2021 PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund

Thanks to the generous support of our donors at the PRSA Gives Back Virtual Holiday Mixer, we were able to reinstate/renew four members! We have enough remaining in the PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund to renew/reinstate two additional members. We have reopened the application through Friday, February 12, 2021. 

The PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter recognizes that some members of the PR and communications industry have experienced great hardships due to COVID-19. We believe it is important for people who may have experienced job loss or other hardships to have opportunities to still network and connect professionally.

All applicants and recipients will be kept confidential. Two Options to Apply:

  • PRSA National offers a financial hardship plan for members who meet certain qualifications (a member of PRSA for a total of three or more years and is unemployed or temporarily disabled). This plan reduces your membership rate to $130 (from $260). PRSA Orlando Regional chapter dues are $50. If you qualify and wish to be considered for the PRSA Orlando Hardship Reinstatement Plan, please complete and send the PRSA National financial hardship plan form AND the PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund Application to Wendy J. Roundtree, APR by Friday, February 12. 
  • If you do not meet the National financial hardship plan qualifications, but your membership has lapsed and you cannot renew due to unemployment or budget cuts in response to COVID-19, complete the 2021 PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund Application and submit for consideration to Wendy J. Roundtree, APR by Friday, February 12. 

To qualify for the PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund, you must:

  1. Be a previous PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter member for at least one year;
  2. Have dropped your membership from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 or cannot afford to renew (if you are up for renewal in January or February 2021); and
  3. Demonstrate a hardship and financial need due to COVID-19.

Special consideration will be given to those who were active members of the Orlando chapter and who wish to volunteer for the chapter. The funds (national and chapter dues) will be dispersed to PRSA National directly from the Orlando Regional Chapter. 

Qualified applicants should download the application form and submit completed form to Wendy  J. Roundtree, APR, at wendyjroundtree@gmail.com by Friday, February 12. Applications will be verified.Applications must be received no later than February 12 and will be reviewed independently by another chapter to determine allocation of the funds. You will be notified within two weeks of the decision.

Click here to download the 2021 PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund Application.

President’s Letter: January 2021

Stefanie Macfarlane, APRHappy 2021! It’s finally here! Every New Year is filled with anticipation and hope, but never in recent memory has a year held so much expectation and promise. There certainly is a lot of pressure on 2021 to be a great year. And then, six days into it, we watched with horror as rioters assaulted the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to delegitimize the election of the President and Vice President of the United States.

PRSA 2021 Chair Michelle Olson, APR reminds us that there is strength in our unity and in a letter to members, encouraged us to “join together to help restore faith in our democracy, and continue to model the importance of behaving civilly, peacefully and ethically.” She also reminds us that as communicators, our profession is built on the pillars of timely, accurate and truthful information. We must continue to serve as “steady voices at a time of great imbalance.” 

Despite the upsetting scenes and attack on our democracy, there is a sense of hope and unity in bringing civil discourse back into the forefront. I am reminded of a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” 

With much uncertainty on the horizon, there is also hope and a sense of relief that at least vaccines are being distributed and that, as we move into 2021, we will see progress toward ending the pandemic and economic recovery. We also begin our year with the announcement of PRSA’s new Chief Executive Officer–Linda Thomas Brooks. We can all look forward to her leadership and vision. 

As we continue down the path of uncertainty, PRSA Orlando is committed to providing insightful programs and networking opportunities that will inspire and guide you along the way. We aim to be your spark of creativity and to light the way to your success. We plan to offer virtual programs through June, and will look to offer hybrid and in-person events, as feasible, later in the year. We also will continue to hold less formal opportunities for networking and idea sharing.

We are thrilled to be the host chapter for PRSA ICON 2021 October 17-20 at the Marriott Orlando World Center. The host chapter committee is coming together and, if you want to help us create an amazing conference, please reach out to our Host Committee Chair Jamie Floer, APR, CPRC.

Our first program of the year couldn’t be more timely: “Free Speech and the First Amendment: Can They Really Say That?” on Thursday, January 21. Be sure to register today! In February, we will celebrate Black History Month and are thrilled to offer a meaningful program focused on Unconscious Bias on Thursday, February 18. 

As we face 2021, do so with brave hearts and a willingness to be a spark that lights the way.

Stay bright!

Stefanie Macfarlane, APR
PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter President

PRSA Orlando Holiday Recipes

There’s no place like home this holiday season! Spice up your celebrations with our leadership team’s favorite recipes of the season.

  • 4-Ingredient Samoas:  You definitely deserve a cookie, so don’t miss this delicious recipe from our VP of Finance Alyssa List.From our VP of Finance Alyssa List.
  • Peanut Butter Bon-Bons: From Assembly Delegate, Lauren Leetun, APR comes with a surprise crunch.
  • Goat Cheese Log: Sweet, salty and simple — this cheesy recipe from our D&I Chair, Veronica Figueroa is full of festive flavors.
  • Saltine Cracker Toffee: Sweet and salty combine for this holiday favorite from our VP of Programming Heather Wilson.
  • Homemade Cranberry Sauce: Take your side game from canned to craveable with this homemade recipe from our Sponsorship Chair, Ellie Hodgkins.
  • Edible Cookie Dough: Make some cookies for Santa but don’t forget to treat yourself, too, with this recipe from Newsletter Chair, Jazmyn Reed.
  • Lemonade Cookies: For a sweet treat perfect for a Florida winter, check out this merry mashup from Chapter President, Rich Donley, APR.

Thank You for a Trailblazing Year; Get Ready for ICON 2021 in Orlando

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

That was my high school class motto. It resonated with me then (just a “few” years ago) as I set out into the “real world,” and it still resonates with me today as I reflect on 2020 having had the honor of serving as your chapter president.

I have worked alongside a truly amazing board of directors – a talented group of PR professionals and leaders who came together, despite adversity, to blaze new paths and leave remarkable trails. There have been highs (plenty to be thankful for) and lows (some we’d like to forget, but lessons learned for growing and improving).

But now we look forward, and I am proud to have Stefanie Macfarlane, APR, and her 2021 board, lead the chapter during this pivotal time. As the 2020 president-elect, she was a true partner, assisting me in guiding the chapter into uncharted territory. Under the leadership of Stefanie and Jamie Floer, APR, CPRC, all eyes and ears will be on Orlando as we proudly host ICON 2021, Oct. 17-19, at the Orlando World Center Marriott. Planning is already underway, and we will need your support. Stay tuned for more details.

We certainly know 2020 was not an easy year. We did see a decline in our membership, as individuals lost their jobs, companies cut back spending and PRSA membership could not be sustained. We appreciate those who managed to maintain their membership. To support those former members who were unable to maintain it because of hardship and/or financial need due to COVID-19, we created the PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund. You can donate through Dec. 10 or apply through Dec. 11.

Check out and register for our final program of 2020. All ticket sales and donations will go to the 2020 PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund Program

  • Dec. 10, 5-6:30 p.m.PRSA Gives Back Virtual Holiday Mixer. You won’t want to miss the live entertainment from National musician Stephanie Christofore. Wear your favorite holiday sweater for our Ugly Sweater contest and be ready to play some reindeer games – all for a good cause! All proceeds from the ticket sales will support the PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund, plus the Orlando Regional Chapter will match donations made to the Orlando Hardship Fund. Don’t miss this fun night where our community will come together to support one another. If you can’t join us, we encourage you to please consider donating to the fund.

Here’s to safe, healthy holidays and a more normal 2021.

Rich Donley, APR
2020 President, PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter



Don’t Forget the “B” in D&I Efforts

By: Tory Moore, PRSA Orlando VP, Administration 

Brené  Brown, a renowned professor at the University of Houston and New York Times bestselling author, reminds leaders that diversity and inclusion should consider adding an additional letter to the D&I acronym – a B, for belonging.

We feel a sense of belonging when we can show up as our true selves, bring our talents and our perspectives, be seen, know that we matter and that we’re a part of something,” Brown said at the recent Qualtrics Work Different conference. “The thing that’s very powerful about belonging is that true belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are, it invites us to be who we are.”

Brown’s research focuses on empathy, shame, and vulnerability. Often, she investigates how these elements interact within the workplace and provides leaders with a framework for cultivating a healthy workplace. She elaborates that now, more than ever, we must make room for belonging in the workplace that honors, embraces, and becomes a part of diversity and inclusion efforts.

“The special courage it takes to experience true belonging is not just about braving the wilderness,” she said. “We’re going to need to intentionally be with people who are different from us. We’re going to have to learn how to listen, have hard conversations, look for joy, share pain, and be more curious than defensive, all while seeking moments of togetherness.”

She added that to achieve true belonging, we must consider love in the workplace. While to many this may seem odd, she elaborates on love’s ability to bring care and connection to those we work with. This rings especially true in 2020, where many of our colleagues have faced difficulties during a global pandemic, an intense election and other national and worldwide challenges.

“The thing we also don’t talk about, which doesn’t make sense, is that care and connection and affection for each other is an irreducible need for people at work,” she said. “When you walk into the office, your need for care and your need for respect and your need for connection doesn’t dissipate.”

One of her strongest statements during the talk was that if leaders cannot care for the people they are leading, they should not be leading at all. A profound statement, but she explains the intrinsic need humans have for this level of connection in the workplace.

“We need to rethink how we’re taking care of ourselves, how we’re taking care of each other, how we’re taking care of our communities — we’re going to need to rethink how we’re showing up with each other,” she said.

The best news of all? All of these are teachable skills, she says. If something seems off with a coworker or employee, check-in with them. Listen. Ask questions. She reminds leaders that achieving goals and performance metrics are not mutually exclusive to genuinely caring for team members. The leaders that will succeed through these difficult times are those that will lean in and develop or improve these skills, she says.

“The leaders who are still going to be standing in five years are the leaders that don’t see them as mutually exclusive, but are completely dependent on both,” she explained.

Consider, how are you ensuring true understanding and belonging in your diversity and inclusion efforts? Where can you improve? Take one small step this week and expand on this as time goes on. The key is to get started.

2020 PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund Program


Thank you for supporting the PRSA Hardship Fund! Because of your support our chapter was able to reinstate or renew four PRSA Orlando memberships.

