Kate Gooderham, APR, CPRC is president of Gooderham & Associates, Inc., a Fort Myers, Florida consulting firm established in 1986, specializing in issues management, public information campaigns, grassroots organizing, governmental lobbying and monitoring, coastal permitting and strategic planning. A cum laude graduate of the University of South Dakota majoring in English and history, she was accredited in public relations in 1999 and certified as a public relations counselor in 2008.

She and her husband serve as executive directors of the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA). Founded in 1926, the ASBPA the scientific, technical and political interests along the coast in an effort to shape national research and policy concerning shore and beach management and restoration. One of their responsibilities is to plan, organize and execute two conferences a year.

Gooderham is active in the Florida Public Relations Association where she serves as vice president for professional development for the Southwest Chapter. She has been past chair of the Counselor’s Network, past president of the Southwest Chapter, past accreditation chair, 2001 Member of the Year, and 2005 PR Professional of the Year.

Question and Answer with Kate Gooderham, APR, CPRC

Q) What does it mean to you to be a part of the SWFL Chapter of FPRA and how has your involvement with the Association helped you in your endeavors?

A) Many of us, including myself, work either alone or with one or two people. It’s isolating. FPRA provides the networking and professional development which are critical to stay competitive. FPRA is different from many professional organizations in that fellow members really want to help. I have called on members for simple suggestions and big questions. In every case I have had prompt, professional responses.

Q) How has becoming accredited in public relations helped your career and do you have any tips for others who are considering the option?

A) Earning both the accreditation and the certification has given me confidence. It also makes our company stand out when clients are looking at us. For those considering accreditation, buy the books (you can get used ones very reasonably) and make a commitment to participate in the study sessions. Give yourself a deadline. I left annual conference one year and then made a commitment that I would begin preparing for the CPRC exam immediately after a February event, and that I would take the exam before the next year’s conference. I also found a study buddy who wanted to follow the same schedule, which helped.

Q) What is the most interesting project you have had to do?

A) I’ve had a number of really interesting projects. Sometimes the ones that help focus one’s life are the projects that stand out. In 1980, I was at a crossroads in my life. I was hired to do the internal public relations for a beach restoration project at South Seas. The project and the process were fascinating. After overcoming unbelievable obstacles, it was amazing to see the sand that was placed on the beach.

Q) As an accomplished public relations professional, what advice would you give to those who are just starting their careers in the field?

A) Get involved in FPRA. The opportunities for professional development are unlimited. When you take on committee responsibility, you learn and grow. Being an officer is leadership training at no cost!

Q) What drew you to first become a part of the SWFL Chapter of FPRA? Tell me about what made you come to your first meeting and what kept you coming back for more.

A) When I first attended a meeting, I was working alone. I definitely needed the networking. I kept coming back, because the programs were good and I liked the members. Then I was asked to be on the Board. Some of our most active members are the younger members. I find working with that group to be very satisfying and inspirational.

Q) What do you enjoy to do for fun in Southwest Florida?

A) I really enjoy the work I do on behalf of beaches. I also like to swim, ride bicycles, travel, garden and read. I’m very excited that I’m learning to grow herbs. Food tastes so much better with fresh herbs!