Meeting/Event Information

PRSA Professional Development Day 2018: Evolution of Public Relations in a Changing Media Landscape

August 16, 2018
8:45 AM - 3:00 PM

The Vault
611 N. Franklin St.
Tampa, FL 33602

From the crossroads of branding and public relations to creating a multicultural mindset for corporate communication, the 2018 PRSA Tampa Bay Professional Development Day will provide you with vital insights and resources to advance as practitioners.

The day features five information-packed sessions on the most pressing issues of our profession, led by some of the state’s top PR professionals. Breakfast, lunch and complimentary parking are included with registration. As one of our most popular events of the year, the program sold out in 2017. Sign up now to reserve your seat!

8:45    Breakfast & Networking
9:30    The Crossroads of Branding and Public Relations
10:45  Crisis/Issues Management
11:50  Lunch & Keynote: Digital Advertising and Paid Social
1:10    Merging Media Channels and Their Role in the Emerging Media Landscape
2:00    Creating a Multicultural Mindset for Corporate Communication
3:05    Thank you/Close

$75 PRSA Members; $85 Guests

Click here to register now

Scholarships Available for Public Relations Students:
Thanks to a special sponsorship by Tucker/Hall, Inc., a limited number of Tampa Bay PR students may attend PRSA's 2018 Professional Development Day at no cost. Apply by July 31 at

Programs & Speakers:

The Crossroads of Branding and Public Relations
Jill KermesHead of Corporate Affairs, Qurate Retail Group

Press releases, blogs, crisis statements, internal communications, investor relations – these are some of the cornerstones of today’s public relations practitioner. For companies looking to rebrand, repurpose or otherwise reinvent how their key audiences perceive their brand, product, business or purpose, PR practitioners play a vital role. From ensuring consistent messaging and identifying audiences to aligning internal stakeholders, it’s crucial that PR leaders now have a seat at the C-Suite table. Jill Kermes was part of the team that made some of the biggest changes in SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s history, and is now a part of the largest merger HSN has seen. She’ll take us through PR’s role in these efforts, and how PR and branding continue to be at the crossroads, working together to lead organizations through every significant change and event.

Jill Kermes has more than twenty years of experience helping companies, elected officials and trade associations translate and simplify strategy into action. She is head of corporateaffairs for the Qurate Retail Group, which includes QVC, HSN, zulily, Ballard Designs, Frontgate, Grandin Road, Garnet Hill and Improvements and is based in St. Petersburg.  Both as a consultant and in-house, she has helped organizations manage public perception around complex issues, including SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Volkswagen Group of America and Bridgestone/Firestone.  In addition to her corporate work, she also served as communications director for Governor Bush during his second Administration and the 2004 hurricane season.

Crisis and Issues Management Panel
Big or small, as PR and communications professionals, we’ll all be faced with a crisis scenario -- or have to deal with lingering issues -- at some point in our career. With the evolving media landscape and ever-shrinking news cycle, what’s the best approach to dealing with an incident or crisis? How do you manage a lingering issue plaguing your company when you can’t get ahead of the news cycle? And, how is all of this changing over the next several years? Our panel will look at how this critical area of PR and communications has changed in recent years, and how we should be looking to prepare as we forge ahead.

Nicole Hawker, Director of Communications, Vistra

As Director of Communications, Nicole Hawker leads internal and external communications for Vistra. She supervises team members and provides guidance and mentorship in the areas of project management, professional development and client relations. Nicole is also responsible for providing senior level communications strategy and execution to government agencies, corporations and nonprofit organizations.

Nicole has more than 17 years of professional experience in strategic communications, public affairs, crisis management and marketing. She has spent her career working for top public relations and public affairs firms in the Tampa Bay area. Her experience spans several industries, including real estate development, transportation and infrastructure, healthcare, public broadcasting, social services, legal and public broadcasting. She has worked with local, regional and national clients such as BP, General Motors, Verizon, Grow Financial, MGT of America, WUSF Public Media, U.S Customs and Border Protection, City of Albany, Kimmins Contracting, Carollo Engineers, Tampa Bay Water, Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority, Moffitt Cancer Center and Premier Community HealthCare. 

