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Insights from the PRSA Sunshine District Conference 2015 in Disney

IMG_3961Seven members of Gulf Coast Chapter PRSA participated in the recent PRSA Sunshine District conference held in Walt Disney World, Orlando. A few offer their thoughts/insights gleaned from the experience…

From Deb Jonsson…

I had a great experience learning, networking and taking advantage of the fun venue. Opening night was magical!

My favorite session was with keynote opener Duncan Wardle of Creative Inc. Duncan provided a different perspective on creative collaboration. He encouraged us to “make creativity a habit” and informed us that “the best ideas come from a calm, relaxed brain.”

PRSA National Chair Kathy Barbour informed us that PRSA is “continuing to adapt and evolve to stay relevant.” The strategic plan includes multi-year initiatives and APR is still a high priority. She shared insight on new business trends for integrated marketing communications which include a mix of paid, earned, shared and owned content. She also talked about her experience with the trending new social media tool, Periscope.

IMG_3958Disney manager of executive communications Cappy Surette discussed the importance of story-telling because, “story is the DNA of humans.” He also provided great tips on public speaking. He said speakers must bring passion and heart to the “stage” and in order to convey authenticity, practice makes perfect. He told us that attendees want to be entertained and speakers should follow the 3 Ps: Performance, Pacing and Practice.

Sam Ford from Peppercomm discussed the differences between an audience and publics. He reminded us that publics exist without you. He said, “Today we are communicating to and must serve the 360 degree person who sets his or her own personal criteria for sharing.” He also offered a test for social content… if your content does not make your audience say, “Holy Smokes!”, don’t post it!  He also encouraged communication professionals to put ourselves in the customers’ or clients’ shoes: get in line, fill out the forms; and read every piece of communication going out the door with the mindset of your audience, not the mindset of what the organization wants to say.

Board members and Mickey

Board members and Mickey

From Russell Tuff…

The best parts for me were, 1. Meeting and sharing with other professionals from across the state, 2. Remembering things I already know and keeping them in practice in my efforts, and 3. Learning new tricks of the trade from experienced professionals across a wide variety of industry spectrums.

From Judy Bricker…

My favorite speaker was the Disney exec [Duncan Wardle].  I have already been using his techniques on how to broaden a good idea, rather than squelch it!  When someone provides a germ of an idea, say YES AND…. Rather than “BUT” followed by all the reasons why it won’t work.  Cultivate the creative thought wherever it goes.  You never know where you’ll end up.

Keep creative brainstorming groups SMALL (4 people).  Any larger loses its focus.

His acronym: SUN stuck with me…
Suspend judgment
Understand the idea and ask questions
Nurture the idea

Disney Exec, Speaker, Duncan Wardle

Disney Exec, Speaker, Duncan Wardle

Introduce PLAY into your work day.  Play can be creative.  Play can be constructive.  Play can be positive.

I loved the conference!

From Alyssa Scheidemann…

I had a few favorite sessions. My first favorite session was the first one about thinking differently with the speaker Duncan Wardle because I felt it was very inspirational. I am a very creative person by nature, so I enjoy anything that encourages creativity as a way of thinking and approaching ideas. My second favorite session was the Power of Story, the other Disney one, because there were some good best practices mentioned. My last favorite session was the crisis communication one, about Facebook and social media because it was much needed for me to learn about. The best shareable take-away(s) to me were a mix from the Think Differently and the Power of Story, which were to think creatively and listen to other ideas, words are powerful, and that the stories that connect and relate to people have the most impact.



October 2015 Lunch N Learn – Executive Lessons for Reputation Risk and Crisis Management

Gulf Coast Chapter PRSA Presents
Executive Round Table with America’s Crisis Guru®
James Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

11:30 AM – 2 PM at the Hilton Naples

Price: $27.00 PRSA Gulf Coast Chapter Members / $49.00 non-members
Register online at

James E Lukaszewski

James E Lukaszewski

“C-Suite” leaders, small business owners and professional communication personnel are invited to attend a unique, local opportunity to hear from an American business legend in the field of crisis leadership recovery and corporate communication, reputation risk management and crisis response.
James Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA is an author, speaker, advisor, coach and counsel to business leaders throughout the world.  James’ trademark is America’s Crisis Guru® and he has been called “one of 28 experts to call when all hell breaks loose” by Corporate Legal Times.

