LAKELAND, FL (Oct. 3, 2013) – The Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) has recognized Katy Martin of Lakeland as Polk County’s public relations professional of the year.
The presentation of the “Col. John Dillin, APR, CPRC Professional of the Year” award to Martin and special awards to Cindy Rodriquez of A-C-T Environmental Infrastructure and Marybeth Soderstrom of Polk Works for their professional accomplishments and service to the local chapter highlighted the chapter’s 2013 annual meeting at the Cleveland Heights Golf & Country Club. Martin also was installed as the chapter’s new president.
Martin, who serves as communications director for Lakeland-based Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, earned the chapter’s top award for providing outstanding service to the public relations profession and FPRA during the past year. The award was presented by FPRA State President Chris Gent.
“Katy Martin is firmly committed to practicing public relations in a highly professional manner. She also is known for being hard working and enthusiastic and has great leadership/PR skills in addition to being a great ‘cheerleader’ for FPRA,” said Gent, in presenting the award.
During the past year, Martin served the FPRA chapter as president-elect and co-chaired the Carillon Classic 5K which raised $3,800 for the George W. Harris Runaway and Youth Crisis Center and more than $1,000 for the chapter’s scholarship and professional development initiatives. She also played a key role in raising funds for a state-wide FPRA scholarship fund.
A graduate of the University of North Florida, Martin was recently named communications director at the Florida Baptist Children’s Home after serving as social media and communications manager at Lakeland Regional Medical Center for three years. Before that she served several years in a PR capacity with the Central Florida Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.
Martin joined FPRA in 2006 and last year was recognized for her contributions to FPRA and the public relations profession with the chapter’s “Bob Gernert, APR, CPRC Member of the Year” award.
This year’s recipient of the “Member of the Year” award was Cindy Rodriquez, communications and legislative director of Bartow-based A-C-T Environmental & Infrastructure. Bob Gernert presented the award bearing his name to Rodriquez.
A past recipient of the “John Dillin, APR, CPRC Professional of the Year” award and winner of multiple FPRA Golden Image awards, Rodriquez organized study sessions for chapter members with an interest in pursuing accreditation in the public relations field during the past year.
She is a past president of the local FPRA chapter and served on the state FPRA Executive Committee. Prior to joining A-C-T, she was communications director for the Polk County Board of County Commissioners. She currently is president of the Polk Arts Alliance and is involved in many community organizations.
Marybeth Soderstrom, community outreach coordinator at Polk Works in Bartow, was recognized with the chapter’s “Rising Leader” award for her hard work and professionalism on assignments for Polk Works and FPRA. During the past year, she was co-chair of the Carillon Classic 5K and coordinated the FPRA chapter’s Image awards competition. She is a graduate of Florida College and certified workforce professional.
“Even though she is a relatively new PR practitioner, Marybeth demonstrates the PR instincts and talents of a seasoned pro, in addition to a high degree of enthusiasm and leadership skills that make her stand out as a ‘rising star’ and future leader of our profession and community,” said former chapter President Danny Kushmer in presenting the award.
Named in honor of Cypress Gardens’ founder Dick Pope, Sr., the Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter is one of 15 professional chapters of Sarasota-based FPRA, the nation’s oldest public relations organization. FPRA provides professional development, networking and recognition opportunities for more than 1,300 public relations professionals throughout the state. For more information on the state organization, visit www.fpra.org on the web.
The Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter meets at 8:30 a.m. on the third Wednesday of every month at the Cleveland Heights Golf & Country Club. All meetings are open to the public. For information visit the chapter website at www.fprapolk.org/home.