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Why Join FPRA and Its Board: A Message From Your Board Members

Posted: May 02, 2016, By: FPRA Board of Directors

The board interest survey is due this month and some of the board members wanted to take the opportunity to share why they joined FPRA and became a part of the Board of Directors. If you are considering becoming a member or stepping up into a role on the board, read how FPRA has benefited a few of our current board members. 

 Carmela Cook – President

I joined FPRA as a student when I was attending UWF and interning with the marketing and communications director at the Council on Aging of West Florida. Joining gave me the opportunity to meet other PR students and professionals.  While attending monthly lunches, I was able to listen to local and national public relations leaders, discuss various industry topics and ask questions. Once I graduated, I found a communications coordinator job through my previous internship and while networking within our local chapter.

When I started working at Baptist Health Care, I knew I wanted to continue my membership with FPRA to stay in contact with our community’s PR leaders and to advance my knowledge with the industry’s best practices. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and join the local board of directors as vice president of membership / president elect. I was given the opportunity to meet new members, collaborate ideas with other board members and meet with other state FPRA chapter leaders.

Now, I'm currently serving as the local Chapter President and working with other state officers, leaders and our local board to make sure our chapter members are receiving the most out of their memberships, such as, various topics and speakers for programs, networking events and providing up to date information throughout all our communication channels. FPRA has helped mold me into becoming a leader and has provided me with the knowledge I need to stay ahead in my career.

 Jeff Nall – VP of Networking

I highly encourage everyone to consider serving on the board of the Pensacola Chapter of FPRA. It is a wonderful opportunity to network at a different level with fellow board members and chapter members as well as learn new skills. It is also a great way, especially if you are a less-seasoned member, to show your employer -- and maybe a future employer or two -- that you are a recognized leader in your field and are serious about your career potential.

I first joined the board shortly after becoming a member in 2002, having served as Chapter secretary, president-elect/membership chair and president before joining the State Executive Committee. At the state level, I served as VP of Communication and Public Relations, VP of Accreditation/Certification and ultimately State President. Though the exact years and roles are hard to remember, what quickly comes to mind are the people -- all of the people at the local and state level who still to this day are my inner circle of close friends, colleagues and confidants. There is an old saying that goes something like, "if you don't toot your own horn, no one else will."  Well, the same goes for investing. Investing in FPRA is an investment in yourself, which will be recognized by others. Step up, you will be glad you did!  

Nicole Stacey – VP of Membership and President Elect

Since getting involved with FPRA as a student member while attending UWF, I have learned just how important networking in your field truly is to your future. Now, being a professional member and actively involved in the chapter, I love that I have met so many professionals who share the same ideas! Getting involved and holding various VP positions has allowed me to not only grow in my own professional development, but has helped me to grow our chapter and inform our community of all the great things we continue to do. Networking and building genuine relationships is key to any organization and professional and I am looking forward to serving as the Chapter President next year. I am thankful for everything this chapter and the organization has done for me! 

 Brandi Gomez – VP of Programs

FPRA is not just your typical professional organization...It's an organization that gives you a sense of belonging and purpose in the public relations field. FPRA has provided me with countless networking and growth opportunities. From the monthly socials to intriguing public relations topics at our lunch meetings, I feel like I always leave with a new nugget of knowledge for PR.

I have made so many connections through FPRA. In fact, I received my first job partly because I was a member of FPRA. The members are extremely encouraging and want to see young professionals and students succeed. They are always willing to help and give advice, which has been extremely helpful over the years. Being a member is truly rewarding on so many levels!

 Sarah Whitfield – VP of Image Awards

I joined the FPRA board to not only to gain experience working in a leadership type position, but also to get out of my comfort zone. Serving on the FPRA board as the VP of Image Awards has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. You get to work with a well-rounded and diverse group of PR professionals in your community, have many opportunities to network and learn more about public relations in the process. Learning more about public relations and techniques others use has been highly beneficial to my work as someone who did not start out in the PR field. Also, being on the FPRA board, and being a FPRA member in general, has allowed me to establish relationships that never would have been possible otherwise.

 Gordon Paulus – Immediate Past President

I joined FPRA in 2004 shortly after joining Gulf Power’s Corporate Communications department. Over the years, I have held every board position for the Pensacola chapter except Treasurer, Secretary and Image Awards. Oh yeah, and At-Large. I’ve been president twice.

It has been a great experience and I’ve developed many relationships through the networking opportunities that FPRA offers. It’s also been great watching young PR professionals gets involved.

 Melissa Puckett – Secretary

I applied because I wanted to challenge myself to contribute in a new way. This is my first board position, and I have learned a lot about the work that goes on behind the scenes to provide professional development opportunities to our members. As secretary, I observe a lot, and I really admire the support and dedication I have seen from the board. This is a group that truly cares about providing valuable information and services to FRPA members. 

 Courtney Albright – VP of Communications

As a new member of the community, Carmela Cook encouraged me to join FPRA in order to broaden my knowledge of public relations as well as meet other professionals throughout the community. Once the VP of Communications position became available, I jumped at the chance to be a leader in such a wonderful organization.

The short experience I have had as a board member has forced me out of my comfort zone. I am meeting tons of people through networking as well as learning not only from speakers, but also from the professionals and students in the organization. It is very interesting to see all the different places public relations reaches. Getting involved may be scary at first, but it ends up being an amazing experience that is worth it all!

Whether you want to be a member or a part of the board, FPRA is a great organization that encourages you to do your best, strengthens your public relations skills, challenges you to step out of your comfort zone and provides you an opportunity to meet other community and national professionals.

For more information about becoming a member, contact Nicole Stacey at Nicole.stacey85@gmail.com or visit here.

For more information about joining the Board of Directors, contact gapaulus@southernco.com or visit here. Applications are due May 20, 2016 for the 2016 – 2017 term.