Today’s “Rants N Raves” (more the latter here) post is from Jason Sprenger, public relations manager for an innovative data storage solutions company in Minneapolis. I’ve gotten to know Jason well over the last few years through our work in PRSA. We share a passion for PR, social media, and maybe most importantly, sports. You can find Jason blogging regularly over at The Sports Ace. In this post, Jason talks about his recent APR journey–something I’m proud to say he completed this fall. But, let me allow Jason to tell the story. His version’s much better 😉
As the saying goes, every journey begins with a single step. For me, when it came to the pursuit of my APR, it began several years ago when some good friends and mentors of mine (Arik Hanson included) urged me to start thinking about going through the process. Above all else, they’d say, I’d learn more than I would ever anticipate about the PR profession and gain a special sort of confidence that I could bring to my work.
A little more than a year ago, I decided I would go for it. I spent an entire weekend at an APR class held and taught by members of Minnesota PRSA. I got knee deep into what it took to compile my portfolio and prepare for my Readiness Review. I also became excited and energized about what was to come, having already learned things I was never exposed to while taking my journalism classes in college.
And then, well, real life set in. My job became more demanding. My son entered the toddler phase. We put our house on the market…and after we mercifully sold it, we had to find a new place, close and move in less than six weeks. To say the least, the APR process was the least of my concerns for a long time.
But I kept pecking away, thanks to those friends and mentors. I finished off my portfolio binder and passed the Review in the midst of a tornado warning, and got ready for the exam. It’s actually pretty remarkable how my career experience helped to activate the concepts I studied and allow me to see how things fit together. And then, on November 16, one year and two days from when I took that first APR class, I completed the journey and passed the exam.
As is the case with so many other aspects of life and career, I truly couldn’t – and maybe wouldn’t – have finished the process had it not been for the help and support of many. You know who you are. But I think they drove me because they wanted me to have the same experience they did: it was all about the journey, not the destination. Sure, it wasn’t easy, but I’m already better at my job because I went through the process, and I think I’m better equipped to handle the inevitable curveballs I’ll face down the road. Whether or not anything else comes from having the APR, I think that’s reason enough to have earned it, and I would strongly encourage anyone else thinking about pursuing their APR to go for it as well. It’s not only good for you, but having a strong, dedicated, educated body of practitioners lends credibility to the profession as well.
One other thing: there are many critics and doubters of the APR out there, but I don’t know a single APR who criticizes the credential. Everyone I know that has gone through the process realizes the value of being accredited and thinks they emerged better from the journey than they were before they started. They’re glad they did it, and I am too…the proof is indeed in the pudding. Anyone who says otherwise, in my experience, simply doesn’t know any better.
If anyone has any questions about accreditation, feel free to reach out to the appropriate person in your local PRSA chapter. I’m also more than happy to answer questions…fire away. Good luck.
Jason Sprenger is the PR manager for an innovative data storage company in Minneapolis. Prior to this role, Jason worked for three different Twin Cities public relations firms. On the agency side, he did everything from servicing accounts and mentoring staff to leading teams and developing/closing new business. Now, on the corporate side, he is taking a deeper dive into business and how good communications can improve everything – especially the bottom line.