Applications are now closed for this program.


The PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter recognizes that some members of the PR and communications industry have experienced great hardships this year due to COVID-19. We believe it is important for people who may have experienced job loss or other hardships to have opportunities to still network and connect professionally.

The Orlando Regional Chapter will match donations made to the Orlando Hardship Fund up to three full-priced, one-year memberships ($260 + $50 chapter dues). Donations to the fund will be accepted through December 10, 2020. The total number of reinstated members will depend on the amount donated by that date. Donations will be accepted through Eventbrite as part of our regular programming, and by registrations and donations to the PRSA Gives Back Virtual Holiday Mixer fundraising event on December 10. 

Two Options to Apply:

All applicants and recipients will be kept confidential. 

  • PRSA National offers a financial hardship plan for members who meet certain qualifications (a member of PRSA for a total of three or more years and is unemployed or temporarily disabled). This plan reduces your membership rate to $130 (from $260). PRSA Orlando Regional chapter dues are $50. If you qualify and wish to be considered for the PRSA Orlando Hardship Reinstatement Plan, please complete and send the PRSA National financial hardship plan form AND the PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund Application to Wendy Roundtree, Co-VP of Membership Retention, by December 11. 
  • If you do not meet the National financial hardship plan qualifications, but your membership has lapsed and you cannot renew due to unemployment or budget cuts in response to COVID-19, complete the 2020 PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund Application and submit for consideration to Wendy J. Roundtree, APR, Co-VP of Membership Retention, by December 11. 

To qualify for the PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund, you must:

  1. Be a previous PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter member for at least one year;
  2. Have dropped your membership from March 1, 2020 through October 31, 2020 or cannot afford to renew (if you are up for renewal in November or December 2020); and
  3. Demonstrate a hardship and financial need due to COVID-19.

Special consideration will be given to those who were active members of the Orlando chapter and who wish to volunteer for the chapter. The funds (national and chapter dues) will be dispersed to PRSA National directly from the Orlando Regional Chapter. 

Qualified applicants should download the application form on the PRSA Orlando website, and submit completed form to Wendy  J. Roundtree, APR, Co-VP of Membership Retention at wendyjroundtree@gmail.com by December 11. Applications will be verified by the Co-VP of Membership Recruitment.

Applications must be received no later than December 11 and will be reviewed independently by another chapter to determine allocation of the funds. You will be notified within two weeks of the decision.

Click here to download the 2020 PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund Application. 

Getting to Know 2020 PRSA Orlando/Frank R. Stansberry Scholarship Recipient, Candice Joseph

Thanks to an endowment from PRSA Orlando, students majoring in public relations at the University of Central Florida have the opportunity to receive additional funding to assist their journey within the industry with the PRSA Orlando/Frank R. Stansberry Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Candice Joseph, a Fort Lauderdale resident expected to graduate this May.

Candace, 21, has the distinct honor of being a two-time recipient of this scholarship. We caught up with her to learn more about her future goals…

How do you plan to use your scholarship?

With this scholarship, I plan on using it toward my rent this semester.

What are your plans after college?

After college, I plan on moving to New York and working at an advertising agency. My goal is to work in advertising and eventually work in-house at a corporation. Ultimately, I plan on starting a business of my own.

Why is communication important?

Communication is important because it is a huge life skill that everyone should have, and it is how information is passed along, whether that is through people or the media.

Why do you feel that organizations such as PRSA are valuable? 

Organizations such as PRSA are very important because they offer a lot for students like me, such as workshops, networking events, and a place to gain real world experience through seasoned professionals in the local area. I believe that communication students and professionals can truly gain a lot through this organization.

What is your favorite aspect of communications and why?

My favorite aspect of communication is the relationship building because I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.

‘A Year to Forget or A Year to Learn?’ As We Faced Global Pandemic, Social Unrest, Misinformation, Disinformation, Presidential Election

We all know 2020 has certainly been anything but normal, and many of us are ready to put it behind us and move on. But, as one speaker asked at this year’s PRSA ICON, “Strategic Communications: Navigating A World Disrupted held virtually Oct. 26-29, is it “a year to forget or a year to learn?”

We can all hope to return to some normalcy but it is often the challenging, disruptive, anything-but-normal days and situations that we tend to remember the most and, many times, when we learn some important life lessons and change our future course. No doubt, we have learned a lot this year. Many PR practitioners have been thrust into leading crisis communications efforts, redefining how to communicate, reexamining diversity efforts, and reinventing themselves and the organizations they represent.

No matter what side you are on, we can all agree that misinformation and disinformation have been rampant. This was a common theme discussed at ICON 2020. It has been difficult to know what the truth is anymore. Some of the most trusted individuals, companies and media outlets have spread untruths and demonstrated bias. Some intentionally and others unintentionally.

As PR professionals, we must ensure we are not contributing to these falsehoods, but continuously asking the right questions, digging deeper, fact checking, acting as responsible advocates, providing objective counsel and being accountable. To do anything less stains our profession and what we stand for. Honesty is one of our key PRSA Code of Ethics values, which states “We adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public.” You are empowered, and obligated, to make the right decisions. Embrace these learnings from a difficult year and make a difference.

Thanks for all of those members who completed our chapter’s member survey. Your input is invaluable and will help shape future programs, communications and diversity & inclusion initiatives.

Check out and register for our upcoming virtual programs, including:

  • Member Appreciation Month – Did you miss Recharging Your Mind? You still can recharge your body and spirit. Not a member yet and want to join the fun? Join today and take advantage of the Triple Play deal (through Nov. 30).
    • Nov. 12, 5:30 p.m., Recharge Your Body with certified Yogi Julie Kohler, to experience how yoga combines physical exercises, mental meditation, and breathing techniques to strengthen the muscles and relieve stress. Get ready to move in front of your screen.
    • Nov. 18, 5:30 p.m., Recharge Your Spirit: Member Mixer. Grab your libation and join us for a fun virtual mixer. We’ve got some “Speed Meeting” secrets in store to get to know each other better, even if we can’t physically be together. Our PRSA Orlando spirit is sure to raise yours.
  • Nov. 19, 1 p.m. (networking at 12:45 p.m.) – Orlando Magic Get off the Bench. Get into the Game. Vote with Trish Wingerson, director of public relations. Learn how the Orlando Magic partnered with Vote.org to activate a multi-pronged voting initiative campaign to increase voter turnout and participation in the 2020 Census. It’s sure to be a slam dunk.
    • At the start of this program, all members will also be voting for our proposed 2021 PRSA Orlando Board Member slate.
  • Dec. 10, 5-6:30 p.m. – PRSA Gives Back Virtual Holiday Mixer fundraising event. Tickets/donations will go to the 2020 PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund Program.
  • Oct. 17-19, 2021PRSA Orlando proudly hosts ICON 2021 at the Orlando World Center Marriott. Planning is already underway, and we will need your support. Stay tuned for more details.

Here’s to a year of learnings and new beginnings!

Rich Donley, APR
2020 President, PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter

Register Now: November is Member Appreciation Month

November is Member Appreciation Month – REGISTER NOW to
RECHARGE Your Mind, Body & Spirit!

Recharge Your Mind: Improve Your Marketability Panel
Friday, Nov. 6 at 12 noon
Sharpen your personal brand with our interactive panel of experts who hire. What better time to grab your lunch and get virtual tips for marketing YOU?

Recharge Your Body
Thursday, Nov. 12 at 5:30 p.m.
Join E-RYT* and YACEP** certified Yogi Julie Kohler, to experience how yoga combines physical exercises, mental meditation, and breathing techniques to strengthen the muscles and relieve stress. GET READY TO MOVE in front of your screen!
*Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) | **Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider® (YACEP®)

Recharge Your Spirit: Member Mixer
Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 5:30 p.m.
Grab your libation and join us for a fun virtual mixer! We’ve got some “Speed Meeting” secrets in store to get to know each other better, even if we can’t physically be together. Our PRSA Orlando spirit is sure to raise yours!
RSVP details will be sent separately for each event!

Register Now!

A Time of Turbulence, Transition and Transformation

While there are still three months remaining in 2020 (I mean, who can’t wait for this year to be over?), let’s hope the turbulence, challenges and difficult conversations serve as the foundation of change for a better tomorrow.  Your chapter leadership has been embracing change to better define our vision of 2021. 

Be sure to review the nominees for our 2021 board of directors, under the leadership of 2021 Chapter President Stefanie Macfarlane, APR, who has been my right hand this year. The new board, which will transition January 1, will be presented for a member vote during the annual meeting, Nov. 19 at 1 p.m. 

While we embrace diversity and inclusion throughout the year, October is designated as Diversity & Inclusion Month. As PRSA 2020 Chair T. Garland Stansell points out in his member communications, this year “takes on extra significance and sense of purpose … our theme, Transforming the Landscape, reflects the need for us to continue broadening and strengthening our commitment to creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture throughout PRSA and the communications profession.”

See our website and blog for insights and happenings from our D&I Committee and PRSA National for a mix of Diverse Dialogues, Twitter chats, special events and more.

Keep an eye on your email this month for a comprehensive chapter member survey. We are interested in your feedback to best serve you in the coming year. The survey addresses our programs, communications and diversity & inclusion efforts. Let your voice be heard.

Check out and register for our upcoming virtual programs (some will begin 15 minutes early for networking opportunities). Programs include:

  • Oct. 8, 3-4 p.m., “Writing Your Next Chapter” Career Chat. Regardless of your situation, join us for a conversation about brushing up your personal brand. Christina Stokes, vice president and director of talent acquisition at Rubenstein in New York, will discuss the best ways to present yourself. Topics include: resume refresh; virtual networking tips; pitching yourself in a pandemic; and mental health tips during a pandemic job search.
  • Oct. 15, 8:15 a.m. (networking); 8:30 a.m. (program) – How to Amplify Your PR Campaign Through Influencer Marketing,” with foodie influencer Ricky Ly of @tastychomps, Jeanette Johnson of J’s Everyday Fashion and Wall Crawl Orlando, and moderator Yadia Suarez of IZEA. Thank you to program sponsor Orlando Health.
  • Oct. 26-29, ICON 2020, “Strategic Communications – Navigating a World Disrupted. PRSA’s digital gathering of thought leaders, industry experts and partners in communication, public relations and marketing will deliver four days of innovation, insights, ideas and inspiration.
  • Nov. 19, 1 p.m. Orlando Magic (details to come), includes annual meeting with 2021 board slate vote by membership.
  • November and December – We also have other events in the works, including a Membership Appreciation Week and our annual PRSA Gives Back. See our website and social media channels for updates.

