FORT MYERS, Fla. (Jan. 14, 2015) – Four longtime local media professionals will participate in a panel during Myers, Brettholtz & Company’s 13th annual nonprofit seminar on Wednesday, Jan 21. .

The full-day seminar, “Make Every Word Count,” will take place at the Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport-Town Center located at 9931 Interstate Commerce Drive in Fort Myers from 7:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Kellie Burns, Wendy Fullerton Powell, Jim McLaughlin and Osvaldo Padilla will participate in a panel on how nonprofits can work with the news media.

Burns anchors NBC-2 News at 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. Originally from upstate New York, she graduated from State University of New York at Geneseo with a bachelor’s degree in both communications and political science, and a minor in international relations. Her award-winning career includes three Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards as well as with several Florida Associated Press Awards. She serves on Gulfshore Life Magazine’s advisory board and the board of trustees for Canterbury School and the Children’s Advocacy Center.

Fullerton Powell is news director for The News-Press Media Group in Fort Myers. She joined Gannett and The News-Press in October 1989, starting out first as a bureau reporter then spent time covering education, growth and special projects. She also served as regional editor, deputy metro editor and business editor before moving to targeted content, which included features, sports and niche publications. Fullerton Powell was named news director in December 2014. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Vermont.

After more than three decades in the broadcast news business, McLaughlin is now director of the food program for Beacon of H.O.P.E. (Helping Our People Excel). Pine Island’s United Way House.  He also serves on the nonprofit’s board of directors. As food program director, he cooks for 40 Pine Island Elementary and Middle School students enrolled in the Beacon’s after-school mentoring program called SAS (Students Achieving Success). Working out of the kitchen at the Pine Island United Methodist Church, he prepares nutritious, home-style meals for more than 400 SAS students each month. He also prepares lunch twice a week for the Beacon’s GED program.

Padilla is the managing editor of Florida Weekly. He has more than 20 years of experience as a writer, journalist and media personality covering news throughout Florida. A graduate of the master’s program at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, he has covered Capitol Hill for media outlets in Oregon and the Keys, and served as a reporter for WINK-TV and The News-Press. During his time at Florida Weekly, the paper has won dozens of awards including General Excellence from the Florida Press Association. Padilla has recently won two Florida Press Association Awards for investigative and health reporting.

Since 2001, Myers, Brettholtz & Company, PA has sponsored seminars focused on the needs of nonprofits in the areas of human resources, fundraising, accounting practices and finance. The firm hosts the annual seminar in partnership with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties More than 130 nonprofit board members, leaders and staff attended last year’s event.

This year’s program will include information on new skills that will help nonprofits gain the support of the people whose support they need to succeed. Sessions will include how to identify the people best positioned to bring success, how to craft messages that will keep them engaged and tools that will keep nonprofits connected.

Guest speaker and media panel moderator Ann Christiano is the Frank Karel endowed chair of public interest communications for the University of Florida.

During the event, the 2015 UNITE (Uniting Nonprofits In Teaming for Excellence) Award collaboration winner will be announced. The UNITE Award is a private/public partnership established by Myers, Brettholtz & Company and supported by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the Cape Coral Community Foundation, the United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties and the Smith Family Foundation. The winner will receive $25,000, and the top two runners up will receive $2,500 each.

This year’s call for entries received 21 applications. Twelve collaborations made it to the second round before the five finalists were chosen.

The five finalists include:

  • Guidance Programs for Success (GPS) – GPS expands access to after-school programs for grades K-12 in Immokalee. Partners include the Guadalupe Center, RCMA Immokalee Community School, Immokalee Foundation, Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board, Collier County Public Schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, and Naples Children and Education Foundation
  • Partners in the Fight Against Human Trafficking – Abuse Counseling & Treatment and Human Trafficking Awareness Partnership are part of the Southwest Florida Regional Coalition that coordinates efforts and training among law enforcement agencies, human service providers, and federal and local government agencies.
  • Teen Outreach Program – The Teen Outreach Program collaboration began in 2006 with three agencies teaming up to serve at-risk teens in two rural counties. In 2013, 13 more agencies were added to the collaboration, and today, there are currently 22 partners serving five counties.
  • Lee Community Healthcare – The Lee Community Healthcare initiative is a collaboration between Lee Memorial Health System and United Way to provide medical care and social services to disadvantaged and medically underserved individuals in Lee County.
  • Bonita Springs Assistance Office – The “Money Matters” Class was created for clients of the BSAO. In collaboration with New York Community Bank, the Bonita Springs Assistance Office teaches clients how to be better stewards of their money.

“Each of the 21 entries we received this year were inspiring,” said Lori Sampson-Wilson, principal of Myers, Brettholtz. “It clearly shows that our regional nonprofits are working together to achieve positive collaborative results.”

Since 1979, Myers, Brettholtz & Company, PA has been working with nonprofit organizations in Southwest Florida’s five-county region, helping them achieve their goals. The company serves clients across the nation by performing accounting and auditing, tax preparation, bookkeeping and consulting.

Limited space for the nonprofit seminar is still available. Registration is $25 per person and can be made by emailing or calling 239-939-5775. A continental breakfast, lunch and refreshments will be served.