• APR Month Program Recap: Leadership and Expertise in PR 

    In APR, News & Publications on

    By Bernandine Cassell, APR

    APR – Accreditation in Public Relations – is a mark of distinction in PR; a credential defined by PRSA as certifying your drive, professionalism, and principles, setting you apart from your peers and positioning you as a leader and mentor in the competitive public relations field.

    At the April 26th program An Introduction to APR, Josh Gitelson, PRSA Boston APR Chair, walked attendees through the preparation and steps to achieve APR. He also gave a personal perspective on how APR helps you learn about industry practices and high standards and become a leader in the profession.

    Rewarding Process

    Josh, came to PR after being a journalism major and, after several years working as a PR professional, found the APR process “incredibly rewarding.” He felt the best part was studying for the exam. “I felt like I was earning a mini-MBA, and after practicing PR for a number of years, I could step back and get new perspectives and understandings.”

    He explained that the APR preparation and exam focus on six major areas of PR. They include Research & Planning; Leading the PR Function; Managing Relationships; Ethics and Law; Managing Issues and Crisis Communication; and Understanding Communication Models, Theories and PR History.

    He added that while you have an entire year to complete the APR process, preparation can typically take three or four months—and some people move through the study period even more quickly. “However, you can really do the preparation at your own pace.”

    Five Steps to APR Success

    1. Any member in good standing of PRSA or its partner organizations may take on the challenge of earning accreditation. At least five years of professional experience in PR is recommended, but not required.
    2. Submit a one-page application found at the PRSA national website. Once the application is approved, candidates have one year to take the online Certification Exam.
    3. Even before applying, you can download a free, 160+ page APR study guide from the PRSA national website. It contains information, exercises, case studies, and more. It also lists recommended texts, such as Effective Public Relations by Cutlip & Center. PRSA national also offers an online study course for a fee.
    4. When you feel ready, contact Josh, and apply to participate in a Panel Presentation with three APRs. At the session, you will be invited to talk about your professional experience and background and present a PR program/case study from your work.
    5. If the panel agrees that you’re ready to take the Accreditation Exam, you can then make arrangements to take the multiple-choice exam shortly thereafter. Upon completion, the results are available in minutes.

     Additional Resources

    Visit https://accreditation.prsa.org/MyAPR/Content/Apply/APR/APR.aspx

    Josh is available at JOSHG1068@gmail.com. He is happy to discuss the APR program in more detail, connect candidates with local PRSA accreditation study groups and answer any questions.

  • Fast Five Q&A: Jill Goddard, APR, Director of Public Relations and Social Media at Boston Ballet

    Jill Goddard serves as the Director of Public Relations and Social Media at Boston Ballet. With over ten years of experience in public relations, communications and non-profit development, her work has centered on mission-based organizations primarily in the non-profit sector including Covenant House International, Oxfam America, and the Unitarian Universalist Association. She holds a M.A. in Global Marketing Communications and Advertising from Emerson College and a B.A. in Political Science and Journalism from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

    PRSA Boston recently sat down with Jill to learn more about her career and why she decided to join the Boston Ballet.

    Q: How did you get involved with Boston Ballet?

    A: I have always been a fan and admirer of the talent and artistry of Boston Ballet and an arts enthusiast in general. My former colleague and friend, who serves as the director of individual giving for Boston Ballet, told me about the open position and asked if I was interested in being considered. It was helpful to have someone who I knew and trusted at the organization speak so highly of the vision and people behind Boston Ballet—I couldn’t wait to join the team!

    Q: Do you have a favorite campaign/program you’ve run for Boston Ballet (or a previous company), and what were the results?