At the session on October 27, James discusses how:

  • Responding quickly in the first 60-120 minutes of an emergency or disaster can save assets, markets and reputations
  • How managing victims immediately with humanity and compassion will de-escalate the visibility that poorly handled victims always causes
  • Bad news always ripens badly
  • The reputational toxicity of silence
  • In crisis, leadership’s most effective and powerful tool is communication (What else do you have?)
    • Seven Communication Strategies That Will Calm Things Down
    • Even if your response is letter perfect, bungle the communications and your response will be remembered as a stumble, fumble, and bungle.
  • Eight Failure Behaviors to Avoid
  • The Five Toughest Decisions Leaders have to make in Crisis
  • How handling emergencies well can build trust and enhance your reputation
  • The Seven Crucial Ingredients Every Crisis Plan Should Have
  • Answers to your questions
  • And much more wisdom from America’s Crisis Guru


James is the author of “Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication: What Your CEO Needs to Know about Reputation Risk and Crisis Management,” that was selected as one of “30 Best Business Books of 2013.

Lukaszewski also penned, “Why Should the Boss Listen to You? Seven Disciplines of the Trusted Strategic Advisor.” James speaks to business and professional communicator audiences, management teams, Lawyers, HR Experts, Security people, Strategic Planners, all the staff functions, as well as CEOs throughout America and Canada. In early October, he will lead an advance crisis communication strategy session for PRSA in New York City and he is scheduled to present at the Public Relations Society of America International conference in Atlanta this November. Don’t miss this unique local opportunity to learn from an American business legend in crisis leadership recovery, risk management and corporate communication and crisis response.

Remember, in crisis, who they fire first: Hint, it’s not the communicators.


New Board Member Spotlight – Julie Pedretti, MBA, FACHE

What made you want to go into the public relations field?

I got into the marketing and public relations field at my first full time career position at a bank in Milwaukee. Then I was working in the market research department (understanding customers and why they make certain decisions) and became very interested in that. I started in health communications at a large health system in Milwaukee, and eventually become director of Marketing and PR at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (Milwaukee), which I absolutely loved!

Why did you become involved in the PRSA Gulf Coast Chapter?

I wanted very much to continue my professional development. I was finally living and working in Naples so it was a great opportunity to get into the PRSA organization and its local chapter. I want to advance to the PRSA fellowship, as I had with the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). The FACHE is an accreditation that has a similar process to the APR certification. I’m anxious to get started with the APR certification this fall!

What is a typical day like for you at work?

My days are not typical because the role I have is so varied. My title at NCH Healthcare System is Director of Development – Annual Fund & Communications. I’m responsible for planning and implementing direct mail and email campaigns and other efforts to support donor acquisition and retention for the NCH Healthcare Foundation. I also develop collateral material to assist major gift officers with their donor relationships and manage the Foundation’s media relations, advertising, public relations, website and social media efforts. I’m very proud of our media relations, as we’ve had wonderful PR for our key fundraising events. My role is a very broad one; it’s a new position for the NCH foundation. I’m learning a lot about fundraising from the team.

What made you decide to join the PRSA Board?

When I join an organization I always get involved. There was an opportunity right away to fill the open treasurer position, and for me it was a way to jump right in and become engaged. I’m having fun and it’s a great way to meet people right away as well!

4-2015 Pedretti-lowres

Photo taken at the 2015 Magnolia Ball which Julie helped staff in April. This event was a NCH Healthcare Foundation fundraiser that benefited the William & Susan Dalton Oncology Unit. For more information please visit the NCH Healthcare System website: & the NCH Healthcare Foundation website:

Do you have any hobbies or talents outside of work?

