Roger Pynn has had an illustrious career in public relations spanning over four decades. As Co-Founder of Curley & Pynn, he has made a lifelong impact in the Central Florida community, establishing the firm as a leader in the public relations industry.
Pynn’s interest in public relations began during his time as a journalist at the Orlando Sentinel. He soon realized that he wanted to learn and grow, which led him to join the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The interactions with other PR professionals and the speakers at PRSA proved to be an invaluable learning tool for Pynn.
His agency experience at Macalester further reinforced his interest in public relations. He worked there to establish the Public Relations group, which made him realize that his eventual path would be that of a consultant.
“After having two great corporate jobs that prepared me so well, I knew Central Florida was ready for a firm dedicated solely to public relations,” Pynn said. “That was the early 1980s. It was a ton of amazing growth. We knew there would never be a better time. So, Joe Curley, my partner, and I took a big leap. And we laugh about it today; we made a great decision.”
The journey was not without its challenges, particularly in the early stages of the firm. Pynn explained that he and Curley had to prove to people that public relations could contribute to their bottom line.
“Our business is not just about publicity; it is about the company’s business. It is about their goals and objectives. We must understand that and prove to them that we understand it,” Pynn said.
Dan Ward, President of Curley & Pynn, had the pleasure of having Pynn as a boss and a mentor over the past 28 years. He credits Pynn for playing a critical role in building Curley & Pynn’s reputation as a strategic firm and creating opportunities for members to learn and grow.
“I’ve rarely worked with anyone who can be as tough as him when holding people accountable and demanding excellence at all times. But I’ve also rarely worked with anyone who could be as compassionate as Roger and truly take an interest in every team member— not just who they are as professionals, but who they are as individuals. That is one of the lessons I’ve tried to take and incorporate into my leadership style,” Ward said.
Pynn’s commitment to helping young talent, including Ward, has been the most rewarding aspect of his career. It aligns with the culture that he and Curley cultivated.
“[Curely & Pynn] has a corporate culture that demands that our people lead in their profession and the community,” Pynn said. “I hope that the work we have done in so many fields like economic development, hospitality and healthcare, high tech, and higher education has helped in the dynamic growth we see in this community. Community is critically important.”
In recognition of his contributions to the public relations industry, Pynn was awarded the Geri Evans APR Lifetime Achievement Award in December 2022. The award was special for Pynn as it validated his career and impact on the industry.
“Geri is a dear friend of mine and has been for many years because of our involvement in PR. So, first, when I was called and told I was going to receive this recognition, I was stunned,” Pynn said. “It was on the doorstep of my retirement. That’s a time to make anyone question, ‘well, did I do a good job? Did I do things that will inspire others?’ And this certainly made me feel that at least I’ve done enough to get some attention from my peers here. And who better than your peers to decide? So, it was a very nice way to go out the door.”
Pynn was honored again at the end of February 2023, when the Florida Public Relations (FPRA) Orlando Area Chapter renamed its annual award as the Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC Central Florida Public Relations Professional of the Year for Career Achievement. His contributions to the FPRA include expanding the ranks locally, restricting membership to true PR professionals, building a profile for FPRA in the Orlando business community, and being a founding sponsor of Leadership FPRA with his wife.
In retirement, Pynn will continue his community involvement, serving on several boards, and spend more time traveling with his wife Shelley. He remains optimistic about the future of the PR industry and the Central Florida community. He shared that he is especially pleased with how Ward leads the company.
Looking forward, Ward’s vision for Curley & Pynn is to “continue its growth trajectory and become a destination agency where companies seeking public relations advice call first, and where the best and brightest professionals want to work.” The agency is poised to celebrate its 40th anniversary next year and continue to partner with leading brands to broaden its influence.