November 2016

Below please find the latest issue and archive of our chapter's newsletter, Talking Points. Included in each newsletter you will find such valuable information such as a message from our president, a Media Spotlight of a local news reporter, a PRSA member profile and so much more.

  November 2016 Newsletter  
  Table of Contents  
  PRSA Orlando Job Board  
Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications
University of Central Florida, Academic Affairs
Social Media Manager
Rollins College
Account Executive
Inside Advantage PR
  Resource Links  

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New Members   

Cheryl Hurst - NASA

Diana Tibor - Frontline Insurance

Cathryn Lacy - Associate Member

Rochelle Siegel - Experience Kissimmee

President's Letter

How is it even possible that we find ourselves in November? As I reflect back on this year, I feel so grateful for all the people I’ve met, worked alongside, and learned from over the course of the year. Thank YOU for all that you do.
Heading into the end of 2016, we look forward to two amazing programs. On Thursday, November 17, we’ll welcome Bob "Pritch" Pritchard, APR, Fellow PRSA from the University of Oklahoma for a program on mentoring. Whether you’re looking for a mentor or you’re looking to become a better mentor, there is something for everyone to learn during this interactive discussion. More details here.
And in December, we’re moving up our program one week to Thursday, December 8, to account for the general busyness of the holidays. The December program will feature a panel discussion on Corporate Social Responsibility, taking a comprehensive look at how brands can – and are – incorporating CSR strategies into their operations. Look out for more details in the coming weeks; you don’t want to miss this one! (And if CSR is something you’re passionate about, we encourage you to check out the November 16 program our friends at IABC are hosting, too!)
As always, if you have any questions or feedback for how the chapter can better serve you, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.


Lauren Leetun, APR
2016 President, PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter

The Mentoring Puzzle: Finding the Connections that Fit


No matter where you are in your career, you can greatly benefit from a mentoring relationship. Whether you’re a mentor, mentee, or both, join PRSA Orlando as we welcome Bob "Pritch" Pritchard, APR, Fellow PRSA from the University of Oklahoma for an interactive discussion on the importance of mentoring relationships throughout your career.

Walk away with a better understanding of the mentoring process, as we discuss the requirements for a significant mentoring relationship, the stages in a mentoring relationship, why even seasoned pros need a mentor, and practical steps for identifying a mentor, among other topics.


11/17/16 | The Citrus Club

Registration at 7:30am - Program at 8am

PRSA "Welcomed Home" For Fall Mixer

Last month, PRSA Orlando’s Fall Mixer was held at Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming at Disney Springs. We had a blast (and some
AMAZING eats and drinks), and we were even surprised to find celebrity Chef Art Smith there for our special event. Homecoming Kitchen celebrates a distinctly Florida feel, with a mission to raise the awareness of Florida’s agriculture and aquaculture industries and economic impact of those harvests on the state. With a menu that includes locally sourced ingredients and restaurant décor that features reclaimed Florida camphor and eucalyptus trees and rotating portraits of real Florida farmers, we truly did feel welcomed home by Chef Art Smith and his team at Homecoming. Special thanks to event sponsors Walt Disney World Resort and Florida Dairy Farmers.

PRSA Gives Back: Recap

Thanks to all those PRSA Orlando members and guests who helped sort recycled cleaning products to give to those in need.  Together, we sorted 30,000 bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body lotions and 14,000 bars of soap. For more information about how Clean the World saves lives, visit

PRSSA Chapter at Rollins Launched

Contributed by: Geri A. Evans, APR, Fellow PRSA, Professional Advisor, PRSSA Rollins; Liaison for two years from the national PRSA board to PRSSA national leadership.

The PRSSA Chapter at Rollins College is growing, thriving, learning, and already discovering the benefits of belonging to a national association and being sponsored by PRSA Orlando. At the beginning of the semester, several PRSA professional members spoke to various classes about what PRSSA and PRSA offer. As a result, the new Rollins PRSSA chapter now has 18 members!

During this semester’s meetings, students learned about the importance of a strong LinkedIn profile as well as business etiquette fundamentals. In addition, thanks to Ann Marie Varga, APR and Frank Weber from Orange County, the students now also have professional headshots! Simultaneous to all of this, Faculty Advisor David Painter, PhD, reached out to PRSA members to review student presentations of their campaigns, produced for their classes. PRSA members responded quickly and seven professionals will offer feedback and real-life advice to the eager presenters. The next PRSSA meeting will occur on December 1, with a “speed networking” opportunity between the students and local professionals.
And there is more to come and certainly more ways that all of us as PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter can be involved. In fact, if you or your organization would be interested in sponsoring a PRSSA student scholarship for the upcoming year for only $70 (covers annual membership + the cost to attend one PRSA Orlando networking event), please reach out to us at This is truly a banner year for our chapter, and I thank all of you for your eagerness to give back to young people exploring, entering, embracing the profession we have chosen.