I love to walk the beach! One of the reasons I moved to Florida was for more beach time. I also love to play golf and most weekends I’ll get into 18 holes of golf. This is such a wonderful place to live and work!


August 2015 Featured Event: Gulf Coast Chapter PRSA 15th Anniversary Celebration

Gulf Coast Chapter PRSA 15th Anniversary Celebration

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Gulf Coast Chapter of PRSA and we invite you to join us for a special afternoon celebration at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Naples.

Come to Celebrate:

  • Network with colleagues, enjoy delicious hors d’ hoeuvres and cocktails, and join in a toast to the Gulf Coast Chapter PRSA. We’re proud to have served as your local resource for public relations professional development since 2000 and look forward to celebrating this milestone with you!

Come to Learn:

  • Discover how Edgewater Beach Hotel remains a viable and flourishing vacation destination in the heart of Naples. Sandra Rios, Oceans Properties, Ltd. Director of Marketing and Communications, will provide a short program and offer tours of the recently refurbished resort.
  • Curious about membership or joining the Chapter board? Visit with your 2015 board members to learn about the member benefits, current promotions and incentives and ask us about Board service
  • Wondering what’s entailed with earning your Accreditation in Public Relations? Chat with APR’s in attendance to learn about the process and the professional benefits it offers.
  • Sometimes the best learning comes from the conversations and ideas shared by your colleagues. Take advantage of an extended networking session.

Come for the added benefits:

  • Enter to win door prizes including a $100 gift certificate for use at the Edgewater Hotel restaurant or a complimentary admission to our October professional development seminar featuring James Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA!
  • PRSA Members: Help us build awareness by registering a non-member as your guest – they get the member price and you earn an extra entry into our door prize drawings!

Date: Tuesday, August 25

Time: 4 – 6 PM
Program features short program, hotel tour and extended networking

Location:  Edgewater Beach Hotel, 1901 Gulf Shore Boulevard North, Naples, FL 34102

Price: $27.00 PRSA Gulf Coast Chapter Members / $35.00 non-members
Registration fee includes hors d’ hoeuvres and one complimentary cocktail.
Cash bar also available.  Complimentary valet parking.

To Register – Click Here


Sandra Rios

Sandra Rios

Sandra Rios

As the Director of Marketing and Communications for The Resort at Longboat Key Club, Ms. Rios oversees the strategic marketing and public relations efforts for the 410 acre luxury resort and private membership club in addition to a number of other beachfront resorts in Ocean Properties’ Southwest Florida portfolio.

Prior to joining the Ocean Properties, Ltd. team, Ms. Rios was the Director of Sales for World Yacht, Inc. in New York, the Director of Public Relations and Business Development for Longwood Events in Boston, MA and Newport, RI and also served as the Public Relations Manager for the MGM Grand at Foxwoods and Foxwoods Resort Casino.  During her tenure there she was responsible for strategic marketing and public relations plans for numerous multi-million dollar expansions including the pre-opening publicity and grand opening events for the MGM Grand at Foxwoods and Lake of Isles, a 36 hole Rees Jones designed golf complex.

Ms Rios was integral in establishing Foxwoods Food & Wine Festival in conjunction with Food and Wine Magazine as well as crafting opening events and publicity for restaurant partners including Craftsteak by Tom Colicchio, PRIME by David Burke, Alta Strada by Michael Schlow and Hard Rock Café. Publicity placements at Food Network’s “Chopped”, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, 60 Minutes with Dan Rather , NY 1 and Fox News, among others, garnered national exposure for the property.

While at MGM Grand at Foxwoods she participated in the design and rollout of multi-cultural marketing programs directed toward the Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean customer base as well as publicizing the first simulcast racing from the Hong Kong Jockey Club. She implemented publicity campaigns for luxury retail partnerships with Judith Ripka, Chopard, Bvlgari and Rolex brands and managed national sponsorships with MLB and NBA teams including the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, NY Knicks, NY Yankees and NY Mets. Strategic regional marketing partnerships included Fleet Center, Boston Garden (currently TD Garden) and Madison Square Garden where she occasionally served as on-air talent for Sports Business Report on the MSG Network.  She currently works with numerous cultural and non-profit organizations in the Sarasota area including the Asolo Repertory Theater, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Mote Marine Aquarium and the RCLA Town Hall Series to enhance the community and private business partnership climate in Sarasota County.

