Paying it Forward

I’ve just completed grading Canadian Public Relations Society accreditation written exams. Despite the fact that it’s always more time consuming than I remember, it’s something I try to do each year, or whenever I’m asked.  I wholeheartedly believe it’s critically important to the role and reputation of Public Relations that we set and maintain professional standards.  Standards set a bar for everyone who practices public relations, and help those who aren’t as familiar with PR more easily identify skilled, experienced, senior professionals.  In fairness, there are also lots of skilled, experienced, senior professionals who are not accredited, but the “APR” (Accredited Public Relations) should and does provide assurance and accountability.

I participate in the process by grading exams for a couple of reasons.  Most simply, to pay it forward.  Another “APR” out there invested their own personal time in reviewing my tedious exam when I decided to make the leap, and it seems right that I do the same for someone else.

More importantly, though, it reminds me that what I do for living—and with great enjoyment—is based on very sound academic theories, a code of conduct and ethics, shared best practices and experience. It’s not spin, we’re not just ‘good with people’, and we don’t (necessarily!) spend our days doing lunch. We make sure we really get to know our clients and their goals and then we work as an integrated part of their team to make those goals happen.

Those of us who understand strategic and effective public relations should support those out there who are trying to learn.  Because the more accredited and valued public relations people there are out there, the more valued and respected our profession will be.

Congratulations to everyone who invested their time and minds to the accreditation process in 2013.  Kudos to all of you.