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Success, Results, and Tourism – Adapting PR to the changing landscape – President’s message February 2016

President Russell Tuff

President Russell Tuff

If you didn’t attend the last meeting, you missed a good one on the future outlook for media in SW Florida. It was a great turnout, with many old and new faces in the media/public relations arena.

I’m excited to tell you of this month’s meeting that should be equally as relevant to you and your community as we tie in PR with the growing tourism industry. Our special guests Terry Gallager, President, Lou Hammond & Associates and Jack Wert, Executive Director of our local tourism bureau discuss their efforts entitled “Tourism Trends – Public Perceptions & PR Pitches.” Click Here to See More on how the NY firms tell our story. Should you change your practices?

Are you an independent PR practitioner?

If so, you’ll want to go to our first section session that will be hosted by Phyllis Ershowsky, a long term PR pro that is a member of the National Independent Section of PRSA and attends their meetings. Any interested party may attend. Click Here – For the Details.

Note the free webinars below for members.

I repeat this year’s theme: Reaching New Heights – Evolve – Excite – Engage.

Join us in taking your career to the next level.


February 2016 Lunch N Learn: Tourism Trends – Public Perceptions & PR Pitches

Tourism Trends – Public Perceptions & PR Pitches

Tuesday, February 23, 11:30 network, Noon program
NCH Telford Center – NCH Telford Parking

Tourism is one of the largest industries in Collier County, generating more than $1.9 billion in economic impact, and is a key driver of the regional economy. This growth is supported by ongoing public relations efforts both domestically and internationally.

Join the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Gulf Coast Chapter on February 23, 2016 for a luncheon highlighting “Tourism Trends – Public Perceptions and PR Pitches” featuring Terry Gallagher, President, Lou Hammond & Associates and Jack Wert, Executive Director, Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau.

This insightful presentation will feature a tourism industry update from a record-setting year followed by a strategic take on best practices for story pitching and communication techniques to reach influential media outlets.

The luncheon takes place February 23, 2016 at Naples Community Hospital, 318 7th St N. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. with socializing and networking, with the presentation to follow at noon.

Parking Directions: Please plan to park in the ramp on the north side of 2nd Avenue North and west of Hwy. 41. The entrance is just across the street from Sunshine Ace Hardware. There is no gate—easy access. Take the elevator to the first floor and walk across 8th Street. You will enjoy a lovely stroll through the Garden of Hope & Courage before arriving at the Telford Center (will be on your left). You can take the elevator to the 2nd Floor auditorium.

To Register – Click Here


Terry Gallagher, President, Lou Hammond & Associates – New York Office

Terry Gallagher

Terry Gallagher

Terry Gallagher joined Lou Hammond & Associates in 1992 and is a destination marketing leader who has planned and implemented strategic campaigns for a range of travel industry accounts, resulting in award-winning placements among national broadcast, print and digital media.

Utilizing his nearly 30 years of experience in the travel communications industry, he has handled everything from spur-of-the-moment crisis management situations and last-minute special events to long-range planning for destinations, restaurants, world-class hotels, cruise lines and airlines.

LHA logoA destination marketing specialist, his award-winning campaigns include, among others, the promotion of Florida’s Paradise Coast as the ultimate luxury beach escape location, the positioning of Sonoma County as America’s premier wine and vacation region, and the revitalization of Providence, R.I. as one of the country’s hottest cultural and culinary getaway destinations. The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International honored each of these campaigns.

An accomplished speech writer and featured speaker at industry conferences and seminars, Terry is also an authority on strategic promotional partnership programs. He has developed client tie-ins with retailers such as Macy’s and Bloomingdales, broadcast outlets such as ABC-TV’s “The Bachelor,” sports franchises such as the Boston Red Sox and Miami Heat and iconic events including Fashion Week.

Terry graduated from St. Peter’s University, N.J., where he studied English and Journalism. A father of three, home is a priority for his wife and him.


Jack Wert, Executive Director, Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau

Jack Wert

Jack Wert

Jack Wert has dedicated more than 20 years to tourism destination marketing. He has created and led two destination marketing organizations in Florida, in Seminole County near Orlando and for the past 12 years at the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau in Collier County.

Jack holds the designation of Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) and Professional Destination Manager (PDM) and is Past Chair of the Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations (FADMO).  He continues to serve on the FADMO Nominating Committee. He has also served on the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors, and is the immediate past Chairman of the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) Accreditation Board and currently serves on the DMAI Board of Directors Committee. He also serves on the VISIT FLORIDA International Committee, advising the state tourism organization on best practices for marketing Florida to international visitors.

