Every month, PRSA Tampa Bay recognizes an outstanding volunteer whose hard work has significantly served our members and helped to make our chapter even stronger. In the second half of 2019, we celebrated the following contributors:

July – Angela Walters Eveillard, MBA, APR

Why she was recognized: Angela Walters is an essential part of the leadership of the PRSA Tampa Bay chapter. She has reached the top of the volunteer ladder in PRSA by recently being selected as a National Board Member, something no other Tampa Bay Chapter member has ever done before. That's a big deal! But even with her commitment at this high level, she continues to support the local chapter–most recently by serving as an integral member of the 2019 Sunshine District Conference Planning Committee. Angela has volunteered her time, her network and her expertise in helping plan the conference, as she did so quite successfully the last time SunCon was held in Tampa in 2012. While it would be so easy to commit all her time and efforts to the district and national level committees and leadership roles she has taken on over the years, Angela has never forgotten the Tampa Bay Chapter and has remained a dedicated member and volunteer. I'm very happy I was able to work with her on the SunCon committee and that I get to recognize her for all of the hard work, passion and dedication she continuously exhibits. – Alexandra Booth

Why she’s a member: PRSA has played a part of my life for more than half of my lifespan. I walked into my first PRSSA meeting 20(ish) years ago at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and it was one of the best decisions of my life. From lifelong friends to trusted mentors, this society has given me so much both professionally and personally. I’m incredibly honored to be joining the national board of directors in 2020 and look forward to serve this dynamic group of public relations professionals.

About Angela: With over 15 years of experience in the communications field, Angela Walters Eveillard is currently the Strategic Communications Officer at Hillsborough Community College. In this position, she develops marketing and public relations strategies for the college, which serves over 45,000 students, while also strengthening community relationships and managing the dissemination of information among five campuses and three satellite centers.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations with a minor in Business Administration from the University of Florida, a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Florida and an Accreditation in Public Relations.

Always the constant volunteer, she has served in numerous roles within Public Relations Society of America including 2018 district council chair, 2016 sunshine district chair and most recently the 2019 APR marketing committee chair.

August – Jesica D’Avanza, MPA, APR   

Why she was recognized: Jesica D'Avanza, MPA, APR has been an exceptional addition to the chapter’s leadership. As most of us serving on committees, I first “met” Jesica via email. We were in the midst of evaluating and selecting SunCon conference speakers and her feedback was always on point. From her emails only, I wanted to meet her in person! In person, she’s a force. She wicked smart. She knows the pulse of our profession and the needs of PR practitioners. Not only was Jesica integral in helping to shape a successful conference, but she also has a spirit of inclusion. Something near and dear to my heart. For that, I’m appreciative and thankful for her commitment and dedication to our chapter. With chapter leaders like Jesica, our chapter will reach even greater heights. – Angela Walters Eveillard, APR

Why she’s a member: One of the core values of my company and practice is to be relentlessly opposed to the status quo. The only way to deliver on that promise is to consistently be in a state of curiosity — staying on top of trends, learning from best practices, analyzing the latest campaigns, better understanding metrics and engaging with professionals and peers to strengthen each other and our profession. PRSA provides that through its many learning and networking opportunities. I continue to be involved with PRSA because the organization truly uplifts our entire profession and each one of us to make an impact for the brands and organizations we support.

About Jesica: Jesica D’Avanza, MPA, APR, is an award-winning communications leader who works at the intersection of brand and business strategy to make our world a better place. As owner and chief strategy officer at Round Square, she applies nearly two decades of experience in brand and communications strategy to transform nonprofits and mission-driven organizations for greater relevance, resonance and results. Her consultancy supports clients across health care, wellness, education, environmental and nonprofit arenas. Jesica has served in a variety of national communications and marketing leadership roles for organizations like the American Cancer Society and Muscular Dystrophy Association. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Florida State University and her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). In 2012, PRWeek named her as one of the nation’s 40 under 40 stars in the field of public relations and integrated communications. Outside the office, Jesica enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter and is on a quest to visit every National Park in the U.S. She is also a runner and marathon coach. You can reach Jesica at [email protected] or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

September – Betty Carlin, APR

Why she was recognized: It was such a privilege to work with and get to know Betty better this year during the PRSA Sunshine District Conference planning committee. I was truly in awe of Betty and her commitment to PRSA. The amount of work she took on and accomplished on top of her full-time job was beyond admirable. She is consistently smart, strategic and level-headed, able to help guide conversations to positive and productive outcomes even when lots of different opinions and emotions are involved. She is also pretty great at impersonating a pirate. #PRrrrrr. It has been such a joy to work with Betty, and I can’t think of a more deserving person to be our volunteer of the month. – Jesica D’Avanza, APR

Why she’s a member: PRSA has always been an integral part of my career.  I got my first job from a lead on the Tampa Bay Chapter Job Bank.  I have been blessed to know so many top-notch PR professionals through my involvement with the Chapter over the years.  There is always an opportunity to learn something new, make professional connections, catchup with busy colleagues, grow both professional and leadership skills, have a mentor / be a mentor and have some of my deepest friendships as a result of my involvement.  I’m proud to be a PRSA Tampa Bay member!

