Leadership Luncheon: The Passing of the Gavel

| Written by: Lauren Antista

The FPRA’s Capital Chapter 2014 Leadership Luncheon began with the acknowledgement of its 2013-2014 officers’ and board members’ accomplishments and contributions — each receiving a personalized award and gift.  Alison Faris, APR, Director of Membership was able to get the chapter up to 152 members, the most of any chapter in the state.  In the new position of Director of Development, Samantha Strickland raised thousands of dollars to increase the quality of presentations and speakers.  Cindy Muir, APR, was named Member of the Year and Stefanie Stricklin received the President’s Award.

Sandi Poreda, APR, outgoing president of the Capital Chapter, gave some inspiring closing words reflecting on the question, “Was it worth it?” Her answer was a resounding, “Yes,” because of all the collaboration and comradery of the  Capital Chapter’s members.  Sandi passed the microphone to Rachel Smith, FPRA’s new state president, to swear in the 2014-2015 officers and board members:

  • Jan Dobson, APR, CAE  – President
  • Nanette Schimpf, APR, CPRC – President-elect
  • Amanda Wood, APR – Treasurer
  • Christina Johnson – Secretary
  • Sandi Poreda, APR – Immediate Past President
  • Cindy Muir, APR – Director of Membership
  • Stefanie Stricklin – Director of Programming
  • Kristen Knapp, APR, CPRC, CAE – Director of Accreditation
  • Alexis Phillips, ACSR – Director of Development
  • Alison Faris, APR – Director of Development
  • Karen Kirksey – Director of Communications
  • Mikhail Scott – Student Liaison

Following the swearing-in ceremony, Capital Chapter President Jan Dobson, APR, CAE offered  thoughts on the year to come. She passed the gavel around the room to emphasize the shared responsibility and commitment in the  “struggle to stay relevant and keep ourselves sharp.”

Past presidents of the Capital Chapter were then invited to share anecdotes, words of wisdom, advice, stories and memories. Rick Oppenheim, APR, CPRC (1987-1988) recalled his theme of “bring the value” to his year and that it was the first time the Capital Chapter won Chapter of the Year. Dr. Jay Rayburn, APR, CPRC (1992-1993) also recalled the theme of his year as “I’m in Charge” and how the chapter received the Most Improved Chapter Award. Newly-elected State President  Rachel Smith, APR, CPRC (1998-1999) remembered her Star Wars-themed year as when the chapter started ER for PR, held the first media breakfast and created the Capital Chapter’s first budget. Melanie Mowry-Etters, APR, CPRC (2002-2003) recalled that during her term the chapter won a membership and retention award, an accreditation award and Chapter of the Year.  Kristen Knapp (2003-2004) considered her year as the glue between the Chapter of the Year Awards and continuing a record of excellence for the Capital Chapter. Heidi Otway, APR (2009-2010) remembered her year as the year of Social Media, when the chapter really took off with its outreach via Social Media. Amanda Fliger Wood, APR (2011-2012) encouraged everyone to keep coming back and staying involved to make lasting connections. Erica Villanueva, APR (2012-2013) recalled the launch of the new website and her theme of The Real PR Pros of Tallahassee. And, Sandi Poreda (2013-2014) reminded us all that awards aren’t everything and that it is about doing our best. “Do it to do it, not to win it.”