As always, if you have any questions, feedback or needs, please be sure to reach out. Stay healthy and stay safe!

Rich Donley, APR

2020 President, PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter

A screenshot of a virtual panel discussion

Takeaways From Adweek’s Hispanic & Latin American Summit

By: Veronica Figueroa Fernandez, PRSA Orlando Diversity & Inclusion Chair

Last month Adweek brought together 12 marketing leaders from global brands together for the inaugural Hispanic & Latin American Summit, where they discussed the gap between Hispanic and Latino consumers and the small marketing budgets allotted to them, the lack of Hispanic leaders in marketing, failures to reach the community, and the vibrant diversity found within them. 

Claudia Romo Edelman, founder of We Are All Human, moderated the conversation. She stressed the importance of Hispanic professionals remaining connected to their own roots and living authentically, and referenced P&G’s Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard, who suppressed his Mexican heritage for fear of being labeled. With Hispanic Heritage Month in full swing, we wanted to share insights from these leaders on the importance of Hispanic and Latino representation in the workplace and branding.

Claudia Romo Edelman, Founder, We Are All Human

  • The time for Hispanics is now. Hispanics need to be unified, be a community, and help, support, hire and mentor each other.
  • There is a need for allyship to open doors and give the Hispanic community a platform. 
  • According to statistics shared by Claudia, Hispanics and Latin Americans make up 18 percent of the population but only make one percent of elected officials holding office, leaders in the C-suite, and entertainment. “We have to change that equation,” she said. 

Maria Winans, CMO, IBM Americas 

  • In recent months, Maria has learned that brands need to be more human, lead with empathy, and give permission to their teams to be creative in re-imagining the future.
  • She applauded IBM’s advocacy efforts in mentorship, sponsorships, and intern programs dedicated to talent in underrepresented communities. 

Steven Wolfe Pereira, CEO and founder, Encantos 

  • The Hispanic community is over-mentored and under-invested.
  • “Let’s be crystal clear. We are invisible as a community, we are not acknowledged by brands. […] This is an epidemic across every industry. They love our dollars but they do not show up for us,” he said.
  • Steven mentioned that he’s taken part in similar conversations since the late 90s. “I am over incrementalism. We need to have control over our stories, companies, and leadership,” he shared. His frustrations were what led him to start his own company.
  • To Steven, unless there is a [Hispanic or Latin American] person in a position of power and influence, not in a D&I role, there will not be any change.

Yvette Peña, VP of Multicultural Leadership, AARP

  • Yvette believes that D&I should be everyone’s responsibility, not just the responsibility of the D&I department. 

Ivan Heredia, VP of Brand Engagement and Revenue, The Walt Disney Company

  • If you’re stuck between a place where the world is moving at a quick pace but your corporate environment isn’t, Ivan recommends that employees have ‘owner mentality’ to raise their hands, especially if they are the only Hispanic or Latin American in the room, and build a case study that’ll unlock opportunities to tell more stories, drive the bottom line, and build a path to representation. 

Rosi Ajjam, VP and GM at Estee Lauder’s Aramis and Designer Fragrance Lab Series

  • When Rosi moved to the United States four years ago, she did not know how to network. Through the help of her mentors, she was able to learn how to navigate cultural and business dynamics. 
  • She encourages Hispanic and Latin American leaders to share their stories and become mentors to younger colleagues. 

Andrea Perez, Global VP and GM, Nike’s Jordan Brand 

  • Andrea stressed the importance of mentoring BIPOC and doubling down on the injustices seen in the Black community in order to help address the injustices in the Latino community. 

Susan Betts, Director of Brand Strategy and Management, Google

  • When asked if they identified as Latina because she is Brazilian she said, “There is no one flavor of Latina. We are beautifully intersectional. I can be white, blue-eyed, speak English, and still be 100 percent Latina.”
  • Part of Susan’s agreement with Google is to focus on inclusive marketing, and she shared that three years ago Google began looking at their creative and extracting data. Through the audit, they found that they made progress in increasing the representation of BIPOC in their work. However, in 2019 they learned that only 6 percent of their ads portrayed Hispanic or Latin Americans. As a company, they now know that they need to do more to represent this community through positive portrayals that actively fight stereotypes. 

Fabiola Torres, CMO and Senior VP of Energy, PepsiCo

  • Fabiola mentioned that while brands want to appeal to new audiences and appear inclusive, they often hire “experts” in the Hispanic market that develop work rooted in stereotypes. She notes that their work does not represent the culture of today. 
  • It is important to re-learn and re-educate yourself and consult people outside of your comfort zone.
  • Fabiola shared that brands need to understand that there is a difference between marketing to a U.S. Hispanic market and marketing to an audience in Latin American countries. While there are commonalities, there are things that separate the audiences and brands should take the time to gather insights from focus groups. 

Xavier Gutierrez, President and CEO, Arizona Coyotes

  • Be authentic and admit when you need help in marketing to the Hispanic community. 
  • Be unapologetic about being Latino/Latina and open to the fact that it may cause discomfort. 
  • “We need to promote and support an ownership mentality in our community, business, capital, corporate development pathway, and truly support each other in those factors.” 

If you weren’t able to make the summit, you can catch the recordings here.

Interns pose at a NASCAR event

How To Create A Diverse & Inclusive Internship Program In Your Workplace

By: Veronica Figueroa Fernandez, PRSA Orlando Diversity & Inclusion Chair

Building a diverse and inclusive company culture in the workplace has become a primary focus for many organizations, especially over the past year. Whether you’re running a well-known brand or a small business, building the right foundations for diversity and inclusion within your business should be an integral part of your diverse growth strategy. D&I college internships can be a stepping stone at building diversity within your company and can be one of the most effective ways to create meaningful change. 

Interns bring immense value to organizations, often bringing cutting-edge ideas to the table that can lead your company to success. A diverse class of interns means you’ll gain access to unique perspectives and develop an inclusive company culture. However, because internships are often unpaid, they become inaccessible to many in the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community. 

Jordan Leatherman, Diversity & Inclusion Senior Account Executive at NASCAR, recently spoke to us about her organization’s diversity internship program. Twenty years ago, NASCAR created the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program (NDIP) to create an opportunity for students of color. Over the last two decades, the program has successfully grown to be a staple within the industry with 30 students participating each summer. 

The NDIP is a 10-week paid summer internship aimed at BIPOC who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program or are considered a recent graduate. Eligible participants begin their experience with a 3-day orientation weekend centered around the NASCAR All-Star Race, and throughout the internship, they have access to weekly Lunch & Learns with industry executives, networking opportunities, and a mentorship program. 

If you’re just getting started on creating a diverse and inclusive internship program in your workplace, Jordan Leatherman has shared three tips to select candidates from different backgrounds. 

Diversify your candidate pool.

In order to hire interns who contribute to your organization’s diversity and inclusion goals, you will have to diversify your recruitment tactics. NASCAR currently works with Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and top universities through Handshake to identify candidates for internships. Handshake is a platform that connects students on college campuses with internships and entry-level jobs. NASCAR also partners with organizations like the United Negro College Fund (UNCF),  Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA), and National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) to promote the internship application. 

Leverage professional associations and organizations focused on serving diverse populations, and consider advertising in and attending events sponsored by those organizations. Niche job boards such as DiversityWorking, 70 Million Jobs, and Hirepurpose are just a small sample of how to connect with new audiences. Throughout the last 20 years, NASCAR has hired more than 20 interns from the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program for numerous roles in the organization including Brandon Thompson, VP of Diversity & Inclusion, and Kathryn Lee, Senior Manager of Marketing Activation.

Pay. Your. Interns! 

Internships are a critical component of a student’s college career, giving them a competitive advantage in the job market and an opportunity to gain experience in their desired field. However, financial barriers often prevent low-income students from pursuing and accepting unpaid internships. Students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds may need an income in order to pay for classes, their rent, or other necessities, leaving these valuable internships off the table. 

When organizations limit their internships to those who can afford them, their less affluent peers will graduate without the relevant work experience necessary to quickly land an entry-level job. “Paid internships eliminate barriers to students who would not be financially able to participate in unpaid internships. Historically unpaid internships are typically less diverse than their paid counterparts,” said Leatherman. 

Unpaid internships are a controversial topic in all industries, but with the knowledge that the public relations industry has a diversity problem, it is important to address the issue and enact change from the bottom up. In fact, the PR Council announced last year that its members pledged to pay their interns in the United States at least minimum wage in their market. The policy went into effect on January 1, 2020.

Create an environment that is inclusive and welcoming. 

Leatherman says that it is important to institute diversity and unconscious bias training within your organization prior to the start of the internships. These programs are designed to expose employees to their unconscious biases and provide tools to eliminate discriminatory behaviors and thoughts. 

Biases are formed based on experiences, things you hear, media portrayals, institutional influences, and other external factors. When faced with situations that fit into these preconceived opinions people have created, they make a number of automatic perceptions and assumptions that are often incorrect. Making D&I a part of your organizational policies and systems is key to disrupt patterns of thinking and ensure everyone, from interns to your executive leadership, is on the same page. 

As employers move toward full D&I in the workplace, they should incorporate a comprehensive definition of diversity that applies to all hiring practices, including internship programs. For more ideas on how to create an inclusive internship program, check youth.gov’s how-to guide for employers. 

September Marks Change, Ethics and Philanthropy

“Ahhh, Labor Day is upon us. Schools are back in full swing. We are reflecting on our summer vacations and travels. We are enjoying sports and the arts.” Well, that would have been remarks for a normal September — in a normal year. But as we know, nothing has been normal about 2020. The only constant is change.

