The 75th Annual FPRA Conference was the first I had the pleasure of attending, and it was a very enriching experience. Members gathered from each of FPRA’s 15 chapters to celebrate the milestone event, network with colleagues from around the state, and learn from a wide variety of presenters from different backgrounds in public relations.
Scott Burrows kicked off the event Monday with a highly motivational presentation on “Vision, Mindset, & Grit”. Later that morning, the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the FPRA History Museum took place, and attendees received a commemorative crystal. Monday’s Presidents’ Luncheon was highlighted by the highly anticipated Dillin Dessert, along with the passing of the gavel, in which former FPRA presidents in attendance shared unique stories from FPRA’s past. Incoming FPRA President Chris Gent, APR, CPRC announced the theme for the upcoming year, which is “Think FPRA”. The evening was capped by a tour of Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays. We explored various areas of the stadium, including the press box and clubhouse, and were allowed to walk around on the playing field.
Tuesday morning, I had the pleasure of introducing Daytona Beach’s own David Higdon, Managing Director of Integrated Marketing Communications for NASCAR. David’s “Driven to Innovate” presentation discussed how NASCAR has adapted to the ever-changing world of media as it expands its reach into new areas and demographics. Tuesday evening, attendees gathered for the Golden Image Awards. This year’s banquet featured a 007 theme and was titled “Gold & Diamonds are Forever”. Members were presented with 75 different awards for the top achievements and projects in public relations in the past year.
The conference wrapped up Wednesday with a power networking breakfast, a closing session on “Visionary Leadership” by Karen Moore of Moore Communications Group, and a drawing for an iPad and registration for next year’s conference.
I found this year’s conference to be an excellent learning and networking opportunity, and I would highly recommend it for any of our members, especially those looking to become more involved in leadership roles. Next year’s event will be nearby in Orlando, and will be hosted at the Hilton Bonnet Creek resort.