Game Day. Every Day.

By Lynn Hobeck Bates, APRCommunications Manager for Visit Sarasota County

With the slogan, Game day. Every day, Rob Higgins, Director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, understands just how competitive it is to attract major sporting events to the destination. It takes perseverance, dedication and the willingness to put in a lot of sweat-equity. It also takes business-acumen and creativity. Take for instance a fun, homemade video used in a bid to host a major basketball competition. The video showcases just how close a new hotel is to the game day location. It’s so close one can make a long shot from its balcony. Clever.

The Sports Commission’s mission is to provide economic and social impact to the region. Economically-speaking the commission is responsible for bringing millions of dollars in tourist tax collection to the region. Events such as the upcoming NCAA Women's Final Four basketball tournament, NCAA Men's Final Four hockey tournament -- the Frozen Four will not only bring athletes who will stay in hotels for several nights but it attracts thousands of fans who will travel for several days to cheer on their teams. Sporting events are not limited to major collegiate and professional sports. Youth and amateur sports bring a considerable amount of economic revenue and benefit to the area as well.

Socially-speaking the Sports Commission helps generate scholarship exposure for local athletes. To this end, they own and operate 14 local youth events and hold recruiting fairs for athletes to attend Division III schools. “Often times these kids may not even go to college if it weren’t for the athletic scholarship,” says Higgins. They also run the Event Development Institute where new sporting events are created and supported.

So what does success look like on their scorecard? “[We] don’t deem it a success unless [the sporting event] comes back a second time to Tampa Bay,” said Higgins.

Keeping athletes, sports event organizers and spectators happy ensures this success. Sometimes this even means climbing into the rafter’s to stop a rain leak during a live, nationally televised Final Four basketball game.

Higgins imparted words to live by in any business, game or, just life in general,

  • Be a part of the solution, not of the problem.
  • Never burn a bridge you may have to walk back over.
  • If you aren’t at the table, you are on the menu.
  • Be a chess player, not a chess piece.
  • Always be a student.

To learn more about the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, visit the website:

To see more upcoming PRSA Tampa Bay chapter events, click here.

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Become an APR in 2015!

By Melissa Reel, Key Account Specialist, Premier Beverage Company

As we enter the New Year, PRSA celebrates its 50th Golden Anniversary of its Accreditation in Public Relations Program (APR). There is no time like the present to hit ground running and sign up for the Spring/Summer 2015 prep sessions to help you prepare for the APR test before August 3rd.

Launched in 1964, the APR and APR+M certification program embodies the dedication and experience of more than 5,000 PR professionals. The accreditation process last roughly over 4 months and consist of mentoring, a review questionnaire, readiness review, and 7 pre-exam prep sessions. The process begins when a candidate submits an eligibility application, which is due by March 15, 2015.

Once approved those candidates are assigned a mentor to assist them along the way. The mentor helps by reviewing the candidate’s portfolios, offer suggestions, and providing one-on-one expert guidance for the Readiness Review Presentation. The APR and APR+M prep sessions consist of 7 in-depth classes beginning June 6th lasting through July 14th. Topics discussed in the classes cover a range of sections on the exam, as well as enhance their existing PR knowledge.

Items such as, the PRSA Code of Ethics, Crisis Communications and Business Literacy are only a few of the various topics which are covered during the duration of the prep sessions. These intensive sessions help with preparation, plus reinforce the existing foundation of PR knowledge. Enhance your career and join the ranks of the 5,000+ who have already earned this highly regarded APR and APR+M accreditation.

See the materials below for more information on the upcoming classes:
Chapter Accreditation Process | Spring, 2015
Chapter Accreditation Schedule | Spring, 2015

Visit for more information about the Accreditation process, contact:

Michelle Griffith, APR
Clearview Communications+PR
Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 374-3735

Suzanne Grant, APR
Duke Energy
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

In 1964, "leaders established the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential as a way to recognize practitioners who have mastered the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to develop and deliver strategic communications. Decades later, as public relations evolved, the APR remains the recognized gold standard for the profession." The APR is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a professional accreditation for PR professionals.

Learn more on PRSA's national website here.

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Do you know that PRSA Tampa Bay has its own YouTube channel?

