Points of View: 2017 Proposed Bylaws Changes


    At our meeting on Sept. 20, members of the Hampton Roads chapter of PRSA will be asked to vote on whether to approve a number of changes and updates to the chapter bylaws. You can register for the meeting here.

    The proposed changes are intended to position our chapter for the future while updating language and confirming to PRSA National bylaws. The proposed revised bylaws must be approved in total. 

    We asked two tenured chapter members to provide their points of view on the proposed changes, specifically to the proposed change to remove the APR credential as a requirement to serve a chapter president. Read their points of view below and don't forget to register for the Sept. 20 meeting


    D. Sean Brickell, APR, Fellow PRSA

    To Be Accredited, or Not To Be,That Is the Question

    My perspective is every practitioner ought to be inspired and motivated to pass Accreditation, exhibiting our highest professional standards. Any APR tells how much was learned. Most with no desire to test offer excuses why it’s not pertinent.

    Accreditation demonstrates personal commitment to excellence and leadership, putting principles above personalities.

    True, APR doesn’t automatically ensure good leadership. Many members will be superb presidents. Nonetheless, the title isn’t a popularity contest but positions the local voice of our profession.

    Would accountants elect a non-CPA as president?

    Excellence isn’t easily achieved. Sacrifice, vision, long hours, and dedication far beyond what’s expected are primary qualities required for APR.

    Don’t go easy, changing By-Laws to allow a non-Accredited president. It’s far more beneficial and productive addressing why our members don’t, then mitigating impediments.

    I won’t win PC awards, but I believe there’re six chief arguments against APR:

    • “No time in my career and life now.”  PRSA-HR president is an honor, not an honorary position, taking lots of time. No time for APR, equals insufficient time for president.
    • Laziness. APR testing is simply too much effort.
    • I’m not smart enough to pass. I passed, proving anyone can. Dump fear and doubt.
    • Financial restrictions are genuine. I sympathize and provide anonymous scholarships to members wishing to test.
    • “There’s no value in APR.” Shame on us for not inspiring members in professional development, not just business development.
    • Other chapters don’t require Accreditation for president. This isn’t leadership! 99% of people accepting a bad idea doesn’t make it a good idea. It’s still a bad idea at the core.


    I salute and support future chapter presidents. Please, keep mediocrity at bay. Demonstrate commitment to PRSA-HR and achieve Accreditation.

    Vincent Rhodes, PhD, APR

    Dear colleagues: 

    I’m proud of my APR. The accreditation process was valuable and I am a better PR practitioner for it. But, the APR does not measure or ensure leadership ability. We gauge that by seeing it in action; by seeing people work hard and ably on chapter business.  

    Just because members lack time or funds to pursue a credential, we should not exclude them from our highest office. I served on the chapter Board of Directors and know firsthand how difficult it is to find volunteers. I’ve watched highly-qualified members in the officer pipeline step aside because they lacked the APR. We suffer a loss every time that happens — a loss of experience, a loss of institutional knowledge and a loss of fresh perspectives. 

    PRSA HR has 167 members. Only 37 (or 22.1%) are APRs. Twelve of those 37 already have served as president. Four former presidents have been asked to fill that role a second time — because no other APRs were able to take on the responsibility.  

    It’s unfair to place the burden of leadership on a small number of members. It’s unfair to punish talented PR professionals willing to volunteer in service of their chapter because they didn’t take a test.  

    I am a proud supporter of APR accreditation. I encourage everyone to pursue it. But I know, realistically, this isn’t possible. I also know that this should not disqualify one from service.  

    If you believe the APR is critical for a chapter president, submit names of people who hold the credential to the nominating committee.  Vote for candidates who hold an APR. But a prohibition need not to be enshrined in bylaws. We’re only hurting our chapter and ourselves by so drastically limiting the pool of potential candidates.

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