Category Archives: Uncategorized

6 Accredited PR Pros on Why They Pursued Their APR (reprinted from PRsay)

 

“Having been a practitioner for 25 years, I had always wanted to apply for my APR, but never found time to do so. Last year, at a PRSA meeting, Stacey Sunday and I were approached about it by Professor Alison L. Gaulden from the University of Nevada-Reno. With her encouragement and support, we are both proud APRs!”

— Suzanne B. Hendery, MA, APR
Chief Marketing Officer and VP, Marketing and Communications, Renown Health
Reno, Nevada

 

“As an independent communications and PR consultant, I felt that pursuing my Accreditation in Public Relations was vital for the integrity of my practice and for demonstrating to clients that I can deliver faithfully on the services I offer.”

— Catherine Brozena, APR
Owner and Creative Director, ColorThisWorld Communications
Oakland, Calif.

 

“After 13 years of professional practice, I believed it was important to demonstrate my knowledge and credibility in the profession by earning Accreditation. PR practitioners have a responsibility to counsel their organizations with an ethics-based approach, and I believe Accreditation signals a practitioner’s commitment to sound public relations strategies and practice.”

— Emily Finley, APR
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications at Marvin Windows and Doors
St. Paul, Minn.

 

“In hindsight, during my ten-year career I was flying by the seat of my pants, so I decided to look for the discipline and skills I needed. I now have an unparalleled sense of confidence because I have the tools I need. I can better craft messages and coordinate activities that affect my organization’s relationships with its publics. By developing strategic PR plans, I can be assertive, better align campaigns with the corporate goals, and serve my organization proactively, effectively, and consistently.”

— Marcia Brookey, APR
VP and Director of Marketing, Trust Company of Oklahoma
Tulsa, Okla.

 

“I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Because I believe in what it stands for, I value APR Accreditation tremendously.”

— Christopher Eric Vadnais, APR
Public Affairs Officer, VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System
Murfreesboro, Tenn.

 

“As a broadcast journalist turned PR professional, I pursued my APR as a source of formal industry education. Earning my APR has made me more confident in my daily work and challenged my strategic approach from research to evaluation.”

— Allison Williams, APR
Internal Communications Specialist, Greater Nevada Credit Union
Reno, Nev.

 

Twenty-Two Years Later, My APR Continues to Pay Dividends

By Richard J. Batyko, APR, Fellow PRSA

Public relations professionals who do not have their APR and do not intend to get the credential are often as passionate arguing against the need for it as those who have attained accreditation argue for it. These are not new positions in our field. Way back in 1995, when I decided to get my accreditation, such arguments were raging around me. Twenty-two years later, I am as pleased with my decision to earn the credential as I was the day I passed the tests.

One can be successful in our field without an APR, or a master’s degree, or even a degree in the academic disciplines most associated with the practice of public relations. I suppose there can be equally strong arguments for and against getting those credentials. My decision was not based on who had the better argument. I consider myself a lifelong learner because I want to be the best I can be in my profession. Any opportunity to enhance my skillset interests me, whether I can definitively prove a pocketbook ROI for my time and money.

Making the case more powerful for me was that an APR is not simply another professional development workshop or a one-time training program. An APR is a commitment to our profession and is distinguished from many other one-time learning opportunities because once the credential is earned, it must be maintained. I also wanted a competitive differentiator to give potential employers a tipping point to pick me over another candidate.

As with many learning experiences, I found the journey toward obtaining my APR a worthwhile ride. My study group was supportive (I am still in touch with many of them) and our professional advisor was encouraging. The test was challenging, but with the proper preparation, I found no surprises and passed on my first attempt. Had I not passed, I knew that supportive network that helped me prepare would be available to me for another attempt; that was reassuring.

I am a passionate member of PRSA, so in addition to the professional advantages I’ve experienced through my APR, I have also found the credential helpful as I ascended into various leadership roles in chapters, district and in national posts.

I am proud of my APR and encourage anyone considering earning the credential to go for it. I have never met anyone who regrets having taken this step.

© Keith Berr Productions, Inc.

Richard J. Batyko, APR, Fellow PRSA has been practicing public relations for 30 years in Fortune 500, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.

He is a member of PRSA’s National Board of Directors (representing the Greater Cleveland Chapter and the East Central District) and has served as an adjunct professor in Kent State University’s Master of Public Relations program.

The Importance of Professional Sections For PRSA Members

By Scott Tennant, APR, Vitamix

Whenever someone asks me about the worth of joining PRSA, I inevitably point to three things:

  • Staying current on best practices in the field, from strategy to execution to ethics
  • Earning (and maintaining) your APR accreditation
  • Interacting with peers through membership in a professional interest section

The first two are fairly standard parts of the PRSA value proposition, but the third sometimes gets short shrift. Of all the benefits I derive as a PRSA member, being part of the Corporate Communications section is the one that pays the most immediate dividends on a weekly – and even daily – basis.

Professional sections offer members access to specialized content and section-only networking and educational sessions. Some have section newsletters and/or online communities in which members discuss issues that pertain directly to their specific area of practice.

The Corporate Communications section comprises nearly 1,200 PR and communications practitioners who, as the section’s page on PRSA.org puts it, “are responsible for external communications and serve as the voice of their organization.” Over the years, I have had the chance to interact with many of them through the section’s online discussion forum.

