PRSA has designated April as Accreditation Month. Members can learn more about APR through many special events, including:
- On Demand Webinars: Getting Ready for the Readiness Review, Getting Ready for the APR Computer-Based Examination, Accreditation Power Play
- Using the “Invite-a-Peer” tool to help spread the word about APR
- 50th Anniversary of APR Historical Milestones in Accreditation
- White Paper: Accreditation in Public Relations
As a self-proclaimed “recovering attorney,” I had straddled the fence between law, public relations and public affairs in my various positions as a speechwriter for a Fortune 20 company, an immigration attorney, congressional counselor and public affair pro. Although well-educated and accomplished, public relations departments and agencies were perplexed by my hybrid background. Because of this, I decided to pursue Accreditation through the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
I decided to follow the book(s) — literally and figuratively. I purchased books from the bookshelf, enrolled in the online course, developed immeasurably beneficial relationships with Ferne Bonomi, APR, Fellow, PRSA and Michael Henry, formed a study group with two public relations pros of vastly different backgrounds from myself and studied.
While completing the online course, I created my presentation for my Readiness Review in tandem — following the step-by-step process. I participated frequently in the online study course by presenting a sample case study myself — an intimidating process with the sharp questions from Ferne — but immeasurable in value when it came to the Readiness Review.
I used one of the communications plans I created for the City of Cupertino (home of Apple). By the time my Readiness Review was scheduled, I had moved on to Airfoil — an integrated marketing communications agency. Because of my hybrid background, my panel was equally diverse. Learned professionals from public affairs agencies and public relations agencies evaluated my presentation and plan.
Most daunting was the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations itself. My two study buddies had been unsuccessful on their first attempts. Luckily, after following each of the recommendations to a T, I passed the first time.
Three quick tips:
- Enroll and participate in the online study course. Volunteer to present.
- Find a study group. Assign chapters. Test yourself frequently.
- Vet your Readiness Review materials with whomever you can find to help you. Michael Henry and Ferne Bonomi, APR, Fellow PRSA are great and very willing to help.
JoAnn Yamani, Esq., APR, works at Airfoil. Previously she was congressional counsel for Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and in communications at HP.