Rack Focus on Leadership
by Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
When a former public accountant/auditor makes a career transition to the public relations field, the local FPRA chapter would be remiss not to get that individual fully engaged. The FPRA Ocala Chapter did not miss a beat in recruiting Lauren DeIorio first as a member and then getting her involved as a leader. Within a year, she assisted with the year-end audit and was appointed to serve as chapter treasurer, which she held for two years. Lauren eagerly accepted this office, traditionally one of the most difficult to fill. It is rare for an FPRA chapter to have the books managed by an accountant. In her first year as treasurer, Lauren mitigated the chapter’s risk by carefully managing finances while investing in a much-needed website design overhaul. That investment led the chapter to receive the FPRA President’s Award for Communications, and Lauren received the FPRA Ocala Chapter President’s PACEsetter Award. The following year, Lauren and chapter leaders worked to rebuild the treasury. The efforts for fiscal management paid off, and the Chapter was awarded FPRA President’s Award for Financial Management. When the community service project was not coming to fruition, Lauren quickly arranged for chapter CPRCs to serve as panelists to advise and educate members of the local NonProfit Business Council. The event was received well from those members and is becoming a tradition for FPRA leaders to serve the community. Just a few of her accomplishments in a few short years!
As the by-laws require, treasurers only serve two consecutive years, Lauren stepped down and handed her organized binder full of records to a new treasurer, Jessica Fuchs. She didn’t just turn over responsibility and move on. She trained Jessica and made sure she was confident, remaining available at all times for assistance.
The Ocala Chapter is fortunate to have Lauren now serving as president-elect, and the chapter is eager to have her lead us into the new year when she’s inducted in August as our president. She recently joined the chapter president to lead current board members in FPRA Ocala’s Broadway-style video production for conference promotion.
Lauren is a shining star for the Ocala chapter leadership with a trajectory for the State Association as a Joe Curley Rising Star, write her nominators, Ginger Broslat, APR and Allison Campbell, APR, CPRC. Stand by for the announcement come August.
It’s Time for PR to take Center Stage
Conducting Communications Excellence celebrates the very best in public relations innovation, planning and design, and honors those whose communications excellence have made a real change in our community.
Join us Tuesday, April 19 as we applaud the winners of our fifth annual Mid-Florida Image Awards and the nominees and winners of the Wilton F. Martin Communicator of the Year Awards.
The gala takes place from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Reilly Arts Center in beautiful Tuscawilla Park. Mingle with colleagues, friends, and honorees while enjoying appetizers and cash bar. Your catered dinner will be served in the Reilly’s auditorium, where you will have front-row seats for the evening’s performance.
In addition to our Image Award maestros – who will take home the Grand All? – we will recognize a talented ensemble of communications virtuosos. This year’s sextet of nominees for Individual Communicator of the Year are Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC; Dr. Manal Fakhoury; Beth McCall; Marc Rice; David Schlenker; and Maclyn Walker. Our sextet of Institutional Communicator nominees are the City of Ocala, Coates Golf, Digital Fury, Measure Up Marion (Heart of Florida Health Center), Public Education Foundation of Marion County and Silver Springs International Film Festival.
The early bird rate of $35 for FPRA members has been extended through April 8. Those who have prepaid for monthly professional development luncheons will receive a credit when making their gala reservation. Tickets for nonmembers, and members paying after April 8, are $45. Conducting Communications Excellence is a premier event for our chapter, orchestrated to provide an evening you won’t want to miss.
PResident's Perspective by Barba Hernandez, APR
A bridge is not a stone
I recall my first trip to an FPRA Annual Conference. It wasn’t a stone’s throw away, but getting there was not a problem. Making the two-hour drive from Ocala to St. Augustine in 2012, my then boss and I chatted on all things big and small – family, work, pets and, oh yes, her dread and my love of bridges.
We slowly approached the one bridge over the St. John’s River. As she tightly gripped the steering wheel, I reached for the passenger window in exhilaration. My short-lived thrill ended in my driver’s sigh of relief. Soon enough, we reached the hotel parking lot to begin our four-day immersion in all things loved by a public relations practitioner – first-class professional development, top-notch speakers, Golden Image awards gala, great food (and vegetarian options), Dillin dessert and plenty of networking opportunities.
Aside from my supervisor and some members of the Ocala Chapter, I really didn’t know anyone at conference. But, gosh, who were all of these people my chapter colleagues couldn’t wait to say “Hi” to? Who were all of these professionals cheering on me as I walked onstage to receive my APR recognition?
I wanted to belong. And so I slowly talked myself into building connections, a network – a professional bridge, so to speak. It wasn’t simple for an extrovert-appearing introvert: a smile here, a timid chat there. The all-too-common fear of chiseling down the walls of comfort.
