public relations southwest florida

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By Michaela Jones

Marketing and Communications Intern

Hello! My name is Michaela A. Jones I am a new intern here at Pushing the Envelope (PTE). I am 18 years old, making me the youngest member in our group of interns. All of them have been in college for a while and have received degrees, while I just graduated from high school. I attended Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll High School in Miami where I was a member of multiple clubs, including softball, volleyball, and their award-winning drum line. Originally, I hail from Newport, Rhode Island, but due to my father being an officer in the Navy, we didn’t live there for long. My family and I moved around quite a bit when I was younger, and after a couple of years of this pattern, we finally settled down in the sunny, exotic city of Miami when I was six years old. I lived there for 12 years until recently, when I was accepted into college here in Fort Myers, so I packed up my bags and made the move.

After moving from the east coast to the west coast, I started attending classes at Florida Southwestern State College (which most of you know as Edison Community College) and I’m currently working for my AA.  I am part of certain clubs including DIVE Club, which involves scuba diving and beach conservation throughout Florida – the first step in the direction of my dream career. I hope to pursue a career in the medical field, but more specifically Physical Therapy (PT).

While interning here at Pushing the Envelope, I hope gain experience of a company setting and to also get a feel for different occupational pursuits – to see what else is out there – in case I don’t want to go into the medical field. I also hope to gain knowledge on how the workforce works and what are best professional practices and etiquette.

Well, here I am on the Gulf side, and I am ready to get down and learn what I need to know to have a successful life. And I am excited to begin this intern program to start this next chapter in my life!

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By Morgan Reed

Marketing and Communications Intern


Hello! My name is Morgan Reed and I am originally from Houston, Texas. I am currently in my last semester at Florida Gulf Coast University in pursuit of my bachelor’s degree in communication with a dual concentration in communication studies and public relations. I moved to the Fort Myers area three years ago and have fallen in love with the city. From the surrounding environment in our local community, to the university, and all the businesses that have been prospering over the past few years, I could not imagine myself anywhere else and couldn’t be happier to have chosen this area as my home.

As successful individuals in the public relations industry, it is important to be curious and to look beyond what is and envision what could be. The key is to always look ahead, see where the industry is going and anticipate trends. In my everyday life I am constantly living this way – continuously searching for new opportunities and creating new ideas. I feel that with this quality I have I could be very resourceful and efficient in the public relations industry.

From this internship experience with Pushing the Envelope, Inc., I am hoping to gain as much hands on experience in the public relations sector as I can. I am always planning ahead and staying organized and feel with my critical thinking skills and action-oriented attitude, I could learn a lot over these next few months. I hope to gain transferable skills that I can apply to a wide variety of industries, since I am still indecisiveon what direction I want to go in after graduation. Learning the ins and outs, so to speak, of the public relations sphere is something I am hoping to understand better after this 10-week opportunity as well.

One area I would like to gain more understanding on in particular is the elements involved in branding – building partnerships and communications with clients and the community. I also hope to learn what social media strategies and engagement can help a businesses prosper. I am looking forward to working with each member of the Pushing the Envelope team and to gain insight and knowledge from their experiences so I can better understand all the elements that are essential when managing a successful mixed marketing communications firm.

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Vote for PTE as the “Best PR Firm” in Gulfshore Business’ Best of Business Poll


Forewarning – shameless plug/request about to ensue… It’s that time of year again. It’s time for your voice to be heard and for the Southwest Florida business community to recognize the best of the best – and we need YOUR help!

Annually Gulfshore Business produces a list dubbed “Best of Business”. This is compiled via votes (each person can only vote once) by community members just like you. We’re a little biased, admittedly, but we think we stand a pretty good chance of being named “Best of Business” for the PR firm category. If you agree, we need your help!

Please vote for us today! Voting ends May 16th.


We strive to not just to meet expectations, but to exceed them in everything we do. No matter how big or small the job, from doing a complete brand design to customizing a client’s Facebook page, we strive for excellence.

Have you worked with us before, or are you just a fan of our blog? Are you a non-profit we’ve assisted? Whatever our relationship, please consider taking 30 seconds to vote for Pushing the Envelope as the Best PR Firm in Gulfshore Business’ Best of Business poll.

We appreciate it. In the end, we owe our success to you!

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CAM00035Hello! My name is Arantza Calligari and I am one of the new interns here at Pushing the Envelope. I am a communications major, with minors in marketing, advertising and philosophy. I attend Florida Gulf Coast University or, if you watched last season of College Basketball, Dunk City!