In Southwest Florida, Jack serves on the Advisory Boards for the Florida Gulf Coast University Resort & Hospitality Management School and the United Arts Council of Collier County.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.


NMIE Floridas Paradise Coast logoThe Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is the official tourism marketing and management agency for Collier County, Florida, known as Florida’s Paradise Coast. The CVB produces the area’s ongoing destination marketing campaigns, website and visitor guides, and provides information and assistance for travel media, group meeting and event planners, tour operators, and travel agents. For more information visit Follow the destination on Twitter @ParadiseCoast and on Facebook at


New – Independent Practitioner Group Meeting

Please Join Us for Light Breakfast, Stimulating Conversation & New Ideas Lessons Learned:

Phyllis Ershowsky

Phyllis K. Ershowsky, MBA, APR, CPRC

Best Practices for the Independent PR Practitioner

Please come prepared with two examples of important lessons you have learned as an independent practitioner. For example:

  1. The importance of peer networking
  2. How to build a team starting from one.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Avow Hospice, Naples
8:30 – 10 a.m.

Session Lead by:

Phyllis K. Ershowsky, MBA, APR, CPRC

Independent Practisioners Alliance Member

Click Here To Register

Grow your business by connecting to a strong network of independent practitioners who benefit greatly from the best practices, strategies and support they provide to one another. Our members have access to resources including:


True Blue Communications seeks ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Job Description: Account Executive

True Blue Communications is seeking an ambitious Account Executive to work in a fast-paced, results-driven environment. The right candidate will have exceptional knowledge of public relations and integrated marketing communications, a proven record of media relations results, strong interviewing skills and superior copywriting abilities.


Media Relations:

  • Conducting strategic media research to identify the news outlets and reporters that align with our clients’ goals
  • Cultivating and maintaining relationships with journalists
  • Pitching story ideas
  • Writing press releases, story pitches, guest columns and other media materials
  • Targeted news media outreach
  • Preparing clients for media interviews
  • Attending in-person and phone interviews with clients and journalists
  • Monitoring and reporting news coverage to clients
  • Maintaining an understanding of how the news outlets we target work and an overall awareness of the changing media landscape


  • Developing content that clearly, concisely and consistently communicates key messages to the appropriate target audience(s)
  • Excellent interviewing and information gathering skills, to develop interesting and compelling stories
  • Ability to write in a variety of styles and tones most appropriate for the format, which could include but is not limited to:
    • News media items (press releases, guest columns, pitches)
    • Email marketing
    • Blogs
    • Websites
    • Presentations/speeches/video scripts
    • Annual reports

Account Management and Client Communication:

  • Managing timelines for multiple projects for multiple clients, delivering excellent quality services on time and within budget
  • Coordinating with other account team members to ensure projects are on schedule and communication is seamless
  • Addressing client needs in a timely manner and proactively communicating with clients on a regular basis
  • Organizing/leading client meetings and conference calls, gathering needed information, and ensuring necessary follow-ups and follow-throughs
  • Gaining necessary approvals on projects, ideas and materials
  • Tracking activities and results

Desired Knowledge & Skills:

  • Self-starting, strategic thinker who is able to thrive in a fast-paced, results-driven environment
  • Superior organizational skills, keen attention to detail
  • Ability to graciously handle pressure and multiple deadlines
  • Persistence in follow-up, able to juggle multiple priorities
  • Excellent client relations skills, positive can-do attitude
  • Exceptional written and verbal communications
  • Powerful writer, detail-oriented editor; command of AP Style
  • Experience in successfully working with media, shown through existing media relationships, along with ability to develop new relationships with journalists
  • Keen interest in the news industry
  • Proactive in offering solutions to communications challenges and opportunities
  • Eager to learn and continuing to grow professionally

Required Experience:

  • At least 4 years of public relations experience
  • Experience in an agency setting is highly preferred
  • Proven experience and results in media relations
  • Professional writing experience and command of AP style
  • Experience with media monitoring tools and media databases
  • Mastery of key computer applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, e-mail, etc.
  • Bachelor’s degree required – focus on journalism, communications or public relations highly preferred


This is a full-time position based in Clearwater, with paid holidays, vacation and sick days. Salary is commensurate with experience.

How to Apply:

Eligible candidates should email their cover letter, resume, three writing samples and three references to

True Blue Communications will contact those with whom we wish to schedule an interview.

About True Blue Communications:

True Blue Communications is a public relations based in Tampa Bay. We focus on three core areas of service: news media relations, content marketing and communications strategy. We have a varied client list but specialize in business-to-business communications. Our industry specialties include healthcare, commercial real estate, finance and nonprofit. For more information, visit


Reaching New Heights – Evolve, Excite and Engage!

