2014, what an amazing year to celebrate!

It’s been an honor to serve as your president during this milestone year for PRSA Tampa Bay. We recognized not just one, but two 50-year anniversaries: The founding of our chapter in 1964 and the start of the national APR accreditation program a half-century ago.

In addition, our chapter membership has continued to grow as we’ve added more public relations professionals to our fold. Today, we stand at 224 members – an increase of more than 10 percent over the last years.

Our programs have flourished too. We kicked off the year with almost sold-out programs on writing skills and strategic communications planning, and ended just as strongly with excellent programs on media training and diversity outreach.

It’s taken many years of dedicated leadership and enthusiastic volunteers to reach these goals. It truly is a combined team effort to bring you the high-quality programs, networking opportunities and industry news that make up the backbone of your chapter membership.

Thank you to our board members, committee chairs and other volunteers for all your hard work this year. I have no doubt that PRSA Tampa Bay will continue to grow and reach even greater heights as we enter 2015.

Happy holidays!

Lisa Braswell, APR
2014 President
PRSA Tampa Bay

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Congratulations to PRSA Tampa Bay's APRs, Spring Class Approaching

Congratulations to PRSA Tampa Bay's newest APRs:
Mary Margaret Hall Cripe, APR
Lesley Campos Valentin, APR
Betty Carlin, APR

The next Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) class will be in the spring beginning with the application for eligibility and preparation due March 15.

See the materials below for more information on the upcoming classes:
Chapter Accreditation Process | Spring, 2015
Chapter Accreditation Schedule | Spring, 2015

In 1964, "leaders established the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential as a way to recognize practitioners who have mastered the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to develop and deliver strategic communications. Decades later, as public relations evolved, the APR remains the recognized gold standard for the profession." The APR is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a professional accreditation for PR professionals.

Learn more on PRSA's national website here or contact Michelle Griffith, APR at [email protected].

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Chapter members volunteer for Metropolitan Ministries

Last week several PRSA Tampa Bay chapter members volunteered at Metropolitan Ministries' holiday tent, where they helped prepare for one of their largest business meetings of the year.

Afterwards, members met at Crumb and Cork downtown to network and celebrate the year.

"Thanks to all of those who volunteered and helped make a difference in the Tampa Bay community," said Lisa Braswell, APR, 2014 Chapter President and Manager of Communications at Integral Quality Care. "2014 was a great year and what a great way to celebrate!"

See more photos on PRSA Tampa Bay's Facebook page at:

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Welcome PRSA Tampa Bay 2015 Chapter Leaders!

On Friday, Dec. 12, more than 15 PRSA Tampa Bay committee board members and chairs met for a planning session on chapter goals, key performance indicators, internal and external communications strategies and key volunteers for 2015.

"Last week’s board retreat was a productive and enjoyable experience," said Adrienne Drew, incoming 2015 Treasurer and Communications Specialist for Grow Financial Federal Credit Union. "It's so nice to get together with old friends, meet new ones and plan for a great 2015. This type of event demonstrates the strong leadership we have in place as a volunteer organization, and makes me feel proud to be part of it."

Several new positions have been implemented to enhance the chapter’s organization said Marissa Segundo, APR; PRSA Tampa Bay upcoming President and Recycling Coordinator for the City of Largo. Some of the open positions include Volunteer Coordinators Chair, Website Chair, Membership Recruitment and Retention Chairs, Awards Committee volunteers, creative and operational volunteers, Chair Programs Logistics Chair, PRSSA Member Scholarships volunteers, Digital Communications volunteers and more. See all chapter positions broken down on our Prezi here or on our updated flow chart here.

"There are several open positions to serve the chapter in 2015," said Segundo. “The more you get involved, the more you get out of it.”

If you're interested in volunteering with PRSA Tampa Bay in 2015, please visit our Volunteer Opportunites page or email Marissa Segundo at [email protected].

“The chapter has a tremendous amount of positive momentum in place, and will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015 as the largest and oldest chapter in Florida,” said Mike Flanangan, Chapter Board Member and Partner of LDWWgroup. “So there is much to look forward to for 2015 and beyond.”

Please meet PRSA Tampa Bay’s 2015 elected Board of Directors:

Marissa Segundo, APR – President
Jennifer Medeiros – President-Elect
Adrienne Drew – Treasurer
Jennifer Lane – Secretary
John Dunn, APR – Assembly Delegate
Mary Haban, APR – Assembly Delegate
Noelle Anderson Fox, APR – Assembly Delegate
Betty Carlin, APR – Board of Directors
Travis Claytor, APR – Board of Directors
Bobby Eagle – Board of Directors
Mike Flanagan – Board of Directors
Suzanne Grant, APR – Board of Directors
Jennifer Hamilton – Board of Directors

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Welcome New Members December, 2014

Welcome PRSA Tampa Bay new chapter members!