By Paula MacDonald, owner of Image Suite PR

Many experts are predicting that 2015 will be the “Year of Video” and PRSA Tampa Bay is ready. Do you know we have nearly 30 videos posted on our YouTube channel and have had a channel for three years now?

You can find it at, and I encourage you to check it regularly. The channel includes a variety of on-the-scene meeting highlights as well as informative sound bites and interviews with fellow PRSA Tampa Bay members.

Video is a compelling format for grabbing attention in a world that has become overrun by messages. It enables storytelling in a concise, personal manner that viewers enjoy. The medium is so popular that there are currently over 4 BILLION downloads on YouTube every day! (I wonder how many of those are cat videos?)

Since it’s becoming clear that the use of video in storytelling is increasingly becoming a necessity for communications professionals, this year, PRSA Tampa Bay is focused on developing more effective video communications tools to engage our members and attract new members. The digital communications committee, which web, social media, newsletter and video communications, is working hard to develop a plan to support all of our committees in developing the storytelling tools necessary to keep members up-to-date on news and events.

If you would like to volunteer your time and talent to supporting development of our YouTube channel or other digital communications, we would welcome your help! Please email digital communications chair Kimberly Polacek, APR, at for more information.

Additionally, if you are interested in appearing on the other side of the camera in one of our PRSA Tampa Bay Member Spotlights, please visit to complete the questionnaire, and we will be in touch to schedule your video shoot.

We hope to have you on or behind the camera soon!

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President's Message

Happy New Year! 2015 has much in store for PRSA Tampa Bay members. This year we celebrate our chapter's 50th year, kick off our PRestige Awards, rejuvenate our relationship with PRSSA and offer more opportunities for public service and member scholarships.

Have you thought about volunteering for PRSA Tampa Bay and didn't know where to start? The coming year provides many unique opportunities to maximize your membership through volunteering. If you have been thinking about getting involved in the chapter there has never been a better time. 

Ways to get involved:

  • Membership: Communicate with current and prospective members
  • Programs: Show your event planning, creativity and strategic-thinking skills by helping to plan and implement our monthly programs

  • Professional Development Day and Media Roundtable are two of our most popular events: Help contact quality presenters, secure venues, plan content and operations

  • PRestige Awards: Set the foundation for our inaugural awards ceremony by planning, operations and judging of communications campaign awards

  • Digital communications: create blog content, manage the website (no coding required), communicate through social media and eNews

  • Accreditation: APRs can help candidates through the process and receive hours for their accreditation maintenance

  • Agency Leaders: Network with other independent practitioners and agencies and plan and provide opportunities to grow your business

  • Diversity: Provide professional development opportunities to learn about diversity and provide assistance to diverse chapter members. 

  • Sponsorship: Work with other volunteers and businesses to secure sponsors for events and year-long opportunities

We've made it simple to match your interest areas with available volunteer opportunities. Check them out:

Fill out a volunteer application:

If you have volunteering questions contact Volunteer Coordinators Mary O'Hara or Carrie Johnson at

We look forward to your participation in the chapter! Please feel free to reach out to me if you have comments, suggestions or questions

Looking forward to meeting you this year!
Marissa Segundo, APR 
President, PRSA Tampa Bay

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2014, what an amazing year to celebrate!

It’s been an honor to serve as your president during this milestone year for PRSA Tampa Bay. We recognized not just one, but two 50-year anniversaries: The founding of our chapter in 1964 and the start of the national APR accreditation program a half-century ago.

In addition, our chapter membership has continued to grow as we’ve added more public relations professionals to our fold. Today, we stand at 224 members – an increase of more than 10 percent over the last years.

Our programs have flourished too. We kicked off the year with almost sold-out programs on writing skills and strategic communications planning, and ended just as strongly with excellent programs on media training and diversity outreach.

It’s taken many years of dedicated leadership and enthusiastic volunteers to reach these goals. It truly is a combined team effort to bring you the high-quality programs, networking opportunities and industry news that make up the backbone of your chapter membership.

Thank you to our board members, committee chairs and other volunteers for all your hard work this year. I have no doubt that PRSA Tampa Bay will continue to grow and reach even greater heights as we enter 2015.

Happy holidays!

