How has getting the APR influenced your career?


Completing the APR curriculum has provided a new understanding of and appreciation for public relations as a management function, elevating my capacity to think critically, plan strategically and prioritize “why” over “how.”

We all have blind spots and weaknesses when it comes to our abilities and skills. My specialty is media production and storytelling, and strategic communications was one of my weaknesses. Earning my APR helped me become a better strategist and gave me more confidence to own my job and promote our profession’s best practices and ethics.

My APR experience has been an asset in my career, empowering me to advise clients with greater confidence. I gained a keen understanding of the connections between goals, objectives, strategy and tactics – and this made me more effective in leading public relations campaigns. Similarly, the rigorous curriculum on research and statistics gave me a huge advantage in measuring the results of my work.

Earning my APR helped me build the skills I needed to develop and execute strategic communications plans while leading a city communications and marketing team. Now, as the founder of RockSpark Communications + Marketing, I use those skills every day to help PIOs and government communicators across the state stay focused on the big picture and achieve the goals set for their cities, counties, agencies, special districts and public safety organizations.

The APR experience helped me better understand the importance of the steps needed to succeed in public relations. It has confirmed my skills and knowledge and has prepared me for larger responsibilities in my professional career. I encourage my staff and colleagues to pursue their APRs, as it is a testament of our commitment to honesty and integrity through communication for the communities we work.

Studying for the APR strengthened and expanded my communications skills and earning the accreditation has made me more confident in putting those professional skills to good use.

Earning my APR was a strategic decision, akin to earning a master’s degree in that accreditation is a statement of commitment to and advancement of one’s profession. PR Accreditation offers communication professionals a level of distinction often considered the gold standard of public relations. The process and road to earning accreditation renewed my appreciation and understanding of the value and impact a PR practitioner can bring to the table as a strategic counselor and trusted advisor. I wish to recognize the APR program offered by the OCPRSA chapter and the collaboration with colleagues. We grew together through shared experiences and best practices, and formed lasting professional relationships. As I move to the next chapter of my career to join a team of APRs, I am giddy with excitement to experience the collective impact we will have for our clients!

For Justine Rodriguez, MH, APR, getting her accreditation in public relations was a milestone in her career. Since getting the APR, Justine was promoted to Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC), a 456-bed hospital located about an hour east of Los Angeles. A few months after getting her APR, Arrowhead was involved in the efforts to repatriate U.S. citizens landing in Southern California because of the COVID-19 outbreak abroad. That marked the beginning of a multi-year COVID-19 crisis communications response that included hundreds of media interactions with national, international and local media. Demand for information from the media and public was strong and incessant during the crisis. As an experienced communications professional, Justine was selected to lead a team of county PIOs during the height of the COVID-19 surge. Communications practices that were put in place by Justine and her COVID-19 PIO team have endured and helped provide a framework for collaborative and cohesive county communications. Justine’s advice to those who are considering the APR is to take the plunge. There will never be a “right time,” to sign up. If not now, when?

Obtaining the APR designation was one of the best professional development decisions I have made. The process elevated my thinking from tactician to strategist, and it marked a formative point in my career. It was such a valuable learning journey that gave me the training, tools, and confidence to advance my government communications career.