Our thoughts go out to those who have persevered despite these challenges and those who continue to face adversity. Your PRSA family is here for you. They have always been there for me during the highs and lows. Please reach out if we can help support. We are truly all in this together.

September is Ethics Month, which is a reminder of the challenges we as public relations practitioners face and the responsibility we have every day with every decision we make. The PRSA Code of Ethics is a useful guide as we “carry out (our) ethical responsibilities, setting out principles that uphold core values, including advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty and fairness.” Check out this newsletter for other articles and resources, including upcoming webinars.

Be sure to register for our virtual programs (some will begin 15 minutes early for networking opportunities). Programs include:

Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Rich Donley, APR
2020 President, PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter

An group of employees have a discussion in an office meeting

How To Create An Equitable Workplace For Older Workers

By: Veronica Figueroa Fernandez, PRSA Orlando Diversity & Inclusion Chair

Nearly 2 out of 3 workers ages 45 and older have seen or experienced age discrimination on the job, according to results of a wide-ranging AARP workplace survey. More than 50 years after the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was signed into law, forbidding employment discrimination against anyone over 40 years of age in the United States, “age discrimination remains a significant and costly problem for workers, their families, and our economy.”

An investigation by ProPublica and the Urban Institute found that 56 percent of workers over the age of 50 reports that they were pushed out of their jobs by their employers before they were ready to retire. Some of the comments these employees heard include, “older workers can’t handle the day-to-day demands of the job,” and “they can’t be retrained and are too hard to manage.”

Patti Temple Rocks, author of “I’m Not Done: It’s Time To Talk About Ageism In The Workplace,” writes that ageism in the workplace produces slanted messaging and it is bad for business. She shares that the idea that workers become less valuable as they age ignores reality. “The years of experience and the confidence that comes from an expanded track record of success can make employees more effective,” she said. 

She observes that when it comes to the creative world of advertising, the belief that people get better with experience is often replaced with the belief that the only answer is innovation, making us believe that innovation can only be achieved by young people. 

What many companies do not understand is that older workers possess a depth of knowledge and experience that is worth paying for. They believe that investing in younger workers is cost-effective and less risky, when in fact according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers 45-54 stayed on the job twice as long as those 25-34, so concentrating on training those over 40 was seen as a sound investment. 

In 2019, the median age of workers in advertising, public relations, and related services was 38.5. It is no wonder that advertising is considered a “Peter Pan” industry, meaning few employees make it long enough to retire from their roles. 

Organizations that sincerely value their employees and actively encourage them to reach their full potential need to create an equitable workplace where workers of all ages feel respected. So, how does one go about that? 

Remove hidden bias from the job description.

You’ve seen the job descriptions looking for a high-energy, savvy digital native that can outline a communications strategy in their sleep. While many managers do not intend to exclude older job applicants, common phrases in job descriptions may seem that way. “Digital native” for example, may discourage qualified applicants who didn’t grow up with an iPhone attached to their hand, scrolling through different social media feeds. “High-energy,” “ninja,” and “guru” often refer to younger candidates. 

More often than not, job applications require candidates to share milestone dates and information, such as college graduation year or highest GPA achieved. This can discourage older candidates from submitting an application, giving the perception that your company is searching for younger candidates. The best and brightest should be given an opportunity, regardless of age. 

Portray a diverse public persona.

Many times, before submitting a job application, candidates will visit your website and social media profiles to see what the culture at your agency or organization is like. If you’re lucky enough to work in a diverse office, share that! Ensure that your agency’s public profile demonstrates racial diversity and generational diversity. If you’re using stock photos on your website, make sure that they portray diversity and inclusion. 

Train your management to recognize hidden biases. 

Are leaders in your organization making assumptions that older workers cannot grasp changing technology? How are you training your leadership to eliminate age assumption practices? Managers need the training to help acknowledge and remove those biases. 

Update your policies. 

In a perfect world, it would be enough to trust your employees to treat each other with respect, but that is why it is important to place policies in place and enforce them. Update your workplace harassment policies to include that your employees cannot discriminate based on age and stress that they will not tolerate unfair treatment. Additionally, if your company has the ability to, consider offering a competitive retirement incentive plan to encourage your employees to stay for the long-haul. 

Offer professional development opportunities across the board. 

Professional development should be an ongoing process throughout an individual’s career, ensuring that employees remain relevant and up to date with knowledge and skills. Like their younger colleagues, older employees will leave companies if there aren’t opportunities to continue to grow in their careers. Do you encourage your younger employees to attend industry seminars or to earn certifications but do not do the same for your older employees? There is always something new for your employees to learn. Offer training and career advancement opportunities, fair to all ages and levels. 

Do you have any tips on creating an equitable workplace for older workers? Share them with us!

How Limbitless Solutions Empowers Children & Champions Accessibility

By: Veronica Figueroa Fernandez, PRSA Orlando Diversity & Inclusion Chair

Inclusive design doesn’t mean you’re designing one thing for all people. You’re designing a diversity of ways to participate so that everyone has a sense of belonging.” – Susan Golstman 

Meaningful, inspiring storytelling and advocacy in communications play an essential role in advancing Limbitless Solutions’ mission to provide wider access to expressive and affordable 3D-printed bionic arms for children. 

Limbitless was founded in 2014 by Dr. Albert Manero and a group of students after a mother reached out to Manero for help in creating a prosthetic arm for her son. Manero and the team found an affordable alternative by using 3D-printed material and sensor stickers to be placed on the child’s skin to activate the prosthetic when muscles are flexed. Limbitless has since become a nonprofit organization based at the University of Central Florida and has enhanced the capabilities and design of their prosthetic arm. The non-profit gained notoriety after partnering with Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., to deliver a prosthetic arm to then 7-year-old Alex, who was born with a partially developed right arm. 

PRSA Orlando’s August program featured Limbitless Solutions’ President Dr. Albert Manero and Brand Director Ms. Mrudula Peddinti, who discussed the important role advocacy plays in empowering bionic kids and championing accessibility in any circumstance.

Here are some highlights:  

Approach to inclusive and accessible design: 

  • Personalization and expression are important to Limbitless Solutions who believe bionic arms are an extension of a person and should be bold, powerful, and exciting. 
  • The team at Limbitless found that the children receiving the bionic arms wanted to stand out and that by giving the children the ability to design their own arms gave them a sense of ownership and belonging. The organization noticed a change in the way children interacted with the world after receiving their bionic arm. 
  • Limbitless uses the term “bionic arms” in their branding because their recipients, “bionic kids” are all superheroes and it ties with their mission of empowerment, inclusivity and accessibility. 
  • They also created a smartphone app integration when they realized their desktop platform wasn’t as inclusive and accessible. The app helps children calibrate the bionic arms, and answers questions, among other features. 

Messaging during unprecedented times: 

  • One of the first things Limbitless did when they asked their employees to work remotely during the global pandemic was to reflect internally and place a larger focus on internal communications, as well as the mental health and sustainability of the team. 
  • When pivoting from bionic arms to supporting hospitals and first responders by creating face shields, mask extenders and a prototype for a 3D-printed ventilator, Limbitless began to release information slowly, making sure that the focus was on the bigger picture and not on their team. 
  • According to Manero, Limbitless has taken a quieter voice to listen to the community and portray a message of inclusion. He observed that there are many areas where your messaging can become a pitfall and recommends companies to listen first and then move to empathy. 

The benefits of a diverse team:

  • From 2015 to 2020, Limbitless has worked with over 165 students and faculty, representing nine UCF colleges. The spring 2020 semester saw 35 student interns focused on engineering, film, digital design, studio art, advocacy and media, game design, outreach and logistics, and computer programming. The breakdown was 60 percent female and 40 percent male. 
  • Limbitless credits its interns for many of its ideas. “They haven’t just come to the table, they’ve helped build the table.” Peddinti, who began as an intern, rebuilt the website and made it more user-friendly. Interns have contributed to arm design, launching the blog and giving the organization a social media presence, magnetization of the arms, and much more. “That’s the beauty of having a diverse set of perspectives. You get creative ideas and transform the program.”

What’s on the horizon: 

  • The organization hopes to debut an expanded Learning Lab in 2021, continue research on Project Xavier, and expand bionic arms to adults, including to veterans and first responders. 

Action items to promote inclusivity in the limb difference community and beyond: 

  • “Become aware that we are all different from each other, and that is a beautiful thing.” Instead of operating in a loss or defect mindset and asking children questions such as, “how did that happen?” or “did it hurt?” have authentic conversations that are not defect focused, such as saying, “that is so cool! How does it work?” Help children adapt to their circumstances because the lack of inclusion and acknowledgement can be isolating. 
  • In accepting that we are different, we can move beyond insensitive wording and create communication that is inclusive of our many diverse audiences. 

The August program was sponsored by Curley & Pynn Public Relations

Tips For Making Social Media Content Accessible To The Blind; Visually Impaired

By: Veronica Figueroa Fernandez, PRSA Orlando Diversity & Inclusion Chair

Last month marked 30 years since a major milestone in our nation’s history – the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law by President George H. W. Bush. In three decades we have seen how the lives of Americans have transformed, ensuring equal opportunities and access to the 61 million adults living with disabilities in the U.S. when it comes to employment, government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.

And although increasing physical accessibility has been a central focus, it is important to recognize the obstacles that remain in place, such as creating accessible and inclusive social media content for the blind and visually impaired. 

Today, our lives revolve around a constant stream of breaking news alerts, status updates, tweets, memes, images, and videos. Social media has shaped our public discourse, from allowing us to connect with loved ones to reacting to happenings around the world.

Many aspects of social media are still inaccessible for the 2.2 billion people worldwide who suffer from vision impairment or blindness, despite the best efforts of social media giants like Facebook and Twitter. Creating a social media strategy inclusive of your audience takes time and effort, so we’ve shared a few tips below to help you get started. 

How Does A Blind Person Use A Smartphone?

Despite the iPhone being accessible to the blind and visually impaired since the launch of the iPhone 3GS over a decade ago, many still do not understand how they navigate their phones. The iPhone and other Apple products use VoiceOver, a screen reader program found in the phone’s settings. Android smartphones use TalkBack.

