Blog

Member Spotlight: Josh Carrasco, APR

This Member Spotlight profiles Josh Carrasco, APR, who is Public Relations Program Consultant for AAA – The Auto Club Group. He joined PRSA Tampa Bay in 2014, has served as Chair of the Sponsorship Committee, and currently serves as the 2019 Treasurer for the chapter.

  1. First news publication you read in the morning?

The Tampa Bay Times.

  1. First public relations job?

My position at AAA – The Auto Club Group in Tampa is my first and so far only job in public relations. I had the good fortune of being introduced to PRSA during my first year on the job and have grown so much as a professional, but before I entered the public relations field I spent seven years as a photojournalist.

  1. Most important career mentor, and why?

My current supervisor, Angie LaPlant, Director of Public Relations, has been pivotal to my public relations career. She took a chance on me even though I had no experience in public relations.

  1. Top grammar, style or writing pet peeve?

Burying the lead! So often I have to read through paragraphs of information to get to the meat of a story.

  1. Most rewarding accomplishment in public relations?

Earning my APR. Coming from a journalism background, I felt I needed something that attested to my proficiency in public relations.

  1. Most important skill gained through the APR process?

Gaining a better understanding of public relations from a “big picture” view. Through the APR process, I was better able to articulate my role as an adviser to senior leadership at my company and educate them on how effective public relations benefits the company.

  1. Advice to new public relations professionals?

Don’t stop learning, and network with other professionals, attend conferences, participate in webinars, read, and earn your APR. The field of public relations is constantly evolving, and PR pros must continue to educate themselves to stay competitive and competent in the field.

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

Travel blogger.

  1. Favorite vacation?

Paris is by far one of my favorite city destinations. I am planning another trip to France this year and hope to explore more of the countryside around Paris.

  1. Any three dinner guests?

Barack Obama, Jennifer Lawrence and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

With my girlfriend, Danielle Salmon, visiting St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.

Danielle and I on a trip to Glendalough Monastic City in County Wicklow, Ireland.

At the famous Cliffs of Moher, on the west coast of Ireland.

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PRSA Rings In Holidays with Toy Donation

Chapter members Makenna Imholte (left), Jessica Summers, APR, and Joseph Priest, APR, drop off this year’s donated gifts at the Metropolitan Ministries holiday tent.

By Joseph Priest, APR

Sometimes a little can mean a lot, and a lot of Tampa Bay kids will be having a little brighter holiday this year thanks to our chapter. On Dec. 10, we met at Jackson’s restaurant on Harbour Island to host our annual holiday mixer, and, continuing a tradition, the Public Service Committee held a toy drive to bring in donations for Metropolitan Ministries.

Thanks to the generosity of our members and guests, we succeeded in collecting over 20 gifts this year. We dropped them off at the Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent shortly after the mixer, just in time to help needy families looking for gifts this holiday season.

Metropolitan Ministries typically expects to serve more than 18,000 families in need for Thanksgiving and Christmas, a yearly need that our chapter has eagerly helped serve the past few years. To entice even more donations for this effort, we’ve begun adding a prize drawing to randomly award a few contributors with prizes.

In order to be eligible, members have to bring a new, unwrapped gift, which is collected with other gifts for drop-off later at Metropolitan Ministries. Each gift donated earns the contributor one ticket that is entered in a drawing for prizes, which this time included three $10 Starbucks gift cards, two $25 Amazon gift cards, and one grand prize of a $75 gift card to Jackson’s restaurant.

For this year’s mixer, this incentive helped bring in 20-plus gifts, including a variety of toys, dolls, books, and games, and gift cards.

Our gift donations begin to accumulate at the mixer. Thanks to all who contributed!

The Public Service Committee thanks everyone who participated in the toy drive and everyone who helped our chapter give back to the community earlier in the year. This included résumé review sessions with USF’s PRSSA chapter and UT’s PRSSA chapter, and a half-day of toy sorting at the Metropolitan Ministries warehouse.  

Stay tuned to the PRSA Tampa Bay website for more ways you can help us serve in 2019.

Members and guests enjoy the mixer at Jackson’s.

Chapter President Mary Margaret Hull, APR, recognizes some of the chapter’s biggest accomplishments in 2018 in another successful year for PRSA Tampa Bay.

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PRSA Tampa Bay 2019 Board Election Member Ballot

For more than 50 years, PRSA Tampa Bay has been a successful volunteer-led organization; advancing the public relations profession and its professionals. This outstanding organization would not be possible without dedicated chapter leaders. We rely on our membership to elect leaders who will contribute their professional talents to benefit PRSA Tampa Bay's membership and community.

