FPRA Celebrates Local PR Awards

Several awards were presented during the Florida Public Relations Association’s Dick Pope/ Polk County chapter meeting on April 19, 2017. The awards recognized service in the community, distinction in public relations programs and leadership within the chapter. A summary of achievements and award plaques were presented by chapter President Elect, Erin Knothe.

Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter Public Service Award
Sweet Magnolia’s Tea Bistro, Auburndale, Florida, was selected as the recipient for the Dick Pope / Polk County Chapter Public Service Award. Since opening in 2005, Sweet Manolia’s has grown from just 2 employees to a team of 10-12. In addition to serving up southern hospitality, fresh food and iced tea, the restaurant has grown into a gift shop and a caterer for events and parties. Sweet Magnolia’s has preserved and has converted one of Auburndale’s oldest residences that has been designated as a local historic landmark by the City Commission. The restaurant gives back to the community by supporting many youth sports teams and various schools in Auburndale. Owner, Tabitha Hill, spearheaded an effort to feed student-athletes at Auburndale High School. Hill’s care and concern for these children, some of whom come from financially challenged households, has increased community engagement and educated other about the needs of students in the public school system.

Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter Rising Leader Award
Margarita Alfaro, Marketing Director at NuJak Companies Inc., was selected as the recipient for the Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter Rising Leader Award. A member of FPRA for four years, Alfaro has taken a more active role. She joined the committee presented on the Carillon Classic 5k Run & Walk and is now an active board member for the chapter. This year Alfaro became the Social Media Chair for the chapter, keeping the chapter up-to-date on the speakers for professional development meetings, social events, new members, and other FPRA news. She is the unofficial photographer at all FPRA professional development meetings and social events. In addition, Alfaro is actively involved with Risk Club, a program for at-risk middle and high school students from low-income families in economically depressed areas in Polk County. She is also a member of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, and an active committee member to Southeastern University’s SEU Forum planning committee.  Alfaro continues to give back to the community through her volunteer work with VISTE (Volunteers in Service to the Elderly), and through her local church as a Team leader for Access Church. The chapter is proud to have Alfaro represent our chapter during the FPRA annual conference.

FPRA Image Awards
Lakeland Electric received two Awards of Distinction for their public relations entries in the FPRA Image Awards competition. The first award of distinction was for a public service video entry addressing fraud in the community. Fraud is an everyday battle for the team at Lakeland Electric. They will never call a customer to demand payment – EVER. They often post fraud warnings on their social media and website. Still, some of their customers fall into the traps of the imposters. To help reinforce this message, they invested in a commercial to speak on fraud.

The second award of distinction was for Lakeland Electric’s crisis communication following an incident when a Lakeland Electric employee was attacked by two dangerous dogs while doing her job on February 13, 2017. A long-time Meter Service Worker was conducting her regular routine of disconnects and reconnects when she was attacked. It is uncommon for something like this to happen in the field. When dealing with emergency situations that involve Lakeland Electric employees and animals they must act quickly to ensure misconceptions do not occur and with great caution since issues with animals cause a great amount of public concern. To communicate the important details of this crisis, they used a few thoughtfully selected channels of communication.

The FPRA’s Image Awards competition is the precursor to FPRA’s Golden Image Awards. Conducted annually, the Image Awards competition provides PR practitioners an excellent platform to be recognized in their home markets for their outstanding public relations tools and programs. The Image Awards also works to give entrants insights for entering their work, if they choose, into FPRA’s statewide competition: the Golden Image Awards. If you would like to enter your entries into the Golden Image Awards, the deadline is May 30th.  https://fpra.secure-platform.com/a/organizations/main/home