Screen readers are assistive technology that attempts to interpret what is being displayed on the screen. In the case of an iPhone, users can touch or drag their finger around the screen, and VoiceOver will read or describe whatever the user has selected, from reading sentences to describing images and emojis. The phone even has the capability of assigning commands from a gesture. And although the iPhone has the capability of “reading” an image, if the social media manager who posted the image originally is not following best practices for social media accessibility the screen reader tends to miss a lot.

Include Alt-Text.

Screen readers describe the content, images, and charts to the blind and visually impaired using alternative text, or alt-text for short. When developing a social media strategy, marketers should keep descriptive alt-text in mind when drafting captions for future social media posts.

  • Avoid saying, “This is a picture of…” They know. Because the screen reader will automatically recognize an image, you can assume the user is aware as well. An alt-text caption of a picture, for example, could read, “My very excited one-year-old nephew and I were ready to have fun at Universal Studios Orlando and posed in front of the globe outside of the park entrance,” rather than, “This is a picture of my nephew and I outside Universal Studios Orlando.” 
  • Everyone loves a laugh. Be descriptive and don’t be afraid of using humor. 
  • Some blind and visually impaired social media users lost their vision gradually and are familiar with color, so don’t be afraid to mention it. 
  • Don’t overthink your caption! Your captions are being read by a robot, but don’t feel like you have to write like one. 
  • Screen readers read everything, so avoid using excessive emojis on your captions or alt-text. No one wants to hear, “face with tears of joy,” fifteen times in a row. 
  • Transcribe text. Screen readers won’t be able to read images such as a picture of a historical marker, plaque, chart, meme, screenshot, or GIF. Summarize what the image is showing.

How-To Add Alt-Text.

The automatic alt-text social media platforms use does not always work and will use general terms such as “food” as an automatic descriptor when you could be describing dishes such as “a succulent roasted pig, with a side of crispy Brussels sprouts in a bowl,” or “a hearty, warm chicken soup.”

The character count for alt-text varies by the social network. We’ve linked to each social network’s how-to below, but it is easy to figure out once you upload an image and choose edit or advanced editing options.

Write Your Hashtags in Camel Case.

Make your hashtags accessible by capitalizing the first letter of each word. This format is known as camel case and allows screen readers to read the words individually rather than as one long, jumbled word. #YourHashtagsShouldLookLikeThis

Color contrast.

Color contrast is important for colorblind social media users. According to W3C, the contrast between text color and background should be 4.5 to 1. Problematic color combinations include red and green, green and brown, green and blue, blue and gray, blue and purple, green and gray, and green and black.

Earlier this year Marks & Spencer, a British retailer, posted an image regarding some of their new measures in place surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. The initial image was incredibly difficult to read, but once enough of us tweeted at them, they swapped out the image for one that was easier to read.

First Version:

Second Version:

These tactics are only a small glimpse at how social media marketing can be inclusive and accessible to the blind and visually impaired. And while social media giants like Facebook have opened many doors to these users, they continue to encounter many glitches and problems with the programming and feel as if there isn’t enough manpower dedicated to addressing these issues. By making a few adjustments in your social media strategy, you are opening your brand up to a wider audience to fall in love with you. 

The original version of this blog post appeared on Laughing Samurai.

Despite Adversity, Camaraderie, Caring and Commitment Still Constant

While there still remains so much uncertainty in the world about the ongoing pandemic, reopening schools and returning to some form of normalcy, one thing for certain that hasn’t changed is our fellow PRSA members who, despite adversity, are still bringing it — the camaraderie, caring and commitment.

Whether it’s virtual monthly programs, professional development, mentoring, board meetings, virtual idea swaps, video conferencing calls, emails, milestones, job changes or award wins, we continue to see caring, counseling, communicating, consoling and celebrating. Thanks for all you do to advance the professional and profession.

Be sure to check out the winners and awards of commendation for the 2020 PRSA Sunshine District Radiance Awards Presented by Publix. Congratulations to all!

Look for our upcoming programs as we finish out the year, including:

  • August 20, 8:30 a.m., “Empowering Children, Creating Hope” featuring Limbitless Solutions. The organization’s president and its brand director will discuss how advocacy in communications and media plays an essential role in the organization’s mission to provide wider accessibility to expressive bionic arms for children. This virtual program is free for PRSA Members; $10 for non-members.
  • September – SeaWorld 
  • October – influencer marketing panel
  • November stay tuned

“See” you soon.

Rich Donley, APR
2020 President, PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter

Black and white puzzle pieces

PRSA Unveils D&I Strategy, Outlines Steps To Building Diverse Organization

By: Veronica Figueroa Fernandez, PRSA Orlando Diversity & Inclusion Chair

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, we have seen a national outcry and protests against racism, injustice and police brutality occur worldwide, calling for change. Finding words to respond to social injustice isn’t easy, but there are steps we can take to navigate these issues with sensitivity. 

At PRSA Orlando, we believe addressing diversity and inclusion, especially during this time of crisis,  has never been more important. PRSA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee recently unveiled its 2020-2022 D&I Strategic Plan and new D&I Toolkit, outlining the organization’s efforts to become more diverse and inclusive. 

The strategic plan’s four objectives lay out the framework for PRSA, and its nationwide chapters, to fulfill its mission to position the organization as a model for the communications profession:

  • Increase awareness and understanding of PRSA as a diverse and inclusive organization among its members and staff by 15% by 2023.
  • Increase diverse representation among leadership throughout all levels of PRSA by 25% by 2023.
  • Increase awareness of PRSA as a diverse and inclusive organization among external stakeholders by 15% by 2023.
  • Increase and retain the number of multicultural students in PRSSA and new multicultural professionals into PRSA by 15% by 2023.

Additionally, the organization has acknowledged the lack of diversity across its membership and leadership and has shared definitive steps they are taking today: 

Improve Diversity of Board of Directors

While the current Board is among the most diverse in the organization’s history, PRSA has asked the Governance Committee to reexamine the Bylaws and to recommend amendments that can help move barriers that have kept Board leadership out of reach for so many members, particularly members of color. 

Increase Committee Participation

PRSA plans to engage more members from diverse backgrounds, including Black members, members of color, and LGBTQ+ members, with their national committees to ensure a range of perspectives and ideas are represented. 

Expand Delegate Representation

PRSA is asking Chapter leadership to reevaluate how they choose delegates for the annual meeting of the Leadership Assembly and consider the ways in which they can bring new voices and members of underrepresented communities into the process. 

Deliver on Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Plan

The three-year D&I Strategic Plan, published earlier this year, builds on research and investments by the Board that began in 2019 calls for an expansion of tools and resources across the organization to help build an inclusive community. Additionally, PRSA published a new D&I Toolkit that provides best practices and will help accelerate success and scale our efforts throughout the organization and the industry.

Develop Programs to Further Guide New Professionals

PRSA will be launching a pilot program to support new professionals of color, expanding upon past programs established by the College of Fellows and creating a comprehensive process to build more substantive and effective relationships. The program will launch this quarter and be available to the entire membership by the end of 2020.

Strengthen Relationship With HBCUs and HSIs

Our PRSSA students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) need more advocates and resources to help bridge the gap between racial inequality and career advancement. Working closely with the faculty advisers at these institutions, PRSA will forge a deeper bond and connection with students interested in pursuing a career in communications and become a better ally to our future leaders.

Launch Training at the National and Local Levels

PRSA will provide unconscious bias training for all PRSA staff and Chapter, District & Section leadership this year and continue the instruction annually. They will also host professional development courses for all members focusing on D&I in the workplace and communicators’ roles in leading the conversation internally and externally for their organizations.

Pledge Support to Diversity Action Alliance

Along with the PRSA Foundation, PRSA is an active member of the Diversity Action Alliance (DAA) and has fully committed to the tenets of the coalition’s goals and objectives. Rooted in a mission to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the communications and public relations profession, the DAA will provide transparency into the industry’s progress and hold stakeholders accountable and ensure we’re all working toward fulfilling our commitments.

PRSA Orlando believes that a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment fosters creativity, new perspectives, innovation, and better employee performance. Our chapter first introduced the Diversity & Inclusion Board Chair three years ago, in our continued efforts to increase focus on this important issue. Since then, our chapter won a 2018 PRSA Chapter Diversity & Inclusion Award, hosted its second annual Dinner, Diversity, & Dialogue gathering, and has continued to focus on providing meaningful blog posts and programs on the topic. We stand behind PRSA’s strategic vision and efforts to diversify our industry and create long-lasting change, and will continue to work hard to meet the needs of our underrepresented members. 

We welcome suggestions from our PRSA Orlando members on how we can help communications professionals address diversity and inclusion in the profession and at large.

Please reach out to PRSA Orlando’s 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Chair, Veronica Figueroa, to continue the discussion.

Mid-Year Brings Virtual Membership Mixer, PD Sessions

It’s hard to believe it’s July already. On one hand, where has the time gone? On the other, many of you are probably already over 2020, right?

It has definitely been an interesting year for all of us, but hopefully, it has challenged you to think and act in new ways, learn additional skills and pause a bit to reflect on what is important in life.

While we may not meet in person any time soon, that hasn’t stopped your board from continuing to provide members with professional development, idea swaps, mentoring and networking opportunities. It has not stopped us from addressing diversity & inclusion challenges, having difficult conversations and taking action. It has not stopped our community from valuing PR professionals and beginning to hire again — as our Job Bank has seen an uptick in recent weeks.

Be sure to register for our upcoming events, including a virtual Member Mixer, monthly program and PD webinar: 

  • Thurs., July 9, 5:30 p.m., Member Mixer. Grab your favorite beverage, hat, sunglasses and Hawaiian shirt and join us for a free virtual hangout — tacky tourist style;
  • Thurs., July 16, 9 a.m., monthly program, “Communicating in Real-Time to Business Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” featuring Laureen Martinez, APR, Orlando Economic Partnership, discussing media relations efforts and other marketing tools the Partnership has used since the onset of COVID-19, such as webinars, podcasts and videos; and
  • Aug. 4, 11:30 a.m., webinar, for APRs interested in learning more about applying for the College of Fellows, presented by our one-and-only Geri Evans, APR, Fellow PRSA. Registration information and more details to come.

