And the Award Goes to …

April 10, 2014

by Dan Ward

One year ago I received a tremendous honor, being named the PR Professional of the Year for Career Excellence by the Orlando Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association.

In my remarks that night, I mentioned a few professionals who I thought deserved to one day share this honor, and tops on my list was Grant Heston, associate vice president of communications and public affairs for my alma mater (and client), the University of Central Florida (UCF).

I’m glad to say my prediction came true, and tonight I look forward to watching Grant accept an award for which he is most deserving.

For nearly seven years, Grant has earned the respect and trust of UCF’s president, board of trustees, provost, deans and vice presidents through consistently strong and strategic advice and counsel, and never was this more apparent than in the days and weeks following a crisis that thrust UCF into the national spotlight.  His team jumped into action after a planned mass shooting was thwarted, and they earned well-deserved respect from the community, and from national media, for their commitment to transparency.

Grant played an instrumental role as well in the effort to save public television in the Central Florida market, leading UCF’s charge to become the primary public television provider … all while he was in the midst of earning his master’s degree from UCF.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Grant for nearly 10 years, both during his tenure at UCF and at OUC, and have always been impressed by his knowledge, his ability to stay calm under pressure, his sense of humor, and most importantly, the example he sets for his peers and colleagues.

Congratulations, Grant.  I can think of no one more deserving.


Speak Their Language

March 10, 2014

by Julie Hall

I had the opportunity last month to attend the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Orlando Area Chapter’s breakfast meeting on communicating with the Hispanic market.  Following the panel presentation, I came across this Harvard Business Review (HBR) blog post that touched on many of the same points made by the FPRA speakers.

As the HBR article says, the Hispanic market is on track to reach $1.5 trillion in purchasing power in the United States next year and the audience is one that marketers cannot afford to ignore.  When you’re trying to reach the Hispanic market, it’s recommended to at least adapt your message into a neutral dialect of Spanish.  But as the HBR article and the recent FPRA presenters suggested, you can’t simply translate your original content into Spanish and expect a completely favorable response.

The idea of “transcreating,” developing specific content with a multicultural audience in mind, doesn’t apply just to the Hispanic market, or other ethnic groups for that matter.  As with any communications effort, it’s imperative to create specific content and tailor your messages to meet the needs of your various target audiences.  If you’re not speaking the language of your audience (both in the actual words and the context of your message), you’re missing the point.


Speak in Different Voices

February 3, 2014

kmartin by Kerry Martin

As a communications professional, finding opportunities to speak in different voices is a great exercise to help you hone your craft.  And while I happen to think my Sean Connery impersonation is superb, I’m talking about your written word as opposed to your spoken diction.

Just last weekend, through the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Orlando Area Chapter’s service event, attending members had the chance to help the Give Kids The World Village (GKTW) with a number of its communications objectives.  The nonprofit organization was finishing a two-week long “Extreme Village Makeover” renovation of its resort, which provides cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.  The massive project even garnered a “Good Morning America” special segment with renovation expert Ty Pennington, and through the national exposure, Give Kids The World had hundreds of information requests and posts on its social media channels.

FPRA members—myself included—were called in to help answer online comments from people who had seen the show, a number of whom had personal connections to GKTW.  During my shift of writing responses, I could see the progression of my language from the very standard messages of thanks, to the more authentic heartfelt replies of gratitude and joy for sharing their testimonies.

When you work in an agency, it is critical to convey a range of different perspectives in your writing tone because of the different clients you represent—such as those in technical, business, travel and consumer industries.  Although I’ve written business articles for nonprofits, this was my first time directly engaging with audiences who have very strong and emotional ties to what Give Kids The World does—granting wishes to inspire hope.

In the end, I felt that this unique “community service” project we did for the communications team at GKTW served me more than I served them, and if there’s one takeaway that I would share, it’s this:  Use every opportunity to speak in different voices to develop your style as a communicator.


It’s Award Season

January 31, 2014

Vianka2 by Vianka McConville

Awards season did not wrap up with the Grammys this past weekend.  The Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Orlando Area Chapter wants to celebrate your achievements and success stories in PR from the past year at the annual Image Awards in April, but why should you care? 

The goal in executing strategic communications plans is rarely to win awards.  Well-researched plans drive results, and plans that include entering awards programs capitalize on an opportunity to keep the momentum going.  Taking home the gold raises a company’s expert status as it receives third-party validation for knowledge and skill in the field, and showcases credibility for recruitment.

Image Awards highlight best practices, outstanding public relations programs and promote the development of public relations professionalism in our state.  Consider submitting an FPRA Image Award.  If you need further convincing, my colleague, Kerry Martin, wrote a white paper on “Winning Awards as a Winning PR Strategy” last year.  Take a look.


Everybody Wins

April 12, 2013

by Kim Taylor

Last night our team assembled with Orlando’s public relations community for the annual FPRA Image Awards ceremony.  Each year we select a variety of programs and projects to enter on behalf of our clients with the hope of bringing home an award or two.

But, this year was special.  Not only did we go four-for-four in the award category (Go, team!), but my partner and Curley & Pynn’s Vice President, Dan Ward, was the big man on campus for the evening accepting the honor of 2013 Central Florida public relations professional of the year.

In a brilliantly produced video by Strategist Kerry Martin, many of Dan’s peers had a little fun at his expense, but deep down we know how genuinely proud they all are of his many accomplishments.  They’re not alone.  I couldn’t be more proud to call Dan my business partner—he truly is a gifted professional and now he has the bling to back it up.

If you couldn’t be there to celebrate, grab your morning coffee and check out the video below.


Award Time

April 19, 2012

by Dan Ward

Sure, we’re proud of the efforts our team managed that resulted in three Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Image Awards. It’s always nice to be recognized for good work that achieves results.

But what makes us most proud are these lines from the event program:

Serving clients is not enough. To learn, grow and eventually lead, you must also serve your community and your profession.

We’re very proud of the time and effort our own Kerry Martin and Julie Primrose devoted to a fun and successful event for FPRA.

Great work, ladies!


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