Don’t forget to be awesome!

No one’s perfect, but everyone can be awesome.  International Day of Awesomeness, celebrated on March 10 every year, is a day where anybody, no matter who they are, may celebrate their awesomeness. Yes, we all possess qualities that make us awesome in some way.  By definition, being awesome causes inspiration in others. Whatever you do, make it extraordinary because the mundane will not do on International Day of Awesomeness.  

There are a few things to highlight for the Chapter this month: 

  1. In addition to being awesome, March is “let’s prep for Golden Image submission” month! Friendly reminder – as previously communicated, there will not be local image awards anywhere in the State.  The State Executive Committee voted in November 2023 and approved to only have Golden Image awards.  We have two scheduled Golden Image related events this month. 
    1. Monday, March 18, 12pm – 1pm eastern, we will be hosting our FREE member-benefit monthly Zoom webinar with Jen Houser.  A multi local and Golden Image award winner, Jen is a creative and leader with strong communication skills. She has the ability to drive domestic and international projects, build strong relationships with diverse groups and exceed expectations for any project. She loves working in fast paced environments and is known for complementary skills in driving results while maintaining solid relationships through a growth mindset and being a servant leader.  As a pre-cursor to our professional development on March 22nd, Jen will present “Everything Golden Image”. The Golden Image Awards have become a standard of excellence in the state of Florida. Winners demonstrate the very best examples of innovation, planning and design
    2. Attend our March Professional Development meeting on Friday, March 22nd with State VP of Golden Image Lindsay Hudock, APR, CPRC to explore the new Golden Image submission process.  For additional information and to register, please click here
  2. Every chapter throughout the State is diligently working on changing the “it’s always been done this way” mentality and is providing multiple avenues to continue developing member engagement, re-engagement and recruitment.  As we continue to explore options to be inclusive of everyone’s needs, through forward thinking and listening to member feedback both in person and from surveys, our chapter has already implemented several ideas that have been discussed at the State level;
    1. alternate communication channels (Slack, FB chapter group, etc.);
    2. offering professional development opportunities on different days/times of the week to meet chapter members at times that are flexible and to attempt to accommodate everyone’s schedules so that everyone has an opportunity to participate; 
    3. different opportunities to meet up: socials, coffees, etc.; 
    4. recognizing that there are several ways to bridge the gaps;
    5. issuing member surveys to identify all the different ways chapter members are engaging with FPRA both locally and statewide (counselor’s network, statewide mixers, statewide webinars, online study sessions, etc); 
    6. and I know there’s more that I just can’t think of at the moment….  🙂
  3. We will be having our 1-day annual local COMMference this year on Friday, April 26th at the College of Central Florida in Ocala.  This will be an all-day event and will be our April professional development for the month.  Greg has worked tirelessly at securing keynote speakers and break-out session speakers.  There will be 3 main speaker sessions (opening, lunch, and closing), and then 2 breakout sessions in-between with 2 different options.  One of those breakout sessions Greg is working with UAB to secure someone to teach the ethics session required for ongoing APR and CPRC certification. 

All that said, we are halfway through this chapter year, which means I am halfway through my term as president. I want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you.  Every chapter member has demonstrated, in one way or another, exceptional efforts that have propelled us forward with commitment, resilience, and innovative thinking. For those we haven’t seen in awhile, we miss you! And hope to see you soon at one of the many monthly opportunities we have to connect. 

Yours in service

Lindsay

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship Opportunities

The Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) is dedicated to presenting programs and activities that support the success of public relations professionals. The Ocala Chapter of FPRA’s membership (serving both Citrus and Marion Counties) is one of the most diverse in the state with multiple levels of experience and differing areas of expertise.

Your investment in FPRA not only has the potential to generate greater awareness of your brand but will also result in enhanced development of the region’s professional communicators through information, resources, recognition, and leadership opportunities.

Ocala FPRA has ongoing opportunities for the donation of professional services. No photo description available.