    A: I’ve been fortunate to work for organizations close to my heart and campaigns that make a difference in peoples’ lives so it is hard to choose a favorite. Most recently, we finished 44 performances of The Nutcracker, a New England treasure and tradition. We did a lot of advanced press and promotions including having the Nutcracker Bear zipline on the Rose Kennedy Greenway to promote tickets going on sale. The video generated great engagement on our social media channels, was covered by The Boston Globe, Patriot Ledger, NBC Boston, NECN, and Dance Magazine, and helped generate awareness and sales. Later, we did a social media campaign where the mice from The Nutcracker escaped the Boston Opera House and went sightseeing around Boston. It was wonderful to collaborate with other iconic Boston attractions like the Museum of Fine Arts and the Boston Tea Party Ships—and see people’s reactions to these mice walking down the streets of Boston.

    At Boston Ballet, I really enjoy that all of its programs have so many fascinating angles and stories to tell. I love to deep dive into the research, find creative ways to engage with audiences of all ages, and help people enrich their own understanding and experience of ballet, its history, and the people behind it.

    Q: It looks like you have worked with other non-profits and associations, how important is PR to their overall strategies?

    A: Whether a non-profit organization recognizes it or not, public relations is essential to their success. To  inspire generosity, mobilize people and make positive change, you must have public awareness, support and engagement. Fortunately, I think more and more organizations are recognizing this and making the necessary investments in bandwidth and budget to incorporate public relations as an intentional management function which will support strategic goals.

    Q: What advice do you have for others who are interested in a PR career in the arts?

    A: Artist, dancer and choreographer Martha Graham said, “Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.” The same is true for public relation professionals and that is so important to remember if you want a career in the arts. In addition to best practices and the fundamentals of public relations, bring your passion, creativity, and imagination to the work and you will have great success.

    Q: How has being a PRSA member impacted your career?

    A: There are many ways that being a PRSA member has enriched my career. Often times in a non-profit environment, you are part of a small team or might be the only public relations professional in the entire organization. Being a PRSA member expanded my network of brilliant brains to pick when I have a PR-related issue at work. It also helps me keep up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies in public relations and social media through on-demand webinars, in-person workshops, and articles which I am able to immediately apply to my work.

    I recently finished the APR accreditation process which allowed me to take a step back from the day to day of public relations and look at the broader systems, theories, and techniques behind the craft. As a life-long learner, I’m grateful that PRSA offers these unique and invaluable opportunities. I look forward to all that PRSA continues to offer and all I can offer PRSA in return.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 
  • Meet the Board: PRSA Boston Past President Dan Dent, APR

    In APR, Career, PRSA Member Feed on


    Who is Dan Dent?

    My story began in Chicago, where I grew up, enjoyed life as a Cubs-Bears-Bulls fan, married my lovely wife, Sarah, and then started my career in PR. Now I’m in Boston, with a family of five, loads of experience in B2B technology PR, including two stints on my own, and a great year ahead of me as president of PRSA Boston. When I’m not running the occasional half marathon, I ply my trade at Draper, surely one of the grandees of the technology and engineering industry in Cambridge, or anywhere.

    You’ve been a PRSA member since 1996 and a board member since 2010. What is your focus for 2017?

    PRSA is unlike any other professional organization in that we are all about the member experience at every stage, and that goes for college students through career professionals to retirees. Even well intentioned professional societies find themselves serving the large middle of their membership, and undeserving so many others. PRSA is different in that we see value in connecting people at every stage. My focus for 2017 will be along those lines: celebrating and enhancing the member experience.

    Why are you involved in PRSA and what has it meant for your career?

    In my career, I’ve had the privilege of working in PR agencies, corporations, non-profits and on my own. At every turn, PRSA was there when I needed a resource or smart colleague to help me set my course. At the end of the day, we are all in a client service business, and that means you need great ideas, great execution and great relationship building skills. I’ve learned all those things at PRSA.

    What is your recommendations for those considering PRSA membership?

    Start with meeting our members. There’s quite a variety, and a million reasons people join PRSA. Some come for the networking, others for professional development, and still others want to explore career options with a trusted community. Over the years, I’ve received job leads, new business leads, advice about client management and creative programs. You can attend a PRSA meeting even if you aren’t a member – that’s a great way to start.

    When you’re not involved with PRSA Boston or doing your full-time PR gig, what do you do?

