PRSA members contest APR requirement

NEW YORK: A group of PRSA members has introduced a joint effort to remove the organization's requirement for its board members and officers to have an APR accreditation to hold office.

NEW YORK: A group of PRSA members has introduced a joint effort to remove the organization's requirement for its board members and officers to have an APR accreditation to hold office.

The committee, including Edelman's Richard Edelman, Doescher Group's Bill Doescher, StevensGouldPincus' Art Stevens,  Deborah Radman, formerly of Cramer-Krasselt, Affect Strategies' Sandra Fathi, and the Birmingham Business Alliance's David Rickey, will encourage all PRSA members to sign an online petition at www.thepetitionsite.com/1/PRSA. Using that, the group will then request a bylaw amendment at the annual PRSA meeting this fall, said Stevens, managing partner at StevensGouldPincus.   

“What really sparked the decision is the fact that there's a rampant feeling of isolation on the part of many members of PRSA,” he said. “We want to continue to raise the level of PRSA leadership so people like a Richard Edelman or other corporate communications directors can become national leaders.”

He noted that only about 20% of 21,000 members are currently APR accredited.

Of the impact this kind of bylaw could have, he said, “It could generate greater awareness, more members, and it would allow those people who have demonstrated a lack of interest in PRSA to become interested once again. It would be a more innovative organization and more representative of the profession as a whole.”

The team sent a press release announcing the effort, and it plans to continue outreach to every PRSA member via e-mail and social media channels like Facebook.

“People are sending [the information] to people they know and are putting it on their social media walls and blogs, so we're seeing momentum starting to build on this,” he said.  

Stevens noted that the organization is not in any way against the APR, but rather its ties to the governing process.   

“Governance is one thing, and self improvement and establishing a professional hallmark in the form of accreditation is a totally separate thing,” he said.  

Gary McCormick, 2010 PRSA chair and CEO, noted in a statement regarding the petition, "PRSA's current Board of Directors has not taken any position in support of or against the proposed amendment. Individual Board Members, like all Delegates to the PRSA Assembly, will be free to vote in favor of or against the amendment, as they determine."

The statement added that when the committee obtains the necessary signatures— the group's goal is 1,000 —PRSA will develop an outreach program to raise awareness of the proposed amendment, similar to the program for the changes to bylaws that were proposed last year. The PRSA 2009 Assembly had voted down proposals that would have changed the requirements to run for the Board. 

The statement added that when the committee obtains the necessary signatures-- the group's goal is 1,000 -- PRSA will develop an outreach program to raise awareness of the proposed amendment, similar to the program for the changes to bylaws that were proposed last year. The PRSA 2009 Assembly voted down proposals that would have changed the requirements to run for the Board to allow for chapter, district, section, or committee leadership or years of experience as an alternative to APR accreditation. 

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