Examples include:

  • Venue
  • Photography
  • Audio/Visual
  • Printing/Signage
  • Food

With various level of sponsorship, the Florida Public Relations Association offers a variety of ways for you to reach PR practitioners across Florida and beyond. We’ll help you get your message out to our members, an audience who understands the importance of making an impact in the communities they serve. 

CLICK HERE to view our 2023-2024 Sponsorship Packet

To discuss potential sponsorship opportunities not listed in the Sponsorship Packet, please contact [email protected].

Why Sponsor FPRA?

  • Reach more than 1,000 PR professionals across the Sunshine State with your brand story.
  • Get directly in front of purchasing decision makers in a variety of industries and sectors, including for-profits, nonprofits and government agencies.
  • Choose from a variety of levels, options and custom packages to meet your goals.
  • Support the professional development of those who make a difference in their individual communities.
What Are Your Goals?

We offer a variety of sponsorship packages, and we start off with a basic question: What are your goals? From there, we can work with you to meet those goals within your budget.

As PR professionals, we know the importance of telling a story strategically. We’ll make sure your message is delivered in an impactful way to the FPRA membership.

President’s PeRspective – Thankful

Dear Chapter, 

There are so many things I am thankful for this year, but at the very top of that list is you. I am so very thankful for the opportunity to be your chapter president this year (the 50th one!)  Every day, I am truly inspired by the work and achievements of our chapter members. Your dedication to public relations, communications, innovation, and service is the driving force behind our chapter’s success. Your unwavering commitment to our shared goals, and our commitment to diversity, inclusion and deep sense of belonging is truly remarkable. 

This week, I hope you all have the opportunity to enjoy the moments as you gather with friends and loved ones. Whatever your plans, I hope you find time to relax, reflect and recharge.  Again, I give many thanks to you all for all you do to support one another’s endeavors and success.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with the warmth and happiness of the season.  I hope to see you all next month at our Holiday Cheer Celebration on December 16th, 5-7pm at Elevation 89 (located at the Ocala International Airport).  More information to come! 

Yours in service, 

Lindsay

Congratulations to Beverly Brown, APR

Congratulations to Beverly Brown, APR, Director, Career & Student Services with Taylor College as she celebrates her 5 year Florida Public Relations Association member anniversary this month.  Beverly is an experienced professional with a passion for public relations and serves as Treasurer for the chapter board. In August 2022, she was awarded the Toni James, APR, CPRC, PACEsetter of the Year Award. At the Mid FL Image Awards in April 2022, Beverly received a Judges Award in the digital tools of public relations division social media category for the Taylor College Facebook Engagement Plan.
In her personal life she has authored a book, ‘God Speaks…a true story’ – an inspirational story of hope and healing based on the loss of her only child: https://www.godspeaksthebook.com/
She is also part of a team of contributing authors who write for ‘Journeys With Christ,’ an online daily devotional. Journeys with Christ is designed to encourage people and to share the Gospel: https://www.journeyswithchrist.org/

President’s PeRspective – November 2023

It’s my favorite season of the year – Autumn/Fall. I love this time of year for a few reasons.

I grew up in the Midwest. From my perspective, nothing compares to a beautiful crisp fall day. Campfires, s’mores, hot chocolate, warm apple cider, caramel apples, changing of the leaves, sweaters, scarves and family time together. Every Thanksgiving was spent in Three Oaks, Michigan with my mom’s side of the family in a little red cabin house. We drove up from Chicago, all bundled up, with our side-dishes wrapped in foil and towels to stay as warm as possible. We would watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade together while the turkey cooked, and then after dinner (always at 2pm) half of us would make grapevine wreaths, and the rest would watch football. Then we would go for a walk together and listen to stories of how one of Al Capone’s hideout locations was just down the street. It’s been almost 20 years since we were all together… and I’m so thankful that we took that last picture together in 2006. It’s one of the last times we were (mostly) all together.  The family looks much different these days as several members have passed on.  Capture and cherish your moments together.  Take the picture.  Make memories.  