Wrapping up conference on the fourth and final day, I counted my few networking “stones” thinking, “Next year, it will be even better.” It took a focused effort each subsequent year: a pebble of wisdom here, a gem of knowledge there and, lastly, a boulder of experiences that set a foundation for personal and professional growth beyond imagined. My FPRA membership brought me to some of the most experienced and eloquent PR practitioners and the Annual Conference facilitated it to a greater scale with the hundreds of statewide practitioners in attendance each year. All it took was showing up and investing in good, old-fashioned conversations instead of a $5 coffee by the lonely café corner.
I didn’t build my bridge in a day, but no wise engineer will say you should. It was a progression, perhaps one too slow to some. But no time spent on improving oneself is a wasted effort. All good things cannot be demanded on a single strike of energy or, worse, self-pity. They are, indeed, the natural progression of years of investment in collecting and preserving the small treasures. Because, you’ll see, a bridge is not a stone. And in its right time, it will take you places.
Until next month, keep it “reel!”
Barbra Hernández, APR, FPRA Ocala Chapter President
Communicating during crisis and tragedy while the nation watches on television is a scenario leaders hope not to face, but would you be ready if necessary? On May 4, professionals can hear firsthand accounts from communicators who navigated high-profile crises and practice skills through a hands-on workshop at the Florida Public Relations Association Ocala Chapter’s “Toolkit for Success” seminar. The seminar will run from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at the College of Central Florida’s Ewers Century Center. Cost is $45 for FPRA members and $55 for non-members, and includes breakfast, lunch and all sessions and materials.
Featured presenters and topics include Public Information Officer David Northway of the Tallahassee Police Department speaking on the FSU Strozier Library shooting and Director of Public Affairs Heather Smith of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office discussing communications during the George Zimmerman trial. Additionally, Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC, of Orlando’s Curley and Pynn PR and Marketing Communications agency and this year’s FPRA President will delve into what a crisis is and how to plan for it. He will also facilitate a mock crisis that attendees will participate in.
Registration deadline is April 22. For more information or to register visit http://www.fpraocala.org/toolkit-2016/. For questions about the seminar, contact FPRA-Ocala Chapter Professional Development Chair, Beth McCall, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FPRA in the Know: RPIE
From Elaine McClain, Communications Chair
No. 9 seems to stand out. Deal fairly with the public? Got it. Don’t disseminate false information and avoid conflicts of interest? Of course. Those standards are important but not surprising, and deal mostly with telling the truth and not misleading others. But then there’s No. 9:
A member shall not guarantee the achievement of specified results beyond the member’s direct control.
At least in my experience, this one’s harder than it sounds. Professionally, I want to prove the worth of my work and the value of public relations strategies and tactics. Personally, I want to solve whatever problem is at hand and make everyone happy.
But wait. RPIE. Oh, the research and planning. My objectives for handling any situation should be attainable, among other things. And my research will tell me what’s attainable for the specific situation. No. 9, when framed by RPIE, tells me to temper unrealistic expectations – whether those expectations are others’ or my own – by planning ahead and setting realistic objectives.
And those objectives should be measurable. No. 9, when framed by RPIE, tells me to be sure I can prove it! Can I truly attribute an initiative’s success to PR strategies and tactics? In my heart I may know it was definitely my Facebook ads that raised attendance at an event or billboards that affected a vote or series of radio interviews by my CEO that prompted positive reactions to a company change. I may be sure that certain tactics achieved knowledge gain and behavior change, but how can I prove it through evaluation?
Thirdly, No. 9 reminds me PR is not a miracle cure-all. What? Shocking, I know. Though addressing any crisis, campaign or situation with good communication is better than not, it doesn’t make up for poor planning, bad decision-making or years of non-communication.
Think of the oft-quoted and paraphrased adage, “You can’t communicate your way out of something you’ve behaved your way into.”
Not every situation can be solved by good PR, and the APR study guide reminds us of this:
“Accurately define what public relations strategies and tactics can accomplish. Do not guarantee results for areas beyond your control.”
We can lend context. We can release facts and accurate information. We can work to correct misperceptions. We can demonstrate transparency, accessibility and honesty. We can improve relationships over time. But that doesn’t mean every situation can be instantly “fixed” by PR strategies and tactics.
No. 9 might seem to stand out among the other standards of our Code of Ethics, but RPIE, for me, helped to make it clear and applicable.
FPRA in the Know: April is APR Awareness Month
As skilled PR professionals, we know our success depends on staying relevant, resourceful and inspired. The Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential sets you apart from your peers and proves you have the know-how to reach your fullest potential. It takes a professional – someone with exceptional experience, broad expertise and strong dedication and values—to thrive at what we do.
Why should you pursue your APR?
- The APR credential certifies your drive, professionalism and principles.
- Being an APR confirms experienced PR professionals’ commitment and adherence to industry best practices and ethics.
- Your APR credential properly positions you as a leader and mentor in the competitive public relations field.
- The APR conveys your dedication to learning and self-improvement and distinguishes you from your peers by demonstrating a cultivated approach to staying informed of the challenges and solutions in today’s shifting public relations world.
- Preparing for the APR provides you with uniquely comprehensive, relevant and forward-thinking PR skills and personal career insights that ensure the versatility and viability of the next generation of public relations leaders.
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