By: Dan Whicker

Director of Marketing and Communications
Southwest Florida Community Foundation

The 2010 FPRA Annual Conference was the first one that I attended. Having been a member of the FPRA’s Southwest Florida Chapter for just over a year, I was finding that the learning was great and the networking even better. Fellow members encouraged me to attend the Annual Conference, especially since it was being held right down the road from where we are in Fort Myers. So, with the blessing of my employer, I headed down to Naples with high expectations that I would be returning with some good PR-enhancing ideas.

Well, my high expectations were more than met, and I ended up making some nice friends along the way. The conference was well thought out and the sessions were all very informative. It’s too hard for me to pick a favorite speaker because they all did such a wonderful job. One of the most memorable was, of course, Jenny Dervin from JetBlue Airways, who had the misfortune of having to deal with a major PR incident at the exact time she was attending the conference and speaking! She expertly turned the situation into a learning experience for session attendees and it was a very potent reminder of how the PR professional’s role must constantly adapt to changing situations.

It is usually difficult for conference attendees to immediately put into practice what they have just learned. The everyday demands of work threaten to push new knowledge and ideas into the recesses of our memories once we return after a few days of learning and networking. However, through local chapter recaps, new relationships, and FPRA resources, help is never far away and you eventually find that you are using what you learned without even thinking about it.

I highly recommend this Annual Conference to all FPRA members and to anyone interested in growing in their roles as professional communicators. Kudos to all who were involved in setting up the 2010 event. I can’t wait to see what you do in 2011!

PR2011: The Evolution of Public Relations
August 7-10, 2011
Naples Grande Beach Resort