Tag Archives: accreditation

5 reasons to join a professional association


by Alex Sévigny, PhD, APR, MCIPR, @AlexSevigny

In 2009, my colleague, mentor and friend Terry Flynn, suggested that I join the Canadian Public Relations Society. I did, and I have found it to be incredibly rewarding. I now recommend joining a professional society to every professional communicator I know.

Here are five reasons to join a professional association:

  1. Ethics Code: One of the most valuable aspects of membership in a professional association is the ethics code that the association requires you to submit to. This may seem abstract until you face an ethical quandary and are able to say “My professional association ethics code doesn’t allow me to do this.” That’s a powerful argument for you to keep your practice ethical despite pressure.
  2. Professional Accreditation: A postsecondary degree or diploma is an important first step toward building a career as a professional communicator, but validation by your professional peers provides a level of recognition that marks you as a seasoned and trusted professional. I am very proud of the APR designation that I earned through CPRS. I know colleagues who hold the ABC designation from IABC are equally proud of their achievement. Accreditation means that your industry peers think you are an ethical, competent strategic communicator – that’s golden!
  3. Cultural and Social Capital: Membership is a first step toward building relationships, but the longer you remain a member the deeper your roots in the organization can grow. You can build serious social and cultural capital by being elected to association boards or sitting on committees.
  4. Professional Development: It is hard to keep at the cutting edge of the profession after leaving college or university because time is a precious commodity. Professional associations have the resources to bring the best national and international experts to you so that you can meet them and learn from them.
  5. Awareness of Opportunities: Professional associations are a great way of meeting like-minded people with whom you may share common goals and outlook. Those people can make you aware of professional and personal opportunities… a new job, client or friendship may await you!


Professional associations can help keep your career fresh. Below, you can find a brief bio of my involvement with CPRS, IABC, CIPR and others – I hope it inspires you get involved. If my positive experience is any guide, you’ll have a great time once you join your professional association of choice!

My professional society bio

Since 2009, when I joined CPRS Hamilton, and especially since I became program director of the McMaster-Syracuse MCM program, I have also joined the Toronto Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators and the Chartered Institute for Public Relations (UK).

In 2011, at the invitation of committee chair Colleen Killingsworth, I began sitting on the National Education Council of the Canadian Public Relations Society, and also as Professional Development Chair for the Hamilton Chapter of CPRS. In 2013, I began sitting as CPRS’s representative to the international Commission on Public Relations Education.

This post originally appeared at AlexSevigny.ca. Alex is Program Director, McMaster-Syracuse Master of Communications Management (MCM) and Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Professional Communication (JPC). 

Congratulations to CPRS Toronto’s newest APRs


by Kathleen Garrett
CPRS Toronto Accreditation Chair

The results are in and CPRS Toronto officially has four new APRs. Four members of our society successfully completed the requirements for becoming accredited members of CPRS in 2012. They join 17 other public relations professionals across the country, bringing the total number of accredited members to 480.

CPRS Toronto members who became accredited in 2012 include:

The board of directors of CPRS Toronto congratulates and applauds these new APRs for taking the time and effort to commit to their professional development and the practice of public relations in this way. Fellow accredited members are proud to welcome you to the growing list of APRs in Toronto and across Canada.

Accreditation is the highest global professional standard of excellence in public relations. The APR designation demonstrates your knowledge, experience and ethical judgment in PR, confers credibility, and signifies longevity in the profession. Employers and clients hiring APRs are getting leaders in public relations that are recognized in and outside of the profession.

The presiding officer of the National Council on Accreditation, Nancy Hutton, APR, says “Becoming Accredited in Public Relations is a significant milestone in the career of a communications professional. It proves a deep commitment to the profession and is a symbol of leadership within the public relations community.” From a personal perspective, she reflects that the accreditation process “provided a unique opportunity to self-assess and validate my own knowledge and skills as a practitioner. The CPRS accreditation process was definitely a worthwhile venture for me personally and provided many benefits to my corporation.”

To become accredited, a candidate must engage in specialized studies, pass rigorous written and oral examinations, and submit a detailed work sample. 2013 accreditation candidates are hard at work preparing their work samples right now, for an April 1st deadline.

To qualify for the accreditation process, a candidate must have earned a solid reputation of integrity and high ethical standards while completing a minimum of five years of full-time employment in public relations. The application deadline is December 1 each year. If you think you might be interested in pursuing accreditation next year, check out the self-assessment tool or contact me directly.

Three very important letters… One very important deadline!


Three of the most important letters in our field are APR, an acronym that stands for Accredited in Public Relations. Accreditation – or the APR – is a voluntary certification program that is a respected measure of experience and competence in the field of public relations.