Another reason I love this time of year is our FPRA membership renewal drive. We continue to set the PR Pace year after year. New members, renewals, new student members… I’m so excited to watch our chapter continue to grow and foster relationships both on a personal and professional level.  At the time that I am writing this, we are currently leading the State in the Membership Drive for 3 weeks in a row!  Why is membership renewal important before 10/31? First, it helps to ensure that the Association starts the year off at a healthy financial position.  Second, each chapter receives their first membership rebate check at the first State Executive Board meeting the first weekend in November – this also helps ensure our Chapter starts the year healthy.  And third, we don’t want anyone to miss out on those extra member benefits!  Let’s keep our #focusforward! 

And finally, the “fresh start” effect of fall.  The crisp, light air of fall is in contrast to the heavy, humid air of summer. Fall also has a distinct aroma that I really love; a blend of rain, soil, grass, tree bark, and leaves. I always feel like breathing in deeper, longer breaths and simply filling my lungs with all the scents of nature when I smell this aroma. This time of year brings with it a cozy routine.  The weather is also beneficial to mental health since it is cooler and allows for more mental clarity. The crisper air and breathtaking foliage—yes, largely outside—of Florida) encourages us to spend time in nature, which has been connected with improvements in our happiness, wellbeing, relationships, and sense of having a life purpose.  Fall brings most individuals back to their regular routines, which encourages friends getting together and socializing… which brings me to the next update/reminder!

Coffee Talk Begins Next Wednesday! Join us at Symmetry Coffee’s new location (101 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, Florida, 34470) at 8 a.m.  Coffee Talk is a new networking series where we’ll bring guests in to speak about communications practices for the first half hour and network for the second half. No presentations, just discussions, and conversations.  Who better to start the series off than Mike Mills, Symmetry Coffee’s Owner, who will share the preparation and promotion details behind his relocation process.  If you are planning to attend, please let Greg Davis know so he can reserve seating! 

 Yours in Service,  Lindsay

p.s. On behalf of the board, I want to personally thank the chapter membership for providing valuable insight and feedback in our chapter surveys.  One area for professional development that has yielded numerous requests was for a webinar series.  In January we will be launching a monthly webinar series via zoom.  More to come in my mid-month update. 

President’s PeRspective – October 2023

At our leadership board retreat to kick-off the new chapter year, I started out by giving everyone a kaleidoscope. It was one of my favorite toys as a kid, and one of the first ones that I remember.  Coincidentally, 45 years later my mom still has it in my “childhood memory” box.  One of my fondest memories with my kaleidoscope was looking through it while pointing it in different light directions – outdoors, my bedroom light, natural sunlight, etc. I would then slowly turn the end of it and watch the magic happen inside. So why did I bring kaleidoscopes to the board?  To serve as a daily reminder that we need be mindful to what other people see, how they feel, what their perspective might be – their perspective. When I was in my junior year at Ohio University, I was asked to participate in a pilot program for the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Stephen Covey defines this as the fifth habit in his bestselling book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” It’s critical: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Seeking real understanding affirms the other person and what they have to say. That’s what they want.”  

I have adopted this as a way of approaching every situation since then. 

I then took out a prism that I had – coincidentally, it also is the same shape as a Golden Image award (#goals).  Similar to the kaleidoscope, as you turn the angle of the prism and look at it through different light sources, the perspective changes. You see different angles, designs, light reflections… the perspective changes. Is it a triangle? Is it a trapezoid?  It is what I see it to be.  

The representation of this for me is this – You decide what you believe. Yes, what you believe is shaped by your experiences – past, and present – but ultimately you decide what you see, what you hear, what you smell, what you feel, and what you taste. Once the connection between your senses and your brain decide, you make those beliefs your reality – your perspectives.

What do I mean by perspective? A perspective is a mental view of a situation. So, you take your mental opinion and state it to yourself as a fact, therefore; it becomes your reality.

Does that mean you are wrong? No. And it does not mean you are right either. (Back to the 5th Habit…) 

So you need to decide if you are willing to broaden your perspective. Are you willing to let yourself grow?  Are you willing to open your mind to new possibilities?