I am outgoing, competitive, athletic and love being outdoors. My passion in life centers on the ocean and helping others. My favorite activity is combining my two passions and getting involved in causes such as Surfers For Autism, where I’ve helped children and young adults with autism and related special abilities spend the day surfing and enjoying the waters on Fort Myers Beach. I began as a communication major focusing on public relations; since I am always talking, I figured it was a great fit. Yet when I took my first marketing class, I was fascinated with the thought of building and maintaining relationships; I connected it with my passion of helping others.

As I drove to my internship for the first time, I was anxious and exited to apply the principles I had learned in the classroom to real life situations. On my first day, just hearing Samantha and Tiffany talk to each other about upcoming campaigns for their clients was rewarding. What I’ve learned so far is that knowing a marketing principle and knowing how to apply it is completely different. I feel as if I have so much to learn and I couldn’t be in a better place to do it. I foresee ten weeks of non-stop learning, fun projects and great mentors.  I look forward to gaining experience strategically, working with and utilizing social media to reach S.M.A.R.T. goals.

I am so fortunate to have such an incredible opportunity to learn the ins and outs of marketing and communications. I can’t wait to share this experience and everything I learn with you. Lets get pushing!

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samantha scott, apr, public relations fort myers




By: Samantha Scott, APR

Grand Poobah / Owner

For those of you working for national brands the question sometimes arises, “do we really need a local PR person or local PR effort?” Sometimes the answer is “no,” but sometimes the answer is “yes” and it all comes down to the scenario.

Matt Hyde, President & CEO of West Marine with Mayor Randall P. Henderson, Jr. of Fort Myers (photo credit: Vandy Major)

Matt Hyde, President & CEO of West Marine with Mayor Randall P. Henderson, Jr. of Fort Myers (photo credit: Vandy Major)

One prime example is work we did with West Marine when they opened their Fort Myers flagship store in 2012. An international brand with locations all over the country and existing presence in the Fort Myers market, their communications team sought out local public relations assistance.

Why? They understood the two primary benefits:


  1. Having a local PR presence means having people on hand, in the town you’re working in to handle situations as they arise – a face and person, not just a name and email address.
  2. Local PR people have local connections. We know area journalists, media outlets and the market better than any media database could ever know.

Big brands tend to have more people and often times more money to spend on communications and outreach to the markets in which they do business, but it doesn’t always mean they have the necessary, critical connections to journalists, media outlets, consumers and stakeholders that make the biggest impact. We were able to help West Marine because we could pinpoint their audience, the key media that delivered messages to that audience and facilitate other arrangements (music, venue, community participation).

Scott Fischer, CEO & Founder of Scott Fischer Enterprises with members of local media in Huntsville, AL.

Scott Fischer, CEO and Founder of Scott Fischer Enterprises with members of local media in Huntsville, AL.

Local public relations DOES matter for national brands – if they are new to a market, want to foster new relationships or, in some cases, mend relationships with consumers or media. We’ve also been called on to aid in local public relations and crisis communications for national brands when something goes awry at a specific location. In those cases, having someone who knows the surrounding circumstances, mindset of the community and its residents, but can also speak on behalf of the brand is critical.

At PTE, we work with large and small companies, local start-ups and national, even international brands. The opportunities we’ve had (and currently have) to work with national brands are all unique, but have all benefited from a strong, well connected and professional local presence. (In fact we even won awards for some of them!)

If you’re interested in gaining exposure for your national (or local) company, or just want to talk about public relations, get in touch. We’d be glad to help.

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By: Tiffany Whitaker

Communication Ally, Pushing the Envelope

 As the new Communications Ally and team  member of Pushing the Envelope, I thought it fitting to write about Communications and its many languages.  However, I’m not talking about speaking French, English or sign language; I’m referring to the levels or stages upon which we interact.  I’ve recently found myself reading communications blogs of successful women from different walks of life, all of whom shared an interesting, yet entirely different perspective on communicating.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Body Language

Whether intentional movements  and expressions or natural reactions and projections, we are constantly communicating with our bodies and physical movements.  These behaviors are picked up by the person we are interacting with, and likewise.   Take notice of what you are projecting and interpret what the other person is telling you, communicating to you through their body language and gestures.

Language of Listen

You may recall Samantha’s interpretation of communication on this blog recently, The Passive Act of Communication: Listening.  She expresses the importance of two-way communication, showing the other person that “their input matters.”   Communication involves engaging the person you are interacting with, talking with them instead of at them.  Try asking questions, listen to what the other person has to say and truly hear their message.


Beth Comstock, CMO at General Electric, shared a lesson she learned from former GE chairman and CEO Jack Welch after he hung up on her. After spending years in media and network news, she was too abrupt and she had to slow down.  He was asking her to take more time to relate to people she was “communicating” with; get to them, where they are coming from, what is important to them.  Sometimes we get caught up or distracted, are running through a never-ending list of tasks to complete  that we miss out on the “why”  we got into communications; the experiences and relationships.


