The Central West Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (CWC-FPRA) will hold a Storytelling and Brand Building Workshop on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. at the State College of Florida-Lakewood Ranch Campus, 7131 Professional Parkway E., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34240

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Storytelling and Brand-Building in the Modern Era Workshop

Presented by Diane McFarlin, University of Florida, and Bob Allen, IDEAS


Sarasota, Fla. (May 20, 2016) – The Central West Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (CWC-FPRA) will hold a Storytelling and Brand Building Workshop on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. at the State College of Florida-Lakewood Ranch Campus, 7131 Professional Parkway E., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34240. Attendees will learn from two leading experts who are influencing the future of journalism, branding and public relations:  Diane McFarlin, Dean of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida and former Publisher of the Sarasota Herald Tribune, and Bob Allen, Chief Storytelling Officer, IDEAS.


Register for the luncheon at or by email to [email protected]. The cost includes breakfast – $45 for FPRA members and $55 for non-members. The event is open to the public and business owners, as well as marketing and PR professionals, are encouraged to attend.


About the Presenters


Diane McFarlin is dean of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida. She began her journalism career in high school and took a reporting job in Sarasota after earning her degree at UF. McFarlin rose through the ranks to become managing editor of the Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune at 30. She was named executive editor of The Gainesville Sun three years later and then returned to the Herald-Tribune, serving as executive editor for a decade and publisher for 13 years. Under her leadership, the Herald-Tribune Media Group, the largest media company in Southwest Florida, was touted as an industry leader in media convergence and digital innovation.


McFarlin became dean of the UF College of Journalism and Communications in January 2013. In this role, she has expanded interdisciplinary initiatives, established a central hub for professional advising and student services, and increased research productivity through top faculty hires and increased funding. In addition to academic excellence, the college’s hallmark is the professional immersion opportunities it offers students. Venues include the multimedia Innovation News Center, GatorVision sports production, and The Agency, an integrated communication agency. Each of these programs is led by professionals, staffed by students and inspired by faculty.


Robert M. (Bob) Allen is Chief Storytelling Officer and Founder, IDEAS. Allen was born in Norco, California and grew up in Anaheim with Disneyland literally in his backyard. He began his career in the entertainment industry as a musician at the age of 16.  From 1976 to 1978, Allen held a variety of positions in the park’s Entertainment Division In 1978, Allen formed a production unit within the Disneyland International Division. In 1991 he became Vice President of Disney Production Services Inc. incorporating both he studio operations and the WDW Resort Entertainment division. He was responsible for all facilities and services at the Disney-MGM Studios as well as the operation of Disney IDEAS (Innovation Design Entertainment Art and Storytelling), a full service studio. In July of 2001, he formed Integrity Arts and Technology, Inc. and completed a management buyout of IDEAS. Today, IDEAS is a media and experience design firm using the power of purposeful storytelling and “design thinking” to create brands, produce content, transform organizational culture and design and enhance immersive experiences in the location-based entertainment, hospitality and healthcare industries.

Allen’s life focus is on community building. He has served on a number of community service organization boards and industry organizations including The Central Florida Technology Partnership, The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, The Florida Film and Television Commission, The Central Florida Film Television and Digital Media Advisory Council, The International Storytelling Center, The National Center for Modeling and Simulation, and is a past chairman of United Cerebral Palsy of Central Florida. He is also active with his family’s foundation The Bob Allen Family Foundation, named in honor of Bob Allen’s father.  Allen was a founding member and chair of The Florida Institute for Film Education and has worked in education as an adjunct faculty member in the University of Central Florida film school where he taught the business of storytelling and created The Maria Caccavo Diversity Film Scholarship in honor of a Studio Cast Member.

About FPRA:

The Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) has been serving Florida public relations professionals for 70 years, being founded in 1938 by Lt. Col. John W. Dillin.  FPRA is the oldest public relations organization in the United States. There are 15 professional chapters and many university chapters located throughout Florida, including the Central West Coast Chapter.  The Central West Coast Chapter was formed in 1966 and has more than 120 members from Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties.  Members represent area businesses, nonprofits, independent public relations agencies/partnerships, and students.  For more information please visit


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