PRSA Tampa Bay Lends a Hand at Metropolitan Ministries Warehouse

By Joseph Priest

It included three hours, seven people, and hundreds of toys, but the number of children’s lives it will touch is countless.

On Oct.12, our chapter’s Public Service Committee organized our participation in the United Way’s “Day of Caring,” an annual event by the United Way Suncoast chapter that recruits volunteer teams from companies and organizations across Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota and DeSoto counties to help local charities for a day. This year, approximately 2,600 volunteers were mobilized to tackle some 120 projects for over 50 local social service agencies, schools and community organizations.

Our Day of Caring team included seven members who took off from work to contribute to the Metropolitan Ministries warehouse in east Tampa:

  • Alexandra Booth.
  • Noelle Brooke Fox, APR.
  • Mary Margaret Hull, APR.
  • Deborah Mazza.
  • Joseph Priest, APR.
  • Camila Rodriguez.
  • Andrea Sauvageot.

Our project was to unpack, sort and repack over 10 large boxes of donated toys. The job was a highly needed one for part of a massive annual effort. Last year’s toy giveaway at Metropolitan Ministries included  over 11,000 children who registered to receive some 22,500 toys.

Although we only had a few hours to contribute, our team had an amazingly rewarding experience. We were able to package hundreds of toys that will help Metropolitan Ministries organize, ship, and distribute them more quickly and efficiently for the holiday season.

All in all, it was rewarding to be a part of this event, and rewarding to be a part of PRSA Tampa Bay.

There’s also another chance to help Metropolitan Ministries this holiday season. On Dec. 10, PRSA Tampa Bay will be hosting its annual holiday mixer and toy drive at Jackson’s on Harbour Island. To participate in the drive, please bring one or more new, unwrapped gifts based on the suggested list on the event page. Each donation will entitle the giver to a raffle ticket and a chance to be selected for one of several special prizes from a drawing at the end of the evening.

We hope to see you there, and we hope you can donate a toy!


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PRSA's "Triple Play" Membership Deal Ends Nov. 30

If someone joins PRSA through November 30 at the full member price, they’ll receive three memberships for the price of one! Help us spread the word about PRSA’s “Triple Play” promotion.

In addition to PRSA National membership, which connects members to more than 21,000 public relations and communication professionals, new members also receive a free Chapter* membership (get to know your local peers) AND a free Section* membership (to connect with industry colleagues). Plus, we will also waive the $65 initiation fee.

Use promo code FALL18 to take advantage of this once-a-year deal and save up to $180!  

RESTRICTIONS: The Counselors Academy and New Professionals Sections are not included in this offer. Associate member categories ($200 or less annual dues) and current or renewing members do not apply. View more details.  

Sign up now!

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PRSA Tampa Bay 2019 Board Election Member Ballot

For more than 50 years, PRSA Tampa Bay has been a successful volunteer-led organization; advancing the public relations profession and its professionals. This outstanding organization would not be possible without dedicated chapter leaders. We rely on our membership to elect leaders who will contribute their professional talents to benefit PRSA Tampa Bay's membership and community.

Learn about the candidates (PDF download)

2019 Board Election Member Ballot (click here to access)

The ballot must be completed by no later than noon on Friday, Nov. 30.

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USF and UT PRSSA Chapters Link to Learn

An eager and interested audience of members from both Tampa Bay PRSSA chapters had a first-of-its-kind chance on October 25 to both meet and interact with their “crosstown” peers and benefit from real-time, real-life advice from guest speaker Haley Hinds, Fox 13 anchor/reporter.

Hosted on the University of Tampa campus with pizza and sodas generously provided by PRSA Tampa Bay, this event marked the first time that both student PR chapters have come together for a program specifically organized for them by their professional colleagues.

“Both student chapters have been doing some excellent individual programming,” said Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA, PRSA Tampa Bay’s “Students Committee” co-chair. “But I know from previous experiences in other locations where I’ve lived that these opportunities to ‘meet, mingle and learn’ are value-added benefits of the student’s PRSSA membership and can play a big part in his or her decision to convert from PRSSA to PRSA membership after graduation.”

Emilie Sears, founder and immediate past president of UT PRSSA, had this to say about the event: “We were so fortunate to hear from Haley Hinds Thursday night. She shared valuable insights that she has learned along her career journey and provided examples of how to separate yourself from other interns in the workplace, as well as what it takes to stand out to future employers. Haley is a real-life example of someone who has worked extremely hard to follow and reach her dreams. I believe the lessons she shared will help current students in their pursuits of professional communication careers. We are so thankful and honored to have had Haley as a guest speaker for our first joint-chapter PRSSA meeting. We look forward to future collaboration with USF PRSSA and similar successful key events.”

