The month of April was APR month—a time when PRSA recognizes the many accredited professionals in our association. Earning the Accreditation in Public Relations means you have demonstrated a mastery of the public relations profession and are considered a leader in the field. Congratulations to all of the Alaska APRs and those who are working toward this career milestone.
This years’ APR promotional tagline, It takes a pro, got me thinking about recent conversations I’ve had with our members across the state. It clearly articulates what we as public relations professionals all know, yet getting the people we work with to recognize our expertise can sometimes be a challenge.
These days it seems as though everyone sees themselves as a professional communicator. Whether it is legal counsel, the CEO, HR director, or coworkers in accounting. They come to you with a great idea—a specific tactic or “thing”—that they want you to implement because they recently received a brochure in the mail from a competitor, saw a flashy ad campaign on TV, or want to respond to an unflattering headline in a local news story.
Whether you are the VP of external affairs for a global organization, a mid-level practitioner for a local non-profit, or just landed your first job in a small PR agency, chances are you have faced this very situation in your current role.
While obtaining your APR or holding a senior level public relations position in your company will not stop colleagues from jumping right to the specific tactic they think will best meet their needs, it can help to establish your credibility as a leader and mentor in the public relations field. It can also provide you the skills you need to serve as a strategic adviser and excel in many other areas of the profession—that regardless of what some may think—not just anyone can do.
If you are interested in pursuing your APR or learning more about the process, I encourage you review the accreditation materials on the PRSA website or reach out to one of our accreditation co-chairs Michelle Egan or Carla Browning at any time throughout the year. If you have already achieved this milestone, please consider becoming a mentor for someone who may be going through the process or give some words of encouragement to someone you think would be a good candidate.
The APR is something to be proud of, congratulations to those of you who have made the investment in your career and good luck to those of you who are actively pursuing the credential—you can do it!
Michelle Renfrew, APR
2017 President for PRSA Alaska Chapter
Director of University Relations, University of Alaska Fairbanks