Public Affairs and Marketing: Meet the Public Relations Team

Left to right: Linda Beaty, assistant director, public relations; Carol Traynor, director, public relations; Jimmy Sherfey, coordinator, public relations; and Steven Sobel, photographer/videographer

While they’re vital members of the Valencia community, the Public Affairs and Marketing team is often working behind the scenes, and most of us seldom get a glimpse of what goes on behind the curtain.

In this Meet the Team series, however, we invite you to peel back that curtain and learn about the incredible group of people tasked with supporting the College by voicing Valencia’s stories, showcasing the successes of the College’s students and employees, and highlighting Valencia’s impact on the community. In this week’s edition, we invite you to learn more about the Public Relations team. 

In describing the key objective of the Public Relations team, Director of Public Relations Carol Traynor defines her team’s efforts with one simple word: storytelling.

Whether through the news site, social media channels, Vitae magazine or media pitches, Carol’s team is always hard at work sharing Valencia’s stories with its respective public audiences, like current and prospective students, alumni, community organizations, local employers and the media.

These stories help illustrate to audiences who Valencia is — whether the stories feature extraordinary Valencia leaders, inspiring students or the College’s many accomplishments.

Among the fastest-growing platforms to share these stories is social media.

“Valencia’s social media presence, for which we develop content and monitor engagement, has had a big impact on our role at the College,” Carol said. “Managing, monitoring and responding to social media conversations has provided an avenue for us to learn from, listen to and take advice from students. It has also helped us educate them on how Valencia’s different processes and services work and turn negative experiences into positive ones.”

This enhanced social presence, which employs channels like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, has resulted in substantial growth — with Twitter followers increasing from 4,324 to 5,307, Facebook likes increasing from 20,698 to 25,960, and Instagram followers increasing from 948 to 2,287 in 2015-16 respectively.

The team also generated nearly 5,000 media mentions last year in local, state and national outlets.

“I’m amazed at their talent and work ethic,” Carol said of her team. “They think about their jobs much more broadly than it’s defined, and look for opportunities to ​be of service.”

Carol is also proud to have two new team members join the College, who are already helping the team share Valencia’s stories.

Jimmy Sherfey, coordinator, public relations: A graduate of Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in English and history, Jimmy joined Valencia after enjoying several years as a freelance journalist in October 2016. Jimmy’s experience includes both print and online journalism.

Steven Sobel, photographer/videographer: The most recent addition to the Public Relations team, Steven graduated from Daytona State College with an associate degree in photographic technology and the University of North Florida with a bachelor’s degree in history. Prior to joining Valencia in April 2017, Steven focused on telling stories through his photography studio, Steven Sobel Studios.

If you have any questions about the Public Relations team, contact Carol at or 407-299-5000, extension 1015. To share your idea for a story, click here.

1 Comment

  • Noelia said:

    Linda, you rock! It was a joy to work with you during the strategic planning process.

    PMWed, 07 Jun 2017 15:23:38 +0000Wed, 07 Jun 2017 15:23:38 +0000pm17,3:23 pm

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