When a section member posts a question or raises an issue of general interest in this forum, it goes to everyone in the group. In my case, that’s a digest email that arrives first thing each morning. Sometimes these posts are from members facing a specific communications challenge, asking how others have tackled it before. Others ask about topics ranging from members’ experiences with particular software packages or apps, to those seeking communications plan templates or messaging frameworks.

Whatever the query, members are more than willing to jump in and help each other. Sometimes there is disagreement, but it is handled in a spirit of cooperation and mutual edification. More than once I’ve gained valuable tips and insights from these discussions that were immediately applicable to my own practice.

Section membership also provides a unique channel for networking. When I attend the national conference each year, one of my favorite things is meeting in person those corporate communicators whom I had known previously only online. My communications network has been strengthened exponentially through section membership.

The cost of membership in a section is minimal when compared with the benefits. So the next time you renew with PRSA, give some thought to adding section membership to your overall package. I can almost guarantee that your section will quickly become one of the most beneficial parts of your PRSA experience.

3 Productive Things Students Can Do On Spring Break

By Rachel Dill, Digital Marketing Manager, Sweeney Marketing + PR

March is right around the corner, which means the count-down to spring break is on. For some, it means sandy beaches, cold drinks, and nice weather. But for those of you who will live vicariously through social media this year, there is an opportunity to use the time off to get ahead of the curve finding a job or internship. Here are three things you can do to make the most of your spring break at home!

1. Set-up in-person meetings with professionals. This is a great time to network in the city you want to work or intern. Reaching out to a few professionals to meet for an informational coffee, lunch or even a tour of their company is a great way to learn more about the profession and make a lasting impression.

2. Get certified. Certifications are a great way to stand out from other applicants and expand your skill set outside the classroom. One strategy for doing this is to look at postings for jobs you would love to have in the future and identify certifications in the areas those jobs require experience. There are plenty of free online certifications, just be sure it’s a credible source such as Google, HubSpot, etc.

3. Attend networking events and industry association meetings. Industry associations and networking events are a great resource for meeting professionals from different companies and learning more about your industry. Most organizations are happy to let a student sit in on meetings or attend events. In the case that no events are taking place the week of your spring break, reach out to a leader in the organizations you’re interested in and ask for an informational phone or in-person meeting to talk about it.

Sporting flip-flops for seven days on the sandy beaches of Florida is a great way to celebrate spring break, but gearing yourself for the right career will enable you to hit more beaches after you graduate. Think ahead, plan ahead and get ahead.

Promote Your Company or Client and Support PRSA Cleveland’s Scholarship Program

It’s Cleveland’s most prestigious Public Relations event of the year, and this year it’s better than ever. It’s the Cleveland Rocks Awards, our city’s opportunity to showcase the best and brightest in public relations campaigns. The 15th annual ceremony will be held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum on December 12.

How can your company or client get their brand in front of hundreds of the region’s public relations, marketing and special events professionals? Consider donating to the Cleveland Rocks Awards Silent Auction! All proceeds benefit the PRSA Cleveland Student Scholarship Fund.

What makes a great silent auction prize?

Anything really, but here are some ideas:

  • Gift cards to Cleveland restaurants
  • Tickets to area concerts, events, or attractions
  • Themed gift baskets
  • Consulting or other professional services from your firm
  • Handmade gifts, perfect for the holidays!

Any donation is accepted, and donations may be bundled with others to create themed gift baskets.

If you wish to support PRSA Cleveland Student Scholarship Fund, please contact Jenn Elting at jennelting@yahoo.com. Donations will be picked up by a PRSA Cleveland Board Member or can be mailed to an address provided by Jenn. Donations must be received by November 30, 2017.

Thank you for all of your support for the PRSA Cleveland Student Scholarship Fund!

Language Matters – Our October Program Dives into Diversity and Inclusion

By Lisa Sands, APR

No one can deny we are in some interesting times— for our culture and our profession. Our companies and clients rely on us to be the experts on matters of communication. But, how and when to say things seems a bit harder these days, doesn’t it? We’re second-guessing ourselves and wondering if we got it right. We’re trying to think of issues from every angle and predict how different audiences will perceive our messages. We’re called upon to be effective but we also need to be sensitive, inclusive, genuine, and, yes, politically correct.

2017 has brought many new conversations to the forefront and perhaps some that, while not new, remain unresolved. When we created our fall programming calendar, our chapter wanted to address some of these challenges head-on. We wanted to have an honest and open dialogue about how we talk to each other, while taking into consideration our individual experiences, our biases and predispositions. We want to better understand how race, gender, religious beliefs and all the things that make us unique citizens of the world affect how we speak, listen and believe.

Our October program is called Language Matters: Communicating Effectively and Respectively with Diverse Audiences. Our speaker is Dr. Tameka Taylor, CEO of Compass Consulting, who will lead us in a discussion specific to communications professionals on matters of diversity, inclusion, respect and understanding.

Dr. Taylor says, “Diversity is more than race. We’ve got to expand the different aspects of diversity to include religion, age, family structure, socioeconomic status and other characteristics.” We’ll discuss the real meaning and application of “inclusion,” intent and impact, and we’ll take a closer look at behaviors that may be emotional triggers for people around us.

We understand that talking about these things isn’t always easy. We guarantee a safe space, mature conversation and takeaways that will help you engage more fully with others.

Please join us on October 19 at 7:30 a.m. (program starts at 8 a.m.) at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown for this program. Be sure to register any coworkers and colleagues who may also find value in this program. RSVP here.