VP of Accreditation/Certification

Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC, Communication Manager of CareerSource Citrus, Levy, Marion, served as the Association’s VP of Accreditation/Certification. Her efforts to encourage and support chapter leaders across the state assisting members with study sessions, resulted in 13 members receiving the APR credential, a mark of distinction for professionals who demonstrate their commitment to the profession and to its ethical practice. Candidates earn accreditation by passing oral and computer-based exams that test their broad knowledge, strategic perspective and sound professional judgment. Byrnes recognized six members obtaining the CPRC credential, an extensive process, which requires candidates to pass written and oral exams that test their ability to present strategic solutions for accomplishing public relations goals, implementing crisis communication plans and solving public relations issues. Candidates must have their APR, which demonstrates a high level of competence and dedication to the field, and at least 10 years of industry experience. These newly credentials members now join fewer than 150 certified members across the state.


Joe Curley Rising Leader Class and Leadership FPRA Scholarship Recipient

The Ocala Chapter Board appointed Ocala Health Marketing Communications Manager Lauren Debick as its nominee for the Joe Curley Rising Leader Class of 2017. The Rising Leader Class recognizes the future leadership stream for chapters across the state. Debick was honored to receive the first-ever Joe Curley Leadership FPRA Scholarship to be a part of Leadership FPRA Class II. Debick is also a member of this year’s Leadership Ocala/Marion Class XXXI.


President’s Award

FPRA President Terri Behling, APR, CPRC presented FPRA Ocala Chapter President Lauren DeIorio and Treasurer Allison Campbell, APR, CPRC with the President’s Award for Chapter Financial Management.


Eight Ocala Professionals to Serve on the FPRA 2017-18 Executive Committee

President………………………………………………………Ryan Gerds, APR, CPRC

VP of Finance………………………………………………………………Lauren DeIorio

VP of Golden Image……………………………………………….. Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC

VP of Accreditation & Certification…………………………… Ginger Broslat, APR, CPRC

VP of Member Services………………………………………..Devon Chestnut, APR, CPRC

VP of Student Services………………………………………..Allison Campbell, APR, CPRC

VP of Leadership FPRA………………………………………… Carole Savage, APR, CPRC

Florida Public Relations Education Foundation Chair……..Tina Banner, APR, CPRC


Three awards won at the Golden Image Awards Gala

Golden Image – Heather James, Ginger Broslat, APR, CPRC and Andy Stracuzzi of Zed+Zed+Eye for Heart of Florida Health Center brochure in Division B, Printed Tools of Public Relations.

Award of Distinction  – Maclyn Walker, MSW, Ginger Broslat, APR, CPRC, Marc Rice of Digital Fury and Jacob Fields of JJ Fields Design for the Heart of Florida’s Measure Up Marion program in Division A Public Relations Programs.

Award of Distinction – Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC and Marc Rice of Digital Fury for online engagement in Division C Digital Tools of Public Relations for a video produced for Duke Energy.