She is a member of the VISIT SARASOTA Marketing Council, the VISIT FLORIDA Communications Committee, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Marketing Committee and the Executive Marketing Committee for Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce.  She sits on the Board of Directors for Save Our Seabirds, Inc. and St. Armands Circle Merchants Association.

Ms Rios was most recently honored as a 2015 finalist in SRQ Magazine’s “Women in Business” awards and has been named to the 2015 “Women in Business Leadership Council”. Business accolades achieved to date under her direction include 2015 Power & Motor Yacht Top 25 Marinas, North America, 2013 Travel + Leisure Top 500 Hotels &Resorts, Worldwide, 2012 Tennis Magazine #1 Tennis Resort, Gulf Coast, 2009 Silver Anvil Award for Grand Opening event for WPT World Poker Room at Foxwoods and the 2008 Bronze HSMAI Award for 2008 Grand Opening Event for MGM Grand at Foxwoods.  She is a resident of Longboat Key and a frequent traveler to New York to visit her son Juris, daughter Larisa and Grand Dog, Macho.


Coastal Skin Surgery and Dermatology seeks DIRECTOR OF MARKETING

Now accepting applications for a Director of Marketing.

The Director of Marketing is responsible for all internal and external marketing efforts including but not limited to, advertising campaigns, branding, website and social media campaigns, coordination and execution, business development initiatives,  physician referral relationship management, event coordination and community outreach efforts.

The ideal candidate will have excellent written and oral communication skills and proven experience in developing and implementing marketing strategies to include digital media, website management,  community events and branding. In addition to the marketing strategies our ideal candidate will bring innovative ideas to the practice to promote Coastal Skin Surgery and Dermatology to our community.

Qualified candidates, please forward your resume to


Board Member Spotlight – Pamela Fultz

What did you study in college?

For both my Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees, I studied Communications. I obtained an internship at a radio station during my sophomore year of college, so my focus turned toward broadcasting as a specialty. My Master of Science degree is in Corporate & Organizational Communications with an emphasis on Leadership.

How did you become involved in public relations and the PRSA Gulf Coast Chapter?

After spending more than a dozen years as a reporter and anchor for radio and television, I decided to transition into public relations. The industry seemed to be a good fit for my skills, allowing me to research and disseminate positive organizational stories. Once entrenched in the new industry, I discovered PRSA through a professional connection. I attended one lunch meeting and enjoyed the topic, as it was timely and industry-relevant, so I decided to become a member.

What is a typical day like for you at work?

There is no typical day when it comes to community outreach and public relations. As Manager of Community Relations for Vi at Bentley Village, I formulate and implement the media relations strategy and manage the corporate partnership plan. It is my job to coordinate visits by local media outlets, organize on-campus events for our non-profit partners, direct off-campus outreach activities, and oversee multiple sponsorships and professional affiliations. One day I may be attending a formal affair, but the next day I may be assisting with a golf tournament.

Tell us something unique about you. Any hobbies or talents?

I was raised on a farm in rural Ohio, so I enjoy being outdoors as much as possible. On Saturdays and Sundays, I spend my mornings bicycling through Olde Naples. When I am not on my bike, I am walking on the beach, reading, or traveling.

What is the future like for you?

I begin a doctoral program this fall, so I am about to get even busier. I enjoy learning from and interacting with others who are focused on enriching their knowledge through advanced academics. I am excited to commence my exploration of organizational leadership through the Doctorate of Education program at Northeastern University in Boston.

What made you decide to join the PRSA Board and what position do you currently hold?