USF Vice President Matt Corrado offered his thoughts: “Haley Hinds was extremely nice and down to earth, and all of the students who attended had a chance to speak with her one on one at some point. We all listened to her wonderful stories, which were very relatable and educational for all, about her own experience as a broadcast reporter. She then opened up the floor for questions and took her time to respond to each one until the student who asked it was satisfied with the answer. Overall, the lecture and the experience were extremely helpful, and I am sure that many students, myself included, will be utilizing a lot of what she shared with us for the rest of our careers.”

Hazlett noted that plans are already in the works for other joint programming. Stay tuned for details!

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UT PRSSA's Resume Review Session Nov. 15

Help wanted! We need your expertise for a résumé review session with UT’s PRSSA Chapter so we can help future PR professionals put their best foot forward after graduation.

PRSA judges will receive student résumés in advance and evaluate them on areas such as organization, strategy and effectiveness. Then, on November 15, the judges will meet at UT to discuss their impressions with the students in person as well as offer general advice about public relations careers.

We’ll conclude the evening with a mixer with dinner, where everyone can get to know each other better. 

Please lend your expertise and join us for the review session and a light dinner.

When: Thursday, November 15, 6-9 p.m.

Location: University of Tampa, Sykes College of Business, Room 134

To volunteer as a reviewer, email Kirk Hazlett at

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Member Spotlight: Leslie Allen

This Member Spotlight profiles Leslie Allen, who, as owner of Wildcat Communications, serves one of her major clients, Martin & Company, a Nashville-based ad agency, as the agency’s PR Director and Event Manager remotely from Tampa. She joined the chapter in 2016 and currently serves as co-chair of the committee planning the chapter’s fourth annual PRestige Awards, on Nov. 8.

1. First news publication you read in the morning?

The Wall Street Journal.

2. First public relations job?

My first public relations job was with Powell Advertising in Nashville, Tennessee, which is now called Powell Creative and today operates more as a boutique design agency. My first professional job after graduation was with The Buntin Group, the largest agency in Nashville at the time, where I worked as Creative Department Secretary and my goal was to be an award-winning copywriter. 

3. Most important career mentor, and why?

My most important career mentor has to be Zan Martin, President and founder of Martin & Company Advertising. Although I didn’t have any prior knowledge of the automotive industry, she hired me to be PR Director for some of the top automotive aftermarket companies in the industry and started me on a career path that I’m still on today.

4. Top grammar, style or writing pet peeve?

The misuse of an apostrophe to make a plural, as in “favorite’s.” A close and related second is the misuse of “it’s” for “its.” 

5. Most rewarding accomplishment in public relations?

Major events in Las Vegas for the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show that were well-attended; some large-scale productions for the Hot Rod Power Tour (which included a budget of $70,000); and several standing-room only news conferences. I feel rewarded when the client is extremely satisfied.

6. Advice to new public relations professionals?

In a tight market, you may have to work in a role indirectly related to public relations, and with each position you have to take advantage of the opportunity to gain experience that will be a stepping-stone to your next career move. Seek positions in areas that will lead to your top career goal – such as event management, copywriting or marketing – because all jobs can contribute to your knowledge of public relations in some way.  

7. Job you would pursue if you weren’t in public relations?

Travel writer or food editor.

8. Favorite movie?

That’s hard to say. My favorite romance is Under the Tuscan Sun, and my favorite dramas include The English Patient, Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Dead Poets Society and Doctor Zhivago, which all rank almost equally.

9 Favorite vacation?

Sailing for eight days in the British Virgin Islands with my husband. The sky was unbelievably clear and the water unbelievably blue, and our 32 ft. sailboat was outfitted with everything we could have possibly needed for weeks on the water.

10. Any three dinner guests?

Cleopatra, Benjamin Franklin and Gertrude Stein.

With my family in Kingston Springs, Tennessee, my hometown, to celebrate the wedding of my son (second from left) and new daughter-in-law, along with my daughter and other son.

Having fun off-roading in Colorado with my son (left) and husband (seated beside me).

Celebrating my son’s recent graduation from USAF Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.


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PRSA Tampa Bay to Celebrate Public Relations Excellence with Shark Tank Winner at the 2018 PRestige Awards

PRSA Tampa Bay is proud to announce the 2018 PRestige Awards, sponsored by Business Wire. The luncheon ceremony will be Keynoted by local business success story Sara Margulis, co-founder, at the University Club of Tampa Nov. 8, 2018 from 11:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m.

Sara's winning appearance on Shark Tank has propelled her onto regional, national and international broadcast media including KABC (LA), SIRISU Radio, CNBC, HuffPost Live and more.

