July 1, 2019
I am a credentialed consultant, and Accreditation gives me confidence.
I worked in the PR profession for eight years before pursuing an Accreditation in Public Relations. Before that I was a print reporter. While journalism skills are transferable to public relations, I was oblivious to setting strategy and basing performance on measurable outcomes.
I learned so much on the journey to become an Accredited practitioner that it inspired me to start my own business.
Charting my own path
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say earning my APR changed the trajectory of my life, in that it instilled in me a desire to chart my own career path.
Though I was employed, and a single parent of two, I still wanted a change. I had learned so much from becoming Accredited that I didn’t want to go to waste, and I no longer enjoyed where I was working.
So, I resigned and began thinking about what clients I wanted to serve. After extensive research, I reached a conclusion: the agribusiness industry.
I knew that quitting my job was risky, so before leaving my company, I leveraged my professional network to gain new business. Several people wanted to help and connected me to 10 clients who had heard of me previously and needed my services.
Overall, it’s been quite the journey; I took a course on entrepreneurship, found a business coach and wrote a detailed business plan specific to my desired niche.
I now know that I wouldn’t be where I am if not for PRSA and my APR. I’m thankful for my PRSA colleagues, who helped me flesh out my business idea. I’m also thankful for the way that our association promotes and rewards professional advancement. Accreditation validates proven expertise and solidifies that I’m fully vetted. Accreditation implies respect, and because of my knowledge, skills and abilities, my clients feel protected.
Without that marker of achievement, I don’t know if I would have ever felt confident enough to go independent.
Kimberly M. Starks, APR, is the owner of Blue Scorpion Reputation Management (BSRM), a specialist communications firm based in Atlanta. She is also Accreditation Co-Committee Chair for PRSA’s Georgia Chapter.