Adventures in APR: One Member’s Story – My Accreditation Journey Begins

Sheila Tartaglia, Chief Operating Officer, Tartaglia Communications
Director & Membership Co-Chair, PRSA NJ

It’s the start of a new year, and for me it signals a time to explore new things, challenge myself in new ways, and begin something unique and exciting. As a public relations practitioner, I feel ready to embark on my journey toward earning an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential from the Universal Accreditation Board.

The first time I went kayaking was on a sea-kayak adventure off the coast of Maine. The waters were choppy, and as my kayak bounced and drifted further out to sea, I watched the rest of the apparently experienced kayakers gliding effortlessly near the shoreline in a neat row. Seal heads bobbed up around me as the sea rocked me further in. The kayaking guide, far in the distance, was frantically waving at me. I worked my double-bladed paddle and foot pedals vigorously, and eventually maneuvered myself toward the shoreline. I never felt more exhausted, relieved, and triumphant.

My sea-kayaking adventure reminds me that I can do whatever it is I put my mind to— no matter how daunting it might seem. It is with this mindset that I now embark on an important professional achievement. It will be a rigorous, challenging, and time-consuming process, which will hold my acumen accountable to the highest PR industry standards. I say, “Bring it on!”

My APR credential attests that I’ve mastered all the integral tenets of the public relations profession, and demonstrates I’m highly effective as a PR practitioner and distinguished thought leader. I’ll gain in-depth knowledge of everything there is to know about industry practices, and develop my skills as a leader and mentor. As a former teacher, I take to heart the transformative results that education brings. There’s no way I would let this learning opportunity pass me by.

Once I’ve gone through the process and earned my APR credential, I will need to maintain it as well. This means I will continue my dedication to lifelong learning by earning a certain number of “points” – equivalent to professional development, leadership, publishing, volunteer or pro bono work, and more – to demonstrate my ongoing professional commitment. I think this is a great idea, as it will give me the impetus to further challenge myself, grow, and learn for years to come.

I look forward to attending APR coaching sessions at Monmouth University this month, taught by professor and PRSA NJ past president and Director & Education/Credentialing Co-Chair, Kristine Simoes, and New Jersey City University professor and PRSA NJ Director & Education/ Credentialing Co-Chair, Dr. Kathleen Donohue Rennie.

I’m busy reading my required textbook, study guide, and plethora of related resources. I’ll attend my APR coaching sessions, review and complete the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations Application, prepare and sit for a panel presentation, and study for and complete a computer-based examination.

And so, dear reader, as I begin my “APR accreditation sea-kayaking adventure,” I am confident that if I put my mind to it, I’ll eventually reach that golden shore–exhausted, relieved and triumphant!

EDITOR’S NOTE: APRIL is APR Month! If you’re inspired by Sheila’s story, now is the best time to get started. Check out the link on the PRSA National web site for more!

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