    I’m a coach for girls lacrosse, a board member for our town lacrosse team, an active member and communications contributor at our church, and the go-to guy for all things related to our golden retriever, Maisy.

    Tell us something not many people know about you (Don’t worry, we’ll keep it a secret?)

    I once spent a season backpacking alone in Europe, where I discovered you can live on very little money, very few clothes and scant local knowledge as long as you can build rapport with strangers and make them your friends.


  • Fast 5: Q&A with Dan Dent, APR, Communications Manager, Benchmark Senior Living

    In APR, Chapter Events on

    Every March, our chapter breaks bread with those among us who are accredited in public relations. It’s a good sized group, about 55 APRs among 310 members, who are invited to join what’s billed as PRSA Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Appreciation Breakfast for APRs.

    This year the event brought in members from other parts of the Northeast District, including Maine and New Hampshire. (Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York, you were with us in spirit.) Also with us were Joe Truncale, who is one year into his job as PRSA’s CEO, and Boston’s own Mark McClennan, PRSA’s national president.

    As breakfast meetings go, it was a blast, with ideas, opinions and suggestions in large supply. Discussion touched on the recent membership survey, current website rebuild, new branding program, the popular ethics app (worth a try), and the 2016 convention in Indianapolis and the 2017 convention in Boston.

    After breakfast, we caught up with Dan Dent, APR, to get his take on the value, impact, and process in earning the Accreditation in Public Relations. A member of PRSA since 1996, Dan was accredited in 2014 and served as PRSA Boston’s APR co-chair in 2015.

    Why did you decide to get your APR accreditation? Why do you think it’s important to your career?

    After so many years on the job, it was time to test myself. You can learn a lot about PR during a career, but there’s always that nagging feeling of ‘do you really have the right stuff? Is there something more you could be doing to elevate your career?’ The APR process gave me an opportunity to improve my knowledge about PR—put it to the test—and come out the other side a better professional. Just about every day, my APR helps me improve my value on the job.

    What is the process to secure your APR accreditation? What is the time commitment?

    Think of the APR process as a semester-long college course. There’s a textbook, course guide, study group, writing assignment, oral presentation and final exam. Thankfully, PRSA overhauled the APR a few years ago. It used to be all about the textbook. Now, it’s about you. You get to choose the PR program, you get to talk about your job and your role in it. It’s very real, very useable in your work life. Earning your APR is confidence building for sure, which is critical as you move up the value chain in your organization and your career. Everyone wants to work with a confident, competent PR professional, and the APR can help you get there.

    What was the toughest part of the accreditation process?

    Look, we’re all in PR because we can make things happen. We solve problems every day—weird, wonderful, bizarre, crazy-client, wacky-management problems. The toughest part of the accreditation process is getting to the point where you are all in—you are willing to test your skills against the best practices in the businesses. You need to view this as an army boot camp for your career. It will break down your skills and PR thinking, put it through a professional-grade process, and then build it up so you are better than before.

    Why should PR professions get their APR?

    Do it to give yourself confidence on the job. Do it to send a signal that no matter the role, you possess a professional standard that says I can handle this. Do it to give you a clearer understanding about what good PR looks like and how to deliver it.

    Why does PRSA Boston host an APR breakfast?

    Earning your APR means different things to different people. Yes, you will get a lapel pin, a certificate suitable for framing, special programs that are ‘for APRs only’ and, if you belong to a fun loving chapter like PRSA Boston, a nice breakfast on St. Patrick’s Day. The mini-muffins were great, and so was the networking. For anyone interested in taking the APR leap, give me a call, or contact our chair of APR. There’s a study group forming right now.

    Dan Dent is the Corporate Communications Manager at Benchmark Senior Living and Owner of Dent Communications. In 2017, Dan will serve as president of PRSA Boston, which is hosting the PRSA International Convention in October. You can reach Dan on Twitter at @DanDent1.

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos.

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • Mark McClennan, APR

    FAST 5: Q&A with PRSA Chair Mark McClennan, APR

    Public relations must do more than simply ‘occupy’ a seat at the C-suite table says longtime chapter member and past-president Mark McClennan, APR.

