Professionalism has many facets, and a group of leading PR practitioners thinks the profession's leadership should be drawn from a broad array of members, not only those who have passed an accreditation exam.
That's the essence of the issue that will be resolved in October when the Assembly of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) meets in Washington, D.C. Six industry leaders, the PR Junkie blog reports, are seeking support for an amendment to the "society's decades-old requirement that only members Accredited in Public Relations (APR) can hold national director or officer positions."
The challengers are not attacking PRSA's accreditation process, which centers on an appropriately grueling examination, but maintain that "accreditation is a hallmark for professional improvement but not for governance. If PRSA is to become the relevant professional organization it can be then this accreditation requirement must end here and now."
The group calls itself The Committee for a Democratic PRSA. It includes Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman PR; Art Stevens, managing partner of StevensGouldPincus; Dave Rickey, the senior vice president of communications at Birmingham Business Alliance and the bylaws revision chair of PRSA; Sandra Fathi, president and founder of agency Affect Strategies; Bill Doescher, president and CEO of DoescherGroup; and Deborah Radman, senior vice president/director at CK-PR.
PRSA, says PR Junkie, has approximately 21,000 members, but only about 5,000 have their APR. PRNewser reports that PRSA's board has not taken any position in support of or against the proposed amendment.
The pro-change committee is seeking 1,000 signatures on an online petition, to be presented at PRSA's Oct. 15 Assembly. PRNewser adds that a similar petition was presented last year and failed to pass.