Member Spotlight


Morgan Shepard

Senior Account Executive, &Barr


PRSA Involvement: New Member

Person who has most influenced your life (other than your parents):  My husband. I know that sounds cheesy, but we’ve been together for almost eight years now and he truly inspires me every day with his work ethic and heart. He challenges me to dream bigger and is my biggest supporter.

Quote to live by:  “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Best public relations advice you ever received:  I don’t even know if this counts at public relations advice, because that’s not what it was intended to be, but…before I started working in public relations I worked in news. I was working as a producer at an Orlando television station and one of my executive producers was mentoring me on how I could improve my writing. She had read through one of my stories and I’ll never forget when she told me, point blank: “Why the [expletive] do I care?” I know that probably sounds harsh, but what she meant was, I needed to think critically about what the bigger picture and story was when I was writing. There are robberies, murders, car accidents, etc. every day. What made this particular one unique? What would make our viewers tune in and connect with that story? How would it affect them? I needed to find that pathos of the story so it would impact our viewers. Now, as a public relations professional, I find myself constantly asking myself that question in regards to my own clients. What is it about them that is special and will appeal to a media outlet and its readership or listeners? If the client’s business itself isn’t newsworthy, what kind of commentary can the client provide which will add value to a story that’s already happening in the world? In the PR business, we call that “thought leadership” pitching, and that’s become a bit of my sweet spot professionally.

Greatest accomplishment (so far) business and personal: 
I’m really proud of the work I did for a local tech startup called 'PawsLikeMe.' The founders developed an algorithm and website platform, which matches people with adoptable rescue pets based on compatibility. Their cause was something I connected with personally, and I was able to work with them to secure national media coverage of their launch in outlets like USA Today, Upworthy and I also got them a live segment on HLN’s The Daily Share. The founders were so grateful and were able to see how the placements I’d secured for them with my team were impacting their bottom line. They were getting tons of site traffic, new members, and new business opportunities as a result of the exposure. It felt so amazing to see all that hard work pay off and to know it made a difference, especially for a company that’s trying to make the world a better place.

Personally, I would say my greatest accomplishment thus far was buying my first home. It took a lot of saving and missing out on “fun” to build up the money for a down payment. I moved back in with my parents after I graduated college and lived with them for two years so I could put away as much money as possible in savings. I was so proud when I was able to finally purchase a place to call my own, and it’s been fun getting to update and transform my condo into a home.

Greatest changes in public relations since you began your career:  There’s been this continued convergence within the fields of public relations, marketing and advertising. More and more, I’m noticing people struggling to discern the differences between the disciplines and a lot of clients do expect you to know and do everything. They don’t want a separate PR firm, advertising agency, social media manager and marketing team. I think part of that may be due to the economy, but I also think it just makes more sense and simplifies things for businesses. Instead of having three separate weekly or bi-weekly meetings with each partner, they can just have one and they can converge all efforts so they’re cohesive. On a different but somewhat similar note, I’ve also seen the uptick in client interest in connecting with influencers. The growth in popularity of influencer marketing is probably one of the better examples of an area where the lines between public relations, marketing and advertising are blurred.

If you were not a public relations practitioner, what would be your dream job? Running a dog rescue. I have a huge passion for animal welfare and started fostering for a local group, Paradise for Pets Rescue, just over a year ago. Two of the six dogs we’ve taken in over the past year were just hours away from being put down, and they’ve both since gone onto loving families. It’s incredibly rewarding to see these wonderful companions get a second chance at life.

What motivates you to get through each day (and why)?  The satisfaction of completing a good day’s work…and having a mortgage to pay doesn’t hurt either.

Favorite stress reliever:  I love being outdoors, whether it’s hiking, biking, boating…you name it. If it’s not raining, I’m probably outside.

Favorite social media tool (and why):  Instagram. I love using the explore tag to uncover new brands and accounts. I also run a page for my rescue dog and have enjoyed building an online persona for him.



Lorelie Johnson, APR
Congratulations to Lorelie on her new role as Regional Director, Communications - Florida, at Charter Communications.
Jessi Blakley, APR
Congratulations to Jessi of Tavistock Development Company for being recognized as an honoree in the Orlando Business Journal's 40 under 40 awards.
Heather Fagan
Congratulations to Heather of City of Orlando for being recognized as an honoree in the Orlando Business Journal's 40 under 40 awards.
Do you have kudos to share? Submit to VP of Communication, Alyssa Badalamenti.


Copyright © 2016 PRSA Orlando, All rights reserved. PO Box 1212, Orlando, Florida 32802-1212



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