President Russell Tuff

PRSA President, Russell Tuff

January PRSA President’s Message – 2016

Welcome to 2016. Are you keeping up with the fast pace of technology and the big effect it will have on the PR professional’s career?

As the 2016 Gulf Coast Chapter president I plan to have our agenda full of learning opportunities. This year’s theme is “Reaching New Heights – Evolve, Excite, and Engage.”

We start out the year with our first Lunch N Learn with the publishers of the News Press and the Naples Daily News, as they will talk about what the proposed merger of their organizations will mean to the news makers and our careers as PR Pros. See the details Click Here.

What can you expect from the year ahead?

First, you can expect to help out as we advance several programs that will be specific to the needs of the PR community.

We will add section training/advancement in the coming year including the following:

  1. Independent Practitioners
  2. Travel/Hospitality
  3. Non-Profit Organizations
  4. Business/Corporate

How can you help? In addition to the above named sections, we need help with writing stories, taking photos at our social and learning events, membership, social media, and keeping up the website and newsletters, as well as helping us create a welcoming atmosphere for guests and fellow members. Many hands make light work!

I challenge you to become Engaged to help us to create the Excitement, that will help us to Evolve our careers to reach new heights.

If you are willing, reach out to me at We’ve got the perfect place for you.




Bill Barker

NAPLES, FL., – The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Gulf Coast Chapter will host a luncheon highlighting “The Future of Southwest Florida’s Two Largest Daily Newspapers” on January 26, 2016 at Avow Hospice, 1095 Whippoorwill Lane. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. with social and networking, with the presentation to follow at noon.

The guest speakers are William R. “Bill” Barker, Vice President, Regional Publisher at the Naples Daily News, and Mike Jung, President and Publisher of The News-Press Media Group. Barker and Jung will provide an update on the proposed merger of their respective publishing companies and what it means for local readers and advertisers. They also will discuss any operational changes and their visions for both organizations.


Bill Barker

Barker joined the Naples Daily News in 2013 after spending nearly a decade overseeing newspaper publications and media operations in the Tampa Bay area, including serving as publisher of the Tampa Tribune. He was promoted as one of four vice president, regional publishers of the new Journal Media Group in February 2015. In addition to his duties in Naples, he oversees operations at newspapers in Knoxville, Tennessee; Anderson, South Carolina; Evansville, Indiana; and on Florida’s Treasure Coast.

Mike Jung

Mike Jung

Mike Jung

A veteran media executive, Mike Jung took over as president and publisher of The News-Press Media Group in August 2015. Prior to that, he was publisher of the Idaho Statesman. Before joining the McClatchy Co.-owned Statesman in 2011, Jung was publisher of the Santa Cruz Sentinel and was a senior executive at the San Jose Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times. Jung also previously worked for The News-Press’ parent company, Gannett, as an advertising director at FLORIDA TODAY in Melbourne.

The cost is $27 per person for PRSA members, $35 for non-members and $20 for students. Reservations must be made by January, 22, 2015. For additional information or to register, visit the PRSA, Gulf Coast Chapter online at or contact Chapter President Russell Tuff at 239-353-1687.

Click Here To Register

Tuesday, January 26th,

  11:30 a.m. at Avow

1095 Whippoorwill Lane

Naples, Florida 34108

The luncheon will be held in the Inspiri Community Center.  Park in the main lot and enter through the main doors to the hall.


11:30 a.m. – 11:55 a.m.  Networking

11:55 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.  Lunch

12:20 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.  Presentation


$27  PRSA Members
$35  Non-Members
$20  Students



Job Description: Marketing and Public Relations Manager

Exempt/Full time/Salary
Reports to: Executive Director

Public Relations

  • Write and submit press releases for print, radio, and tv exposure
  • Write and submit editorials for a variety of publications including Florida Weekly, Naples Daily News, Happenings Arts and Entertainment Magazine, Naples Journals, Neapolitan Family, Life in Naples, etc
  • Outreach to artists for special interest stories
  • Maintain editorial coverage library for sponsors and art association history
  • Manage Social Media Applications – Facebook & Twitter

Member Relations

  • Write, design and distribute monthly ArtEnews – newsletter
  • Write, design and distribute Event Eblasts for festivals, exhibition openings, call for artists, adult classes and ARTScool
  • Maintain Constant Contact email database


  • Write, design and place print advertisements for programming and special events hosted by the Naples Art Association.
  • Write scripting for radio commercials and PSAs
  • Write scripting, select images, and work with production company to produce television commercials as needed
  • Submit all calendar events to over 15 online calendar websites (Fox, ABC, United Arts Council, Chamber, Eventful, Naples Daily, etc)
  • With the Executive Director negotiate trade sponsorships with local media
  • Manage advertising budget and expenses and related use of TDC grant funding

