Happy New Year and New Decade!

I am honored to serve as your 2020 PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter president and to be surrounded by an exemplary board of directors who are focused on continuing to deliver quality professional development and networking opportunities for our members and anyone in the public relations/communications fields.

There’s something for everyone to discover, participate in and build your personal and company brand — from attending programs, conferences, webinars and mixers to earning your APR and Fellow PRSA, from volunteering on a committee and giving back to becoming a sponsor (limited opportunities still available).

Our first program of the year, “Social Engineering and Cybersecurity: Cautionary Tales to Mitigate Risk,” featured guest speaker Christophe Réglat, one of the nation’s leading cybersecurity experts and an advisor to the FBI. He opened our eyes to the potential PR crisis and what we can do to help mitigate it. As one attendee put it, “It’s a lot easier to get hacked than I EVER thought, thanks to humans and not firewall breaches, etc! Pretty scary, if you ask me!” If you missed it, check out Eleven Cybersecurity Tips to Protect Your Organization courtesy of our January program sponsor, Bisbee and Company.

Our next event, “Strategic Communications on a Shoestring Budget,” is Feb. 6, learn more and register here. The program is presented by PRSA Orlando, the local chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) and in celebration of AD X Orlando – The Intersection of Business and Creativity. Communicators from nonprofits Second Harvest Food Bank and the American Cancer Society will offer insight into the traditional and digital media tactics that have elevated their campaigns at no or low cost.

Look for us to continue bringing relevant topics like these to the forefront and provide the experts to address them. If you have topics or speakers you are interested in hearing from, want to join a committee or have ideas for our chapter, please contact me rdonley@mccicorp.com.

Rich Donley, APR
2020 President, PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter

Demystifying the College of Fellows

Serving as the crisis communication leader during the largest art heist in the world, interviewing President Reagan (on two hours’ notice), conducting media training for professional football players– all of these are part of special stories of the extraordinary professionals who make up the PRSA College of Fellows.

PRSA’s International Conference in 2021 will be held in Orlando.  Imagine what it would be like for you to be inducted into the College of Fellows surrounded by your family and colleagues right here.  Let’s get started.

If you were a Fellow, what amazing story would you share? What footprint have you left on the profession or what footprint do you intend to leave? Because, fellow PRSA Orlando friends, you could be a member of the College of Fellows. What a milestone for you personally and professionally and what a celebration for our Chapter.

As immediate past chair of the College of Fellows and a former president of our Chapter, what an honor and joy it would be for me to welcome you into the College or at least to plant the seed for you to consider, to intentionally plan for, and to apply someday. Just what is this mystical organization?

Q. What is the College of Fellows?
A. The College of Fellows is a group of 350 experienced practitioners and educators who, through a rigorous application and selection process, have received PRSA’s highest professional designation. To be a Fellow is considered the pinnacle of one’s public relations career. It by no mean signifies the END of one’s career.

Q. How long has the College existed?
A. The College celebrated its 30th year last year. Regrettably, we just lost Harold Burson, our last remaining member of the inaugural class, which was made up of 25 Gold Anvil winners including Pat Jackson, Edward Bernays, Betsy Plank, Lawrence Foster, Chester Burger, and many other legends of PR. So many other legends have followed.

Q. What do Fellows do?
A. First, they work in every facet of the public relations and communications profession. Some are retired. Second, they mentor, teach, guest lecture, speak at conferences, serve on APR panel reviews, and serve as leaders and advisors at all levels of PRSA. They are also leaders in their communities.

Fellows Give Back in 2019

• 6 Fellows served on the national PRSA Board.
• 15 Fellows mentored PRSA professionals through Mentor Match.
• 16 Fellows led national PRSA Task Forces, Committees, Boards. Many others served on these committees.
• 27 Fellows served as Bateman Competition judges.
• 35 Fellows finished the 2018-2019 school year as mentors to AspireHigher PRSSA university students.
• 40 Fellows presented at ICON
• 45 Fellows are Champions for PRSSA

45 of the past 72 Chairs of National PRSA have been Fellows

Q. Why should you consider being a Fellow?
A. Being a Fellow is a validation of who you are and what you have accomplished as a professional. Becoming a Fellow can be a journey of a lifetime, a goal to strive for, and one that can be part of your life.
As Jim Lukaszewski, APR, Fellow PRSA wrote, being a Fellow is “understanding what matters, what is helpful, what is sensible and often what is powerfully simple and true….It’s their professional footprint that makes a Fellow, a Fellow.”

When I served on the national board 2011-2013, I was not yet a Fellow, but I was inspired by the experience, quality, and knowledge of those board members who were. I began asking questions about becoming a Fellow, looked over the application documents and watched the “How to Apply” video that was on the COF website. The entire process looked daunting, but the more I reflected on my career and talked to Fellows about the whole experience, the more I aspired to become a Fellow. I started preparing in 2013, applied in 2014, and was inducted in Washington, DC, in front of my family and friends. It was a moment of a lifetime.

I’d like to help you experience that moment when the time is right. To apply you need to have your APR and at least 240 months of public relations experience. But you can and you should start early to understand what you need to do to apply. Resources abound.

Please contact me with your interest and questions. It is never too early or too late to consider becoming a Fellow.

All my best,

Geri Evans, APR, Fellow PRSA
2019 Chair, College of Fellows
2003 President, PRSA Orlando
President, Evans PR Group

PRSA Orlando’s November Newsletter

Take a look at PRSA Orlando’s November Newsletter.

PRSA Orlando’s October Newsletter

Take a look at PRSA Orlando’s October Newsletter.

PRSA Orlando’s September Newsletter

Take a look at PRSA Orlando’s September Newsletter.

PRSA Orlando’s August Newsletter

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PRSA Orlando’s July Newsletter

Take a look at PRSA Orlando’s July Newsletter.

PRSA Orlando’s June Newsletter

Take a look at PRSA Orlando’s June Newsletter.

PRSA Orlando’s May Newsletter

Take a look at PRSA Orlando’s May Newsletter.

PRSA Orlando’s April Newsletter

Take a look at PRSA Orlando’s April Newsletter.