Member Spotlight – Zoe Linafelt
Name and Title
Zoe Linafelt, Deputy Communications Director, Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD)
Tallahassee! I graduated from Lincoln High School (2007) and Florida State University (2010/English-Creative Writing). Some of my favorite memories of growing up here include visiting the Tallahassee and Natural History Museums, performing with the Women’s Dance Project, and singing in school and community choruses. If you’re new in town or just want to chat about Tallahassee, come find me!
When did you start your career in Public Relations?
I was fortunate to intern at Sachs Media Group during my last year of college and worked with the amazing team there for seven years. SMG leadership encouraged me to get involved in FPRA, and I’m so glad they did. While writing was my initial passion, I enjoy the psychology and strategy of PR, and I love getting results.
What project are you most proud of?
Hard to choose just one! Assisting U.S. Attorney Pamela Marsh with the return of a famous painting to its rightful owners decades after it was stolen by Nazis, developing a public education campaign to help sea turtles in the Florida Panhandle, and, most recently, working with FEMA, DEO, and other partners to help APD providers recover from Hurricane Michael.
What is one piece of advice you would give others entering the field?
Be inquisitive. If you don’t know an answer, look it up or ask someone. If something doesn’t make sense, be persistent until you understand it. Not only will this help you make informed decisions, you might raise new, important questions that need to be addressed.
What do you think is the biggest challenge PR professionals will face going forward?
Proving our value to people who don’t understand what we do.
What would your colleagues be surprised to know about you?
I am not competitive at all, until there’s something I want to win. Monopoly? You can have Park Place. Image Awards? I want all of them.
I am learning American Sign Language and can carry on a conversation pretty well … If you sign, I’d love to meet up!
My husband, Tim, and I adopted an American Bulldog Mix named Herbert. He is our world. If you let me, I will show you 500 pictures of him.
How has a mentor influenced your career?
One of the greatest benefits of FPRA is learning from brilliant, experienced professionals. Workplace and FPRA mentors encouraged me to overcome my fears and become more confident in myself. I grew from a student who hid from the pizza delivery guy to a professional who’s pitched national media.
Why did you join FPRA?
My supervisor at Sachs Media Group (and former FPRA Chapter President), Erica Villanueva, APR, encouraged this shy introvert to join. Once I began to see every member as a friend, it wasn’t scary. In fact, going through my career without FPRA is a terrifying thought.
Why did you decide to serve on the board of FPRA?
I care about the experience members get from FPRA, so I like to help shape that experience.