I serve as Programs Chairperson for the PRSA Board. I chose to join the board in order to enhance and magnify my knowledge base and to grow my professional contact list. So far, the experience has been remarkable. I am humbled to work with such a talented group of public relations professionals!



Community Foundation of Collier County seeks DIRECTOR OF MARKETING

Director of Marketing

Seeking a Director of Marketing for the Community Foundation of Collier County in Naples, Florida. The Foundation’s mission is to “improve the quality of life in Collier County by connecting donors to community needs and providing leadership on critical community issues. For good. Forever.” The Community Foundation is growing and has over $100 million in assets and 510 funds.

The candidate must have a four-year degree in advertising/marketing or similar field and five years of marketing experience, preferably in the nonprofit sector. Experience with community foundations is a plus. The Director of Marketing is responsible for creating and producing all communications including copy, design and production of print and digital newsletters, the annual report, press releases, all flagship publications, advertisements, correspondence, Powerpoint presentations and social media postings. The candidate will also be responsible for editing and updating the website using WordPress.  The Director of Marketing also provides all marketing support and collateral material for a variety of Foundation events.

The candidate must have excellent written and oral communication skills and proven experience in developing and implementing marketing strategies that enhance our brand. He or she will work directly with staff, vendors, Foundation committees, media outlets, regional publications and area nonprofit agencies.

Salary and benefits commensurate with experience. Please send resume to the Community Foundation of Collier County, 2400 Tamiami Trail N., Suite 300, Naples, FL 34103 or email to by July 3rd, 2015.


Board Member Spotlight – Alyssa Scheidemann

AlyssaS_July2014What did you study in school?

In high school I was involved in TV Production and originally wanted to be a news anchor. In college I was on the Communications Studies degree path but I decided I was not interested in this form of communication. I thought about switching my path to public relations but I stayed with Communication Studies and was able to take writing courses; I always had a passion for writing. I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Communication and after college started with ASG Software Solutions.

How did you become involved in public relations and the PRSA Gulf Coast Chapter?

I was always interested in learning about public relations and pursuing that avenue. When I was a Marketing Coordinator at ASG Software Solutions I was working with a former coworker at the time and she took me to a public relations networking luncheon in Ft Myers. I really enjoyed the luncheon, I learned a lot but I was hesitant to join that chapter because of the distance (I live and work in Naples). It was always in the back of my mind, to join an organization like this and ASG gave me the opportunity to be involved in one! Last year my mom saw a luncheon online for PRSA and some of her friends were attending so she encouraged me to go with them. So I went to that luncheon and that was it!

What is a typical day like for you at work?

I create and manage the email systems and email marketing at ASG Software Solutions. It could be a hectic and crazy day or it can be laid-back, it all depends on the current projects and deadlines. I love my job and the opportunities that I have been given!

Tell us something unique about you. Any hobbies or talents?

I’ve always loved writing! I have three young, female cousins and I was inspired to create a children’s book to give them inspiration. The book is titled The Enchanted Forest and I wrote and illustrated the children’s book myself by using a graphic design program on my computer. The Enchanted Forest was published in 2012 and is the first of The Allegra Series. I also practice yoga twice a week, I love boating and playing tennis and I just started stand-up paddle boarding as well!

What is the future like for you?

I’m working on applying for a Master’s program. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do. After I get my Master’s degree I plan on getting my APR. My education and career are priority to me but I will always continue being involved in the community and writing, both are a huge passion for me!

What made you decide to join the PRSA Board and what position do you currently hold?

I thought it would be a great opportunity to expand my PR knowledge and to be more involved. I joined the board as the Communications Chair. Being on the board is so much fun, we have a great group of leaders! Funny story, a month before I was asked to join the board at a PRSA luncheon a member asked me if I was on the board. So I think it was meant to be!

