APR SPOTLIGHT: KIMBERLY KAROL

Q: Why did you decide to earn your APR?

A: First, I must acknowledge PRSA Houston and its outgoing president, Isidro Reyna, APR, for inspiring me to explore the Accreditation. Joining PRSA Houston has been tremendously rewarding. I have learned so much by participating in webinars and monthly meetings. The APR is just one of the many ways that PRSA Houston has contributed to my professional growth, and I am sincerely thankful.

I decided to become Accredited to deepen my knowledge, skills, and abilities in public relations and to help maximize the business and social value of the organizations that I serve. In addition, I seek to become a life-long learner and promoter of effective public relations so that I can continuously advance the public interest.

Q: How did you study for the exam?

A: I leveraged the APR Study Guide to prepare for the exam and supplemented my studies by reading Cutlip and Center’s Effective Public Relations, The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, and Primer of Public Relations Research.

The exam information is vast and, at times, complex, but certainly worth every moment poring over the readings to deepen my understanding of the competencies, ethics, theories, and models that inform strong public relations strategies.

The materials prompted me to redouble my efforts in two-way communications, analysis, research, planning, and evaluation to address the distinct needs of diverse constituents successfully. There is no ‘copy and paste’ function for transformative communications—every situation is different and warrants unique tactics.

Q: What tips would you give others interested in pursuing their APR?

A: We all have various demands for our time and energy—family, friends, work. (And, let’s not forget the pets, volunteer activities, and chores.) It’s often difficult to carve out the time to cultivate our professional growth in a meaningful way. There always seems to be something that gets in the way. I would advise anyone interested in pursuing the Accreditation to just go for it! Make time to invest in yourself. The momentary sacrifices are worth the lifetime of opportunities that the APR will gift you.

Also, I encourage our peers to take advantage of the resources offered by their local PRSA chapter. For example, I took part in PRSA Houston’s mentorship program. My mentor, Laci Theriot, APR, provided useful tips and encouragement as I prepared for my panel interview and exam. (Thank you so much, Laci!)

Q: What's next?

A: Just because I passed the exam, doesn’t mean that I will stop learning. The APR journey has fueled my desire to learn and do more—and, simply put, I plan to do exactly that—starting with increasing my contributions to PRSA and actively collaborating with our colleagues to strengthen our profession, organizations, and communities.

Oh, and perhaps I’ll invest in a crystal ball. :)

PRSA Houston is committed to assisting Houston public relations professionals interested in earning the APR. We routinely offer one-on-one mentoring to interested practitioners, and in April 2020, will present a national APR Bootcamp, a condensed group-learning opportunity completed in only a few days. Bootcamp space will be limited. We encourage you to visit the PRSA Houston website in late January 2020 to learn more and reserve your seat. Learn more about the APR at praccreditation.org.