About Betty: Betty S. Carlin, APR, is Principal of Carlin Communications, a Tampa Bay-based public relations and integrated marketing communications firm founded in January 2013.

With more than 25 years of public relations and communications expertise in the Tampa Bay market, Betty takes a strategic approach to connecting organizations with the audiences and influencers most important to them. 

She has extensive experience in B2B marketing in a full range of industries including economic development, banking and financial services, real estate development, professional services and transportation industries. Her broad-based expertise ranges from corporate communications, media relations, crisis communications, and public affairs to content management, web development, social media, brand management, integrated marketing, reputation management, community relations and event management. Throughout her career, Betty has excelled in building successful collaborative teams across multiple organizations to accomplish larger organizational or community goals.

Prior to starting her own firm, Betty was Vice President, Marketing & Communications with the Tampa Bay Partnership, an eight-county regional economic development organization focused on advocacy, marketing, research and leadership for the Tampa Bay region.  Previously, Betty also served as Vice President/Corporate Communications for National Planning Holdings, a $5 billion broker-dealer holding company, where she was responsible for all media relations and strategic communications for the firm’s four broker-dealer subsidiaries and over 2,200 investment representatives located across the country.  She has also served in statewide marketing management roles with two regional banks and served as president of a Tampa-based public relations firm.

Betty is accredited in public relations and communications by the Public Relations Society of America.  She currently serves as an Assembly Delegate for the Tampa Bay Chapter of PRSA, has served as a Board Member and has held multiple officer and committee chair positions.  She is alumni of the 2018 Class of the Hillsborough County Leadership Program and serves on the USF Alumni Association Event Committee.  She is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a degree in Mass Communications/Journalism.

October – Josh Carrasco, APR

Why he was recognized: Early this year, Josh jumped in when the 2019 Sunshine District Conference committee lost its Sponsorship Chair.  He developed target sponsor lists, built connections, handled sponsor outreach, negotiated sponsor agreements and contracts, and coordinated with sponsors who wanted to become more involved with the conference.  He was an active leader on the committee in many other ways.  Josh not only met our target sponsorship level but exceeded it to make the conference a success.  This is all in addition to his role of Chapter Treasurer this year (oh, and his full-time job at AAA.)  His dedication to the Chapter is admirable, he’s always willing to lend a hand and it’s been a true pleasure to get to know him better this year.  I can’t think of a more deserving person to be our October volunteer of the month. – Betty Carlin, APR

Why he’s a member: I am a PRSA Tampa Bay member for two primary reasons. One, I want to continue to developed my professional communication and networking skills. Two, I enjoy being a part of an organization with members who are passionate about what they do in their careers, volunteerism, and personal lives.

About Josh: Josh Carrasco has been an active member of PRSA Tampa Bay since 2014. During his tenure as a PRSA member, he has served two terms as the chapter Sponsorship Chair, one term as Treasurer, and as the Sponsorship Chair of the 2019 PRSA Sunshine District Conference. His professional experience includes more than seven years in broadcast journalist, six years of media relations, and one year of internal communications. In his current role at AAA – The Auto Club Group, he is responsible for event planning, creating digital marketing strategies, and managing several internal communication initiatives for their travel agency.

November – Colin Trethewey, APR

Why he was recognized: Colin was integral to the success of PRestige Awards this year, which was one of our most successful award programs to date. Colin is always willing to lend a hand and volunteer when the chapter needs assistance. – Josh Carrasco, APR

Why he’s a member: An opportunity to meet and learn from fellow PR pros. I was new to Tampa when I joined and PRSA Tampa Bay helped me get connected with fellow PR practitioners, media and business leaders.

About Colin: PR agency founder and media relations specialist with a background in journalism and sales & marketing. Prior to PR, enjoyed a 12 year career as a news, sports, business and award-winning tech TV anchor and reporter. This has given me a unique set of skills to pitch the media with success - an insiders approach with a flair for marketing and sales. I share PR advice as a contributor with Forbes Magazine Councils.

My agency PRmediaNow focuses on securing media coverage for public and private companies who are targeting investors and customers. We are creative, nimble, responsive and we offer great customer service to our clients and the media. We create media outreach campaigns that lead to major mainstream media coverage and social media viral spread on the Internet.

December – Heather Parsons

Why she was recognized: I would like to nominate Heather Parsons as the next volunteer of the month. She has been amazing taking on heavy time consuming tasks throughout the year for PRestige awards including organizing the Charlotte chapter’s judging day. – Colin Trethewey

Why she’s a member: Heather enjoys being a member of the Tampa Bay chapter because of the opportunities to network and learn from others in the public relations field. Parsons is looking forward to another successful year supporting PRSA’s award committee, the PRestige Award program, and chapter members!

