PRSA Members were Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a Day

By Alexandria DiBenigno, senior at the University of South Florida and social media and junior PR coordinator at Conversa

On April 1, members of PRSA toured One Buc Place and met Nelson Luis, senior director of communications for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The tour began by congregating in the press conference room where many members were excited for the chance to take a picture behind the podium. 

Nelson then brought members to the media room and explained how each media outlet has its own station to work from. “We like to make sure the media is happy,” Nelson said with a smile, which made a room full of public relations practitioners laugh in agreement. 

Members were next brought to an auditorium where the PRSA Tampa Bay President Jennifer Dunn introduced Nelson and noted his prestigious legacy in the world of sports communications. 

Nelson began his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1995 as an intern, but left in 1999 to follow the PGA Tour and later joined the Houston Rockets as their director of media relations, before returning to the Buccaneers in 2013. 

Nelson also described his experiences working with the coaches and players that make up Tampa’s NFL team. He realized during the course of his career that it’s important to not control the players and limit what they say, but instead encourage them to promote and protect the Buccaneer brand. As a result, many coaches and players have grown to trust and respect the advice given to them by Nelson and his team.

 As members exited One Buc Place, they noticed a statue showing an overjoyed team and coach after scoring a touchdown. Thank you to Nelson and his team for also showing this much passion by cheering on its team’s success in the press box. 

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Ready, Fire, Aim: The Biggest Threat to Successful Brand Building

By: Kaylea Schule, USF PRSSA member

While kicking off her program, Nancy Walker, President of Walker Brands, shared an important insight.

"Over twenty years of branding, hundreds of programs, one thing I've learned-being strategic is the hardest part."

She shared that strategy is usually the step in which companies skip because the "fire" is the most fun. Many obstacles get in the way of strategic planning, including not having enough time, capital investment, and needing participation. However, the rewards for effective strategy are enormous. "It's all about distinction," said Walker.

A highlight of Walker's program was her introduction of the six steps of her method, The BrandWalk:

  1.        Discovery
  2.        Brand Platforms
  3.        Brand Concepts
  4.        Brand Planning
  5.        Brand Assets
  6.        Implantation of touch points

Walker concluded the luncheon by elaborating on a well-defined case study from Walker Brands on Horizon Bay Retirement Living. The previous campaign needed to be renewed desperately since the company was expanding rapidly. Horizon Bay needed something that would take them all the way. After months of discovery, the brand platform was found by telling stories of the residents. "Public Relations is about finding and telling beautiful stories over, and over again," said Walker. 

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And The Winner Is... YOU! Submit for a Radiance Award Today!

Get your shine on! Apply for a Radiance Award! Take this opportunity to showcase your talents and demonstrate your value to your executives and clients.

The applications are easy. Just complete a 2-page summary for a campaign award or a 1-page summary for a tactic/product award. Then gather your supportive materials and submit everything electronically. Forget about postage. You can even pay for your entries online.

View the full details in the Call for Entries. Applications are due by April 22.

Winners will be announced June 17 at the awards gala at the Sunshine District Conference in Miami. Entries are only $55 for members and $80 for non-members.

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Member Spotlight: Jennifer Dunn

This Member Spotlight profiles Jennifer Dunn, director of public relations for Conversa. Jennifer is the 2016 president of PRSA Tampa Bay, has held several positions in the chapter, including treasurer and webmaster, and has been a member of the chapter for five years.


1. First news publication you read in the morning?
I start my day with theSkimm.

2. First public relations job?
It was at Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, where I was a program coordinator for, a regional program designed to bring 86 cities, seven counties, leaders, and citizens in central Florida together to build a better, more sustainable future for the area’s residents and businesses.

3. Most important career mentor?
Kristin Whitaker, at the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, who, from the moment I met her, believed in me and unfailingly fostered my potential. She is one of the most gracious, most inspiring individuals I’ve ever met, and I’m so fortunate to not only call her a mentor, but a friend.

4. Top grammar, style or writing pet peeve?
Confusing “there,” “their” and “they're”!

5. Most rewarding accomplishment in public relations?
Serving as president of PRSA Tampa Bay and effecting positive change for nonprofit clients.