Jeanne McGuinness, SVP of Integrated Marketing Solutions, Entravision Communications

Jeanne McGuinness is a media veteran with 30 years of experience working in broadcast. Ms. McGuinness is the SVP of Integrated Marketing Solutions at Entravision Communications, who operates the #1 and #2 Spanish-language TV stations in the Tampa Bay market: Univision and UniMas. For the past seven years, Ms. McGuinness has helped Tampa Bay businesses connect with and engage the region's rapidly growing Hispanic community. Prior to her time at Entravision, Ms. McGuinness managed local, regional, and national sales teams for Sinclair Broadcast Group. Ms. McGuinness moved to the Tampa Bay region 25 years ago after a successful career in media in New York City. She is also a member of the American Marketing Association Tampa Bay Chapter. Ms. McGuinness is an animal lover and dedicates her free time to Saving Grace and Her Furry Friends Rescue.

Noah Pransky, Investigative Reporter, 10News WTSP

Noah Pransky is the investigative reporter at 10News WTSP.  His investigations have been honored with 13 Emmy Awards, five regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, and national Polk and duPont-Columbia awards. His investigations into red light camera abuses prompted safety improvements at intersections across Florida.  And his political coverage has sparked new laws both locally and in the state capital.

Prior to coming to Tampa Bay in 2009, Noah worked as a sports anchor in both North Georgia and Fort Myers, earned his degree at Boston University, and spent two years as the mascot for the Boston Red Sox. However, not all of Noah’s experiences in front of the camera have been positive - he was a contestant on Hollywood Squares in 1999. He lost. Badly. But despite the disappointment, he has since re-focused his efforts toward achieving his other lifetime goal: appearing as a puzzle on Wheel of Fortune.

Moderator: James Andrew Bowen, APR, Founder and Principal, Clearview Communications

James Andrew Bowen, APR is Principal and Senior Counsel at Clearview Communications and Public Relations Inc., a multi-disciplinary PR/Marketing firm Bowen founded in 2002. Over the course of two decades in public relations and marketing communications, James and his teams have provided public relations/media relations, presentation skills workshops, media relations seminars, crisis communications planning and critical speech delivery support for firms and executives with some of the world’s largest corporations. He served as Senior Vice President at two international marketing/advertising/public relations agencies, Ketchum Worldwide/Atlanta and Fletcher Martin Ewing, where he led the Public Affairs Teams.

A veteran of 20 years in the news media, James was a state government PIO and press secretary to an elected official. His expertise encompasses all aspects of traditional and social media, media relations, newswriting, commentaries, speech writing, public affairs, crisis communications/crisis management and reputation management.

A Tampa native, James is a Vietnam combat veteran, member of the Florida Press Association, PRSA Tampa Bay, the Rotary Club of Tampa, International Association of Business Communicators and the Tampa chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth.

****Luncheon Keynote: Digital Advertising and Paid Social****
Speaker: Wesley Donehue
, CEO and Founder, Push Digital

As the digital and social media landscape continues evolving at a dizzying pace, as communicators we’re constantly working to keep up. With the introduction of pay-to-play on channels, sponsored content, paid social, and strategic audience targeting, our jobs are getting more and more complicated. We’ll hear from an expert in the field on the current status of digital/social media, and where he thinks it’s taking us as PR and communications professionals in the next five years.

Wesley Donehue is considered one of the top Republican digital consultants in the nation. He’s the CEO of Push Digital, owner of HighGround Creative, co-owner of Frothy Beard Brewing Company and co-owner of Zombie Bob’s Pizza. Wesley has served as senior digital advisor for Senator Tom Cotton, Senator David Perdue, Senator Marco Rubio, Congressman Trey Gowdy and numerous other political candidates and organizations across the nation. He has advised many corporations on crisis communication including SeaWorld, Kmart and Sears. Most recently Wesley served as senior digital strategist for Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. When not working, you can find Wesley hanging out with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two sons, drinking at a craft brewery or training for an insane endurance event.

Merging Media Channels and Their Role in the Emerging Media Landscape 
We operate in a fully integrated world – the days of getting your updates through the evening news are long gone. So are the days of only getting it through the radio, or even social media. To be effective communicators, we need to understand how each of these channels work together to inform our integrated communications efforts. This panel discussion will explore how today’s media outlets are leveraging each of these channels to deliver information to audiences, and the important role that PR professionals play. 

Sherri Day, Communications and Grants Director, Tampa Bay Times

As Communications and Grants Director of the Tampa Bay Times, Sherri Day is responsible for internal and external communications and oversees grants administered by the Tampa Bay Times Fund, Inc.

