President Spotlight: Josh Carrasco, APR

This special President Spotlight profiles Josh Carrasco, APR, who is 2021 president of PRSA Tampa Bay and also travel sales multimedia specialist for AAA – The Auto Club Group, where he is host and producer of the webcast “Well-Traveled with AAA.” He joined PRSA Tampa Bay in 2014 and previously served as 2019 treasurer for the chapter and as chair of the Sponsorship Committee.

  1. Reason you wanted to become PRSA Tampa Bay president?

This organization and chapter have given me so much in terms of professional development, networking opportunities, and career support early on in my PR career. I view my term as president as an opportunity to give back and to find ways to better serve both our existing members and those just embarking on their PR careers.  

  1. Major goals for the chapter this year?
  • Raising awareness of our diversity and inclusion strategic plan. I would encourage our membership to visit our Diversity & Inclusion page on our chapter website and become familiar with PRSA national’s 2020-2022 strategic plan for the organization. This year, I want to put diversity and inclusion at the center of our decision making and continue to take actionable steps toward our strategic plan. Our Diversity & Inclusion Committee, led by Kecia Carroll, has set up liaisons with key committees in the chapter, is developing challenging programming for members and chapter leaders, and is keeping our chapter focused on diversity and inclusion priorities. One of my goals in 2021 is to develop a new board member seat that will focus solely on the chapter’s diversity and inclusion strategic plan. I believe strongly that fully embracing diversity and inclusion priorities is the path forward for long-term sustainable growth in the Tampa Bay chapter and the national PRSA organization as a whole.
  • Increasing and retaining membership. Programs are the top reason members engage with the chapter. Our Programs Committee, led by Terri Durdaller and Laura Fontanills, is taking a hard look at our digital programming and coming up with creative ways for our members to network, ensure we have powerful and diverse speakers, and discuss issues that are important to our membership.
  • Professional development and accreditation. We had a record seven APRs pinned in 2020. Let’s go for eight in 2021! Our Accreditation Committee, led by Paula MacDonald, APR, and Katy Parsons, APR, never missed a beat during the pandemic. We want to continue to offer world-class support for those seeking accreditation both digitally and in person when we are able.

  1. Biggest chapter events this year that everyone should keep on their radar?
  • Media Roundtable. We are doing some testing in the early part of the year and anticipate this being virtual again, but we have some great ideas in the pipeline. Stay tuned. This will not be your run-of-the-mill Zoom call.
  • PRestige Awards. We are hopeful that we can return to an in-person event for the PRestige Awards, and I couldn’t be more excited for what our Award Committee, led by Heather Parsons and Denise Wilson, has in store for us.
  • Holiday Mixer. If all goes well with the vaccine rollout, this event will be in person.

  1. Biggest challenge in adapting the chapter’s activities to the COVID-19 lockdown?

Networking. Thanks to the leadership of Kelsy Long, we were able to immediately pivot our program strategy to a digital one, but networking was a bit of a challenge for the chapter. Thankfully, we had volunteers step up, like Shannon Burch, Beth Hardy, APR, and Bart Graham, to create Chapter Chats and back-to-work digital events to support our members. This year, we are looking at new and creative ways that our members can network digitally until we are able to safely gather again.

  1. Most rewarding moment as an officer for PRSA Tampa Bay so far?

This might sound cliché, but the people are the most rewarding part. Building relationships with fellow leaders who have a passion for helping other professionals. Each one of us volunteers our time to create an organization that lifts other professionals up in our community. It’s the passion that I see in my fellow PRSA leaders and members that keeps me motivated to serve this organization.

  1. First news publication you read in the morning?

Can I choose more than one? I read excerpts from the New York Times, Washington Journal, Tampa Bay Times and Wall Street Journal.

  1. First public relations job?

My position at AAA – The Auto Club Group in Tampa is my first and so far only job in public relations. I’ve held several positions in communications and marketing over my six-year tenure at the company, including in social media, media relations, data and reporting analytics, internal communications, digital marketing, and webcasting.

  1. Most important career mentor, and why?

My former supervisor, Angie LaPlant, director of public relations at AAA – The Auto Club Group, is a pivotal figure in my public relations career. She put me in a position early in my PR career to explore many areas of public relations and provided me with educational opportunities to learn more about the profession. 

  1. Top grammar, style or writing pet peeve?

Burying the lead! So often I have to read through paragraphs of information to get to the meat of a story.

  1. Most rewarding accomplishment in public relations?

Earning my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). Coming from a journalism background, I felt I needed something that attested to my proficiency in public relations, and one of the best post-college educational experiences as a working professional was going through the APR process.

  1. Most important skill gained through the APR process?

Gaining a better understanding of public relations from a big-picture view. Through the APR process, I was better able to articulate my role as an adviser to senior leaders at my company and educate them on how effective public relations benefits the company.

  1. Advice to new public relations professionals?

Network, network, network – having a strong professional network is invaluable in finding a job or finding resources to a work-related issue. Also, don’t stop learning, because the field of public relations is constantly evolving, and PR pros must continue to educate themselves to stay competitive and competent in the field. 

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

I would say it’s a tie between travel blogger and winery owner.

  1. Favorite vacation?

Paris is by far one of my favorite city destinations. I’ve been twice now and even proposed to my now-fiancée there in 2019.

  1. Any three dinner guests?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ryan Reynolds.


Popping the question to my girlfriend, Danielle, with a romantic backdrop and a familiar landmark. She said yes!


Danielle and I visiting St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.


On a trip to Glendalough Monastic City in County Wicklow, Ireland.

At the famous Cliffs of Moher, on the west coast of Ireland.



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