6. Advice to new public relations professionals?
Don't be afraid to ask for help, take advantage of internships and network as much you as can!

7. Job you would pursue if you weren’t in public relations?
Animal advocate or environmental conservationist.

8. Favorite movie?
Father of the Bride (1991).

9. Favorite vacation?
It’s a tossup between Dublin, Ireland, and Nashville, Tenn. I love live music, so these cities spoke to my soul!

10. Any three dinner guests?
John F. Kennedy, Taylor Swift and my late aunt Gloria.

Me and my almost three-year-old pup, Jackson, at a local dog park. My husband and I adopted him from the Humane Society of Pinellas when he was just two-and-a-half months, and he brings us so much joy, we both agree he’s the one who rescued us!

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President's Message

Renowned PR theorist James E. Grunig once said, “We believe PR should be practiced to serve the public interest, to develop mutual understanding between organizations and their publics.” Here, at PRSA Tampa Bay, we follow a similar train of thought: we believe our chapter exists to serve our members, to develop opportunities for and foster connections between area practitioners.

2016 is no exception to this philosophy. Check out what the year has in store:

Top-Notch Programming

In January, ChappellRoberts kicked off our programming year by discussing the importance of integrated marketing communications and strategies for success in 2016. On Feb. 29, PRSA Masterminds (back for a third year!) will provide an open forum for peer-to-peer idea sharing and industry advice. Later this year we’ll: hear from Nancy Walker of Walker Brands who will help you discover and “live” your personal brand promise; take a glimpse into the world of NFL PR with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; provide valuable facetime with local media at our annual PRSA/FPRA Media Roundtable, and much more!

Exceptional Member Benefits

Networking. Member scholarships. Chapter member discounted rates for PRSA Tampa Bay programs, events, and awards. Professional development. Friendship and community. These are just a few of many member benefits you can expect this year.

Volunteer Leadership Opportunities

If you're looking to expand upon existing PR skills or build new ones, this year provides many opportunities to maximize your membership through volunteering. To get connected, please contact our chapter’s volunteer coordinator Bart Graham:

 Now that we’ve looked forward, I’d also like to take a moment to reflect. Last year was an incredible year for our chapter and I’d be remiss if I didn’t extend a heartfelt thank you to our immediate past-president Marissa Segundo, APR. Under her leadership, our chapter celebrated its 50th anniversary, we hosted our first annual PRestige Awards, seven chapter members obtained their accreditation, and our chapter membership surged to an all-time high making PRSA Tampa Bay one of the largest PRSA chapters in the state!

It’s my honor and privilege to serve as your chapter president this year, and I look forward to helping you make the most of your PRSA membership and experience. If you have any questions or ideas, I’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to contact me anytime at

Best wishes for an amazing 2016!

Jennifer Dunn

President, PRSA Tampa Bay

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Convenience or Confusion? Why You Need to Use Abbreviations Sparingly

By Joseph Priest, Corporate Writer, Syniverse

“The new PCs will arrive on Thursday” or “The new PC’s will arrive on Thursday”? “The PR department is located in the U.K. office” or “The P.R. department is located in the UK office”? And is “FYI” an acronym or an initialism?

In our speed-is-everything world, it seems we can’t write more than a couple of sentences without relying on some kind of abbreviation to try to save time. But constantly resorting to abbreviations can affect the clarity and quality of our writing. To help PR pros be on the lookout for this, I’ve put together some guidelines for using abbreviations in an article published in this month’s PR Tactics, “Convenience or Confusion? Why You Need to Use Abbreviations Sparingly.”

In the article, I cover some rules of thumb for when to use abbreviations as well as how to write the plurals of initialisms and acronyms, whether or not to use periods with these, and when it’s correct to use ampersands.

I hope the guidelines are useful, and I would love to know your thoughts on them. Email me at to let me know if you come across any questions when you use abbreviations.