Learn about the candidates (PDF download)

2019 Board Election Member Ballot (click here to access)

The ballot must be completed by no later than noon on Friday, Nov. 30.

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USF and UT PRSSA Chapters Link to Learn

An eager and interested audience of members from both Tampa Bay PRSSA chapters had a first-of-its-kind chance on October 25 to both meet and interact with their “crosstown” peers and benefit from real-time, real-life advice from guest speaker Haley Hinds, Fox 13 anchor/reporter.

Hosted on the University of Tampa campus with pizza and sodas generously provided by PRSA Tampa Bay, this event marked the first time that both student PR chapters have come together for a program specifically organized for them by their professional colleagues.

“Both student chapters have been doing some excellent individual programming,” said Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA, PRSA Tampa Bay’s “Students Committee” co-chair. “But I know from previous experiences in other locations where I’ve lived that these opportunities to ‘meet, mingle and learn’ are value-added benefits of the student’s PRSSA membership and can play a big part in his or her decision to convert from PRSSA to PRSA membership after graduation.”

Emilie Sears, founder and immediate past president of UT PRSSA, had this to say about the event: “We were so fortunate to hear from Haley Hinds Thursday night. She shared valuable insights that she has learned along her career journey and provided examples of how to separate yourself from other interns in the workplace, as well as what it takes to stand out to future employers. Haley is a real-life example of someone who has worked extremely hard to follow and reach her dreams. I believe the lessons she shared will help current students in their pursuits of professional communication careers. We are so thankful and honored to have had Haley as a guest speaker for our first joint-chapter PRSSA meeting. We look forward to future collaboration with USF PRSSA and similar successful key events.”

USF Vice President Matt Corrado offered his thoughts: “Haley Hinds was extremely nice and down to earth, and all of the students who attended had a chance to speak with her one on one at some point. We all listened to her wonderful stories, which were very relatable and educational for all, about her own experience as a broadcast reporter. She then opened up the floor for questions and took her time to respond to each one until the student who asked it was satisfied with the answer. Overall, the lecture and the experience were extremely helpful, and I am sure that many students, myself included, will be utilizing a lot of what she shared with us for the rest of our careers.”

Hazlett noted that plans are already in the works for other joint programming. Stay tuned for details!

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UT PRSSA's Resume Review Session Nov. 15

Help wanted! We need your expertise for a résumé review session with UT’s PRSSA Chapter so we can help future PR professionals put their best foot forward after graduation.

PRSA judges will receive student résumés in advance and evaluate them on areas such as organization, strategy and effectiveness. Then, on November 15, the judges will meet at UT to discuss their impressions with the students in person as well as offer general advice about public relations careers.

We’ll conclude the evening with a mixer with dinner, where everyone can get to know each other better. 

Please lend your expertise and join us for the review session and a light dinner.

When: Thursday, November 15, 6-9 p.m.

Location: University of Tampa, Sykes College of Business, Room 134

To volunteer as a reviewer, email Kirk Hazlett at mkhazlett@verizon.net.

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Member Spotlight: Leslie Allen

This Member Spotlight profiles Leslie Allen, who, as owner of Wildcat Communications, serves one of her major clients, Martin & Company, a Nashville-based ad agency, as the agency’s PR Director and Event Manager remotely from Tampa. She joined the chapter in 2016 and currently serves as co-chair of the committee planning the chapter’s fourth annual PRestige Awards, on Nov. 8.

1. First news publication you read in the morning?

The Wall Street Journal.

2. First public relations job?

My first public relations job was with Powell Advertising in Nashville, Tennessee, which is now called Powell Creative and today operates more as a boutique design agency. My first professional job after graduation was with The Buntin Group, the largest agency in Nashville at the time, where I worked as Creative Department Secretary and my goal was to be an award-winning copywriter. 

3. Most important career mentor, and why?

My most important career mentor has to be Zan Martin, President and founder of Martin & Company Advertising. Although I didn’t have any prior knowledge of the automotive industry, she hired me to be PR Director for some of the top automotive aftermarket companies in the industry and started me on a career path that I’m still on today.

4. Top grammar, style or writing pet peeve?

The misuse of an apostrophe to make a plural, as in “favorite’s.” A close and related second is the misuse of “it’s” for “its.” 

5. Most rewarding accomplishment in public relations?

Major events in Las Vegas for the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show that were well-attended; some large-scale productions for the Hot Rod Power Tour (which included a budget of $70,000); and several standing-room only news conferences. I feel rewarded when the client is extremely satisfied.

6. Advice to new public relations professionals?

In a tight market, you may have to work in a role indirectly related to public relations, and with each position you have to take advantage of the opportunity to gain experience that will be a stepping-stone to your next career move. Seek positions in areas that will lead to your top career goal – such as event management, copywriting or marketing – because all jobs can contribute to your knowledge of public relations in some way.  

