By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)
Cold, bleak and rainy here in Chicago, this last day of April. Perfect conditions to take on lots of productive tasks indoors, like publishing a post.
But what topic?
Ah, April is Accreditation month, the 30 days when many in the profession charge forward to promote the value behind the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential.
But, this space hasn’t shared enough thoughts on the board that administers, markets and confers the APR, the APR+M for military public affairs officers and the new Certificate for Principles in Public Relations for college graduates.
I’m referring to the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), the appointed body of Accredited members from eight public relations organizations, including PRSA, of which I’m a member.
From 2006 to 2011, I served as a member of the UAB. To say is was an honor is an understatement. The same goes for how my experience on the UAB elevated me personally and professionally.
All self-deprecation aside, I was kind of a PR mutt when I was appointed to the UAB. I earned Accreditation in 2004, and had served on the newly formed PRSA Accreditation Marketing Committee (of which I later chaired.) During my many years at agencies and with an association, I had not been and active participant — much less a volunteer — in the public relations profession.
For the record, I was not a “joiner,” unless one would count being a Chicago Cubs fan and beer aficionado.
Serving on the UAB elevated me as a business communicator because I got to actively participate and make decisions on something I cared about and something I believed in. At each meeting, I had to hold my own with a body comprised of smart, experienced PR strategists from academic, agency, military and non-profit disciplines.
Frankly, during my first block of meetings held at PRSA headquarters on Maiden Lane in New York, I was a little intimidated. Hey, I was the new guy and lacked the pedigree of most — okay, perhaps all — of my colleagues!
Soon I became acclimated to procedures, and after a while, understood the acronyms that often surfaced in Board meetings. (KSAs — yes, the knowledge, skills and abilities tested in the CBE, the Computer Based Exam.) And, I contributed, first conducting an audit of the old UAB website, then co-chairing the MarCom (marketing communications) work group.
Perhaps the most lasting reward from my UAB service: The bonds and friendships I forged with many colleagues, many who remain my friends still.
From another perspective, that’s what public relations is all about: Building mutually beneficial relationships.