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Become a 2016 Chapter Sponsor

Driving increased awareness and leads for our sponsors, our 2016 advertising and sponsorship opportunities includes 6- and 12-month packages that utilize the chapter’s many popular communications channels. We offer three package options for a sustained, multifaceted approach for businesses to reach and develop relationships with PR professionals throughout Tampa Bay.

Annual Sponsorships:
Gold and Silver Level Annual Sponsorships include complimentary registrations to chapter events, onsite promotional activities and exclusive recognition at a chapter event, and online advertising via the chapter’s website, e-newsletter, program e-mails and social media throughout the calendar year. (Note: Fees for Annual Sponsorships for 2016 are pro-rated.)

Signature Event Presenting Sponsorships:
Our “Signature Events” are high-profile special events that tend to draw large crowds year after year. Presenting Sponsor status of a Signature Event includes complimentary event registrations, and promotional activities leading up to and at the event. We still have Signature Event Presenting Sponsorships available for 2016.

Advertising Packages:
Available for 6 or 12 months, this package includes having your clickable company logo on our chapter website, program e-mails and e-newsletter; and quarterly promotion on the chapter’s social media.

See all the details in our Sponsorship Packet 

If you’re interested in becoming a chapter sponsor, please contact Noelle Fox at And please share these opportunities with anyone you think may be interested!

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It's The Year To Volunteer!

Don’t be left on the outside looking in.  Committee openings are filling up quick.  If you want to meet new friends, network, and put your talents to good use, volunteering is one of the best ways to do so.  Become an active part of one of the largest PRSA chapters in Florida, PRSA Tampa Bay!

We are still looking for volunteers for the following committees:

Accreditation - If you are an APR this team could use your knowledge to help train potential APR’s.  Plus, you would earn valuable points towards your own APR maintenance.

Digital Communications - Do you have a flair for blogging and video?  Then this is the team for you.

Diversity - Would you like to help improve job and career development opportunities for practitioners of multicultural heritage, LGBT community, and people with disabilities?

Media Roundtable Program - Strengthen your media contacts by arranging special media seminars and informal panels.

Nominations - Help determine the future of your chapter.

Professional Development Day - Are you skilled at event organization?  Work includes scheduling of programs, coordinating with presenters and identifying and developing new programs areas.

Programs - Are you skilled at event planning?  Responsibilities include securing top executives and media representatives as presenters, working with Programs Logistics to confirm location and working with digital publicity volunteers to get the word out to membership and public.

Sponsorship - Do you have sales skills?  Can you solicit donations?  The Sponsorship Committee can use your talents.

Just can’t commit right now?  Then consider being an “on call” volunteer.  We will contact you when a special need arises.

To volunteer for any of the positions above please contact your chapter’s Volunteer Coordinator, Bart Graham, at and

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Words to Know for 2016

By Joseph Priest, Corporate Writer, Syniverse

Being a good public relations professional means being familiar with new, changing and hard to-spell words. For this reason, it’s occasionally useful to review spellings for new words, words with more than one spelling, and those oldies but goodies that continue to confound new generations of writers. Below are some of these to keep in mind for 2016.

A note about spell-checkers. Don’t count on them. The following sentence will escape spell-check every time: “I try too right good butt eye half trouble with spelling.” Use a spell-checker as a starting point, but never use it as a substitute for a thorough proofreading.

Now, here’s your memorization assignment for 2016 (with correct spellings in bold). Let me know how many you know and any questions you come across. Hit me at

