Bob Frause, APR, Fellow PRSA
Member, PRSA National Board of Directors
APR is a bona fide professional credential, one that all PRSA members should strive for and be proud of achieving. As currently developed, however, it only recognizes those who achieved basic public relations proficiency skills. It does nothing to recognize advanced PR skills and technical competence. That’s where certification might play a role, but we’re not there yet. And, even with the current APR maintenance and skills enhancement requirements, the credential fails to recognize the breath and depth of the entire communication landscape in which a majority of us work every day.
That said, I also believe that APR qualification has little to do with governance, leadership or sitting as a national board member of a multi-million dollar professional association, namely PRSA.
No portion of the APR exam prepares one for leadership; be it at the chapter level or anywhere along the spectrum to the national board and officer’s suite. Some say that national board members and officers should fly the APR flag as a sign of leadership. However, far more important than professional credentials, are real world board experience and an understanding of non-profit financial and business management. Those with basic leadership principles, consensus building skills and a well-grounded representative point of view are the kind of PRSA leaders I am looking for.
National board members and officers should be dedicated to running an organization responsibly on behalf of all members. That does not necessarily equate with showing how proficient they are in practicing the profession. Many APR’s don’t fit this criteria; many non-APR’s do. I believe mandating APR for national board service does not allow for the holistic representation of the diverse needs and values of the more than 18,000 PRSA members and leaders who do not have that status. Why limit our Society’s leadership potential?
I am in favor of last year’s bylaws amendment regarding the APR requirement for national board and officer service. It reads:
(a) To be eligible as a director, the individual must be a member of the Society in good standing and have at least one of the following qualifications: (1) an APR; (2) held a leadership role within the Society, including, but not limited to, served as a member of a Chapter, District, or Section board of directors, chaired a national or local committee or task force, or served as an Assembly delegate; (3) served as a public relations or communications professional for 20 or more years, with increasing levels of responsibility.
Unfortunately this year’s recommended bylaws amendment has removed reference to APR in qualification #1. I believe having an APR can be one of the requisites to national board service, but it shouldn’t be mandatory or the only track.
We have many great leaders among our 22,000-member ranks. Let’s not limit the leadership pool to the 4,000 or so APRs in the club. That, I believe, is shortsighted and does not serve the future of the Society or its members responsibly.
I urge you to ask proponents of this bylaws amendment — Art Stevens, APR, Fellow PRSA, firstname.lastname@example.org; Richard Edelman; William Doescher, APR, Fellow PRSA, email@example.com; Deborah Radman, APR Fellow PRSA, firstname.lastname@example.org; Sandra Fathi, email@example.com; David Rickey, APR, firstname.lastname@example.org; and Rene Henry, APR, Fellow PRSA, email@example.com to add APR back into the mix so it reads like the bylaws amendment proposed last year. And then, support their effort. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/prsa. Thanks. BOB
The views expressed in this blog are the personal views of Bob Frause, APR, Fellow PRSA and in no way represent the views of the PRSA Board of Directors or any member or officer of the National PRSA Board of Directors. Nor do they represent the views of the organizations and committees that Bob participates in including the PRSA College of Fellows, the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards or the PRSA Counselor’s Academy.