Since 1937 public relations has been a core part of GodwinGroup’s arsenal. Today the agency employs five full-time practitioners, and three — Philip Shirley, Donna Ritchey and Vicki Harper-Blake — are APR accredited.
Public relations (PR) is an often misunderstood profession. Some consider the craft to be publicity-focused with tactics such as writing news releases or special events. Successful business leaders, however, recognize PR as a strategic process (utilizing a multitude of communication tactics) to achieve business objectives while building beneficial relationships between an organization and its stakeholders.
Lesser known to those outside the profession is the accreditation in public relations, or “APR,” a national rating that signifies a high level of knowledge and experience, as well as adherence to a strict set of ethical standards. The APR rating is a way to recognize practitioners who have mastered the insights and abilities needed to develop and deliver strategic communications. APR denotes those who have mastered skills to help shape and crystallize opinion and create an environment to achieve success. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the APR designation, and today it remains the universal gold standard for the profession.
“Strategic thinking and the use of a wide range of tactics that are credible and connect with stakeholders is critical to a successful, sustainable public relations program,” said Ritchey, a 26-year public relations practitioner and APR designee. “Many people work under a public relations title, and do a great job. But, when it comes to high-stakes issues and reputation management, it is those practitioners who are APR accredited who, on a national level, are recognized to have a greater level of understanding and knowledge of what it takes to achieve the objective. Our clients expect experienced counsel and a strategic approach to their challenges, and that’s been GodwinGroup’s strength throughout our history.”
The process for achieving APR accreditation is available only to practitioners who have worked in the industry for at least five years. The unified accreditation process is conducted via the Public Relations Society of America. Candidates must commit to a detailed Code of Ethics, participate in considerable study and successfully complete a written examination.