  • Lou Grossman, APR
  • Gillian Moore, RFB Communications Group
  • Fabiana Salgado-Lowe
  • Tara Tufo, Visit Citrus County
  • Stephen Valley
  • Ursula Zamora

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December Promotion: Give the Gift of Membership

Gift of Membership Nov. 24 – Dec. 15
Join PRSA through Dec. 15, and receive FREE Chapter membership, FREE Professional Interest Section membership, and waived initiation – a savings of up to $225. Certain restrictions may apply.

For more information, contact [email protected] or (212) 460-1400. Hours: M-F, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET.

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The Green Carpet Rolled Back: How Tampa Took Bollywood

On Wednesday, Nov. 19, 27 PRSA members and guests heard from Doug McClain, Vice President of Marketing & Communications and Susan Williams, Director of Convention Services & Special Events from Visit Tampa Bay as they discussed the rollout of hosting the 15th Annual International Indian Film Academy’s Weekend and Awards – the first time the four-day IIFA gala was held in the United States.

What was the impact of the IIFA and how did you promote the event itself?
The impact was more than incredible with “13.2 billion earned media impressions and garnering 800 million viewers worldwide,” McClain said. “Approximately 30,000 visitors traveled here to Tampa,” - an economic impact of $19.9 million.

With such a wide audience and demographic, McClain told listeners the beauty of Visit Tampa Bay is – its a partner organization.

“It takes local citizens to make things happen,” McClain said. “Local media, national media, and international media were all a part of making this happen. Our partnership with Wizcraft [India’s leading communication and entertainment agency] was integral to our success. All of these different groups helped break it up to tackle the world.”

How did Visit Tampa Bay prepare Tampa Business owners for the event?
During those four days, visitors spent money throughout the Tampa Bay area on restaurants, retail, hotels, public/private transportation and cultural attractions.

With out-of-towners coming into Tampa, Williams said that partners and the community continuously brought up the need for cultural sensitivity since it was such a different group that they were used to.

“Our solution was sensitivity trainings,” Williams said. “Using GET Tampa Bay, a frontline destination guest experience training, we streamed for surrounding businesses and partners.”

“We used a local Indian woman who owns her own dance studio in the video – which was perfect!” she said. “She was accustomed to living in the United States as well as the Indian culture." By using a local, Visit Tampa Bay was able to show the dos and the don’ts through a culturally-sensitive spokesperson.

“We learned a lot from the event about their culture and customs,” Williams said.
Some of the experiences we learned from such a large country and culture include:

  • “You have to ask more than once,” Williams said. “If you ask, would you like some tea, their first response is always ‘no’ even though they probably do.”
  • “They just won’t say no,” Williams said.
  • Timelessness – “Indian Standard Time,” Williams said. “Their expectation was when they do get there, they’re ready.”
  • They love a souvenir – “We made sure that we had a take-away.”


Why Tampa?
Williams and McClain believe that there is a chance that the awards could come back to the states. However, the event alone has made an impact on the Tampa area.

“Indian cinema is being brought here because of this event,” McClain said. “Trust was important to this group,” McClain said. “We had extreme cooperation with the IIFA. They love cities that are culturally unique and loved the whole story of Gasparilla.” Tampa’s pirate invasion tradition was even depicted on the Bollywood stage opening the awards.

“We also have several Southeast Asian groups that are now interested in holding their conferences and business meetings in the area,” Williams said.

Although the two admit that there are ways that the group could definitely improve upon in the future, they admit that Tampa has a way of bringing things together. “Despite neighboring competitors including Orlando and Miami, Tampa’s held the Republican National Convention, the Super Bowl and the IIFA awards – they just go for it! I think that’s Tampa’s new brand.”

If you attended this event, please fill out our feedback survey!

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Congratulations PRSA Tampa Bay Award Winners!

PRSA Tampa Bay is sought your input on members who have made remarkable achievements in public relations and management practices, advancing the profession, meeting the needs of the community and strengthening our chapter. See the winners here:

PRSA Tampa Bay 2014Sue Ellen Richardson “Rookie of the Year” Award
Jennifer Lane

PRSA Tampa Bay 2014 Excellence in Chapter Service Award
Jennifer Hamilton

PRSA Tampa Bay 2014 President’s Award
Adrienne Drew
Marissa Segundo, APR
Jenna Stock
Betty Carlin, APR

See more information about the awards below:

Excellence in Community Relations Award
This category recognizes a chapter member who has given pro-bono public relations support to one or more community organizations throughout his or her professional career.

Excellence in Chapter Service Award
This award is presented to a chapter member who has been with the chapter for more than two years and has made outstanding contributions to chapter management and member programming.

Sue Ellen Richardson “Rookie of the Year” Award
This award recognizes a chapter member who has been with the chapter for two years or less and has demonstrated the commitment to be involved and to make a difference in member services.