    Mark (@McClennan), who is senior vice president, social media services for MSLGroup in Waltham, recently began his term as Chair of the PRSA national Board of Directors, having been elected by chapter delegates of the 22,000 member organization. Among his priorities are ensuring that PR professionals have the resources and professional development to remain trusted advisers to the C-suite so they can hold their spot at leadership’s table.

    His term year has arrived with a bang: a recent New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) advisory opinion that will expand the definition of ‘lobbyist’ and implications that public relations practitioners would incur new regulatory compliance as a result. He is quoted in a recent PRSA release on this issue HERE.

    We caught up with Mark for a FAST 5 to ask him to reflect on the importance of PR, his priorities for PRSA in 2016, and the increasingly important role Boston is playing in the PR universe, with a visit by PRSA CEO Joe Truncale later this month and hosting the PRSA Northeast District Conference (PRXNE16, @prsane #prxne) in June.

    #1 – Where is PR today?

    PR is more important today than it has ever been. When I first joined the mantra was, “PR needs a seat at the table.” Today, for the most part we have a seat at the table. But having a seat at the table isn’t enough. We all know the dinner guest who just eats the food and is not invited back. Today the challenge is consistently reinforcing PR as a lead discipline and trusted counselor at the table. If we are not advancing sage counsel in every interaction, we are hurting ourselves, and we have enough detractors that we can’t afford to do that.

    #2 – Why PRSA?

    This is the question I get the most from non-members, and I love it. PRSA is the best and deepest resource for you to engage with to advance yourself as a professional and to help advance your career. We have 22,000 members in more than 110 chapters, and another 11,000 students and great intern candidates across 334 student chapters. This is the recruitment pipeline of our future. Within our membership we have 14 dedicated professional-interest sections that instantly connect you to professionals who are facing the same challenges you are.

    But when people ask me about the cost, I have a simple answer. The true cost of PRSA is two to four hours a month. If you are willing to invest that by getting involved and not just coming to meetings, the rewards will blow away any dues amount. And if you are not willing to invest that much time in your career, then others who are will pass you by.

    I credit PRSA with playing a huge role in advancing my career. Ann Getman taught me so much about PR research that she made a hard-charging AE seem really smart to his managers in the 1990s. Kirk Hazlett has been a mentor and friend for almost 20 years. But that is just the beginning. The more you get involved the better it gets. I have had the pleasure of being active on the local, district, section and national level. Every time I volunteer, I find the opportunities and awards more than I ever expected.

    #3 – What PRSA events are you looking forward to the most in 2016?

    The great thing about PRSA is there are so many outstanding events – and there is always one for your specific need. Locally, the PRSA Northeast District Conference (PRXNE16) in June is shaping up to be a dynamite event. We have Joe Truncale, CEO of PRSA (and a closet Red Sox fan), who visited us last week for our March Board Meeting and March Madness Mixer then attended our 3rd annual APR St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast the next day. He’s also going to be speaking at PRXNE16.

    The International Conference in Indianapolis in October is going to be outstanding. If you have never been, this is the year to go. Three days of information-packed professional development and more than 1,500 PR pros. Finally, I love the PRSA Counselors Academy Spring Conference in May. It is a multi-day session designed for senior agency executives and agency owners.

    #4 – What are some of your key priorities during your 2016 tenure as National Chair?

    My top priority is serving our members and working to increase the value that PRSA provides to them that is actionable in their daily career lives. That includes a number of initiatives, including growing the section communities (PRSA’s professional interest groups), working to improve the way we leverage technology to deliver programming and information, supporting the opportunities and development of new professionals, executing campaigns that have a positive impact on diversity and seeing where we can improve our governance model.

    Like any good PR pro, I realize that while I have my plans, outside circumstances may cause some re-calibration, as the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) did with its recent ruling. This could have a significant impact on many of our members and needs to be addressed.

    #5 – What is your PR pet peeve?

