Introducing LeadershipFPRA


LeadershipFPRA is a new program exclusive to FPRA members who wish to take their leadership skills to a new level. This program will provide you with the tools needed to become a leader within your community, organization and within FPRA.

Applications are currently active through June 15, 2016. Class size is limited to 20, so applications are competitive. The LeadershipFPRA Selection Committee will review all applications and choose the most qualified applicants all while building a class that represents diversity-professionally and geographically, as well as in the areas of age, race, gender and ethnicity.

Once selected, each class member will receive a LeadershipFPRA orientation at FPRA’s Annual Conference this August, followed by six seminar-styled leadership training classes from a faculty of some of the most accomplished professionals in the state. The curriculum is challenging, and participants are required to attend orientation, graduation and at least five of the six program sessions offered in Orlando, Tampa, Tallahassee and Gainesville. Graduation will be held at the next FPRA Annual Conference in August 2017.

The cost of the LeadershipFPRA program is $750 per participant (not including travel and lodging), payable upon acceptance to the program. Tuition can be paid in full at the time of acceptance into the program or the following payment plan may be utilized. First payment of $450 due at time of acceptance into the program with the remaining $300 due no later than December 31st, 2016.
For a program overview, check out our LeadershipFPRA flyer or learn more at the LeadershipFPRA website.

Presenting the 2016 – 2017 Slate of Officers












The following slate of officers for the Florida Public Relations Association will be voted on by the general membership during FPRA’s Annual Business Meeting scheduled for Monday, Aug. 8 at 8:30 a.m. at the Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort in Palm Harbor:

President – Terri Behling, APR, CPRC (Central West Coast)
President-Elect – Ryan Gerds, APR, CPRC (Gainesville)
Immediate Past President – Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC (Orlando Area)
VP Accreditation/Certification – Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC (Ocala)
VP Annual Conference – Ginger Broslat, APR, CPRC (Ocala)
VP Chapter Services – Amelia Bell, APR, CPRC (Gainesville)
VP Communications & PR – Devon Chestnut, APR, CPRC (Ocala)
VP Finance – Jennifer Moss, APR, CPRC (Central West Coast)
VP Golden Image – Alyson Lundell (Orlando Area)
VP Membership – Gordon Paulus, APR, CPRC (Pensacola)
VP Planning & Research – Heather Grzelka, APR (Tampa Bay)
VP Professional Development – Chad McLeod, APR, CPRC (Tampa Bay)
VP Student Services – Rosemary Tutt, APR, CPRC (Jacksonville)
VP Technology – Kevin Coulson, APR (Gainesville)
*Counselors’ Network Chair – Jeff Nall, APR, CPRC (Pensacola)
FPRE Foundation Chair – Suzanne Sparling, APR, CPRC (Space Coast)
*Elected by Counselors’ Network

Video: 2016 Golden Image Awards

We’d love to see you on stage this year accepting an award for your great PR work!  Take a look at some of last year’s winners in this video created by Two-Head Video and start working on your entry today. Click here for more information or visit

Video-ScreenshotVideo credit: Two-Head Video


Join the 2016 FPRA Annual Conference Blog Team!

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Are you attending FPRA Annual Conference and would like to get a little more involved? Join the FPRA Annual Conference Blog Team! New to blogging? This is a great way to gain experience. Seasoned blogger? Then you know we need you. What’s involved? Simply summarizing the talking points from your assigned session(s). Speaker bios and headshots will be pre-loaded and your content will be edited and posted for you. What could be easier?

Click here to sign up for the Annual Conference Blog Team.

Have questions about the FPRA Annual Conference Blog Team? Contact VP of Technology, Devon Chestnut, APR at

Please note, you must be attending FPRA  Annual Conference to join the blog team. Joining the blog team is voluntary. No Annual Conference discounts or compensation is provided.

March Webinar

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Intellectual Property Hot Topics

March 28, 2016 | 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST

$25 for Members | $75 for Non-members

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The presentation will provide a brief overview of intellectual property law and focus on intellectual property issues particularly relevant in the public relations arena, such as the clearance and use of trademarks; copyright ownership issues; blogging, domain name and social media issues; the right of publicity; and photo/video releases.

Takeaways from this webinar are:

  • General overview of IP law
  • How to avoid and handle common IP pitfalls

MindiRichterMindi Richter is a partner at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP and board certified in intellectual property law. She counsels clients on all aspects of intellectual property law including trademarks, copyrights, patents, trade secrets and related internet and media issues.  She has experience litigating IP matters of all types both in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, as well as federal and state courts across the country. She is the former chair of the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Section and has been designated a Florida Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine for the last 6 years.  She graduated magna cum laude from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and has a BA in Journalism from Indiana University.

