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International Conference Scholarship Recipient, Paula MacDonald

October 7, 2014

PMacDonald_HeadshotTo say that I’m excited to have been selected as the recipient of the PRSA Tampa Bay 2014 International Conference Scholarship would be an extreme understatement! This year’s conference, to be held October 12-14 in Washington, D.C., will be my first ever International Conference, and is jam-packed full of amazing networking and learning opportunities.

In a past life, I really took attending large conferences of this nature for granted; not that I didn’t value the experience, but when you are fortunate to have an employer covering your costs as part of your training and development budget, I don’t think you savor the moment as much as you do when budgeting conference fees, travel and lodging on your own. To be honest, I really never imagined that I’d be able to attend a conference of this magnitude this year. After experiencing a job layoff in July 2013, I launched my own public relations practice, Image Suite PR, and have spent much of the last year building my business and only dreaming of training opportunities like this. Thanks to PRSA Tampa Bay, I’m able to make this a reality in 2014!

The tough part now is figuring out which sessions to attend. The conference schedule is an amazingly condense three days, with back-to-back sessions on everything from crisis communications to social media and more. I’ve got each time slot narrowed down to three potential sessions, but will have to make some difficult decisions soon, as I can’t be everywhere at once.

In addition, I’m looking forward to continued networking with fellow PRSA Tampa Bay members who will be in attendance at the conference, as well as meeting new contacts and making new friends from PR environments around the world. One seasoned PR practitioner from our chapter recently told me that in her experience with the International Conference, it’s a great value to establish those connections outside of your region, as you can utilize them as a resource for fresh ideas when you have a challenge of your own; it’s possible they have been through similar situations in their own area, and can provide you with new insight. Great advice!

Finally, as part of what seems my never-ending quest to achieve my APR accreditation, I know that attending the International Conference will help to solidify many of the concepts that I am incorporating into my work with my clients to become a better public relations practitioner. I’m committed to testing by Spring 2015, so the clock is ticking to prepare myself appropriately for readiness review and testing. Immersion at the International Conference will provide a great opportunity to continue my studies.

Thanks again to PRSA Tampa Bay for selecting me for this honor; I hope to represent you well! Please follow along with me during the conference on Twitter and Facebook, @imagesuitepr, as I share my experience at #PRSAICON.


Professional Development Day 2014

September 3, 2014

See a recap of PRSA Tampa Bay’s annual half-day seminar providing PR professionals with powerful and practical information to help them improve and advance as practitioners and strategists. 2014 speakers included: Kevin Sullivan, former White House Communications Director; John Walker, VP of Global Marketing at Syniverse; Christine Turner, APR, a principal at ChappellRoberts; and Jennifer Brown, Sr. Manager, Social Media


We would love to hear from you!

August 18, 2014

In the Fall of 2014, PRSA Tampa Bay celebrates its 50th anniversary. Please take a moment to provide us with a  memory, testimonial, or photo of your experience with PRSA Tampa Bay in commemoration of this momentous occasion. Click here.

Refresh Your Idea of Social Marketing, July 16-18

July 14, 2014

SocialFreshEastBy Sarah Kettenburg, Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Join social media marketers from across the country at Social Fresh EAST in Orlando July 16-18, 2014. Social Fresh Conference is the social media conference where serious social marketers go to network with their peers and stay on the bleeding edge of a fast paced industry.

Only about 500 marketers attend Social Fresh which makes it a more intimate conference, and every attendee experiences the same content from the same stage and the same speakers. They curate so you don’t have to.

Speakers include Jay Baer, Sarah Evans, Jason Keath, JetBlue, Dunkin Donuts, FedEx, Logitech, Spotify and many more.

PRSA Tampa Bay chapter members can receive a special promotion code to get $100 off of registration. Please email to receive the code.

The event will be held at the Omni Orlando Resort. Check out the full schedule and reserve your ticket here.

PRSA/FPRA Media Roundtable Is a Summer Hit

July 9, 2014

By Marissa Segundo, APR and Sarah Kettenburg

PRSA Tampa Bay’s Media Roundtable provides an unparalleled opportunity to build relationships and talk directly with local media about how to work with them to generate media coverage. Jointly organized by the local chapters of PRSA and FPRA, the event also offers a great chance to network with dozens of PR colleagues from both organizations.

This summer’s sold-out event was held Wednesday, June 25, from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Chart House restaurant, and didn’t disappoint. Nearly 80 PR professionals came to hear insights from eight leaders representing a wide range of Tampa Bay media, including the following:

  • Vicky Benchimol, Planning Editor, ABC Action News
  • Diane Egner, Publisher and Managing Editor, 83 Degrees Media
  • Stefanie Fletcher, Senior Photo Editor, The Tampa Bay Times
  • Alexis Muellner, Editor, The Tampa Bay Business Journal
  • Rich Mullins, Business Reporter, The Tampa Tribune
  • Grover Murrell, BayNews9
  • Orlando R. Nieves, Vice President, Integrated Marketing Solutions, Entravision
  • Jeff Schlesser, Fox13, WTVT

In total, 78 attendees filled roundtables at the Chart House with one media representative per table. Much like speed dating, this whirlwind event allotted each media representative 15 minutes per table. When a bell sounded, the representatives switched tables and began again.

Editors, writers, reporters, producers and assignment desk managers volunteered to meet the faces behind familiar emails and tweets as well as to make new contacts. At the same time, PR pros got to pose a number of questions to the roundtable speakers, such as these:

• “What is the best way to contact you?”
• “In what time frame should we contact you when we have a pitch?”
• “What do we do that pisses you off?”

Among the leaders who’ve help made the Roundtable possible, PRSA volunteer Adrienne Drew has played an important role in putting together these events over the past two years.

“It’s my favorite event to plan, and it’s very rewarding to see all of the hard work come together at the end,” said Drew. “I truly believe this is one of the most beneficial events for our chapter, so it means a lot to me personally to be involved with organizing the event and hopefully contributing to our members’ and guests’ opportunity to meet new media contacts and enhance their profession.”

The event was sponsored by Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a global public relations firm.

If you attended the event, we invite you to complete an event survey here so we can continue to enhance this program:.

If you would like information on the materials from the program below, or if you would like more information on volunteering to plan amazing programs like the Media Roundtable, contact

Here are some take-away materials from the event:

What Makes a Story Newsworthy
Top 10 PR Tips