Stay tuned to the website and social channels for more details on our Fall programs.

As always, we welcome your feedback and ideas. Looking forward to “seeing you” soon. Stay healthy and safe!

Rich Donley, APR
2020 President, PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter



The Lowercase Black is a Color, Not a Person: New AP Stylebook Changes You Should Know Right Now

By Alyssa List, PRSA Orlando VP, Finance

The AP Stylebook made notable changes in its latest edition, updating its guidance on a number of relevant topics like race, gender-neutral language, and terms related to the coronavirus pandemic.  

One important change was the capitalization of Black when using it as an adjective that refers to racial, ethnic or cultural implications. The Associated Press said the decision to capitalize Black came after “more than two years of in-depth research and discussion with colleagues and respected thinkers from a diversity of backgrounds, both within and from outside the cooperative.”

On a recent Twitter #APStyleChat, AP said it is continuing to discuss whether to capitalize the term white, and if it will have any global impact. The decision will come within a month, AP said in a Twitter post.

African American is acceptable for those in the U.S, but the term is not interchangeable with Black. However, AP generally says to follow an individual’s preference, and be specific when possible.

A few other relevant changes:

  • Do not use either Black or white as a singular noun, but plural nouns are generally acceptable when clearly relevant and needed for reasons of space or sentence construction.
  • Capitalize Pride when referring to events or organizations honoring LGBTQ+ communities and on subsequent references. The new update also adds that the plus symbol (+) should only be used when it is part of a company, brand or event name. Otherwise, spell out plus.
  • In general, use terms that can apply to any gender: chair or chairperson, firefighter, busser, hero, server, etc. Avoid unfamiliar constructions. However, don’t use congressperson; use terms like U.S. representative, representative or member of Congress.
  • Without a common gender-neutral word, use the masculine noun that assumes a general word: host, actor. However, use actress when referring to awards with actress in the name.
  • Older adult or older people is preferred over senior citizens, seniors or elderly.
  • When possible, ask people how they prefer to be described when referring to a disabled person or a person with a disability.
  • COVID-19 can be referred to as the virus, but COVID-19 is the name of the disease, not the virus. The virus is named SARS-CoV-2. Do not shorten to COVID, even in headlines, unless part of a quote. Also, do not refer to coronavirus without the article “the.”
  • Avoid the term pathogen. Use virus, bacteria, germs or bugs.

And equally important, I will end with an unchanged rule that is a pet peeve of mine if not used correctly: The period and the comma always go within the quotation marks.

Please refer to the latest AP Stylebook for additional nuances and updates. PRSA members receive a 20% discount on one single-user subscription to the AP stylebook Online. Go here for details.

The City of Orlando Leads The Way in LGBTQ+ Inclusion

By: Veronica Figueroa Fernandez, PRSA Orlando Diversity & Inclusion Chair

Last year was a banner year for the LGBTQ+ community in the city of Orlando and throughout Central Florida. Not only did Orlando receive a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, a nationwide evaluation of equality in municipal laws, but Orange County adopted the city of Orlando’s resolution to better integrate with certified LGBTQ-owned businesses in Central Florida. 

For Orlando, showing its support to the LGBTQ+ community is not just an act of civic responsibility. According to Felipe Sousa Matos Rodriguez, Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Senior Specialist for the City of Orlando, supporting LGBTQ-owned businesses is an important economic development strategy. 

“The City of Orlando is a city for everyone and we are proud of our diversity. [The LGBTQ+ community] is the backbone of our economic growth,” he said. “The goal of our diversity program is to support minority, women, and now LGBTQ-owned businesses by giving them educational opportunities and exposure to potential contracts.”

With this resolution, Orlando recognizes the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s certification process which certifies that LGBTQ+ individuals own at least 51 percent of a business, tracks the city’s contracts and spending with certified LGBTQ-owned businesses, and commits to increased outreach with the Pride Chamber, Orlando’s local chapter of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. 

“Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the Orlando City Council truly believe in making sure that our residents have equal opportunity to thrive in our city,” Rodriguez added. “This is yet another clear example of how the City Beautiful leads the way in Florida. Our message to LGBTQ+ business owners is simple – the City of Orlando wants to do business with you.” 

Cities across the nation have given underrepresented minority groups an opportunity to land public contracts. Now there is an effort to include LGBTQ-owned businesses in that process. Felipe Sousa Matos Rodriguez shared with us the value of becoming an LGBTQ-certified business in Orlando and marketing tips for businesses and their allies. 

What are the benefits of becoming a certified LGBTQ+ business owner? 

Felipe: “The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce offers a network of over 200 corporate and government partners seeking to do business with LGBTQ-owned businesses. They also have more than 1,000 certified businesses ranging from technology to professional services and newly-certified businesses will have full access to this incredible network. Additionally, the LGBTQ+ community spends $917 billion annually, and 75% of these individuals are likely to buy brands that are LGBTQ+ inclusive. The certification can lead to greater business exposure and greater appeal to consumers looking to spend money on businesses known for welcoming and inclusive nature.”

How many LGBTQ+ owned businesses does the city of Orlando have? What industries are represented? 

Felipe: “As we are only able to track the businesses that choose to get certified, we don’t have a definitive number of how many LGBTQ-owned businesses there are. We estimate that there are hundreds in Orlando and the surrounding area, if not more. Businesses who get certified are usually business-to-business because of the benefits involved, and a majority of our local LGBTQ-owned businesses are directed to consumers. Some of the industries represented are hospitality, professional services, technology, construction, and real estate, to name a few. 

Whether they make delicious treats like the ones sold at Se7en Bites or provide incredible event pictures like the ones taken by J.D. Casto Photography, our LGBTQ+ community is thriving with innovation. We encourage all LGBTQ+ owners to get certified. Our local Pride Chamber is happy to help anyone interested in the process.”

What are your best marketing tips for businesses that want to identify as LGBTQ-owned or friendly? 

Felipe: “The typical LGBTQ+ consumer is very engaged and they never forget positive inclusionary steps taken by large corporations or small businesses. Businesses seeking to attract them as patrons should consider financially supporting local LGBTQ+ nonprofits, sponsoring LGBTQ+ events, and placing ads in their local LGBTQ+ publications. Other steps could include using symbols such as the rainbow and transgender flags inside their business and creating nondiscrimination policies to protect their LGBTQ+ employees from workplace discrimination.”

What does Pride mean to you? 

Felipe: “As an immigrant and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, there is never a day that goes by that I don’t reflect on the meaning of ‘pride.’ When I first came out my mother did not accept me and when I moved to the United States, I learned firsthand the obstacles faced by immigrants. These experiences shaped who I am today and I believe they made me stronger. I am grounded in our long history as a community and our fight for equal rights. Pride is not just a month of the year; it is our collective commitment to continue working towards a world where children won’t have to experience discrimination or family rejection. We come from a long line of leaders who fought before us. It is our duty to continue their legacy. Pride is walking in our neighborhoods, holding our loved one’s hand and hoping that one day that won’t be a sign of courage, but simply a display of love. I chose to work under the visionary leadership of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Commissioner Patty Sheehan because they truly believe in inclusion. They have never shied away from doing the right thing for our community, even when it wasn’t popular. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity and we are working hard to make sure our LGBTQ+ residents have a voice in their local government.”

Orlando’s inclusive policies date back to the 1973 non-discrimination ordinance. Since then, it has been at the forefront of LGBTQ+ inclusion. The city became the first government agency in Central Florida to create a domestic partnership registry in 2011; enforced City and Federal laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations; supported multiple local LGBTQ+ organizations such as the Zebra Coalition and the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida; created programs in support of LGTBQ+ youth; and provided resources for those affected by the Pulse tragedy; among many other initiatives, you can learn about here

Through their inclusive efforts, Orlando has paved the way in advancing LGBTQ+ acceptance and, in turn, has attracted new businesses to the area and helped their bottom line. PRSA Orlando has a deep commitment to diversity and inclusion, and we believe that efforts such as the ones taken by the City of Orlando are essential to creating a thriving culture of belonging. 

President’s Letter: June 2020

Pandemic, Protests and Public Relations

As a global pandemic continues to impact us and we begin to show some 

signs of recovery, we have yet to recover from what divides us. We have seen peaceful protests and calls for change, as well as unrest, grip our nation in the past week. Some very close to home.

I do not pretend to know what it is like, but I do hope for peace. Forgiveness. Resolution. 

I do not pretend to know the answers, but I do know as public relations practitioners we know the power of communication — written, verbal and non-verbal. But not communication just to talk, but to listen, to understand. We need to be open. Raw. Honest. And we need to take action. 

We hear the pleas for justice and we cannot be silent. We need to communicate. Embrace our differences. Champion diversity, inclusion, equity, and equality regardless of thought, cultures, disciplines, ideals, gender, disabilities, sexual orientation and age.

PRSA Orlando proudly stands united with our Black members, colleagues and friends. Communicators — let’s do what we do and make a difference. Together. Change the world for now and for future generations. It begins with you. With me.

PRSA Chair T. Garland Stansell, APR, challenges us in his letter to members that although “communicators cannot single-handedly change the tide in our country, we can be a conduit to lead others to acknowledge the importance of using their voices in constructive ways — ways that help to move us through these troubling times and beyond to become better individually and as a society.” 

We are challenged to use our voices to stand for those who are hurt and frustrated. Now, more than ever, we also need to listen to those voices to help guide us in our action so that we may continue to further diversity, inclusion and civility in our organization.

We’re still in conversation as a board to figure out the best way to support, and we welcome feedback from our members. Please reach out if you would like to share ways in which our organization can serve. 

Rich Donley, APR
2020 President, PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter

Key Takeaways From Adweek’s Diversity & Inclusion Summit

By: Veronica Figueroa Fernandez, PRSA Orlando Diversity & Inclusion Chair

Adweek’s inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Summit, brought thirteen chief marketing officers and brand leaders from top global organizations together for a virtual event to discuss how diversity, inclusion, equality and equity are growth drivers across all business sectors. 