To ensure an interactive and efficient program, virtual seats are limited. Registration is expected to fill up fast so don’t delay and register today!

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Improvise: Unconventional Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO

Feb. 25, 2016 | 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST

$25 for Members | $75 for Non-members
Discount Code: Improvise (Members Are Verified)

From starting as a self-described “chauffeur for drunks” to CEO of Golin, one of the most respected public relations agencies in the world, Fred Cook’s path to the corner office can be described as anything but ordinary.

Join us Thursday, Feb. 25 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. as Cook takes us through his unconventional rise to the top, detailed in his recently published book, “Improvise – Unconventional Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO.” His story will provide participants with the inspiration and the resolution needed to strike out and forge a new path rather than sticking to the same well-worn road. Also during this session, Cook will argue that the ability to creatively improvise is a critical survival skill that sets individuals apart from the pack and helps them get ahead of the competition.

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FredCookFred Cook has been the Chief Executive Officer of Golin since June 2003 and has been its President since September 2003. He is responsible for key client relationships and strategic planning. He has been with Golin since 1986 and served as Managing Director of the western region and Chief Client Officer.

His mission at Golin is to guarantee that it delivers bold thinking and superior service to its clients everyday. Cook previously ran his own public relations company which specialized in consumer marketing and entertainment promotion. In addition, he served as Marketing Director for a national recording company. He is a graduate of Indiana University.

To ensure an interactive and efficient program, virtual seats are limited. Registration is expected to fill up fast so don’t delay and register today!

2016 Welcomes an Updated APR Exam



Considering becoming Accredited in Public Relations (APR)? No better time than 2016! Getting your APR shows your commitment to the PR profession, designates you as a competent PR leader, gives you an opportunity to challenge yourself and provides you with a professional designation that can be meaningful to both current and future employers.

The APR process, especially the computer-based Exam, is always being tweaked – but every several years, a major review takes place. This review was just completed and resulted in some important realignments starting in 2016. The good news? The updates mean you’re being assessed on a streamlined set of objectives more relevant to your daily practice.


Two-step process

There are two main steps to becoming an APR: a Readiness Review (RR) and a computer-based Exam (CBE). The Readiness Review is an opportunity for APR candidates to present a comprehensive PR plan in a portfolio format to a panel of three APRs. The CBE is a multiple-choice Exam of about 140 questions that assesses the candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) in various areas. All of this work is overseen by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), which includes representatives from eight PR associations – including FPRA – that banded together in 1998 to offer the universally accepted APR professional credential.

For the past year, the UAB has been comparing what PR practitioners actually do with what is assessed on the CBE. The result was a realignment of the KSAs to better reflect what we, as PR professionals, face every day. For the past several years, the KSAs fell into ten categories, with 43 learning objectives. Starting in 2016, the KSAs will cover six categories with a total of 31 learning objectives.


Differences in Organization and Emphasis

There’s quite a bit of overlap between the older KSAs and the 2016 update, but they are organized and emphasized a little differently. The 2016 Exam assess KSAs in these proportions: RACE or RPIE (33%); Leading the Public Relations Function (18%); Managing Relationships (15%); Ethics/Law (13%); Managing Issues and Crisis Communications (13%); Understanding Communications Models, Theories and History of the Profession (8%).

Because of this update to the KSAs, Exam questions needed to be revised to ensure they covered all the right areas in the proper proportion. This revision process was quite extensive, field-testing dozens of new Exam questions through a Beta Exam process, engaging the expertise of a psychometrician, and hours of analysis and review by various UAB work groups. This summer, more than 100 PR professionals around the country took the Beta Exam, which included both old and new questions – and many more questions than are typically on the CBE. Those Beta results were analyzed and the result was the updated Exam, which will launch in 2016. Many thanks to the PR professionals who went through the Beta process so this update could become a field-tested reality, including 5 FPRA members who received their APR as a result.