    Too often PR people are cutting themselves off at the knees when they are advising the C-suite by saying, “I went into PR because I hate math.”

    I think it’s more accurate that PR professionals want to make our society a better place. We arrive understanding that language and communications can advance a myriad of experiences that make our lives better, simply because we foster understanding, acceptance and consideration of innovative ideas and new perspectives. I can have a 20-minute debate with almost any PR person about the pros and cons of the Oxford comma or “over” vs. “more than.” But too many forget the language of business is numbers. If the C-suite hears you saying “I hate math,” it undermines your ability to act as a trusted, strategic adviser. This is a self-inflicted wound, and PR people need to stop saying it.

    About Mark McClennan

    Mark McClennan, APR, (@McClennan) is Chair of the PRSA National Board of Directors, the leading membership governance authority for the Association. Mark is senior vice president, social media services for MSLGROUP, based in Waltham, Mass. In his more than 18 years at MSLGROUP, Mark has led teams in a variety of industries, including consumer technology, financial services and gaming. He regularly advises clients on social media strategies and crisis management. His teams have been recognized with more than 45 awards for excellence in public relations, including five Silver Anvils. Mark has a B.A. in public relations and political science from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He is past chair of the Northeast District of PRSA and a former president of PRSA Boston.

    About FAST 5

    This is an interview feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • Joe Klimavich

    New Year, Two New Leadership Posts for Our Social Media Chair Joe Klimavich, APR

    Joseph J. Klimavich, APR has been recently named as Harrington HealthCare System’s Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing, a newly established position within the organization. Joe, who also leads PRSA Boston’s social media communications, is focusing on expanding the use of native content, research, and online community engagement in his new role. Harrington HealthCare’s President and CEO, Edward H. Moore, has recognized Joe as “a seasoned communication professional with experience in healthcare, development, managed care, banking, education, and independent consulting.” Apart from managing public relations and marketing, Joe will also be responsible for directing the development initiatives of the Harrington HealthCare System. The professionals at MyDoc Walk-In Clinics are thrilled to see experienced and skilled professionals like Joe taking up leadership positions to enhance the healthcare industry.

    As you will read, Joe’s credentials are considerable, and he will be a sturdy anchor of PRSA Boston’s robust and growing member community across the MetroWest to Worcester region. In past roles he has elevated the role of social channels within the communication mix of the organization he has represented. Joe has already begun to hear from PRSA members and newcomers who want to contribute their knowledge and ideas in this area for the Chapter’s advantage. The timing of adding Joe’s leadership is excellent as we look to host a regional conference (PRXNE16) next June. You can bet that social media, to include our Chapter Facebook Page and Faculty Forum Group, will be increasingly active.

    Joe’s addition to the PRSA Boston team is a prime example of how effective leadership can make all the difference in an organization’s success. By recognizing the importance of social media and empowering his team to utilize it effectively, Joe has already started to generate engagement and interest among PRSA members. His leadership style prioritizes collaboration and inclusivity, which will undoubtedly foster a strong sense of community within the organization. This approach is not only beneficial for member satisfaction but also for the overall success and growth of the organization. With leaders like this, PRSA Boston is poised to continue to thrive and make a positive impact in the industry.

    Joe holds a master’s degree in professional communications from Clark University’s College of Continuing and Professional Education (COPACE), where he has also served as an adjunct faculty member. He is accredited (APR) and most recently moved from his post as VP of Communication for Hometown Bank, in Oxford, MA.

    Joe is a member of the Worcester State University Alumni Association Advisory Board and its student engagement committee, and a recipient of that organization’s Distinguished Alumni Award for outstanding achievement in the field of education, recognizing his work as an adjunct professor in the university’s Communication Department.

    A resident and past Selectman of Brookfield, Joe is a past director of the Central Mass South Chamber of Commerce, a past vice president of marketing for the Mohegan Council, Boy Scouts of America and a centennial year recipient of the council’s Citizens of Distinction Award. Please give Joe and our Chapter a 2016 shout out: @joeklim and @prsaboston!