Prestige July 2016


Rack Focus on Leadership

lisaFrom Layman to Leadership: A first-hand account
by Lisa Varner, APR, CPRC

Just over a decade ago, I would not have believed that I could make such progress in an area that I had little experience in and even less expectation – leadership. Thanks to ongoing top-notch educational opportunities offered by FPRA, I have honed that knowledge into practical skills that I institute every day.

My first experience was serving as newsletter chair, then President-Elect and President for two consecutive terms of the Ocala Chapter. I also spent a year on the FPRA Executive Committee as VP of Finance. During that time, I was employed with the agency formerly known as Workforce Connection – today’s Career Source CLM – and participated in a statewide consortium of communications professionals from the local workforce agencies.

Fast forward almost 10 years and fellow FPRA Ocala Past President Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC, offers leadership in many communications capacities, often with a kinship to FPRA. In April, Laura spearheaded a two-day meeting in Ocala of the CareerSource Florida Communications Consortium, a statewide group of communications directors/managers and executive directors from all 24 workforce development regions plus CareerSource Florida. Eight of the 26 attendees at the Communications Consortium are FPRA members.

The Communications Consortium attendees were fortunate to hear from Nate Long, @thePRguy, and Terrie Ard, APR, CPRC, president of Moore Communications Group, both of whom are FPRA Capital Chapter members. Laura worked with fellow FPRA Ocala Past President Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC, to host an ACEs meeting with Nate the day before he was scheduled to present to the Communications Consortium.

Once you accept the challenge of serving as an FPRA leader, the rewards are so great you never finish learning, leading and giving back to the association that gives so much to its members. I firmly believe #FPRAIsForLeaders.

Registered for Conference Yet?

Lisa is continuing her leadership training at the “LEAD” Annual Conference, along several other members of the Ocala Chapter (psssst…the word on the conf logostreet is that some IMAGE awards for our members are on tap). FPRA’s 78th annual event will be held at the Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida, August 7-10. Dillin Keynote Speaker Jill Kermes from SeaWorld will shed insight on how to communicate a purpose-driven brand during a time of controversy. Disney’s recent tragic incident will surely be discussed. Read the agenda to check out the diverse array of PR professionals. Apply for a chapter scholarship or Register now!

Light A Leadership Torch at Golden Image

                                               Help us light the way to this year’s Golden Image Awards banquet by purchasing your very own FPRA Leadership Torch. All proceeds from this year’s sales will benefit the MK011615-FPRA-TorchprototypeFlorida Public Relations Education Foundation, enabling our foundation to provide more scholarships for students and support our professional members in their accreditation efforts and professional development. Torches are $30 each and may be purchased online at  Buy one for yourself, in honor of a colleague or just for fun. Take yours home with you after the event. Even if you are unable to be at conference, purchase a torch and we will send it to you!  Your support of the FPRE Foundation will be greatly appreciated. Deadline to order is Thursday, July 21. Don’t miss out!

PResident's Perspective - Take 3

by Lauren DeIorioLaurenDeiorio04PP

As the anticipation of Annual Conference builds, it is especially exciting for me as your new chapter president. Since I am Conference newbie, I have been spending quite a bit of time looking through the Annual Conference mailer to get a feel for all the sessions being offered as well as who I don’t want to miss hearing from.

I feel a little bit like a kid in a candy store when reading the highlights of the breakout sessions. Everything from Crisis Communication and how to survive by creating the right plan to social media usage in this year’s Presidential Campaign which is sure to keep us all on the edge of our seats. Did I mention the speakers? There are too many to list. So if you want to get a good overview of what you certainly don’t want to miss, check out Annual Conference agenda online.

We are rounding the corner to the end of this chapter year and I want to thank everyone who jumped in help bring the chapter to this point. I am also looking forward to our visit from state FPRA president elect, Terri Behling, APR, CPRC, in August as we install our new chapter officers. I know that next year will bring our Ocala chapter plenty of excitement & accomplishments. I can’t wait!


ENERGIZED for Life by

by Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC

What an ENERGIZING experience for four ACES members from the Ocala Chapter recently. They spent six hours behind high security at Duke Energy’s Crystal River complex. ACES Chair Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC, and Credentials Chair Heather Danenhower, APR, coordinated the walking tour to give an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how electricity is produced. Participating ACES members also included Craig Ackerman, Tina Banner, APR, CPRC, Katie Myers, APR, Nature Coast Chapter and Lisa Varner, APR, CPRC. control room

Touring the nuclear facility required background checks, heavily-armed security escorts, and screening that rivaled TSA on steroids! Personally experiencing the control room of a nuclear power plant piqued the experience for the entire group! Turquoise and analog dials were certainly in style back in 1977, when CR3 opened. The group also witnessed some of the decommissioning process, including storage of the nuclear rods and naturally-decaying radiation.

The group then toured the construction site of Duke Energy’s new natural gas plant and embarked on a van tour of the coal side of energy with Units 4 and 5, the scrubber / cloud maker, and the famous hyperbolic chamber cooling towers. Duke Energy certainly went out of its way to make this experience so memorable for our ACES members with reserved parking, personal tour guides, armed security, air-conditioned van, even an up-close-and-personal fishery encounter! .

July 15 Professional Development: Innovative Communications: Using Electronic Tools to Reach Your Audience


Devon Chestnut, APR, CPRC is Public Affairs Manager at Cox Southeast region, which spans across the states of Florida, Georgia and Louisiana. Chestnut’s role includes managing the region’s internal communications for an employee base of over 2,000. In addition, she supports the region’s social media objectives as well as managing community outreach efforts within the Ocala/Marion County market.

Chestnut serves on several boards throughout the region to include: Boys & Girls Club of Alachua County – Vice President of Advocacy & Communication, Immediate Past-President of the Gainesville Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association, and Vice President of Communications and Public Relations for the Florida Public Relations Associations State Executive Board. Chestnut is a graduate of Leadership Ocala/Marion Class 22 and Leadership Gainesville class 37.

A native of Ocala, Florida, Devon holds a B.S. in Communications and earned her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2012 and Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC) credential in 2016.

Devon and her husband Mark reside in Gainesville and have two teenaged children.

Register Now!

What? Another CPRC?

Heather Danenhower, APR, is the latest to join the ranks of CPRC, making the Ocala Chapter the most credentialed in the state!

As chair for credentialing, Heather DanenhowerHeather takes her own words to heart when it comes to what those initials mean for career and professional growth.
Congratulate Heather when you see her (maybe at Conference?) for this outstanding achievement and for giving our chapter just one more thing to be proud of.

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3 Responses to “Prestige July 2016”

  1. Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC

    Congrats, Heather, on CPRC status! Well deserved!

  2. Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC

    Lisa Varner, APR, CPRC, keep inspiring the rest of us to lead even more!

  3. Allison Campbell, APR, CPRC

    I just love our chapter! Welcome to the new members and guests… congrats, Heather!… ACES offering once in a lifetime opportunities… and what inspiring words from Lisa and Lauren… Ocala Chapter is the personification of #FRPAisforLeaders


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