If you don’t already know the name Shonali Burke, you should. Among her many distinctions, she was included in PRWeek’s inaugural top “40 Under 40″ list of US-based PR professionals and is considered one of 25 women that rock social media. As President & CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. she likes to say that “she helps take business communication strategy from corporate codswallop to community cool™.” The Washington Business Journal also recently named her one of 10 CEOs to follow on Twitter. And if that’s not enough, Burke has also found the time to help develop the next generation of PR pros, holding an Adjunct Faculty position at Johns Hopkins University, where she teaches Public Relations Writing and Communication.org: Not-for-profits in the Digital Age.
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Ten years into my career as a public relations practitioner, I was seeking a challenge that would renew my passion for public relations and invigorate my career. Earning the Accreditation in Public Relations was just what I was looking for and more than I bargained for!
The application process is like nervous laughter — feels exciting and scary simultaneously. Preparing for the Readiness Review is time-consuming and thought-provoking. I was reminded by a mentor that the Readiness Review is not there to deter candidates from earning their APR. It is used to evaluate whether or not a candidate is ready to move forward or if further mentoring is needed. The computer-based Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations is, well, um, yeah — it’s tough!
In fact, the whole process was overwhelming at times. But the greatest asset I brought to the party was perseverance — I never gave up! When I earned my APR credential, it was a spectacular moment in time. The experience was also personally transformative, and I was certainly not expecting to have a profound experience that I now reflect upon with great appreciation.
With all that said, Accreditation is more than the achievement, in and of itself; it’s about the process. Earning the APR is an Available and Powerful Resource.
The Accreditation process is one of the most rewarding accomplishments I have undertaken as a professor of public relations. I work as an assistant professor at Mississippi State University, and was encouraged to pursue my APR by our department chair. My initial thoughts on the matter were that I would go through a few examinations to earn a title that would better our standing as a public relations department. What I did not realize, and would soon find out, is that the APR process is a long journey that requires study, preparation, self-assessment and subject knowledge that vastly improved my ability to transfer theoretical concepts from research into professional practice, helped me to relay concepts to students with greater ease, and gave me a more precise ethical framework to evaluate public relations practices.
As a career public affairs specialist, I remain committed to the foundations of public relations — Research, Planning, Implementation and Execution, or RPIE — and my journey to achieving Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) was no different. The APR quest for me was first a personal, then a professional accomplishment. A member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) since 1995, I earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in the late 1990s, started a family and worked on. I always had the burning desire to achieve the APR, but it was after a yearlong leadership journey in 2011 that pushed me to turn desire into action.
Tags: APR: Accredited in Public Relations, Corporate Communications and Public Relations, Government Relations & Military Communications, public affairs
I’m so looking forward to presenting “Media Training: How to Deliver Compelling Messages” on Sunday, Oct. 12 from 4:45 p.m. – 6:00 p.m at the PRSA 2014 International Conference. At previous conferences this session attracted a standing-room only crowd that generated stimulating questions and dynamic interactions. I hope you’ll plan to attend this year’s workshop and join the fast-paced, engaging program designed to guide you through spokesperson preparation, message development, delivery and control techniques, and personal presence.
Spokespersons — and PR practitioners who provide behind-the-scene counsel and support — know successful communications skills are honed by media training and practice. The most effective are strategic and follow a simple five-step process to drive message development and interview preparation.
Tags: 2014 International Conference, Corporate Communications and Public Relations, media training, Professional Development and Training, prsa conferences, PRSA International Conference, Techniques & Tactics
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