Diversity 101: How Tampa Took Bollywood

photo: IFFA Tampa
“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.” -Malcom Forbes

From the moment this country was formed, it was deemed a “melting pot” of cultures. It's this melting of cultures, ethnicities, lifestyles and religious diversity that makes this country great. Here in the Tampa Bay area, we offer a perfect example of diversity in the U.S. According to 2010 U.S. census data, the diverse demographics of Tampa Bay are a microcosm of the entire country.

Who is Diverse?

As millennials join the workforce, the lines that used to separate races, cultures, and lifestyles are now blurred. The next generation has been raised with acceptance and pride in the aspects that make them diverse.

For PR practitioners to ignore this growing and changing diverse community is to miss an opportunity to reach the current generation. Communicators must know who they are targeting, what engages them and why they would choose to take action.

How to Reach Diverse Audiences

There’s not a magic wand to reach all diverse audiences at the same time. Start by using quantitative evaluation to determine which community efforts should be focused on and learn about the basics: cities of origin, popular foods, festivals, traditions, colloquiums, etc. Data, such as census information and research studies, may already be available. Once the audience has been narrowed down, it’s time to communicate.

Qualitative research can help you learn about the audiences on a more personal level. What motivates them to take action? Where do they get their news? Who are the influencers in their lives? Performing qualitative studies locally can be invaluable when forming effective strategic communications plans.

Case Study: Bollywood Awards in Tampa

Tampa learned about the prevalence of Indian culture when the city hosted the 15th Annual International Indian Film Academy's Weekend & Awards April 23-26, 2014. With Tampa's Indian community estimated at 35,000 and growing, it was the first U.S. city to host this prestigious event. When more than 30,000 visitors from all over the world arrived in Tampa, it was up to Visit Tampa Bay to research and welcome this diverse community. Learn its strategy for securing Tampa as a destination and ensuring the success of this event at PRSA Tampa Bay’s November program, Rolling out the Green Carpet for Bollywood, on Wednesday, Nov. 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Register today at

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PRSA Tampa Bay and USF PRSSA Partner for a Night of Networking

Professionals’ Night Out Benefits Students and Professionals

By: Mary Margaret Hull, APR

Fun networking and an excellent atmosphere sparked the night off right for nearly 15 PRSA Tampa Bay members taking part in the first off-campus Professionals’ Night Out hosted by USF PRSSA. Students organized the entire event from scouting locations and working with the venue to planning the event’s flow and handling registration.

The event was held at Takara Sushi Lounge in Tampa, near USF, and was a great location for this social gathering. The featured networking part of the event was well organized and a fun way to share insights and advice with students. There was a mix of students ranging from freshmen to seniors. In addition to advice, students wanted to know about an average PR work day and differences between working in the public, non-profit and private sectors.

Laura Fontanills, APR with B2 Communications coordinated PRSA’s involvement and facilitated communications to secure member involvement from a diverse mix of PR fields.

“I was impressed to see so many students take part in the event and I really enjoyed speaking with the students,” said Fontanills. “I am so thankful to all of the PRSA members who so willingly volunteered their time to share their expertise and experiences with the students. I think everyone – students and professionals – had a great time and got a lot out of the event.”

Supporting students studying PR and communications aiming to learn more about jobs in the PR field is a rewarding effort. Consider taking part in the next Professionals’ Night Out.

If you would like to get involved with the PRSA/PRSSA Liaison committee, contact [email protected].





PRSA Tampa Bay and USF PRSSA Partner for a Night of Networking

By: Kelsie Hall

Professionals’ Night Out was a huge success! Takara Sushi and Sake Lounge was buzzing as our eight speed-networking tables connected eager USF PRSSA students to local professionals. Each professional was equally excited to share their experience and knowledge with the next generation of public relations practitioners. The greatest part of this event was how diversified all of our professionals were. We had the pleasure of meeting people from every aspect of the business! Professionals in attendance represented B2B, corporations and agencies (oh my!) including government, integrated marketing communications, entertainment and tourism and travel. This variety really gave our members the opportunity to learn how each sector is different and where they might fit into the world of public relations.

As sushi made its way out to the tables, professionals had the opportunity to reconnect with other PRSA members and students had time to discuss with their friends the new connections they made. By the end of night, I held a stack of business cards in my hand that I knew would lead to fantastic new connections.

I think I speak for all of USF PRSSA when I say, I can’t wait to do it again!

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