PRSA Tampa Bay Stocks Food for Charity

By Joseph Priest, APR

It’s becoming somewhat of an annual tradition at PRSA Tampa Bay.

On Oct.11, our chapter’s Public Service Committee organized our participation in the United Way’s Day of Caring for at least the fifth year in a row. The event is an annual effort 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 half or full day. This year, approximately 2,300 volunteers from over 35 businesses were mobilized to tackle some 96 projects for local social service agencies, schools and community organizations.

This year, our team’s project was to lend a hand at a food and clothing store run by Metropolitan Ministries that helps provide needed items to disadvantaged families. For a few hours, we helped sort, stock, and organize a wide assortment of goods, like canned sauces and vegetables, bagged rices and beans, and boxed cereals and snacks.   

Our Day of Caring team included three members this year:

  • Stephani DioGuardi.
  • Joseph Priest.
  • Jenna Stock.

Although we only had a few hours to contribute, our team had an amazingly rewarding experience. We were able to fully restock a set of food shelves so that needy families could shop more quickly and efficiently at the store, and so that more families could be served at the store. It was rewarding to be a part of this effort, and rewarding to be a part of PRSA Tampa Bay.

Restocking the shelves with a full supply of goods.

There’s also another chance to help Metropolitan Ministries this year. In December, PRSA Tampa Bay will be hosting its annual holiday mixer and toy drive. To participate in the drive, members and guests will be asked to please bring one or more new, unwrapped gifts to donate to the Metropolitan Ministries holiday tent. 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 that will be held.

Stay tuned to the PRSA Tampa Bay site for more details on the date and location for this year’s holiday mixer soon. We hope you can come, and we hope you can donate a toy!

Mission accomplished!


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There’s Power in that Pause

By Mary Haban, APR

I just had to swerve. Though I didn’t crash, I came close. The community event my colleague and I were methodically planning for almost a month was nearing completion. And days away from launching. Then—we got the call.

The voice on the other end didn’t have good news. In fact, it was a detour we weren’t prepared to take. Our challenge? The venue our event was scheduled to take place in, the one we had just paid to promote in a televised segment airing in 15 minutes, was already booked by another group. The issue was, no one knew until that day.

A decade ago, my reaction to this news would have looked and sounded a whole lot different.  But these days, I realize that call was a gift. The reason? I gave myself permission to pause. As I hung up the phone, I sat quietly and thought to myself. “What will we do now?” In that moment, the answer became clear—adapt.

As luck would have it, that pause proved powerful. It gave everyone, and especially me, time to regroup and make way for an even better plan to take shape. And that amazing partner helping us book the initial venue? She offered us a more enticing option, complete with swaying palm trees and sparkling waters. What’s more, she, the television station and our team of partners agreed to promote our new and improved event location on their social channels. So, what looked like a pothole on our roadway to success, turned out better than any of us could have ever imagined. 

As public relations professionals, we are continually in motion, running on high-octane, never knowing when that next pothole or fender bender will appear along our roadmap to success. And that’s precisely why we must sometimes, yield, tap those brakes and adapt.

The theme of adaptation was front and center at this year’s Sunshine District Conference held right here in Tampa Bay. As one of three lucky scholarship winners to represent our chapter, I sat captivated while scores of talented speakers shared their own valuable stories of swerving, near misses and ultimately, transformation. It reinforced something we, as a PR community, already know. We are never alone. And trusting the process, well, that takes trust.

As the winds of change blow through our profession, our foundation is often shaken to the core. But if we pause, and ponder the possibilities before us, our gifts as communicators and collaborators have that chance to shine their brightest. Today, I’m grateful for that call. Though it wasn’t in my PR plan, it did make me smile, knowing my colleague and I had the chops to take it on, with grace, grit, and an extra dose of patience that 99% of the time clears the way for that powerful pause to come into play.

Mary Haban, APR (left) takes time to pause for a fun photo with Jenna Stock, PRSA Tampa Bay president, at the 2019 PRSA Sunshine District Conference. 

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Member Spotlight: Kaley Infield

This Member Spotlight profiles Kaley Infield, APR, who is marketing manager at The Bank of Tampa. She joined PRSA Tampa Bay in 2012, currently serves as website and newsletter chair of the Digital Communications Committee, and also served as a member of this year’s PRSA SunCon Committee.

  1. First news publication you read in the morning?

I typically get a quick download each morning by checking the Tampa Bay Times and the Washington Post.

  1. First public relations job?

In 2011, I started as external communications specialist at Gerdau, a global steel company with its North American headquarters based here in Tampa, and it was one of those jobs where you get exposed to all aspects of PR, everything from public affairs, to media relations, to marketing communications, to advertising and branding. Having gained so much exposure to so many core competencies so early in my career gave me the experience and confidence I needed to grow into a leader in the PR profession.

  1. Most important career mentor, and why?

It’s so hard to pick just one. I am very fortunate to have several influential mentors and dedicated supervisors who have guided me and helped me grow as a professional.

  1. Top grammar, style or writing pet peeve?

Unnecessary capitalization. It literally drives me crazy!

  1. Most rewarding accomplishment in public relations?

Completing my APR. I received my official “pass” letter from the Universal Accreditation Board in late September, so that one is pretty timely!

  1. Advice to new public relations professionals?

If I had any advice to offer, it would be to try and dip your toes into many aspects of PR and communications early in your career. It will make you a versatile, well-rounded professional, and it will keep things exciting.

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

I have a photography side hustle, and if I weren’t in public relations and marketing, I would love to pursue that as a career. I am also a true crime junkie, and I think it would be very interesting to be an investigative reporter or a detective.

  1. Favorite movie?

The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  

  1. Favorite vacation?

My husband and I love to travel, and so far our favorite trip has been to Scotland, where we went with our best friends as a group and spent a great deal of time in the Scottish Highlands, an otherworldly place. In a few months, we’re headed to Thailand, and I can’t wait to see how it compares with our last trip!

  1. Any three dinner guests?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Tom Petty and J.K. Rowling.

My husband, Steven, and me with our dogs Arlo (left), a border collie, and Zero, a golden-chow mix.

Traveling with friends in Scotland in 2018.

My husband and me on the Isle of Skye, in Scotland, hunting dinosaur fossils.

On most Saturdays during the fall, we can be found in the Swamp cheering for my alma mater! Go Gators!


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