Honeyfund was born when Sara and her co-founder husband Josh set out to find a honeymoon registry. They already had a home full of housewares, but what they really wanted was a fantastic honeymoon in Fiji. Their personal honeymoon online registry was such a success, that they decided to make the concept available to other newlyweds. Honeyfund has since been used by 800-thousand couples receiving more than half a billion dollars in gift contributions.

Sara is an authority on a variety of topics including weddings and honeymoons, personal finance, entrepreneurship, online marketing and women in tech and business leadership. She will share some of her favorite marketing tips and insights with attendees.

PRestige Awards will be presented for honor, distinction, merit and excellence in PR Programs and Tactics in 25 categories, and Best-of-Show honors will go to the highest scoring entry.

Award submissions were judged by an independent panel of senior PR practitioners from the PRSA Thoroughbred chapter in central Kentucky. Campaigns are selected for demonstrating excellence in research, planning, implementation and evaluation. For more information, and to buy tickets to attend the luncheon event visit:

Sara Margulis, co-founder

About PRSA Tampa Bay Chapter’s PRestige Awards:
The PRSA Tampa Bay Chapter’s PRestige Awards recognize outstanding public relations programs and tactics by practitioners, students and organizations. The 2018 PRestige Awards marks the fourth year the program has been implemented to honor and celebrate public relations work.

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UT PRSSA Vice President Recaps Tampa Bay PRSA's Ethics Program

UT PRSSA Vice President Ben Norton published an article on our chapter's Ethics Program. Kirk Hazlett, PRSA Tampa Bay ethics officer, interviewed Sandra Moscovic, director of Corporate Ethics and Compliance at TECO, about how she handles ethical issues. Read more in "Tampa Bay PRSA Hold Ethics Talk at UT."

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Join the 2019 PRSA Tampa Bay Leadership Team!

PRSA Tampa Bay has set the standard for advancing the public relations profession and its professionals for more than 50 years. Making this possible is a legacy of outstanding volunteer leaders like you. And we need your help in 2019!

Your participation as a chapter leader makes a difference to all chapter members, and it helps you to get the most out of your membership experience. Learn new skills; form lasting friendships; and contribute your professional talents to benefit PRSA Tampa Bay and our community.

We are filling positions for elected officers and also accepting nominations for our 2018 Committee Chairs.

Submit your nomination here!

Open Board positions include the following:

  • President-Elect (1)
  • Secretary (1)
  • Treasurer (1)
  • Assembly Delegate (1)
  • Board Member (1)

The nomination form for elected officers must be completed by 5 p.m. on October 19, 2018.

Open Committee Chair, Co-Chair or Vice Chair positions include:

  • Accreditation (must be accredited)
  • PRestige Awards
  • Digital Communications
  • Programs
  • Students (must be accredited)
  • Membership Retention
  • Volunteer Coordination
  • Public Service
  • Diversity
  • Independent Practitioners
  • Scholarships
  • Membership Recruitment
  • Media Roundtable
  • Professional Development Day
  • Website/Blog
  • Newsletter
  • Social Media
  • Sponsorships
  • 2019 Conference Planning
  • Assistant Treasurer

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2018 Call for Award Nominations

PRSA Tampa Bay Chapter – 2018 Call for Award Nominations

PRSA Tampa Bay is seeking your input on members that have made remarkable achievements in public relations and management practices, advancing the profession, meeting the needs of the community and strengthening our chapter. Please review the details below on each category and provide your comments on the most qualified candidates using the nomination form. Deadline for nominations is Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, at 5 p.m. Self nominations are encouraged. Please direct any questions to

Deanne D. Roberts Excellence in Community Relations Award
This category recognizes a chapter member or local agency who has given pro-bono public relations support to one or more community organization throughout his or her professional career.

Excellence in Chapter Service Award
This award is presented to a chapter member who has been with the chapter for more than one year and has made outstanding contributions to chapter management and member programming.

Michael B. Manning Leadership Award
This award is presented to a chapter member who has demonstrated exceptional leadership within the chapter.

Sue Ellen Richardson “Rookie of the Year” Award
This award recognizes a chapter member who has been with the chapter for two years or less and has demonstrated the commitment to be involved and to make a difference in member programming.

Tampa Bay Chapter President’s Award
This award recognizes up to four chapter members who have gone above and beyond for the good of the chapter. Please provide full details of the project that individual completed.

Tampa Bay Chapter Life Achievement Award
This category honors a senior chapter member who has committed his or her professional career to public relations and has achieved numerous accolades in public relations management, community relations and overall PRSA service.

Nominate someone today!

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