About Heather: Heather Parsons is a senior public information coordinator for the city of Clearwater, she has worked in the department since 2003. Heather supports the communication and public relations needs of the city’s public works departments: engineering, public utilities, solid waste/recycling, gas and utility customer service. Parsons also serves as editor of MyClearwater magazine, a 68-page, full-color publication that is produced three times a year, and she coordinates the city’s Citizens Academy program.


Read More

Member Spotlight: Olivia Keegan

This Member Spotlight profiles Olivia Keegan, who is a communications and PR coordinator at Kforce and joined PRSA Tampa Bay this year.

  1. First news publication you read in the morning?

 I like to read the local Tampa Bay Business Journal and Tampa Bay Times in the morning.

  1. First public relations job?

In November 2018, I began my PR career as a communications and PR coordinator for Kforce. I take pride in working with a stellar team of experts to help manage the firm's associations, events, media relations, external award initiatives and internal communications.

  1. Most important career mentor, and why?

It’s difficult to narrow it down to one person because there are so many wonderful people that have shaped my life and provided crucial learning in my career. In thinking of one, I am grateful for my team leader, Kimberly Bird, director of communications and PR at Kforce, who is a devoted mentor and constant source of encouragement and guidance.

  1. Top grammar, style or writing pet peeve?

In AP style, I really dislike the lowercasing of executives’ titles, such as “Jane Doe, chief executive officer,” because it doesn’t look fitting for their position.

  1. Most rewarding accomplishment in public relations?

One of the most rewarding experiences was witnessing how our cross-functional teams in the marketing department came together quickly to support disaster relief in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian hit this year. With Kforce’s Flights of Hope initiative, employees, donors, and other community members were able to raise over $110,000 in donations, rapidly fly 31 missions, deliver 68,000-plus pounds of supplies, volunteer 1,000-plus hours of their time, and send more than 950 family packs to our neighboring country.

  1. Advice to new public relations professionals?

That would be advice from my mentor – “Be yourself!”

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

If I weren’t a PR professional, I would love to work with marine animals! I am fascinated by the mysterious and awe-inspiring creatures that live deep in our oceans

  1. Favorite movie?

It’s a tie between Miss Congeniality and Fantastic Mr. Fox.

  1. Favorite vacation?

My older sister Mary and I made a spontaneous trip to Kauai, Hawaii, the most magical place I have ever been. We enjoyed yoga on the beach, ate endless amounts of fresh fish tacos, saw the most beautiful waterfalls, and witnessed a traditional hula practice – I’ll never forget all the special memories we made!  

  1. Any three dinner guests?

Ellen DeGeneres, Joni Mitchell and Jesus.

My entire family in one selfie! We had great time together at a wedding at St. Petersburg Beach.

My older sister Mary and I sailing off the coast of Barcelona, Spain, days before her wedding in September 2019.

At Christmastime in 2017, my mom and I took a vacation to New York City and saw a musical on Broadway!

My sister Katie and I ziplining through the woods of northern Wisconsin in 2017.

Read More

5th Annual PRestige Awards Event Recap

By Iovanna Borjas 


Every year since 2015, PRSA Tampa Bay has recognized local organizations and public relations professionals for outstanding programs and tactics conducted in the previous year. This year's blockbuster event -- the 5th Annual PRestige Awards -- took place on Nov. 6 at the elegant University Club of Tampa and, from start to finish, the room was filled with animated conversation and serious networking. New acquaintances were made and old friendships renewed. 

The formal awards program began with a warm welcome from 2019 PRSA Tampa Bay President Jenna Stock, who thanked all attendees for their continuous participation and support throughout the years. She also commented on the chapter's successful 2019 membership campaign which has resulted in a total of 250 members -- an all-time record.  

After Stock’s welcome, Janice Essick, Business Wire Regional Manager, took the podium to introduce keynote speaker, John Bell, CEO and President, Tampa Theatre. Speaking from his many years of experience, Bell emphasized the importance of public relations professionals as "storytellers," noting that, from his own perspective, “great stories are nothing without great storytellers.”  

To Bell, PR professionals demonstrate their connection to storytellers through the amazing way they share stories with “expertise, efficiency and a nice, healthy dose of creativity.” Even more importantly, he noted that PR professionals “are the ones who determine how we feel about an individual, a company, a product.” 

Following this invigorating and encouraging presentation by one of the Tampa Bay area's cultural arts leaders, attention turned to the raison d'etre for the PRestige Awards -- recognition of those organizations and individuals whose work on behalf of clients or employers was judged as "best of the best." A total of 23 awards were presented in the categories of “Public Relations Programs” and “Public Relations Tactics,” along with two awards recognizing “Best of Show - Program Category.”  


Congratulations to all 2019 PRestige Awards recipients and a heartfelt "thank you" for all that you do to support and promote the Tampa Bay community with your amazing work! And a sincere thank you to Business Wire for generous sponsorship of this stellar event. 


View more information about PRestige Awards and a list of the 2019 winners.


Iovanna Borjas is a University of Tampa journalism student who covered the PRestige awards at the request of PRSA Tampa Bay. 

Read More