Empathic listening is a mixture of communication skills and awareness to use when you genuinely want to connect. You can use it to applaud someone’s victory or to help uncover what’s really troubling them. If you allow yourself to empathize you can communicate on a whole new level.  In her book “It’s All A Gift,” Miriam Adahan describes a friend who’s 8 month old baby was hospitalized with cancer.  People kept telling her that everything was going to be okay when what she really needed was so express her feeling and have someone lend an ear and hear what she needed to say.   Their forceful and “optimistic” message was actually hurting her more.  Allow yourself empathize with a person, their situation, their angle or belief will make you communicate better in a situation.


Whether you’re new to a team (wink, wink), meeting someone new, making a sale, networking or even interacting with a loved one, remember there is more to communication than speaking.  Taking note of the many levels or languages of communication can positively effect your life on both  professionally and personally.  Thanks for reading and if you need assistance with your communications, give us a call at (239) 221-2858 or visit our website.

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We’d like to welcome Tiffany Whitaker as our newest team member! Tiffany joins the PTE team as a Communications Ally. She’ll work with clients on public relations projects, reputation management and media relations and her background is predominately in communications in the Southwest Florida.

Tiffany has administrative skills as well as marketing, social media and public relations experience including front-line customer service, public speaking, training and presentations, responding to press inquiries, networking and building strong relationships with partners and vendors.

You can welcome her to the team by emailing her at Tiffany(at) or by calling 239.221.2858.

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samantha scott, apr, public relations fort myers



By: Samantha Scott, APR

Grand Poobah AKA Owner

Today is the day of love, Valentine’s Day, so I thought I’d write in genre. As we grow up we strive to find something that we love that can provide income and sustainability for ourselves as adults – a job or career. It’s my hope that you (reading this) have found that one thing, industry, topic or passion that you love. It’s more likely if you’re an entrepreneur. Take me for example.

My husband and I started this company 7 years ago because we found that we were both good at marketing. I love the process of communications and relationship creation. On the Myers-Briggs scale I’m an ESTJ. Words are my friends and I’m comfortable with new people. What I don’t like is math and numbers, especially balancing a checkbook and calculus. This is important because I do what I love and good at, and leave the other stuff to those who are good at it. I practice public relations and run Pushing the Envelope, but I leave the bookkeeping up to my accountant.

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It’s easy to get caught up in running your business. You’re busy and work hard to meet the demands of your clients or customers and your staff. Maybe you could use a little help and as a result, have stopped or stalled your marketing efforts. Don’t let being busy in “season” (for those of you in Southwest Florida) lead to a lack of business or new clients come summertime.

You are good at what you do. You run a successful business, but if we’re being honest, it could always be better, right? It can be hard to ask for help or even realize there is a need. Chance are, you didn’t go to college for marketing or web development. You know you need both for your business to be successful and grow, but aren’t sure where to start or perhaps, what to do next. Why not let us help?

Our skilled team can be your virtual in-house marketing department, help you get social media going (you know that plan you talked about 6 months ago?) and work on updating your website for increased traffic generation – and ultimately leads.

Do what you are good at. Let us help with the rest. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.221.2858 or email info(at) We’ll be glad to help you do what you love.

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Photo By Brian Tietz...Photo by Brian Tietz

By: Samantha Scott, APR

Grand Poobah / Owner

Life doesn’t come with a manual, nor do many of our jobs, so here’s my gift to you this holiday season – 3 quick and easy tips to help avoid some unnecessary, potentially embarrassing, definitely unprofessional moments. Consider it an early Christmas present. :)


I know, that doesn’t sound so hard. If that’s the case, however, why is it that so few businesses have a public relations or marketing plan? Planning involves focus and time, which scares most people away, but it is one of the most important steps in any public relations or marketing effort. Take the time to develop a strategy with SMART goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or milestones. Then, incorporate steps to measure the plan’s outcomes – successes or failures. They’re both learning experiences.


Yes, it’s a bit of pet peeve of mine, but really, if you’re writing for business proofreading should be an integral part of the process! Check your work before it goes out to the media, clients, co-workers, etc. We’ve all seen embarrassing mistakes in copy that could have been avoided. Don’t be “that” person.


Most us have to develop some kind of report at the end of a project. From year end reports to quarterly board meetings, there’s usually some kind of round up done that reports how effective our efforts were, but why wait? Measure your efforts as you go (start with a baseline at the beginning, measure incrementally throughout, then do an end measurement) so there aren’t any surprises at the end! This affords you the opportunity to make adjustments and potentially succeed ultimately even if the campaign starts out a little rocky.

None of these concepts are nouveau or highly technical, but I can virtually guarantee that if you employ them, they can help you avoid errors and potential problems. However, if you still need help, give us a shout. We’re just an email or a phone call away.

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