A Quick-Start Guide to Starting Your Own Communications Consultancy
- Location: Florida Health Care Association
- Address: 307 W Park Avenue
- RSVP Deadline: June 21 by 5 p.m.
If you’re thinking about starting your own PR consultancy, whether very soon or in the distant future, you’re going to want to attend our June program. The program will also give great guidance for those who are employed elsewhere about what to do in your current job to better prepare for the idea of being self-employed. Our panel of PR agency principals will share their advice, best practices, anecdotes, and warnings so you can know how to “hang your own shingle.”
Our panelists are of course well experienced in running their own agencies, but they are also fun, entertaining, wise, witty, fantastic people you’ll want to meet if you don’t know them already. With this group, you’re guaranteed to hear some funny stories and take away pages of notes!
Parking is available in the paved lot right behind the venue’s brick building. There is also metered parking on Park Ave. or you may park in the Kleman Plaza parking garage.
- Chirag Shah, Founder & CEO of The Current Agency
- Michelle Bono, APR, CPRC, CEO of Bono Communications & Marketing
- Sandi Poreda, APR, President of Bulldog Strategy Group and adjunct professor for the FSU College of Communication & Information
- Allison Aubuchon, APR, President of Allison Aubuchon Communications
Topics will include:
- Benefits and payroll and taxes, oh my!
- Getting new clients and retaining great clients
- Creating your own brand and company culture
- Taking a vacation when you’re a solo practitioner – is it possible?
- You may love your current job with no plans for a change, but it is still smart planning to be thinking, “What if things change?” What can you do now to be prepared for the next chapter?
If you have a question or specific topic you’d like the panel to answer during the program, please email it to [email protected].
At the beginning of the program, members will vote on the proposed slate for the 2022-2023 Capital Chapter Officers and Board Members.
About the Panelists
Chirag Shah is the Founder & CEO of The Current Agency and Made Equal Clothing Co., his digital and creative ad agency and clothing brand startup. Through 15+ years of experience, Chirag specializes in community relations, social media, search engine optimization, and website development, which allows him to ultimately improve his client’s bottom line by crafting creative solutions to their business problems. Chirag holds a Master of Arts in Creative Business Leadership from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the Florida State University. Chirag is inspired daily by his employees, parents, and four older sisters. Chirag travels, bar-hops, goes to the movies, plays basketball, and volunteers with local and regional organizations in his free time.
Sandi Poreda, APR
As one of only a few thousand nationally accredited public relations professionals, Sandi is always looking for new or better ways to connect with people and help them tell their story.
Prior to her work in the private sector, Sandi served the state of Florida in several capacities, including Communications Director for a state licensing agency and the Florida Attorney General’s Office. During her time in the Attorney General’s Office, Sandi helped define the office as a leader in the war on cybercrimes against children, which earned recognition from Oprah Winfrey. She was also responsible for managing the office’s national exposure on numerous multistate litigation efforts, including a constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act. These years of service gave Sandi valuable experience balancing the demands of precise legal strategies with public relations initiatives.
In addition to her work in the public relations industry, Sandi volunteers, fosters and fundraises for local animal rescue organizations; she also serves on the Board of Directors for the Leon County Humane Society and the Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, where she currently serves as an adjunct professor for the College of Communication & Information.
Allison Aubuchon, APR
Allison has enjoyed 17 years in the public relations profession and founded her namesake business, Allison Aubuchon Communications, in 2016. Remaining small and nimble, she scales to the goals of each client while keeping central a structure that supports family and personal health. With a focus on media advocacy, her team’s work for nonprofits and associations over the past six years has supported topics related to health equity, education, consumer protection and environmental issues.
Prior to going out on her own, Allison served as the Florida state communications & external affairs director for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and as press secretary for the Florida Senate Majority Office. Her career also includes corporate communications and agency experience.
Recognized as one of the 40 Gators Under 40 in 2021, Allison graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in public relations and from Florida State University with a master’s in media and communication studies. Living here in Tallahassee with her husband, Josh, and their two sons, Allison enjoys gardening and giving time to organizations and causes near to her heart.
M. Michelle Bono, APR, CPRC
Michelle Bono is the president and CEO of Bono Communications & Marketing, LLC, and is a respected marketing and public relations professional, presenter, and facilitator on strategic planning, improving communication, leadership development, crisis communication, and accomplishing measurable results. She is passionate about understanding clients’ specific needs and finding innovative and effective ways to produce results and communicate their
Michelle has more than 30 years of leadership experience in local government, including 19 years with the City of Tallahassee, where she served as the Assistant to the City Manager. In that capacity, she served on the city manager’s executive team and as the liaison with the Tallahassee City Commission. In addition, Bono directed the city’s award-winning Communications Department, which included citizen involvement and outreach, media relations, strategic marketing and communications, internet services, television production, social media, and employee communications. Before assuming her position in Tallahassee in May 1997, she served in local government communications in Roanoke, VA, and Thornton, CO.
Her previous experience includes working as a broadcast journalist and in public relations in the private and non-profit sectors. A native of Wichita, Kansas, Bono earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wichita State University and her master’s degree in public administration from Florida State University’s Askew School. In 2019, she was recognized by The Tallahassee Democrat as one of 25 Women You Need to Know based on her service and impact in the community. She is a three-time winner of the Dick Pope All Florida Award from the Florida Public Relations Association for effective public relations work.
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