Sherri joined the Tampa Bay Times in 2004. Based in Tampa, she covered South and Central Tampa for City Times. She later became the paper's metropolitan religion reporter and was named Brandon bureau chief in 2009. She became an assistant metro editor in Tampa in 2011 and was responsible for overseeing coverage of law enforcement, courts and breaking news. Sherri joined the editorial board in 2013. Prior to joining the Times, Sherri spent four years reporting at the New York Times, where she started as a summer intern.

Sherri graduated magna cum laude from Clark Atlanta University with a degree in mass media arts/journalism and earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. Sherri is a member of the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a public service sorority. She also serves as a Lunch Pal to a student in the Pinellas County School District.

Deidre Drewes, Integrated Marketing Solutions Consultant, Entravision Communications

Deidre Drewes is a veteran marketing and communications strategist with nearly a decade of experience working with agencies and brands at both the national and international level. After overseeing the North American marketing strategy for a London-based consumer packaged goods brand, Ms. Drewes joined the team at Entravision Communications in Tampa. Entravision is the largest publicly-traded multimedia company in the U.S. for reaching Hispanic audiences through broadcast and online platforms. At Entravision, Ms. Drewes specializes in developing Hispanic-focused communications strategies for both local and national organizations. Ms. Drewes received her M.A. in Communications from Marist College and her B.A. in Journalism and Public Relations from the State University of New York at New Paltz, where she later taught Intro to PR as an adjunct professor. Ms. Drewes is a resident of Dunedin and volunteers as the Rotary Club of Dunedin Waterside's Public Image Chair in her free time. 

Tamara Lush, Correspondent, The Associated Press

As a correspondent with The Associated Press, Tamara Lush covers Florida’s Gulf Coast, focusing on natural disasters, citrus and weird Florida news. She’s been involved in several award-winning projects during her 10 years at the AP, including stories on the Haiti earthquake and the Pulse nightclub shooting. She is also a published romance author. Tamara lives in St. Petersburg with her husband and two dogs.

Moderator: Ernest Hooper, Journalist, Tampa Bay Times

Veteran journalist Ernest Hooper currently writes weekly columns for the Tampa Bay Times while overseeing content decisions for the media outlet's three Hillsborough County regional sections. Ernest’s columns mix observations about life in Tampa Bay with political perspectives, nonprofit successes and witty observations about his wife and three kids. He may be best known for his tagline, "That's All I'm Saying." He also hosts a public affairs show, That's All I'm Saying, on WEDU, the local PBS affiliate. In addition, Ernest has served as a keynote speaker and emcee at hundreds of events throughout Tampa Bay.

Creating a Multicultural Mindset for Corporate Communication
Did you know that the Hispanic/multicultural audience is the fastest growing audience in Tampa Bay? Being a diverse, multicultural organization means more than just adding a Google Translate button to your site. Our panel will discuss how multiculturalism is woven throughout their internal and external communication plans. The panelists will address how diversity plays a role in all aspects of their corporate communication strategies, and more importantly how this is rapidly evolving as we move forward. Will mobile still be the place to reach your audience? How is diversity changing consumer media? How will digital impact how I reach these audiences? Our panel will look at today’s multicultural landscape and where they see growth in the coming years.

María Pazmiño, 
Marketing Director, Busch Gardens Tampa and Adventure Island

María Pazmiño brings over 15 years of experience in integrated marketing, public relations, multicultural marketing and corporate communications.  She has led public relations efforts in Mexico, Brazil, Latin America and key US Hispanic markets including Puerto Rico, Miami, and New York.  Maria has developed content and produced live shows for top rated US Hispanic National morning shows, including Despierta América and Un Nuevo Día. Maria has secured many in-studio appearances and live broadcasts from the parks and has served as the spokesperson during attraction openings and events. She also leads the company’s Hispanic marketing initiatives including strategic planning.

María was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador and received her communications degree from Universidad de las Américas, where she graduated first in her class and received an Academic Excellence Award. María then traveled to the United Stated to pursue her master’s degree, she obtained her Masters in Integrated Marketing and Management Communications from Florida State University, where she graduated with honors. María is fully bilingual and has a deep understanding of the US Hispanic and Latin America markets. She enjoys being outdoors, traveling around the world, and spending time with her family.