If you have at least five years of experience and spend at least half of your professional time involved in public relations, I want to encourage you to apply to join me in the ranks of accredited PR professionals. This year’s application deadline is quickly approaching. You can read more about accreditation on the CPRS Web site. There’s even a self-assessment tool to help you decide if you are ready to enter the accreditation process.

Pursuing accreditation is a mind- and career-expanding experience that can take your practice to a whole new level, regardless of years of experience. Successfully achieving accreditation gives you internationally recognized credentials that enhance your professional image and the image of the profession as a whole. Accreditation helps you separate yourself from others and demonstrate you are a leader in our industry.

But don’t just take my word for it – check out the Top 10 Reasons to Seek Accreditation or talk to another accredited member.

If you are interested in applying for accreditation in 2012-2013, the application form is available online. The deadline is December 1, 2012.

As CPRS Toronto’s Accreditation Chair, I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

I hope you’ll consider applying to join me in the ranks of people with their APR designation!


Member appreciation event nets largest turnout in recent memory


How to capture the energy of the 160 CPRS Toronto members who attended our season opener at the historic Enoch Turner Schoolhouse on September 27? Perhaps a few of your stories will do the trick.

CPRS Toronto hosted 160 Members at the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse for it’s season opener on September 27, 2012.

In her follow-up note to the event, Carol Panasiuk, APR, LM, says that she appreciated the opportunity to get together with the senior practice group at our private reception, which took place just prior to the main event with all CPRS Toronto members. She found the reception to be a great opportunity to catch up with her peers and has suggested that CPRS Toronto get the senior practice group together a couple of times each year. We’re planning on it, Carol!

Bruce Stock, APR, FCPRS, dropped in on Kathleen Garrett, APR, and the APR study group that had hived themselves off for some exam preparations. He told our APR candidates of his experience as an Oral Examiner in the CPRS Accreditation Program several years ago, revealing that he and the other two examiners had given a perfect score to a candidate. Bruce wanted to impress upon our candidates that, a) it could be done, and b) the key was that the successful candidate was concise with her answers. This APR candidate had spoken succinctly and with purpose and when she was done, she was done. It was great to be in on this particular interaction that will hopefully serve as some inspiration for the CPRS Toronto candidates who are now into an extremely intense part of the accreditation process.

The members heard brief updates from their Board members, learning about our current priorities and numerous upcoming events. These Board reports generated great follow-up discussions with our members and sponsors. I spoke with Emmanuel Caisse with CEDROM-SNi on his way out, for example. He had already connected with our Board liaison to sponsors, Laurie Smith, and was deeply engaged in exploring ways to meet our members’ professional needs.

This event has also jump-started our member volunteer network once again, to the delight of Board members Parm Chohan, who is coordinating volunteer placements with the Board’s working committees, and Jenn Heyes, who heads up our student leadership team.

CPRS Toronto President Vincent Power, APR, had a lively chat with a group of student members who were amused when he told them to be sure to pull their weight in group assignments at school. Vincent advised the students that PR school stories travel far and wide and could ultimately affect their employment. Our new student members were shocked and somewhat horrified to hear this but soon realized that they could relate. According to the students, the time spent on group assignments is the hardest time to like your fellow PR students.

We also heard from members who were unable to attend. Perhaps my favourite exchange was with Andrew Clarke who sent his regrets but didn’t forgo his opportunity to network. Andrew asked us for some support to get in touch with members who, like him, are giving leadership to social media and community relations strategies. We have since offered Andrew some contacts to get started.

Judging by what you said, I think we were successful in providing an appropriate and meaningful networking opportunity for our members at this event. I hope we also adequately conveyed our appreciation for your continuing member support of CPRS Toronto.

The final word here goes out to CPRS Toronto members Amie Zimon, Jessica Delaney and Jenn Heyes who answered our call for volunteer support at this event. Given the number of members who attended, they certainly had their hands full in terms of handling the social graces while also helping to ease our new members into the CPRS family. You did a truly admirable job. Thank you.

Attention all APRs – Invigilator needed


Can you spare a few hours on October 19 to support this year’s accreditation candidates?

An invigilator (proctor) is needed for this year’s accreditation exam. We need an accredited practitioner who can be available between 8:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (approximately) at a college campus in Toronto.

Can you volunteer your morning of October 19 for the 2012 accreditation group? It would be greatly appreciated by the candidates and the committee.

If you are available or would like more information, please contact Kathleen Garrett, Accreditation Chair, at kathleen.m.garrett@gmail.com.