  • accommodate - One of the all-time typo champs.
  • adviser -  The AP-style preference over advisor.
  • canceled - Be careful not to let the British-English “cancelled” slip into your writing.
  • could not care less - Don’t use the common but incorrect “could care less.” This literally means “I care more than I might.”
  • dialogue - Stay away from the variant, “dialog.” Also, avoid using this word as a verb, which is particularly grating. There are plenty of other verbs to use for that.
  • email - Unfortunately, the normally astute AP Stylebook sanctioned this hyphenless spelling of “electronic mail” in its 2011 edition and gave validity to a fundamentally flawed word formation. What’s the big deal with losing the hyphen? Don’t other hyphenated words merge into one? Yes, compound nouns do tend to go from separate to joined, often with a hyphenated stage (e.g., “per cent” to “percent, “to-day” to “today”). The problem with “e-mail,” though, is that it’s not a simple compound noun. It’s an initial-based abbreviation, and the hyphen is crucial in clarifying that “e” is an initial and not simply a syllable. What’s more, in the English language, initial-based abbreviations don’t merge into solid words. Some are split; the rest are hyphenated: C-section, Q rating, T-shirt, X-ray. In any event, the ship has sailed as far as “e-mail,” and “email” (ugh) is the standard spelling now.
  • high tech - Never “hi tech.”
  • judgment - A notoriously tricky one that leads people to write “judgement.”
  • just deserts - “Desert” here is spelled like the arid region, not the sweet treat. In this sense, “desert” is being used in an archaic sense to mean “something that is deserved.”
  • mike - Controversy surrounds this AP-sanctioned abbreviation for “microphone,” which was changed from “mike” several years ago. What’s the problem? “Mike” is the correct way to spell the way we say the abbreviation for microphone, but broadcast journalists complained to the AP that the abbreviations on their equipment were all written as “mic.,” and the AP caved in to this and changed its official spelling to “mic.” Despite the AP’s decision, those of us who have experience with the printed word know better than to take our cues abbreviations squeezed into limited space on equipment. More importantly, truncated forms of words tend to be written with phonetic spellings if a simple shortening of the word would suggest an incorrect pronunciation. For example, we write “bike” instead of “bic” for bicycle; “fridge” instead of “frig” for refrigerator; and “Trish” instead of “Tric” for Patricia. Therefore, in a break with the AP Stylebook, I advise using “mike” in all cases. In fact, creating even further confusion, the AP Stylebook does sanction “miked” – and not “mic’d” or “micced” – for the verb form.
  • OK - The AP-style preference over “okay” and “O.K.” (Trivia tidbit: The word evolved in the 1830s as a facetious abbreviation for “oll korrect.”)
  • Portuguese - Not “Portugese.”
  • similar - Watch out for “similiar.”
  • Super Bowl - This one is a biggie among misspellings. It’s always two words, not “Superbowl.”
  • theater - Use this spelling, which is the American-English spelling, instead of “theatre,” unless a proper name includes this latter spelling.
  • traveled - Be careful of the British-English spelling, “travelled.”
  • trouper - This, and not “trooper,” is the right word to use for “a reliable, uncomplaining and hard-working person.” It’s derived from “troupe,” a group of performers, and the notion that the “show must go on” and performers must proceed with an event even under trying circumstances. A “trooper” is a state police officer or member of a cavalry unit.
  • website, Web page, Web - The spelling “website” became the AP style standard in the 2010 stylebook and replaced the two-word spelling, “Web site.” “Web page,” though, should continue to be written as two words with a capital “W.” It remains two words because “page” is not ordinarily used to form single words, as “front page” and “back page” attest. And  “Web” with a capital “W” should be used as a short form of “World Wide Web,” a proper noun. Although “Web” is increasingly written with a lowercase “w” and treated as a common noun in many technology publications, “Web” is still the AP style standard.

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Thank You For An Amazing 2015!

PRSA Tampa Bay members gathered this past week at Fleming’s Steakhouse in Tampa to celebrate a great year at our Membership Mix & Mingle event in support of Metropolitan Ministries.

Thank you to those who attended for joining us and making our Toy Drive event a success!

We collected over 40 toys for infants, toddlers, school-aged children and teens. Gifts included learning games, building sets, arts & crafts, journals, beauty products and approximately $150 in gift cards. Our donation will help Metropolitan Ministries fulfill its mission to bring toys to children in need this holiday season. 

In addition to mixing with members and guests, we heard from 2015 President Marissa Segundo, who recapped the amazing year we had at PRSA.

As we reflect on this year, we’d love your feedback, too! If you haven’t already, please provide feedback on your membership experience this year by filling out our two-minute Membership Survey. As a member of the chapter, your thoughts are instrumental in helping us improve and enhance the value for members in the coming year.

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season, and we look forward to connecting with you in 2016!


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