By Rianette Leibowitz
When I obtained my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) status in November 2013, it felt as if I had finally pegged the flag in the ground at the top of the summit. Although vital to our careers, there are always so many reasons to be found, to wait until next year to accomplish these types of goals.
Often times we procrastinate with our own projects because we usually give more attention to our clients’ businesses, increasing their turnovers and developing their organisations instead of focusing on our own growth.
We seldom take the time to reflect on our achievements and lessons learnt. The APR accreditation process facilitates introspection, and actually made me realise how far I have come since that initial pitch to an editor and arranging the first-of-many media briefings. It felt good to stop and admire the view for a brief moment, take a deep breath and start climbing forward towards the next summit.
Obtaining my accreditation certainly gave me new confidence. It highlighted areas in which I can gain more experience and has set the platform for me to reach new heights. I believe that this ‘fuel injection’ helped me to venture into new territories such as the non-profit company I established in 2014, called SaveTNet (www.savetnet.com). SaveTNet aims to save lives by creating awareness of responsible digital communication.
Becoming an APR, lead to the marvellous opportunity to host a Cyber Health feature on the online radio platform, CliffCentral.com. This afforded me a chance to develop my presenting skills, work with influential people and ultimately share the message about the risks and wonderful world of cyberspace. Additionally, I can work with public relations agencies who represent relevant clients.
For me, the accreditation process added a piece to the puzzle for the book I am writing and presenting in conjunction with a YouTube series on the power of influential relationships.
If you are only taking the first steps in your public relations career, then I would recommend you keep track and make back-ups of everything you do, in readiness for your portfolio after ten years. If public relations has been your craft since 2005 or longer, then you deserve a moment on the summit, to tap yourself on the shoulder and to take the industry forward to an even higher peak. It might even motivate you to look through your binoculars, zoom in to create a specialised offering and to stay relevant.
I would like to thank every public relations practitioner who respects the industry in an ethical and professional manner, and influences perception in a responsible way, taking this profession seriously. Now, let’s keep on going – the next summit is waiting to be conquered.