Master Police Officer Dennis Small, Hispanic Liaison Officer, Tampa Police Department

Master Police Officer Dennis Small has been with the Tampa Police Department since 2006. He served in uniform patrol until 2010, and was subsequently assigned to the training unit, where he served as a department-wide instructor. In 2011, he joined the department’s Strategic Investigations Bureau, where over the next four years, he and his unit were responsible for the agency’s response to street level and middle to upper echelon narcotics investigations.

Over the past three years as the Department’s Hispanic Liaison Officer, Dennis re-established the Police Athletic League Boxing program, which has now grown to a city-wide partnership including the Tampa Housing Authority and Tampa Parks and Recreation, affording boys and girls all over the city an opportunity to train, interact and be mentored by Tampa Police officers. Small also created the AMBASSADORS OF AMBITION program, that caters to at-risk male students from 7th to 9th grade in 20 schools throughout Tampa. Officers and undergraduate students act as mentors for the boys and conduct structured events and campus visits, exposing them to the arenas of higher academia. They learn about law enforcement and education-related topics, to inform them at an early age on how to be responsible and make wise choices on campus and in their neighborhoods. 

Dennis also conducts safety programs for Spanish speaking residents and acts as the spokesperson for all Latin media outlets. He prides himself in serving as a voice for the non-English speaking and undocumented community. 

Lesley Valentin, Organizational and Employee Strategist, Hillsborough County

Lesley Valentin is the Organizational and Employee Strategist for Hillsborough County helping to manage communications for over 5,000 employees. She has guided corporations, franchises, elected officials and non-profit organizations on communications for diverse audiences and inclusive strategies for success.

She specializes in real estate development, restaurant and hospitality, higher education, health care and government relations. As a bilingual practitioner, Lesley provides outreach to Spanish-speaking communities and works often with Latin and Hispanic media in and outside the U.S.

As communications specialist for Greystar, the country’s largest multi-family corporation, she managed internal communications during major acquisitions, developed crisis communications policies and spearheaded a media relations campaign in Mexico City to launch the corporate brand in the Mexico market.

In a previous life, Lesley owned Valentin Productions, a Latin entertainment business that brought Latin Grammy and Latin Billboard winners to Tampa for concerts. Lesley worked with companies such as Metro PCS, Verizon, Lifestyle Family Fitness, Autoway Chevrolet, Bacardi, Heineken and Presidente, connecting them to the Spanish-speaking market in the Tampa Bay area. Before becoming a business owner, Lesley was a political campaign manager for a congressional campaign in South Florida, as well as two local campaigns in Tampa.

Felicia Harvey is the Corporate Affairs Lead for Amgen’s Capability Center in Tampa responsible for directing community/corporate relations, philanthropy, internal communications, media relations and local government affairs. In her role she also established and manages Amgen Tampa’s Diversity and Engagement Councils. 

An active and engaged member of her community, Harvey is a past Tampa Bay Business Journal “30 under 30” honoree, 2013 recipient of the Champion of Education Award from the UNCF Bay Area Leadership Council and was honored as the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida’s inaugural Woman of Promise in 2013. Harvey is a member of the boards of the Florida Chamber Foundation, Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, Lions Eye Institute for Transplant & Research and the Conn Foundation. Additionally, she is a member of the Athena Society, Tampa Chapter of the Links, Inc., Tampa Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and a graduate of Leadership Tampa (2016) and Leadership St. Pete (2007).  Harvey is a graduate of Florida A&M University.

Special thanks to our Presenting Sponsor and fabulous venue: The Vault
Located in the heart of Tampa’s Downtown Arts District, The Vault is a unique and versatile venue. The historical, neo-classical building was constructed in 1919 as the Exchange National Bank. Now revitalized, the space combines elegant architecture with a contemporary feel. The 35-foot tall ceilings have been restored and show intricate medallion orientation with a second-floor mezzanine that overlooks the open gallery. Floor to ceiling window walls offer stunning views of the Tampa Bay skylines, and provide the perfect setting for your special event, wedding or corporate function. We provide receptions for up to 300 guests, and seated dinners for up to 200 guests.

Special thanks to our PRSSA Student Scholarship Sponsor: Tucker/Hall

Click here to register now.

If you have special dietary restrictions, please be sure to indicate your needs in the comments section when you register. 

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations received by 5 pm on Thursday, August 9 will be accepted without penalty. Regarding cancellations made after that date, registrations paid in advance will not be refunded.


$75.00 Member

$85.00 Guest