Sponsorship Efforts

  • In cooperation with the Development Director, produce an annual sponsorship package for Naples Art Association events
  • In cooperation with the Development Director, manage sponsorship recognition through advertisements, editorials, electronic sponsor board in lobby
  • Assist where needed with sponsorship needs

General NAA Support

  • Photograph art center activities
  • Design event postcards for mailing – Lecture series, exhibitions, festivals, ARTScool
  • Write/Edit and design Educational Materials
  • Assist in drafting and designing miscellaneous forms, letters, education materials, brochures, maps, signage
  • Assist with Call for Artists (as needed)
  • Arrange photographers for exhibitions, festivals, and other events

If interested, contact: Aimee E. Schlehr, CEO/Executive Director
239-262-6517, ext.120


2015 Holiday Social/Networking Event

Gulf Coast Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America
2015 Holiday Social/Networking Event

Monday, November 30
4 – 7 p.m.
Bayside Seafood Grill and Bar (2nd floor)
Venetian Village
4270 Gulf Shore Blvd. North

Hors d’oeuvres will be provided; cash bar.
Please bring your suggestions for 2016 lunch program topics and/or speakers!

RSVP to Julie Pedretti at


The history of the Gulf Coast Chapter of PRSA – Then & Now

The 15 year history shared by Judy Bricker, one of the Gulf Coast Chapter’s Founding Presidents.


Judy Bricker

How did PRSA start in the Southwest Florida community?

We originally established an FPRA – Collier County Chapter in the early to mid-90’s to serve as a professional resource to the public relations and marketing practitioners of the area.  This filled a void in our area, as the Public Relations profession was growing as Collier County grew, but we didn’t have an officially recognized resource at the time.  As the years passed, we realized that our member demographic consisted of many individual practitioners, as well as corporate professionals whose responsibilities or clientele stretched beyond the borders of Florida.  Most had regional, national or even global reach.  For that reason, we considered switching to PRSA, which should increase our ability to  grow our membership and meet our target audiences’ needs.


What was your main role in founding the PRSA Gulf Coast Chapter?

At the time, I was president of our FPRA Collier County Chapter.  The current board, our president elect, Lisa Boet and I facilitated key round tables and surveyed our membership to discuss the possibility of establishing a PRSA chapter in Southwest Florida.  If most or all agreed, we would plan to transition to PRSA in the next calendar year with our new president and board of directors.  It was positively decided and the transition began.  Detailed communications were sent to the members, new memberships were established with PRSA and we moved forward.


What did you hope to gain in starting the Gulf Coast Chapter and what have you gained in the past 15 years being an active member of the chapter? 

PRSA offered global connections and resources to our members.  The organization’s continuing education, professional conferences, expert advice, commentary and speakers were a wealth of information.  PRSA also had the college level program – PRSSA for students perusing the profession and created a natural pipeline of new members to local chapters, and immediate mentors to young professionals.


We’ve grown our APR member count, which reflects very positively on the expertise of our membership.  We’ve cultivated the next generation of young professionals into the “one’s in charge” of our chapter as board members.  This elevates career growth, and nurtures confidence and leadership skills.  This is proven in the number of members who have taken up the responsibility of serving on the board through the years and even elevate to the State or National committees and boards.  PRSA gives our members the opportunity to advance, and that looks great to an employer or private clientele.


How has PRSA benefited the Southwest Florida community in the past 15 years?

In addition to professional development, the Chapter reached out to the community and established itself as a resource to Southwest Florida small business owners and nonprofit organizations.  Since we are a small chapter in a non-metropolitan market, our growth must also come from beyond the profession.  We welcome and encourage small business and nonprofits to join the chapter and attend our luncheon presentations whenever possible.  We rotate in programming specifically for them, since many of them are wearing multiple hats – including serving as their own publicity experts.  They are regularly encouraged to call us for expert advice or direction.


Where do you see the future of our chapter?

I understand from our president-elect that we will broaden our committees to appeal and support specific market segments and expertise.  The past presidents plan to play a larger supportive role, as well.  More to come on that.  I see real roots established in our small but mighty chapter and it will continue to grow with the community.  I cannot express how incredibly grateful and honored I am to have been involved in the birth of this chapter along with the talented team who brought it to life.  Our current board is dedicated to sustaining it and launching it into the future.  PRSA Gulf Coast Chapter is in good hands!  If you’re not already a member – come ahead!



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