Earn Your APR in 2022: Everything You Need to Know to Start Now!
Power Lunch Webinar


Ready to take the next step of professional development in your communications career? Wishing you were more strategic? Think APR!

Join us for a webinar that covers what Accreditation in Public Relations is, how it can help you develop a strategic communications mindset, and how you can start your own APR journey.

Christine Brainerd, APR, Heather Engel, APR, and Lael Wageneck, APR, will explain how the three letters “APR” sets you apart from your peers, the key steps to earning the credential and share their recent experience earning their APR, with tips to jump start your own Accreditation journey as a government communicator or public relations professional.

Recorded: Thursday, April 21




Christine Brainerd, MPA, APR

Christine is a seasoned, award-winning communications professional with nearly 20 years of experience in government communications, public relations, and journalism. As communications director, she manages the city’s comprehensive communications program, including news media relations, public information, and community relations.

Christine joined the City of Folsom in 2015. She previously served the City of Elk Grove for nearly nine years as the public affairs manager and public information officer. She also worked at two Sacramento-based public relations firms, where she managed national and statewide public relations and marketing campaigns. Christine’s career started in journalism. She has written for a weekly newspaper and worked as an assignment editor at KTXL-TV FOX-40 News.

A communications graduate from California State University at Sacramento, Christine earned the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential from the Public Relations Society of America and the Universal Accreditation Board in 2012. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from Golden Gate University.

Christine is the past president and current education and development chair of the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) and she serves on the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), the national board that oversees the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential. She has received more than 60 national, statewide, and regional awards for communications and public relations projects through well-respected organizations, including CAPIO, the Public Relations Society of America, and the League of California Cities. In 2016, she was honored with the 40 Under 40 Award by the Sacramento Business Journal, which recognizes young professionals for their accomplishments in their respective industries and for their contributions to the community at large.

Heather Engel, APR

Heather Engel, APR, is an experienced communications professional with nearly 20 years of public information experience. As the Director of Communications for the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), the nation’s largest statewide coalition of public water agencies, Heather leads a talented team to oversee the association’s comprehensive communications program, including keeping members informed about critical legislative and regulatory issues, developing customizable communication tools for customer and stakeholder outreach, media relations, and public education.

Prior to joining ACWA, she held a number of positions at the Coachella Valley Water District, including Director of Communication and Conservation. In that role, she was the district’s primary Public Information Officer and oversaw all internal and external communications programs, legislative efforts and conservation programs.

Heather is a member of the California Association of Public Information Officials and earned her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2021. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Humboldt State University and enjoyed a successful career as a newspaper reporter and editor before transitioning to public affairs.

Lael Wageneck, APR

Lael Wageneck, APR, is the Public Information Officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department which serves over 400,000 residents. He has over 15 years of experience in media production, public relations and public administration, and has presented a many CAPIO conferences on topics from photography to ethics. He previously served on the CAPIO Board as the Central California Regional Chair from 2015-17.