Introducing your 2013 Blogging Team! Be sure to check the blog often for an insider’s look at this year’s Annual Conference. You can also follow our blogging team on Twitter here.
TEAM LEADER: HEIDI OTWAY, APR (@heidiotway) is the director of public relations and social media at SalterMitchell, a communications and behavior change firm based in Tallahassee. She has been a member of FPRA since 2003 and is the vice president of technology on the FPRA state board. Heidi has served on a number of committees in the Capital Chapter, and as president in 2010 she was named Chapter president of the year. She is passionate about public relations, social media and FPRA. Woot!
AMANDA FORBES MESTDAGH, APR (@amanda4bes) is a public relations senior account executive with Fry Hammond Barr, a full-service marketing and communications agency with offices in Orlando and Tampa, Fla., where she leads local and national public relations and social media initiatives for clients in the retail, healthcare and restaurant industries. An FPRA member since 2004, she is currently the incoming vice president of technology for the state association and incoming secretary for the FPRA Orlando Area Chapter, where she has served in numerous roles on the chapter’s board including President. She earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Central Florida and is an active member of the Junior League of Greater Orlando.
WHITNEY FIKE (@sparkplugwhit) is a marketing specialist at Gulf Winds Federal Credit Union in Pensacola. Whitney has been a member of FPRA since 2006 and is currently serving as president of the Pensacola Chapter. Whitney is very involved in her community and volunteers her time with many organizations. She’s a self-described festival enthusiast, freelance writer, and country music devotee.
STEFANIE STRICKLIN (@stefstricklin) is a junior consultant at Salter>Mitchell, skilled at keeping her clients in the news through her expertise in media relations, strategic planning and social media. At Salter>Mitchell, Stefanie provides strategic planning, client solutions and media relations support for numerous clients. An FPRA member since 2012, she is the incoming chair of the monthly luncheons committee for the Capital Chapter in Tallahassee. Stefanie is a graduate of Murray State University in Kentucky where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations.
PAUL RAMEY, APR (@ramey_paul) is assistant director in charge of marketing and public relations at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, where he has worked since 1999. He is a past president of the Gainesville Chapter and is currently the VP of finance on the State Executive Committee. Ramey received the 2008 FPRA State Member of Year Award and last year took home the 2012 Dick Pope All Florida Golden Image Award. He’s an FPRA rock star!
KEVIN COULSON (@kevincoulson) is the director of marketing and business development at Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, a non-profit healthcare organization in North Central Florida. In this role he also serves as host of a public affairs radio show. An FPRA member since 2008, Kevin has been active on the Gainesville Chapter board since 2009 and currently serves as the programs chair. Kevin received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from University of West Florida and is involved with many organizations in the area including: Advertising Federation of Gainesville, Alachua County Emerging Leaders, Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Gainesville Alumni Association and, of course, FPRA.
AMANDA FLIGER, APR (@amandafliger) is the director of communications with the American Lung Association of the Southeast, Inc., the oldest voluntary health organization in the country. Serving Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, Amanda handles all aspects of communications and public relations for the organization whose mission is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Prior to her service in the non-profit sector, Amanda worked for the award-winning integrated communications firm Moore Communications Group. Amanda has been a member of FPRA since 2005 and held a variety positions on the Capital Chapter board, including President. She is the incoming vice president of research/planning for the state association and a proud graduate of The Ohio State University. Amanda is a self-proclaimed “foodie” and loves traveling the country having culinary adventures when she is not curled up with her two dogs, cat and a good book.
LAUREN HYER, APR (@CHSLauren) is a communications specialist with Children’s Home Society of Florida, the oldest and largest non-profit organization serving vulnerable children and families in Florida. She is responsible for an array of public relations programs, including media relations, social media, and internal and external communications. An FPRA member since 2011, she is the incoming vice president of membership for the Orlando Area Chapter. Lauren earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from University of Central Oklahoma. She is an avid traveler, but also enjoys time at her home base in Orlando with her German Shepherd mix, Dakota.
NICOLE HUIE (@nhuie) is an assistant director for college relations, outreach & engagement with the University of Central Florida Alumni Association. She is the incoming treasurer for the FPRA Orlando Area Chapter and has previously served as assistant vice president of interactive media and vice president of image awards. Nicole received her bachelor’s degree in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations from the University of West Florida and is currently in the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program at UCF. She is also an active member of the Junior League of Greater Orlando and NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.
KATHRYN WOLTER (@kathrynwolter) is an account coordinator at Clarke Advertising and Public relations, a full-service agency located in Sarasota. She focuses on public relations and social media strategy and as a member of the content creation team for a national consumer brand, regularly contributes to their blog. Kathryn is a new member of the Central West Coast Chapter of FPRA and a recent graduate of The Florida State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in media communications. GO NOLES!
TAYLOR NEWSOME (@taygnew) is a public relations assistant at Salter>Mitchell whose previous work experience has prepared her for the fast-paced nature of agency life. Taylor is a recent graduate of Florida State University with a degree in Media Communication Studies. While at FSU she was a member of the student chapter of FPRA and hopes to soon become a member of the Capital Chapter in Tallahassee. Taylor considers herself a social media enthusiast and is passionate about learning and growing in the public relations industry.