Public Relations: Communicating More with Less

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Fast and accurate communication has become even more important throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Park and recreation professionals have needed to disseminate important health information, changes to programs, closures in parks and so much more. On top of having more to communicate, many agencies have been affected by furloughs and layoffs, leaving agencies to communicate more with less. In this webinar, we will explore the ways in which park and recreation professionals have been affected by the pandemic, and the tools, resources and partnerships they are using to continue communicating information that is vital to their mission. 

Learning Objectives 

Following this session, learners will be able to:

  1. Knowledge of tools and resources to support public relations communication.
  2. Recognize partnerships to increase communication to the community.

NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration. The learning content is available for registration for one year from the date of origination.

Jacqueline L. Gerling

Director of Communications, Cleveland Metroparks

As Cleveland Metroparks Director of Communications, Jacqueline Gerling directs the Park District’s internal and external communications. From strategy through execution, Jacqueline manages Cleveland Metroparks owned and earned communications channels across 18 park reservations, eight golf courses and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

 Jacqueline has strengthened Cleveland Metroparks media relations efforts, expanding coverage of special events and mission-based programming. In 2020, earned media coverage of the Park District reached approximately 900 million at an ad equivalency value of more than $7.7 million. Earned media coverage of the Zoo in 2020 reached more than 1.3 billion at an ad equivalency value of $12.3 million.  

 In her role, Jacqueline has streamlined communications with both media and the general public. Jacqueline led the organization’s communications during its centennial celebration in 2017 and the Park District’s rebrand in 2018. She helped activate Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s 2017 rebrand, updating the visual identity and messaging to focus on its mission-based conservation work. The efforts drove national attention and led to a 2% increase in Zoo attendance, a 10% increase in positive earned media stories, a 50% increase in impressions and engagement on Facebook as well as a 25% increase in website visits.

Jacqueline is a graduate of Denison University, former broadcast journalist and has experience leading public relations departments both in the private sector, as well as the public sector, under former Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.

Jacqueline is an avid sports fan and enjoys staying active and spending time outdoors. She resides in Rocky River, Ohio with her husband, Sam and daughter, Avery.  

Roxanne Sutton

Director of Communications, National Recreation and Park Association

Roxanne Sutton is the Director of Communications at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Her responsibilities include overseeing social media strategy and content development and promoting the award-winning work of our partnerships and business development team. She is also the host of NRPA’s podcast, Open Space Radio. In her role, Roxanne is fortunate to communicate and work directly with many NRPA members to promote new opportunities and showcase the great work local parks and recreation are doing in their communities. Prior to her role at NRPA, she worked at a PR firm in D.C. on a multitude of accounts ranging from energy clients to non-profits. She graduated with honors and recognition from George Mason University with her bachelors in Communication specializing in Public Relations. She was a member of Lambda Pi Eta and recipient of the Excellence in Communication Award.

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