Local Florida Public Relations Association members recognized at conference

Florida Public Relations Association
Bethune-Cookman University student Benjamin Simmons III, center, was awarded the Dr. Bob Davis, APR, CPRC, Scholarship from the Florida Public Relations Education Foundation. Simmons is shown with Chris Graham, incoming president of the Volusia/Flagler chapter, left, and Shelley Szafraniec, current president of the chapter.

The Volusia/Flagler Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association was well-represented at the organization’s 81st annual conference in Tampa last week.

Incoming Chapter President Chris Graham, who serves as community information specialist for the City of DeLand, received an Award of Distinction for his work on the Hometown Heroes Military Banner Program that honors DeLand area veterans and active military service personnel by placing banners in the Downtown DeLand district and giving them replicas to keep at home. 

The program, which was founded in 2018, also received an Award of Distinction and Judges’ Award in the Mid Florida Local Image Awards.

Rising Leaders honoree 

Incoming Vice President of Public Relations Johanna Santana was recognized as the Volusia/Flagler Chapter’s honoree in the Joe Curley Rising Leaders Class of 2019. 

Members of each class are recognized as up-and-coming individual FPRA members who demonstrate emerging leadership traits along with dedicated involvement in their local FPRA Chapter. Santana, a resident of DeLand, recently joined Universal Orlando Resort as a public relations manager. 

B-CU student honored 

Bethune-Cookman University student Benjamin Simmons III, who served as president of B-CU’s Vision Chapter of FPRA last school year, was awarded the Dr. Bob Davis, APR, CPRC, Scholarship from the Florida Public Relations Education Foundation. Recipients are awarded $1,500 toward educational expenses. 

Chapter member Anna Hackett, APR, was recognized for recently earning Accreditation in Public Relations.

The APR is a national credential administered through the Universal Accreditation Board that shows professional competence, expertise and leadership and requires a commitment to progressive public relations industry practices and high standards.

Finally, the chapter’s efforts in the community earned it a President’s Award for Community Involvement from outgoing FPRA President Gordon Paulus, APR, CPRC, which was presented to the Volusia/Flagler FPRA Chapter President Shelley Szafraniec, APR, CPRC, at the conference. 

PACE Center support

In the 2018-2019 program year, the chapter supported the Neighborhood Center of West Volusia, and in 2019-2020, the chapter will support PACE Center for Girls, which was selected by Bissy Holden, the 2019 Roger Pynn Great Communicator. 

Szafraniec, who serves as communications specialist for the City of Daytona Beach, will serve on FPRA’s state board as vice president for Research and Planning, in the coming program year. She will also remain as a board member for the Volusia/Flagler Chapter.



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