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

Travel writer or food editor.

8. Favorite movie?

That’s hard to say. My favorite romance is Under the Tuscan Sun, and my favorite dramas include The English Patient, Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Dead Poets Society and Doctor Zhivago, which all rank almost equally.

9 Favorite vacation?

Sailing for eight days in the British Virgin Islands with my husband. The sky was unbelievably clear and the water unbelievably blue, and our 32 ft. sailboat was outfitted with everything we could have possibly needed for weeks on the water.

10. Any three dinner guests?

Cleopatra, Benjamin Franklin and Gertrude Stein.


With my family in Kingston Springs, Tennessee, my hometown, to celebrate the wedding of my son (second from left) and new daughter-in-law, along with my daughter and other son.


Having fun off-roading in Colorado with my son (left) and husband (seated beside me).


Celebrating my son’s recent graduation from USAF Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.


Gasparilla!

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UT PRSSA Vice President Recaps Tampa Bay PRSA's Ethics Program

UT PRSSA Vice President Ben Norton published an article on our chapter's Ethics Program. Kirk Hazlett, PRSA Tampa Bay ethics officer, interviewed Sandra Moscovic, director of Corporate Ethics and Compliance at TECO, about how she handles ethical issues. Read more in "Tampa Bay PRSA Hold Ethics Talk at UT."

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Join the 2019 PRSA Tampa Bay Leadership Team!

PRSA Tampa Bay has set the standard for advancing the public relations profession and its professionals for more than 50 years. Making this possible is a legacy of outstanding volunteer leaders like you. And we need your help in 2019!

Your participation as a chapter leader makes a difference to all chapter members, and it helps you to get the most out of your membership experience. Learn new skills; form lasting friendships; and contribute your professional talents to benefit PRSA Tampa Bay and our community.

We are filling positions for elected officers and also accepting nominations for our 2018 Committee Chairs.

Submit your nomination here!

Open Board positions include the following:

  • President-Elect (1)
  • Secretary (1)
  • Treasurer (1)
  • Assembly Delegate (1)
  • Board Member (1)

The nomination form for elected officers must be completed by 5 p.m. on October 19, 2018.

Open Committee Chair, Co-Chair or Vice Chair positions include:

  • Accreditation (must be accredited)
  • PRestige Awards
  • Digital Communications
  • Programs
  • Students (must be accredited)
  • Membership Retention
  • Volunteer Coordination
  • Public Service
  • Diversity
  • Independent Practitioners
  • Scholarships
  • Membership Recruitment
  • Media Roundtable
  • Professional Development Day
  • Website/Blog
  • Newsletter
  • Social Media
  • Sponsorships
  • 2019 Conference Planning
  • Assistant Treasurer

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2018 Call for Award Nominations

PRSA Tampa Bay Chapter – 2018 Call for Award Nominations

PRSA Tampa Bay is seeking your input on members that have made remarkable achievements in public relations and management practices, advancing the profession, meeting the needs of the community and strengthening our chapter. Please review the details below on each category and provide your comments on the most qualified candidates using the nomination form. Deadline for nominations is Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, at 5 p.m. Self nominations are encouraged. Please direct any questions to Awards@PRSATampaBay.org.

Deanne D. Roberts Excellence in Community Relations Award
This category recognizes a chapter member or local agency who has given pro-bono public relations support to one or more community organization 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 one year and has made outstanding contributions to chapter management and member programming.

Michael B. Manning Leadership Award
This award is presented to a chapter member who has demonstrated exceptional leadership within the chapter.

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 programming.

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. Please provide full details of the project that individual completed.

Tampa Bay Chapter Life Achievement Award
This category honors a senior chapter member who has committed his or her professional career to public relations and has achieved numerous accolades in public relations management, community relations and overall PRSA service.

Nominate someone today!

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USF PRSSA Résumé Review/Mixer - Oct. 11

Help wanted! We need your expertise for a résumé review session with USF’s PRSSA chapter so we can help future PR professionals put their best foot forward after graduation.

PRSA judges will receive student résumés in advance and evaluate them on areas such as organization, strategy and effectiveness. Then, on October 11, the judges will meet at USF to discuss their impressions with the students in person as well as offer general advice about public relations careers.

We’ll conclude the evening with a mixer with dinner, where everyone can get to know each other better. 

Please lend your expertise and join us for the review session and a light dinner.

When: Thursday, October 11, 5:45 –7:15 p.m.

Location: USF Marshall Center, 4103 Cedar Circle, Rm. 3700, Tampa FL 33620

To volunteer as a reviewer, email Kirk Hazlett at mkhazlett@verizon.net.

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