Tampa Bay Chapter President’s Award
This award recognizes up to four chapter members who have gone above and beyond for the good of the chapter in 2014.

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Tampa Chapter Delegates Attend National Assembly

By Noelle Fox, APR

On Oct. 11, PRSA Tampa Bay’s three Assembly Delegates – John Dunn, APR, Noelle Fox, APR, and Mary Haban, APR – attended PRSA’s National Assembly in Washington, D.C., along with 250 other chapter, district and national leaders throughout the country. At the Assembly, Tampa Bay’s delegates represented the chapter, voting on issues important to the society including two proposed amendments to PRSA’s bylaws. The following proposed amendments were passed with a majority vote:

Amendment 1401: Removed the APR as a requirement to be a candidate for the two national board-member-at-large seats

Amendment 1402: Allows for the possibility of leaders within other segments of PRSA to be elected as a special nonvoting director by the Board

Also during the Assembly, delegates voted on the society’s 2015 leadership. Mark McClennan, APR, senior vice president, social media services, MSLGROUP, was elected to serve as PRSA’s Chair-Elect in 2015 and Chair in 2016.

“’We are at an inflection point in the public relations industry, and I’m humbled to be selected to lead PRSA during 2016,’” McClennan said in a statement.

According to a PRSA National article, “McClennan has worked with companies ranging from venture-funded startups to large public companies, such as:, BillMeLater/PayPal, LifeLock, Samsung, Epocrates and Filip Technologies. He has guided companies through IPOs and acquisitions and has coordinated successful PR campaigns globally for companies in Europe and Asia.”

“One of the Assembly’s highlights for me was the national board’s statement that increasing diversity in public relations will be a high priority this year – particularly with young professionals.” Dunn said. “And with a new CEO coming in, I’m eager to see how much progress we can make towards achieving this goal over the next 12 months.”

• Treasurer: Jane E. Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA, president, JKD & Company, Inc., Lakewood, Colo.
• Secretary: Marisa Vallbona, APR, Fellow PRSA, president, CIM Incorporated, San Diego.

District representatives
• Director, East Central District: Sonja Popp-Stahly, APR, director, digital media communications, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis.
• Director, Mid-Atlantic District: Janet E. Kacskos, APR, Fellow PRSA, director of communications, Millersville University of Pennsylvania, Millersville, Pa.
• Director, Northeast District: JoAnn S. LeSage Nelson, APR, vice president, client services, Pierce Communications, Albany, N.Y.
• Director, Tri-State District: Lea-Ann O’Hare Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA, president, Germinder & Associates, Inc., New York
• Director, Western District: Todd A. Cooley, APR, principal, The Todd Cooley Company, Santa Ana, Calif.

• T. Garland Stansell, APR, chief communications officer, Children’s of Alabama, Birmingham, Ala.

They join the current Board of Directors returning for 2015, including:

• Chair: Kathy Barbour, APR, corporate director, public relations and marketing, Baptist Health South Florida, Miami
• Immediate-Past Chair: Joe Cohen, APR, senior vice president of communications, KIND Healthy Snacks, New York.

District representatives
• Director, Midwest District: Brian N. Lee, APR, president, Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media, Madison, Wis.
• Director, North Pacific District: Ronele M. Dotson, APR, president, RKPR Inc., Reno, Nev.
• Director, Sunshine District: Bonnie P. Upright, APR, development director/principal, The Boselli Foundation/Upright Public Relations, LLC, Orange Park, Fla.

• Kathleen Donohue Rennie, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, assistant professor/partner, Seton Hall University/The McGraw Group, Union, N.J.
• Tracy A. Schario, APR, communications officer, The Pew Charitable Trusts, White Stone, Va.
• Deborah A. Silverman, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, associate professor of communication, SUNY Buffalo State, Buffalo, N.Y.

For more information on PRSA and the outcomes of the 2014 PRSA National Assembly, click here.

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November and December Membership Promotions

Every year, PRSA offers several seasonal promotions for those thinking of joining a chapter or joining PRSA. See some of the most-recent promotions here.

Black Friday promotion Nov. 24 – Nov. 30
For the month of November, new members receive a free 1-yr Chapter membership AND free 1-yr Section membership AND waived $65 initiation fee when they join National as a Regular member ($255 annual). National will reimburse Chapters and Sections for their dues. Chapters whose dues are more than $100 will only be reimbursed up to $100 and balance will be collected from member. Sections whose dues are more than $60 will only be reimbursed up to $60 and balance will be collected from member. RESTRICTIONS: n/a for Associate member types ($155 or less annual dues) and current/renewing members. Refer to for details.

Gift of Membership Nov. 24 – Dec. 29
Current members and prospects can purchase membership for a friend or colleague. 

For more information, contact [email protected] or (212) 460-1400. Hours: M-F, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET.

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