Local PRSA HR members earn national accreditation

    Norfolk, Va. –Local members of the Public Relations Society of America Hampton Roads Chapter have earned the prestigious Accredited in Public Relations, or APR, endorsement.

    Sonja Barisic, director of marketing communications at St. Mary’s Home; Jennifer McCarrel, assistant director of marketing and communications at Eastern Virginia Medical School; and Vincent Rhodes, director of marketing and communications at Eastern Virginia Medical School, received official notification of the accreditation from PRSA headquarters in New York City Sept. 30.

    “These members have reached the highest level of achievement with the APR,” said Courtney Anderson, APR, PRSA Hampton Roads president. “Our chapter has had five members earn this premier distinction for our field in 2015, making it one of the most successful years in our chapter's history for accreditation.”

    Visionary leaders in 1964 established the APR credential as a way to recognize practitioners who have mastered the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to develop and deliver strategic communications. Decades later, as public relations evolved, the APR remains the recognized gold standard for the profession.

    “Pursuing the APR credential has made me a more effective, strategic communicator by deepening my knowledge of the field,” Barisic said. “The process, while challenging, was a terrific way to meet and learn from respected public relations professionals and develop friendships.”

    Barisic, McCarrel and Rhodes were selected to participate in a national beta test for the APR process as PRSA and the Universal Accreditation Board are updating the process to remain relevant, accurate and valid for the profession. To obtain the accreditation, the candidates sat for an exam of more than 250 questions that tested their knowledge, skills and abilities in six core areas, including two new areas of managing relationships and leading public relations functions.   

    "The process of pursuing the APR credential was a powerful reminder of the ethics, knowledge and expertise that we must apply to be effective communicators in our profession," McCarrel said. "I believe that we are all stronger practitioners and advance the profession through achieving accreditation.”

    All three members will now be able to include the APR endorsement in their official titles, hold chapter and society board positions exclusive to only accredited members, and use the credential to further advance their careers. Barisic is serving as the treasurer for the Chapter in 2015, and Rhodes has another year of service on the Chapter’s Board of Directors.

    "Seeking accreditation isn't easy, but it spurs you to reexamine your craft, to learn new theories and strategies, and to keep ethics at the forefront of your thinking about your public relations practices," said Rhodes.

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