Lisa Braswell, APR
2014 President
PRSA Tampa Bay

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Congratulations to PRSA Tampa Bay's APRs, Spring Class Approaching

Congratulations to PRSA Tampa Bay's newest APRs:
Mary Margaret Hall Cripe, APR
Lesley Campos Valentin, APR
Betty Carlin, APR

The next Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) class will be in the spring beginning with the application for eligibility and preparation due March 15.

See the materials below for more information on the upcoming classes:
Chapter Accreditation Process | Spring, 2015
Chapter Accreditation Schedule | Spring, 2015

In 1964, "leaders established the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential as a way to recognize practitioners who have mastered the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to develop and deliver strategic communications. Decades later, as public relations evolved, the APR remains the recognized gold standard for the profession." The APR is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a professional accreditation for PR professionals.

Learn more on PRSA's national website here or contact Michelle Griffith, APR at

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Chapter members volunteer for Metropolitan Ministries

Last week several PRSA Tampa Bay chapter members volunteered at Metropolitan Ministries' holiday tent, where they helped prepare for one of their largest business meetings of the year.

Afterwards, members met at Crumb and Cork downtown to network and celebrate the year.

"Thanks to all of those who volunteered and helped make a difference in the Tampa Bay community," said Lisa Braswell, APR, 2014 Chapter President and Manager of Communications at Integral Quality Care. "2014 was a great year and what a great way to celebrate!"

See more photos on PRSA Tampa Bay's Facebook page at:

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Welcome PRSA Tampa Bay 2015 Chapter Leaders!

On Friday, Dec. 12, more than 15 PRSA Tampa Bay committee board members and chairs met for a planning session on chapter goals, key performance indicators, internal and external communications strategies and key volunteers for 2015.

"Last week’s board retreat was a productive and enjoyable experience," said Adrienne Drew, incoming 2015 Treasurer and Communications Specialist for Grow Financial Federal Credit Union. "It's so nice to get together with old friends, meet new ones and plan for a great 2015. This type of event demonstrates the strong leadership we have in place as a volunteer organization, and makes me feel proud to be part of it."

Several new positions have been implemented to enhance the chapter’s organization said Marissa Segundo, APR; PRSA Tampa Bay upcoming President and Recycling Coordinator for the City of Largo. Some of the open positions include Volunteer Coordinators Chair, Website Chair, Membership Recruitment and Retention Chairs, Awards Committee volunteers, creative and operational volunteers, Chair Programs Logistics Chair, PRSSA Member Scholarships volunteers, Digital Communications volunteers and more. See all chapter positions broken down on our Prezi here or on our updated flow chart here.

"There are several open positions to serve the chapter in 2015," said Segundo. “The more you get involved, the more you get out of it.”

If you're interested in volunteering with PRSA Tampa Bay in 2015, please visit our Volunteer Opportunites page or email Marissa Segundo at

“The chapter has a tremendous amount of positive momentum in place, and will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015 as the largest and oldest chapter in Florida,” said Mike Flanangan, Chapter Board Member and Partner of LDWWgroup. “So there is much to look forward to for 2015 and beyond.”

Please meet PRSA Tampa Bay’s 2015 elected Board of Directors:

Marissa Segundo, APR – President
Jennifer Medeiros – President-Elect
Adrienne Drew – Treasurer
Jennifer Lane – Secretary
John Dunn, APR – Assembly Delegate
Mary Haban, APR – Assembly Delegate
Noelle Anderson Fox, APR – Assembly Delegate
Betty Carlin, APR – Board of Directors
Travis Claytor, APR – Board of Directors
Bobby Eagle – Board of Directors
Mike Flanagan – Board of Directors
Suzanne Grant, APR – Board of Directors
Jennifer Hamilton – Board of Directors

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Welcome New Members December, 2014

Welcome PRSA Tampa Bay new chapter members!

  • Lou Grossman, APR
  • Gillian Moore, RFB Communications Group
  • Fabiana Salgado-Lowe
  • Tara Tufo, Visit Citrus County
  • Stephen Valley
  • Ursula Zamora

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December Promotion: Give the Gift of Membership

Gift of Membership Nov. 24 – Dec. 15
Join PRSA through Dec. 15, and receive FREE Chapter membership, FREE Professional Interest Section membership, and waived initiation – a savings of up to $225. Certain restrictions may apply.

For more information, contact or (212) 460-1400. Hours: M-F, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET.

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