That is my challenge for everyone this chapter year – do your best to broaden your perspective.  I found an excellent article on LinkedIn that I encourage you to read – 6 WAYS TO BRODEN YOUR PERSPECTIVE AND BE OPEN TO NEW IDEAS.  You can navigate to it here

This is where be begin – the highlights and goals I presented at our inaugural State of the Chapter last month.  For more information, you’ll read more about it on our 5 Takeaways article. 

 Yours in Service,  Lindsay

President’s PeRspective – September 2023

 

As I enter my first year as chapter President, I am excited and humbled to lead our chapter.  A chapter that provides abundant opportunities to learn, teach, mentor, and share top quality public relations professionals. A chapter that enables us to advocate, brainstorm, give back to our communities, meet, network and socialize with friends and colleagues all over Citrus and Marion Counties and across the state.

I am honored to follow the lineup of people who have provided guidance for our chapter in the past; each of our past Presidents has brought a different vision with them and all have proven to have different strengths.  I suppose I am no different in that I have some ideas for changes I would like to see, and I hope that you will support me as you’ve supported those Presidents who have come before me.  I hope when you lookback on 2023-2024, we have a year full of laughter, fellowship and making better friendships, while continuing along our path of giving within the Citrus and Marion Counties and our local communities.

As PR Practitioners, we have a lot to be proud of; we have made this possible and this reality started by one person saying “We need to do something to make a difference in our profession” and then convincing other people to believe in their vision….this is what communicators do, we have changed what our profession looks like today.  Our chapter doesn’t have to be large to make an impact on people’s lives, but we do have to start somewhere and that somewhere is you, it’s me, it’s all of us together.

For any new leader, there are always, I’m sure, the usual questions you have out there.

Questions about: What do you have to offer to us to make a difference? How will you advance the mission of the chapter? And what’s your vision?

Well, today, I hope to share a little bit with you, but again, there’s a lot more to come in the weeks and months ahead. What I can tell you is that each day, I will be part of this chapter – striving to have a positive impact on the leadership team, chapter members, prospective members, and our community. And I will work tirelessly to advance the mission of the Florida Public Relations Association, and to ensure that our members and student members have every opportunity to succeed.

We have a strong chapter with a lot of heart and I’d like to start my year by challenging us to commit to at least 6 projects over the next 12 months.  Greg and I have amazing ideas and we will definitely be going forward with some of them, but I’d like for each of us to have a chance to contribute.  They don’t have to be huge projects; they can be as simple as collecting donations for the Education Foundation, to as big as a public awareness campaign that will go statewide.  To learn more about this, you’ll have to join us at our September Meeting, where I will kick-off our inaugural “State of the Chapter” presentation.  I know we will be able to rise to this challenge and it’s my hope that we will exceed this goal. 

I see a very bright future ahead for our chapter because we are building on strength—strength and excellence in our professional development programs, our history, our outstanding leadership team, and our chapter members; but it’s going to take each and every one of us working as a team together, doing what we can to make us stronger together. And I want you to know that I fully embrace shared governance for our future success—that all-important bedrock of continuing education and the work that lies ahead for us as leaders in the public relations field.

And so, this is where we begin, Ocala Chapter. I ask that you join me, and let’s race forward to the future because I do see a bright future. And notice, I didn’t say, “Let’s walk to the future.” I said that intentionally. Let’s race to the future because it is bright. There are a great many opportunities that lie ahead. And I don’t believe in just sauntering along. I want to race forward because I see a bright future ahead for us all.

I’m looking forward to being a part of one team and one combined community, focused on the goal of success and our commitment to public relations – public relations for the public good.

And I want to thank you again for welcoming this Citrus girl to the Ocala Chapter.

I’d like to leave you with these words – We have one year to build moments that will endure forever, not carved in granite or marble, but in the lives and hearts of all of us. This is our time. Let us grasp it… All of you have been given so many gifts. And you have now been given this great gift: one year to take all your talents, all your gifts, everything that you are and can become — and use your PERSPECTIVE to help guide our chapter towards the future.

SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR 2023-2024 MEETING SPONSOR – TAYLOR COLLEGE

Taylor College!! Thank you so much for your recent sponsorship of our FPRA Ocala Chapter for our monthly professional development meetings! We are thrilled to work with you for the upcoming chapter year 2023-2024. As a sponsor, your contribution is vital to continue our important work. We cannot succeed without the generosity of supporters like you.
All Marion County location meetings will be held at the new location for Taylor College: 2531 East Silver Springs Blvd. in Ocala, FL!
Citrus County – In-person meetings will be held at a local county building. Stay tuned for the location confirmation. Special thanks to the Citrus County for helping to coordinate logistics!

GANTT, FPRA OCALA HONORED WITH STATE PUBLIC RELATIONS AWARDS

OCALA, Fla. (August 21, 2023) – On August 7, Florida Public Relations Association Ocala Chapter President Tammy A. Gantt accepted three President’s Awards for her leadership in membership retention, special events, and financial management from State Association President Jay Morgan-Schleuning, APR, at the annual Presidents’ Luncheon held during the FPRA Annual Conference at the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando, Fla.

During the awards luncheon, Morgan-Schleuning, APR, recognized the accomplishments of chapter presidents in key award categories that enhanced leadership and chapter success while furthering the mission of advancing the public relations profession within the state.

Gantt led the Ocala Chapter to a 98% member retention rate and 30% growth rate, the highest of all 16 statewide chapters.

“While these awards are issued to the president, it takes the dedication of the entire chapter to make them happen,” Gantt said. “The membership goals were achieved thanks to all our members who believed in our purpose and renewed.”

She continued, “I owe a huge thank you to members, Dr. Allison Campbell, APR, CPRC and Lisa Varner, APR, CPRC, who contacted members on the spot when asked. It also meant a lot that our President-Elect Lindsay Tozer and Vice President of Membership Greg Davis collaboratively recruited seven members from Citrus county, and I appreciate their continued recruitment of future members.”

Gantt also accepted the President’s Special Event Award for her leadership as co-chair of the ‘Back to the Roots’ Communications and PR Conference held at the College of Central Florida in Ocala in May. The local chapter partnered with the Association of Florida Colleges for the one-day conference that resulted in $3,000 in sponsorships, 110 attendees, 15 presenters, 14 sessions covering 13 topics, eight pieces of collateral including a 12-page program, eight ‘front porch’ vendors, seven sponsors, six hours of professional development programming, five scholarships awarded, four speakers of diversity, two home-cooked meals by Rashad Jones of Big Lee’s BBQ and Mojo’s, one pre-event mixer at World Equestrian Center, one community service project with the Hispanic Business Council, and one CEU credit for ethics accreditation.

Rachel Cote, fellow FPRA member, AFC board member, and CF manager of web communications, new media, marketing and public relations, also served as co-chair with Gantt and received an FPRA state level Rising Star nomination for her efforts. CF manager of marketing and public relations and FPRA/AFC member Lisa McGinnes also played a key role on the committee.

Gantt additionally accepted the President’s Award for Financial Management. Notable achievements included staying on budget, garnering a record number of sponsors, cutting expenses, increasing fundraisers, developing outreach opportunities for increased funding, and focused on revenue line items, including rebates and media directory sales.

The additional revenue led to an increase in scholarships the Chapter was able to issue to members for leadership programs such as the annual conference, LeadershipFPRA, professional development programs, and membership dues.

Gantt was quick to credit the team effort of Chapter Treasurer Beverly Brown, APR; 2022 Treasurer Kristina Donohue, APR; and Immediate Past President Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC, who assisted her in creating a budget and fundraising plan for financial success.

FPRA is the oldest public relations association in the country representing 16 professional chapters and 14 student chapters throughout the state. The FPRA Ocala Chapter was established in 1980. For The FPRA Annual Conference is the largest public relations conference of the year within Florida. For more information, visit https://www.fpra.org/