Public relations is all about relationships. It shouldn’t be a surprise then that the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) process can be a great exercise in building and utilizing relationships. While I believe that anyone (with adequate PR experience) that puts their mind to it can complete this process on their own, the journey becomes smoother with support and can lead to lasting connections with those that help you along the way.
I’ve worked for 10 years in PR, and right now I serve as the communications assistant director at the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation in Anchorage, Alaska, working to develop and implement communications and public relations strategies. I completed my APR process and earned Accreditation in April.
I started seriously considering earning my APR over a year ago, when my local PRSA Chapter held a brown bag lunch event where I was able to meet current APR professionals and ask questions. Our Chapter’s Accreditation chairs then put together a study group for a small number of us interested in getting started. The study group helped keep me moving forward, while our local APR speakers made themselves available during sessions and afterward for questions and assistance. My fellow study group participants became sounding boards and sympathetic ears as I polished my portfolio and completed my Readiness Review questionnaire. I also enlisted the help of my Accreditation chairs, mentor and a copywriter friend to help me tighten and edit my written submissions for the Readiness Review. (It turns out a cup of coffee can buy you a lot of advice and assistance!)
Once I was Advanced through the Readiness Review, I mostly worked on my own, re-reading key texts and brushing up on areas in which I felt I was not as strong. Our study group had already wrapped up at this point, but several of us kept in touch, compared notes on how things were going and encouraged each other when we felt overwhelmed with taking this on while juggling work, family and life in general.
When I passed the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations, the people that had supported me during the APR process and acted as my cheerleaders also helped me celebrate the success. I am not only proud to have achieved Accreditation and reached this stage in my career, but feel grateful for the connections it has helped me make and how it affected my work on so many levels.
Brooke Taylor, APR, is the communications assistant director for Anchorage Economic Development Corporation.