Tampa’s Lisa Brock to help FAMU trustees with PR

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Veteran PR guru Lisa Brock soon will be applying her talents to a tough challenge: Florida A&M University.

Brock, reached on vacation, told FloridaPolitics.com on Tuesday that she had signed an agreement last week to do public-relations consulting for the university’s Board of Trustees.

Her goal: To hone the board’s understanding of “messaging,” as she put it. The contract is worth up to $75,000, records show.

FAMU, Florida’s only state-controlled historically black university, has long had a reputation among reporters for being distant with media, circling the wagons when bad news breaks.

Brock, namesake of the Tampa-based Brock Communications PR and marketing firm, won’t be supplanting the university’s own Office of Media Relations, she said.

“The board is all volunteer, as most boards are,” Brock said. “We’re going to help them communicate what they really want to say.”

Last month, a group of politicians – including Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum – called on FAMU Board of Trustees chair Rufus Montgomery to resign because of his openly combative relationship with Elmira Mangum, the university’s president.

Montgomery so far has declined the invitation. Hiring an outside PR consultant was his idea.

Brock said she’s already spoken with some board members to offer tips and pointers.

“This is what we do,” she said. “We walk into situations where an institution may not have knowledge of the nuances of PR like we do.”

The testimonials on her firm’s website include former Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon and retired NFL running back Warrick Dunn.

Dunn now operates Warrick Dunn Charities in Atlanta. After his college football days at Florida State University, he played for the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“Brock Communications knows the nonprofits world and they have really helped us take things to the next level,” Dunn said.  

She was spokeswoman for Tampa Bay’s Busch Gardens when it was still owned by Anheuser-Busch, and “led the marketing efforts of the $35 million expansion project at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) that included Tampa Bay’s first IMAX theater,” her website says.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.