Steps to Follow

If you feel you’re ready to take the next step in your professional development by pursuing your APR, here’s what to do:

  1. Submit an application to the UAB with the $385 fee (FPRA provides a $100 rebate to candidates who sit for the exam (and pass) within 30 days of completing the Readiness Review or the chapter’s APR study session). You have one year from acceptance of your application to complete the entire process, so wait to apply until you are ready. You must be a professional member of FPRA (or one of the other UAB organizations) to get your APR.
  2. Study – with a cohort, online, with a mentor, using resources offered through FPRA and the UAB.
  3. Schedule and participate in the Readiness Review, where you submit information in advance and present a comprehensive PR plan in-person to a panel of three APRs. They ask you questions to assess your knowledge, skills and abilities that cannot be judged in the computer-based Examination.
  4. Complete the computer-based Exam. This multiple choice, taken at a professional testing facility in your area, Exam uses questions and scenarios to assess six areas considered critical for public relations professionals.
  5. To maintain your APR, you must complete a maintenance form every three years outlining your professional activities, pay a $50 fee and remain a member of one of the participating organizations.


When You’re Ready…

APR is considered the professional credential for public relations practitioners. Its purpose is to unify and advance the public relations profession by identifying those who have demonstrated broad knowledge, experience and professional judgment in the field. When you are at a point in your career when you have served as a strategic communications advisor, have a broad range of knowledge and skills, and are ready to prepare for an oral presentation and computer-based exam to demonstrate your PR knowledge, skills and abilities – pursue your APR!

Detailed information about the process is available at To find out more about FPRA support options, contact your chapter’s Accreditation Chair or Vice President of Accreditation and Certification Ryan Gerds, APR, CPRC, at

Take the Annual Conference Survey!


Help us plan for next year’s Annual Conference and you just might win a $25 gift certificate to the FPRA store! Click HERE to take the survey.

Don’t miss the 2016 Annual Conference, August 7-10, 2016 at Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort, Tampa. Visit or click here for more information.


Webinar Series: The Ins & Outs of Facebook Advertising: What PR Pros Should Know

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The Ins & Outs of Facebook Advertising:
What PR Pros Should Know 

Oct. 29, 2015 | 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST

$25 for Members | $75 for Non-members
Discount Code: Target (Members Are Verified)

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Over 1 billion users and the ability to precisely target almost anyone? What’s not to love about Facebook Advertising? With Facebook Ads, PR pros can expand the reach of their digital campaigns and drive ROI that is easy to measure. Upgrade your Facebook Ad know-how beyond clicking “Boost Post,” and learn the strategies for success that make it impossible to fail so that you can leverage this platform for your company and your clients.

Takeaways from this webinar are:

  • How to create campaigns that generate ROI
  • The secret optimization strategy that works for every campaign
  • How to reach the perfect target audience

JSpivakisJennifer Spivakis a digital marketing specialist with seven plus years of experience driving digital campaigns for brands and individuals looking to sell products and services online. She is a marketing instructor and curriculum architect at the Startup Institute, and has been recognized by PR News’ Digital PR Awards and PR Daily’s Social Media Awards. Merging her background in PR and love of analytics, Jennifer specializes in creating engaging, on-brand Facebook Advertising campaigns that drive cost-efficient results and positive ROI.


To ensure an interactive and efficient program, virtual seats are limited. Registration is expected to fill up fast so don’t delay and register today!

Congratulations new APRs!


Congratulations to the following public relations professionals who earned professional public relations accreditation and received the designation of Accreditation in Public Relations (APR):


Francesca DonlanFrancesca Donlan, APR
Communications Manager
Lee County Visitors & Convention Bureau
Southwest Florida Chapter




Dayna HarpsterDayna Harpster, APR
Editor of Expressions Magazine
WGCU Public Media at Florida Gulf Coast University
Southwest Florida Chapter




Jenn PetionJenn Petion, APR
Director of Community and Government Relations
Partnership for Strong Families
Gainesville Chapter




Scott SchroederScott Schroeder, APR
Vice President of Operations
Liquid Creative Studio
Gainesville Chapter




Tiffany WhitakerTiffany Whitaker, APR
Director of Business Development and Client Services
Pushing the Envelope, Inc.
Southwest Florida Chapter




Accreditation is offered through the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) to members of participating organizations, including FPRA. Though five years of public relations practice was previously required, ALL members are eligible regardless of years of experience. However, the objective, multiple-choice, computer exam does test a variety of knowledge, skills and abilities, so members interested in seeking accreditation need to be prepared in a variety of skill areas.

For more information on Accreditation and Certification, as well as any available chapter or State Association rebates, please contact your local Accreditation and Certification Chair or Ryan Gerds, APR, CPRC, VP Accreditation/Certification at