Diversity and inclusion in business and marketing are often pushed to the sidelines during times of crisis, such as the coronavirus pandemic, but these brand leaders agreed that now is the time to double down on those efforts and find ways to creatively and meaningfully engage with underrepresented communities. 

Continue reading to see how some of the featured speakers at the summit are creating more inclusive workplaces and navigating D&I in their business and marketing strategies, and the takeaways you can incorporate into your own practices. 

Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at P&G

Marc’s thoughts on the COVID-19 crisis: 

“During these times of crisis, diversity and inclusion, and equality in general, take a step back. The people who have been historically discriminated against tend to suffer disproportionately. What is distressing about it is that the very people who are marginalized are those working in the frontlines, such as women, African Americans, Hispanic Americas, Asian Pacific Americans, LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities.”

Marc’s thoughts on implementing D&I in business and marketing: 

“Don’t wait for anybody. If you’re not doing multicultural marketing in the US, you’re not doing marketing. Get your company to embrace D&I. If they don’t, leave.”

How P&G has taken action: 

“We recognized very quickly that many groups of people did not have access to the most basic of products, so we pivoted our annual relief efforts to COVID-19 relief efforts to make sure that we were supplying families in need, focusing on the hardest hit communities.”

Key Actions You and Your Company Can Take:

  • Refuse to snap back to what and who is familiar, and instead step forward on equality and inclusion.
  • Restart equal. Hire equal. Pay equal. Share equal.
  • Join forces to be a force for good. Don’t admire the problem, shine the light on it.

Antonio Lucio, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Facebook

Antonio’s thoughts on the COVID-19 crisis: 

“We need to make sure that diversity and inclusion isn’t one of the casualties of this pandemic. There is a need to accelerate progress, and I am worried that things will go back to square one, which will not work moving forward. The business case has proven time and time again that diverse teams perform better, and as roles continue to be cut or furloughed, we need to keep diversity and inclusion at the forefront.”

Antonio’s thoughts on implementing D&I in business and marketing: 

“Everyone likes to talk about the nice part of D&I, but it is hard. It is supposed to be hard. When you have a diverse group of people bringing different experiences, it is going to create some friction, but unless you’re willing to look at someone in the eye and accept the fact that their thinking is going to make your campaign better and move the company forward, then talking about D&I means nothing.”

How Facebook has taken action: 

From the beginning of the global health crisis, Facebook has been supporting the global health community’s work to keep people safe and informed by providing factual information in all six United Nations languages (English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish), among other efforts.

Key Actions You and Your Company Can Take:

  • Stay vigilant and address inequality head on.
  • Keep measuring your progress.
  • Take action.

Diego Scotti, Chief Marketing Officer at Verizon

Diego’s thoughts on implementing D&I in business and marketing: 

“Cannes was cancelled this year, and when the organizers put out their statement, they said that the creative community wouldn’t be able to put forward the work that would set the benchmark because of the circumstances. I would say that many brands are putting out some of the most meaningful, purpose-driven and diverse work at this time.”

How Verizon has taken action: 

“We are very focused on Pride month, but this year the parades won’t be there. We decided to launch a virtual campaign in June called “Voices of Pride,” that’ll amplify and promote the stories of that community.”

Additionally, Scotti touched on adfellows, a diverse and inclusive fellowship program created by Verizon designed to help individuals break into marketing and advertising. “Bringing all of these voices together to tell their stories… is the best way that we can keep moving forward.”

Key Actions You and Your Company Can Take:

  • Collaborate.
  • Help each other.
  • Champion outside-the-box thinking.

Claudia Romo Edelman, Founder of We Are All Human

Claudia’s thoughts on implementing D&I in business and marketing: 

“The Hispanic community is disproportionately affected and equipped. Many of them do not have enough information on the coronavirus pandemic because it is not being correctly translated or it is not reaching them. Now is not the time to stop engaging with this market. This is the time in which you have to increase representation in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes, and let us know that you see us. The Hispanic community is loyal and they want to see you champion and invest in their community.”

How We Are All Human has taken action: 

We Are All Human’s Hispanic Star Response & Recovery Plan has provided a resource directory and a marketplace for talent and services during the pandemic. They, along with their corporate partners, have also provided necessary resources such as food and routers to underserved communities.

Key Actions You and Your Company Can Take:

  • Maintain or increase your ad spend in the Hispanic market.
  • Support Hispanics as employees, consumers, and community.
  • Hire, promote, retain and celebrate Hispanics within your workplace.

Cynthia Chen, GM and President of Consumer Health at RB

Cynthia’s thoughts on the COVID-19 crisis: 

“There has been a lot of stigma toward the Asian community. When you think about the United States, the word ‘united’ stands out, but it has felt very divisive. It is 2020, and this is not acceptable. What our leaders say has a huge impact on their audience, and as a brand we have the unique responsibility to spread the truth.”

Key Actions You and Your Company Can Take:

  • Involve the community.
  • Build coalitions beyond Asian Americans.
  • Provide utility – empathy is not sufficient, utility is critical. It is about the lives and livelihoods of our people.

Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO at GLAAD

Sarah’s thoughts on implementing D&I in business and marketing: 

“Include LGBTQ+ people in your ads because it really does move the needle and drive acceptance and policy that supports that community.”

“When you market to a marginalized community, make sure that your company understands D&I and that there is an inclusive culture in your organization. You are not just marketing, you are joining a movement and that means more than putting a rainbow on a product. That means that we need you to stand up for us, and we will expect you to do so. There are going to be missteps. Don’t let fear stop you. The most important thing is the intention, that you’re looking to embrace and engage with a marginalized community, not just make a dollar from them.”

Key Actions You and Your Company Can Take:

  • Don’t just market to our community. Join our movement.
  • When done right, LGBTQ+ inclusion in ads is good for your bottom line and can also advance LGBTQ+ acceptance.
  • Ensure trusted experts from the community are brought in on your ad or campaign.

Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient

Marc’s thoughts on the COVID-19 crisis: 

“One of the things that is very clear is that today, in this moment of crisis, D&I and equality for all is a business imperative. We are seeing the gender and racial gaps widen, and if we don’t activate change consciously we will widen the gap. This is our opportunity to get rid of junk and bring forward the positives. Look at the things during this crisis that have led to creativity and equity. Let’s not rewrite history, let’s create our future together. Shut that door and bring open a new one in advancing women and equality.”

Key Actions You and Your Company Can Take:

  • Create metrics that matter and hold yourself accountable.
  • Ensure you are not only filling your pipeline with diversity, but are also mapping the pathway for success.
  • Life stage accommodations to ensure you attract and retain the best talent, not just the available talent.

Bozoma Saint John, Chief Marketing Officer at William Morris Endeavor

Marc’s thoughts on current events: 

“What are we doing? Are we going to keep having these nice conversations about diversity and inclusion and expect something to change? We need to ensure that this conversation doesn’t stop with hashtags.”

“I challenge us to be uncomfortable having the conversation. Don’t sit by—when you’re quiet your silence is a weapon too. We can’t have nice conversations anymore. I want everyone to be enraged like I am enraged. I am an angry black woman today—and I want you to be too.”

Key Actions You and Your Company Can Take:

  • Be enraged.
  • Be enraged.
  • Be enraged.

Stephanie Buscemi, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Salesforce

Stephanie’s thoughts on implementing D&I in business and marketing: 

“Business is a platform for change. Businesses have a responsibility to give back and create change.”

“Instead of creating a separate team that audits things for inclusivity, it’s in the DNA of the company.”

“Tell the stories of underrepresented communities. You cannot be what you cannot see.”

How Salesforce has taken action: 

In 2014, Salesforce launched Trailhead, a series of free online tutorials that coach beginner and intermediate developers who need to learn how to code for the Salesforce platform, with the goal of driving the creation of nearly 3.3 million new jobs by 2022. Through Trailhead, Salesforce hopes to attract more women and minorities and other diverse audiences to the software world.

Key Actions You and Your Company Can Take:

  • Amplify diverse stories and hear across your community.
  • Scale globally, while providing your community with the tools to mount their own local campaigns.
  • Educate your entire organization on the need for deeper structural changes that value all of us.

Jason White, Chief Marketing Officer at Curaleaf

Jason’s thoughts on implementing D&I in business and marketing: 

“The cannabis industry has been built on the backs of people in jail, and as the industry flourishes, a lot of these folk are not allowed to participate. There is a stigma attached to this industry that needs to change. How do we allow people to participate in this industry and honor the communities and the people who have been marginalized?”

“If we’re going to be part of change, we have to make it part of our business model.”

Key Actions You and Your Company Can Take:

  • Send a message – hold recruiters accountable for DE&I (diversity, equity & inclusion).
  • Shine a light – invite us to the community of normalcy, while requiring the same accountability and transparency.
  • Change the narrative – encourage careers in cannabis and don’t perpetuate the cannabis stigma.

If you weren’t able to make the summit, you can catch the recordings here. The original and extended version of this blog post appeared on Laughing Samurai

Afternoon Coffee Break Idea Swap Recap

We held our second “Coffee Break Idea Swap” on Tuesday, May 12, 2020. We had nearly 20 members on the virtual meeting and discussed a variety of topics. Here’s a summary of what was covered.

Media Relations 

Question: What advice do you have for explaining to the CEO that some stories are still media worthy during this COVID-19 era? 

