Editor’s note: This is the first post in a series of guest posts from the PRSA National Capital Chapter publicity committee leading up to the PRSA 2014 International Conference, October 12 – 14. Follow the Conference conversation by searching the hashtag #PRSAICON and following our PRSA National Events Twitter handle, @PRSAevents.
I came out of newspapers like a lot of folks my age who end up in public relations. Although I attended the best journalism school in the world, the University of Missouri, I didn’t know anything about planning, budgeting and evaluating.
My strength as a communicator for the colleges and social service organizations I worked for was in media relations.
But that was a small part of my responsibilities. Increasingly, I was called upon to develop a big-picture approach to help organizations realize their missions. That meant a lot of on-the-job training and mistakes.
All along, at Chapter and national PRSA and Religion Communicators Council meetings and conferences, I kept hearing the drumbeat — APR, APR.
But I had been out of school for decades! Could I do it?
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.
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.
via: Jeff Turner
Twitter is an open, free and seemingly endless source of information on every topic, in every language. It’s a great place for PR pros to meet, greet and Tweet with like-minded individuals, companies and influencers around the world, and an equally valuable source to gain insights. Through the years Twitter has become my open-source classroom, sounding board and travel advisory – essentially a 24/7 online networking event that’s only limited by its 140 characters at a time.
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