For more information please visit


June 2015 Lunch N Learn – Rise from the Ashes: A Public Relations Case Study

Cari Hansen

Cari Hansen

Rise from the Ashes: A Public Relations Case Study

How the Greater Naples YMCA Leveraged a Fire Disaster into a Capital Campaign Success Story

On Tuesday, September 2, 2013, the Naples Daily News reported on a fire at The Y of Naples. The headline read:

“Fire burns YMCA building in North Naples, ‘complete loss’ likely”

A week later, The Y was back serving its members at a temporary location. By April of 2014 the Y had embarked on a rebuild. Now nearly 2 years post- fire, construction is all but complete along with their fundraising campaign.

Join Gulf Coast Chapter PRSA on Tuesday, June 23 to hear the details behind this unlikely success story from the Y’s Marketing Director, Cari Hansen.  Cari will share how the Y managed their communications and public outreach programs to inform, engage and motivate staff, volunteers, members and donors during the crisis response period, recovery and beyond.

Presented by Cari Hansen

To Register – Click Here


Cari Hansen

Cari Hansen serves as the Director of Marketing for the Greater Naples YMCA.  She earned her Bachelors of Arts in Journalism and Public Relations from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. A self-trained graphic designer, Cari continued post-graduate work in digital and web design at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside to supplement her degree. She worked as a designer and marketer for an advertising agency in Wisconsin, where the local YMCA was one of her clients, before breaking out her own and starting Cari Hansen Design & Communications.  In 2010, she relocated to Miami and continued to run the small firm until relocating to Naples in November 2014 to take the position at the YMCA.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her 4-legged children, scuba diving, traveling and exploring Naples.


Premier Sotheby’s International Realty Seeks COPYWRITER


Premier Sotheby’s International Realty is the market leader for luxury real estate in Southwest Florida. The firm has nearly 800 associates and employees in more than twenty-four locations in Marco Island, Naples, Bonita Springs, Sanibel/Captiva, Venice, Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota, Longboat Key, Clearwater, St. Pete, South Tampa, Florida and Linville and Charlotte in North Carolina.

We are seeking a qualified candidate for a Copywriter position in our Marketing Department. This individual will be responsible for utilizing various writing styles to create compelling content for a broad range of marketing collateral. Projects will include web and social media content, advertisements, advertorials, direct mail and email promotions, and other custom content as needed. The Copywriter will maintain a consistent voice in their work and ensure that all copy adheres to brand messaging and style guidelines. The Copywriter will direct report to the PR & Communications Manager.


Responsible for brainstorming, creating, and transforming ideas into words for web and social media content, advertorials, advertisements, flyers, direct mail literature, and various marketing collateral material.


  • Write creative copy for ads, brochures, websites, and other means of advertising.
  • Research the architectural elements of properties.
  • Determine what makes products appealing to luxury consumers.
  • Work with art directors to create ideas.
  • Update digital media with timely content.
  • Perform search engine optimization techniques.
  • Revise, edit, and proofread content as needed or directed by clients.
  • Respond to feedback in a timely manner.
  • Work within tight deadlines.
  • Proofread copy for spelling and grammar errors.
  • Research competitors and stay abreast of market trends.
  • Explore different ideas and concepts for both the visual and verbal elements in tandem with the creative team.
  • Write press releases announcing new properties, new associates, significant sales, etc.


  • Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, English, marketing, philosophy or a similar discipline.
  • Expert communication skills.
  • Strong time management skills, including the ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously while under tight deadlines.
  • Experience working in an editorial driven environment, preferably in agency, publishing, media or broadcasting.
  • The ability to write concise, attention-grabbing copy that encourages the reader to take the desired action.
  • Excellent spelling and grammar skills.
  • An understanding of how copy works visually in the context of print and digital collateral.
  • The ability to produce English-language content that can be translated easily into multiple languages.
  • Experience writing about real estate.
  • Familiarity with AP style.
  • Strong project management skills – the ability to own and drive project schedule from start to finish.
  • Familiar with digital marketing strategies and content strategies, such as SEO and Social Media.
  • Strong creativity and passion for creating responsive, original and interesting content.

If interested, contact Jama Dock, Manager, Public Relations & Communications at

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