  • The media is hungry for feel-good and community stories to counteract negative headlines. An example is the success Joe Culotta has had highlighting volunteers during this time with their virtual luminary campaign
  • Continue to use tried and true techniques—regular pitching works if it is timely. 
  • Newsrooms were already slim, but are now even more so. Remember to let your newsroom contacts know you understand their needs (and pain) and become a resource to help them better do their job. One way to do so is to pitch relevant topics or tailor your pitch to current issues. 
  • Keep in mind, many papers are furloughing or significantly reducing hours, so some reporters may not be working a regular schedule. Timeliness is key and have source availability ready when you pitch so you can schedule interviews on the spot.
  • Because they are already stretched so thin, when you pitch a story to a journalist or broadcast outlet make sure to provide video and image assets. 
  • Monitor what is happening and build trust with your CEO (and external clients). “Be the umbilical cord for the client” and feed them the types of stories that are being covered and what types of stories would be appropriate for the corporation or client.  
  • When communicating during a crisis, you need to have options for different scenarios and situations because things change quickly, so don’t rely on one scenario and be ready to update your pitch based on the latest information. 
  • While email is still the preferred method for reaching journalists and many agree that it has been successful, social media is another tool to reach out to media contacts. Many are overwhelmed with email or aren’t getting calls to their office numbers, so social media is a great way to build a relationship with media contacts. One great tool is Twitter Messaging. Facebook Groups is another tool to look for building relationships with media contacts. Reporters are on social media as much as the rest of us and picking up their ideas there, too. One practitioner has had success reaching journalists through discussion threads on mommy groups and another posted content in three or four “farm to table” Facebook groups which popped up as a result of the media. 

Webinar Marketing

Questions: What advice do practitioners have for marketing webinars to key audiences and charging for them?  Rosen College is offering a webinar to alumni, but wondering if it makes sense to broaden the audience? What are others charging for webinars? 

  • Depending on the purpose of the webinar, if it is for retraining, then focusing on offering to alumni for free is an excellent benefit to alumni who may be in need right now. If it is meant for branding or lead generation, it might be good to open it up to a wider audience of potential students. 
  • Consider charging for non-alumni or non-members and consider giving discounts to target groups. 

Working from Home Tips

  • Block the bottom of glass doors so your dog doesn’t bark whenever somebody walks or drives by.
  • When doing phone meetings, consider taking a walk. Some have found walking meetings very helpful. 
  • Take a break at lunch and get some fresh air!
  • Don’t neglect your self-care. Work out, spend time with your family, eat well. Find your simple joys. It’s too easy to become “on” 24/7 right now, working before sun up and well past sundown… but don’t.
  • Build in some discipline to leave your phone and computer behind after the work day, get enough sleep. Take care of yourself, go outside and walk with your dog.
  • Be intentional about when to turn on and off; when your priorities aren’t in order everything suffers. 
  • Manage expectations of your family, bosses and clients. Be sure to let them all know when you are available… and when you aren’t. Set up some boundaries and let your colleague know that you will be unavailable after a certain time. 

Job Search Support

  • Check PRSA Orlando job board and PRSA National JobCenter.
  • Keep networking. 
  • Stay as flexible as you can, if that means you sidestep into a job that isn’t QUITE PR, or take advantage of this time to update your resume, learn some new technology and fill in the blanks with things you haven’t had time to do. 
  • Consider writing some articles on LinkedIn to be top of mind. Recruiters are still  very active on LinkedIn right now and your keywords will help their search. 
  • UCF is offering a few free basic classes right now – like “creating WordPress sites” that could help add to your skillset.
  • Create a website and/or blog showcasing your work and writing.

Internal Communications/Transitioning Back to the Office

Question: How are others managing internal COVID-19 communications when we are getting mixed messages from political leaders and scientists? What does going back to work look like (provide face masks, hand sanitizer, what’s crossing the line)? And, we have to consider the environment where kids are not going back to school and don’t have access to summer camps…

  • The biggest challenge is making sure our workspace is safe and avoid lawsuits in the future. When is or isn’t it safe to come back to work and can employees continue to work from home if they wish? 
  • Twitter announced they’re allowing their team members to work from home forever! Well, the employees that are able to do their jobs remotely. Which really helps with parents with kids who aren’t in school. Perhaps this will influence many other companies. 
  • Stefanie Macfarlane, who works with attorneys at RumbergerKirk, noted that there are protections for workers with health conditions and parents who lack childcare that those employees can be accommodated to work from home, or in cases where they cannot, qualify for unemployment, but if an employee refuses to go back to work because they are afraid, they may lose their job. According to Employment and Labor Attorney Linda Bond Edwards, “Most importantly, workplaces should pay particular attention to guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Department of Labor and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other entities that regulate workplace issues. The EEOC has prepared a question and answer document (“What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws”) that answers most employer questions.

The Importance Of Translating & Transcreating Your Marketing Campaigns

By: Veronica Figueroa Fernandez, PRSA Orlando Diversity & Inclusion Chair

We live in a globalized society, and while it feels like we are all interconnected, it is easy to forget that cultures and traditions vary from place to place. When developing a multicultural marketing strategy, it is important to have content properly adapted into the language being used in the target markets because content that resonates with readers in one market may miss the mark in another. 

Spanish is the second most common language in the United States, with around 20 percent of the population in Florida speaking Spanish at home. That is an estimated three million people. After Spanish, Haitian Creole is the third most commonly spoken language in the state of Florida. The United States has a growing Hispanic population of more than 59 million people who are projected to reach a collective buying power of $1.7 trillion in 2020. Investing in quality translations for marketing to the U.S. Hispanic market is not just smart; it makes good business sense. Do you really want to leave that much of the population untouched by your messaging? 

Poor translations can hurt your business and can potentially hurt the integrity of your brand, or cause a loss of revenue. In 2009, HSBC Bank invested millions of dollars in an advertising campaign in which they translated their tagline “Assume nothing” in their target countries. However, the translation came across as “Do Nothing,” and it cost HSBC $10 million to fix the issue. They eventually changed their slogan to “The World’s Private Bank.” 

Avoid Machine Translation

While services such as Google Translate and Babel Fish are easy and simple to use, their results are often inaccurate. Sure, using the service while on an overseas adventure might help you have a simple conversation with someone, but because machine translation is literal, it translates text without applying any human intelligence to the translation. For many marketers on a budget, Google Translate is an attractive translation tool because there isn’t a cost attached to use it. And while machine translation can save you money upfront, the resulting lack of engagement on campaigns and social media posts with potential and existing customers coupled with the drops in conversion creates a false economy.

Your audience can tell you’ve used Google Translate. According to an analysis by Politico in early 2019, every Democratic candidate for U.S. president had significant spelling mistakes on their Spanish websites and some of the pages even read as if they were directly plugged into Google Translate. Despite their good intentions to represent and resonate with the Latino electorate, the errors produced the opposite effect, prompting Spanish speakers to question how seriously the candidates were vying for their vote. 

Know Your Audience and Their Culture

When translating content, it is important to understand your audience, their values and their culture. As an example, there will be distinct variations in vocabulary and speech between Spanish-speaking countries. Because there are about 10 major Spanish dialects, and that Spanish is the main language spoken in 20 sovereign states, one territory, and a common language in the U.S., messaging tailored to a Mexican audience might not necessarily make sense to a Puerto Rican or a U.S. Hispanic market. It is crucial to your campaign’s success to knowing exactly who you are producing the translation for. 

Translate VS. Transcreate

Very often, marketers use the words “translate” and “transcreate” interchangeably, and while both are common language service options, there is a subtle variation between the terms. Rather than a word-for-word translation, some of your marketing campaigns will need transcreation – the adaption of content while maintaining the existing tone, intent, essence and style of the original message to resonate with the intended international audience. In order for your campaign to find success, it must be tackled by a linguist who can inject their own creativity, authenticity, and cultural knowledge.

Increasing your sales strategically through transcreated content and campaigns can drive brand recognition in new markets. Back in the 1980s, car manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors launched the Mitsubishi Pajero SUV, named after the Pampas cat, but it had to swiftly change the name of the model to the less suggestive Mitsubishi Montero for Spanish-speaking markets. 

When introducing urBeats to the French market, headphone manufacturer Beats by Dre hired a translation service to develop a French slogan for the product. The literal translation of its English slogan, “Made to take a beating,” did not make sense to French consumers. The team came up with the slogan, “Conçus pour résister à tous les tempos” (“Made to resist all tempos”), a play on the French phrase, “Conçus pour résister à tous les temps” (“Made to resist all weather conditions”), which resonated with the market. 

Final Thoughts

At the simplest level, businesses and brands taking educated risks are often the ones attracting the attention and resonating with a wider audience. Whether you’re looking to translate or transcreate an upcoming marketing campaign, keep in mind the tips discussed and remember that being daring and creative can play an important part in your multicultural marketing strategy. If adapting your content to Spanish or another language is not something you have the ability to do in-house, please visit our chapter directory on the MyPRSA portal to connect with local agencies with those capabilities. 

Resources for COVID-19

As COVID-19 presents new challenges for communication professionals, we have compiled a collection of local and national resources to assist during this time. This collection includes online learning tools, informative research and communications tips. 

News and Updates: 

Free On-Demand Webinars: 

Virtual Events and Live Webinars: 

Articles and More: 

You can also find helpful resources on PRSA’s Crisis Communications Resources page.

Zoom meeting featuring the 2021 PRSA Orlando Board

PRSA Orlando 2021 Board of Directors

We’re excited to share the 2021 PRSA Orlando Board of Directors was unanimously confirmed during our annual meeting on Nov. 19 and will serve for the 2021 termJanuary 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021.

2021 Board of Directors:

  • President: Stefanie Macfarlane, APR
  • President-Elect: Wendy J. Roundtree, APR
  • Immediate Past President: Rich Donley, APR
  • VP, Finance/Treasurer: Carter Flynn
  • Assistant Treasurer: Ellie Hodgkins
  • VP, Administration: Tory Moore
  • Co-VP, Programs: Laura Lord-Blackwell, APR
  • Co-VP, Programs: Mimi Flatley, APR
  • Co-VP, Accreditation: Kelda Senior, APR
  • Co-VP, Accreditation: Ann Marie Varga, APR
  • Co-VP, Membership: Kelly Ferris
  • Co-VP, Membership: Heather Wilson
  • VP, Communications: Jazmyn Reed
  • Social Media Chair: Kimberly Devitt
  • Website Chair: Laura Kern, APR
  • Diversity & Inclusion Chair: Veronica Figueroa
  • Scholarship/Student Relations Chair: Jaylen Christie
  • Sponsorship Chair: Alyssa List
  • Assembly Delegate: Heather Keroes, APR
  • Assembly Delegate: Wendy Roundtree, APR
  • Assembly Delegate: Lauren Leetun, APR