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Minnesota PRSA Welcomes Three New APRs

Minnesota PRSA Admin  | Published on 11/11/2019
Three members of the Minnesota chapter of the Public Relations Society of America – Emily Finley, Michelle Uher and Carolyn Will – all recently earned their Accreditation in Public Relations. The Minnesota chapter has among the highest number of APR-accredited professionals in the nation. 

To earn an Accreditation in Public Relations, applicants must sit for a panel presentation, along with completing a computer-based examination. Those who successfully earn their APR demonstrate personal drive, professional acumen, a commitment to ethics and a dedication to lifelong learning.

Emily Finley, senior manager of corporate communications at Marvin, chose to pursue her APR to show her commitment to public relations, and to stay current in the ever-evolving field of public relations.

“Public relations practitioners have a responsibility to counsel their organizations with an ethics-based approach, and I believe Accreditation signals a practitioner’s commitment to sound public relations strategies and practice,” she said.

Finley leads public relations, social media and internal communications in her current role, and has been in the field for 14 years. She has also held positions at Karwoski & Courage Public Relations, and Martin Williams Advertising. 

M
ichelle Uher is director of communications and public relations at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals. 

“Going through the APR process allowed me to freshen up on my strategic skills as a communications professional,” said Uher. “The continued education that comes with maintaining an APR is an opportunity to stay relevant and knowledgeable with the latest trends and business practices within public relations and communications. This knowledge is directly applied to the work I do at my organization.”

Uher was introduced to the accreditation process by her boss, Angela Babb, APR, chief communications officer for AAN, and was given full support at work to pursue her APR and take her skills to the next level. 

“Having my APR demonstrates that I have achieved a high standard in the profession. Being accredited in public relations illustrates my dedication to professional development, strong values and ethical principles,” she said.  

Uher oversees the public relations team and provides strategic direction and management for public relations, media relations, community relations, executive and leadership communications and marketing communications campaigns targeting external audiences. She has been with the AAN since 2012. 

Carolyn Will has co-owned a boutique public relations agency, CW Marketing & Communications, since 2007. She had heard about the prestige of the APR for years, but it took some nudging from fellow colleagues to get her fully on board. 

“I sensed a certain prestige in having the ‘APR’ distinction, but I did not understand why,” said Will. “I had earned my Master’s in Business Communications and still felt as though it did not carry the same weight. When I started on the APR course work, I came to understand why those three initials garner respect. I respect the public relations profession more now that I have gone through the rigors of (the process). The process was so well worth it for me.”

Will also acknowledges that many public relations professionals segue into the field from other careers, so having a set of standards and ethics clearly defined is useful. She said she has noticed a shift in how she approaches her work since earning her APR.

“I have felt a mental shift in the way I approach problems,” she said. “My sense is that I’m more thoughtful. I take a pause before leaping into action. I’m asking smarter questions of my team which leads to improved research, more strategy and I look forward to the evaluation so we can all learn from the project and hone it for the next one,” said Will. 

After 17 years in broadcast journalism, Will believed her background was enough to carry her in the profession. 

“The APR coursework broadened my thinking and also set me up to be a lifelong learner of the profession,” she said. 

More information about earning your APR can be found on the Accreditation page of the Minnesota PRSA website.