April is APR Month at PRSA. Visit this link for more information about the Accreditation in Public Relations process.
Pursuing the APR was challenging, consuming and often stressful. I call it my one-year intensive. Yet, it is one of my most rewarding professional experiences to date.
My objective was to complete all steps to earn the Accreditation in Public Relations by August 2018. My journey started in August 2017 when I submitted my application. By late September, I realized my study plan was not working. Thankfully, PRSA Dallas was hosting a prep session. By attending, I quickly connected with the Chapter’s APR chairs and several others who were going through the preparation process. When they shared a few best practices, I realized that I had been doing everything they said not to do!
While only a small number of practitioners are Accredited, I knew that if they could all do it, I could too.
I adjusted by seeking out study skills tips from newly minted APRs and moving forward on the best path for me. No flashcards or Quizlet or Facebook groups. I was sure that by investing my time in PRSA Dallas monthly prep sessions, independent study and the APR Online Study group that I would be successful.
With my demanding job, weekly travel is a given, and long hours often arise unexpectedly. I knew that as life happened I would have to adjust again and again. I also got engaged and then married during this whole process.
Still I persisted.
Was I overwhelmed, confused or unsure at times? Absolutely. I saw many others overthinking it and sometimes found myself doing the same. I had come too far to stop.
So I persisted.
I can still recall the relief I felt at that exam center upon learning I had passed. It was on a beautiful Sunday morning in August 2018.
The best thing about earning my APR was that my journey did not stop when I got the news that day. Nor did it stop when I received my official notification in the mail. My journey hasn’t stopped. The process brought me closer to the discipline of being a communicator and the talented practitioners I call colleagues.
My passion for my profession has been reignited. I attended the 2018 PRSA International Conference in Austin, Texas, and it was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended. I expanded my network with people’s stories, shared experiences and real connections, not simply names, titles and LinkedIn. Even though I’ve been a member of PRSA Dallas for some parts during my career, I’m now an active member, serving as co-chair of the Awards and Honors Committee.
They say when you’re working toward a goal, it isn’t really about the goal itself but the steps you take and the person you become. I believe the APR experience provided me with professional growth beyond what I anticipated receiving.
I can confidently say if you’re thinking about the APR, just do it. You won’t regret it.
Jeannine Brew Braggs, APR, leads all external communications for a 12-state market for Verizon. She oversees communications strategy, planning and execution, and guides critical partnerships that elevate the Verizon brand in local communities. Throughout her career, she has managed several high-profile brands in the technology, retail, hospitality and nonprofit sectors.