April 2021 SCPRSA Newsletter Print

President's Report

From the President

Pamela McNeely Flasch, director of public affairs, BJWSA

Since first hearing about the lifecycle of the butterfly, I've been fascinated! The hard work and evolution involved in metamorphosis has become a favorite metaphor of mine. This year, as we emerge from our winter and COVID coccoons, I am reminded of their reward of beauty, freedom and purpose!

April for SCPRSA is also about those things. We celebrate APR month -- and appreciate the extra efforts of those who choose to achieve this PR zenith! Additionally, it is Mercury Awards month, a time for looking back and presenting our best for well-deserved accolades.

My team at BJWSA, made up of (L to R) myself, Public Education & Engagement Planner Lou Brown and new SCPRSA member Morgan Ruscetta, our Public Affairs Specialist, recently won the National Environmental Achievement Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. (NACWA) I serve on their national communications committee, and coincidentally served as a judge for the Cleveland, Ohio, equivalent of the Mercury Awards, alongside another committee member. NACWA is focused on excellence in the water and wastewater industry, and we won for our public education program called "Trick or Treatment", a tour of our wastewater plants led by superhero-costumed staff. Who says wastewater and PR aren't fun?

Read below for details about this month's activities, and look for small gatherings to come back -- as we "emerge". And then we'll FLY!!!


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APR News!

SCPRSA celebrates APR month

April is APR month, so SCPRSA is joining PRSA to celebrate and elevate the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential that demonstrates a practitioner’s expertise and competency in the field of public relations. Accredited practitioners have a deep understanding of ethical standards and are proficient in communications principles. The APR distinction elevates a practitioner’s credibility and reflects sound, professional judgement in the practice of public relations.

Our chapter Accreditation chair, Ashley M. Dusenbury, APR, recently connected with our newest accredited member, Tamara M. King, APR, to learn more about her APR journey.

The APR credential is considered the gold standard for public relations practitioners. It’s a mark of distinction in our field of work.

Why were you interested in earning your accreditation?

I have been in the communications field for more than two decades, and my career has had many lives. I have been a news reporter, radio DJ, public relations coordinator, communications manager, speech writer, presenter and now a community relations director. Each job has taught me something different about the essential role communication plays in creating and shaping the culture of an organization. When done properly, communication and relating to the public, can turn a scandal into an opportunity, and can change an enemy into your biggest cheerleader. There is power in public relations. The old saying is true: He who controls the microphone, controls the message. As my career has evolved, I wanted to have a deeper understanding of the mechanics of public relations. While I knew the how, I wanted a broader, and deeper understanding of the why. And obtaining my APR would help me name the whys. In my office and presentations, I often talk about the seven C’s of communications. Now through my experience of attaining my APR, I am able to go further than the basics of public relations. With 20 years now firmly under my belt, having my APR gives me more confidence to not only do the work, but also share my knowledge in succinct way and with shared public relations language. 

Achieving accreditation is an invaluable investment in a practitioner’s career, and many feel it’s personally rewarding.

What is your most valuable takeaway from your APR journey?

From the time I signed up to get my APR my life was sent into high gear. During the process, my work load increased, I took the lead on several successful projects, conducted presentations locally and nationally, and not to mention a raging, health pandemic that forced an entire world to quarantine. It was a whirlwind, and I had to carve out time with intentionality to complete my certification. Was it daunting? Yes! Challenging? For sure! However, I learned so much about myself throughout this process and am thankful for this opportunity. I learned how to be more strategic and thoughtful in my work. I also gained access to additional tools in my public relations wheelhouse. Moreover, I have increased confidence in my ability to handle any scandal. And most importantly, I learned the power of public relations.

The process of earning the APR distinction takes commitment, time and immersion in public relations fundamentals and principles.

What advice would you share with members who are interested in exploring the process but are not quite sure they’re ready?

My advice to anyone exploring the idea of attaining their APR is to go for it!  When you have completed this process and receive your certification, you will have a deeper sense of who you are as a public relations professional. And most importantly you will be able to articulate your vision and your strategies more comprehensively and effectively. 

Tamara M. King, APR, is Community Relations director for Richland Library. In her role, she develops, directs and implements communications strategies to key stakeholders and audiences of Richland Library. Tamara also supervises the Office of Development, which supports the Richland Library Friends and Foundation along with the library volunteer program. Tamara is an award-winning public relations professional with more than two decades of experience in broadcast television, public relations, marketing, strategic communications, media and crisis communication training and program management.

It is recommended that APR candidates have at least five years of professional experience practicing public relations. Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (e.g. public relations, mass communications) or have equivalent work experience. To explore the accreditation process and review resources, visit PRAccreditation.org.

If you’re ready to achieve this distinguished credential in public relations, contact Ashley M. Dusenbury, APR, SCPRSA Accreditation chair, at [email protected].


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Mercury Awards

Celebrating SCPRSA’s 30th Annual Mercury Awards (1991-2021)

The Mercury Awards submission process has closed. Nominations for individual awards have closed. Winners will be notified via email by March 31, 2021. The 30th Annual Mercury Award winners will be announced and celebrated on SCPRSA social media channels on April 29, 2021. Stay tuned for details.

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Professional Development


If you’re looking, join us for this free event! https://scprsa.org/meetinginfo.php?id=23&ts=1616167428

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Hail & Farewell

Karla Falk, SCPRSA's Administrator for 19 years, retires

Karla is currently enjoying a much-deserved tour of the southwest with her husband Glenn. She expressed gratitude for the opportunity to work from home while raising their son. We are grateful for her many years of service to the organization. Happy travels, Team Falk!

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Administrator's Corner

SCPRSA welcomes the Team of Nancye Bailey and Jennifer Suber as our new administrators

Nancye and Jennifer have collaborated for many years, and now bring their wealth of talent to us!

Their first day onboard is April 5, so please give them a few days to get settled, and we'll send additional information about this Dynamic Duo!

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Special Invitation from PRSA Charlotte

Get Member Pricing on Communications Symposium

We know it's tough to find valuable networking opportunities and affordable, relevant content during this time. Look no further than the 2021 PRSA Charlotte Communications Symposium! This professional development event is an exciting half-day of connecting with other PR pros in a virtual environment – not just watching a series of tired PowerPoints. As an attendee, you will have multiple networking opportunities including 1-1 speed networking, affinity group conference rooms, direct messaging, event-wide chat, and Connect over Coffee groups sessions. Charlotte welcomes all PRSA members - no matter your geographic location - to sign up and receive our member discount rate of just $80! 

Click here to view the full agenda for the day. You will hear from world-renowned keynote speakers sharing on topics we know you’re interested in right now. Learn time-tested tips on crisis recovery and smart prep to modernize your approach to crises with Gerard Braud. Finally, find a reliable way to calculate the ROI of your communications to validate and demonstrate the impact of your work with sought-after strategist Angela Sinickas! Plus – you’ll get access to Gerard and Angela in an unbagging session to dive deeper on your questions after their presentations.

Attend breakout sessions on topics that hit key pain points and goals for PR people including:

  • recruiting and leveraging internal experts with a case study on how Atrium Health harnessed the power of social and digital media to enlist employees as brand advocates
  • humanizing our communications to be more inclusive - from best practices on incorporating diverse voices and imagery to proper terminology and how to avoid perpetuating old stereotypes. 
  • creating a culture of responsible transparency, including how to set parameters for how much to share, and when – and how to get buy-in along the way
  • storytelling to meet business objectives with expert content creator Dianne Chase
  • delivering your message with genuine authenticity to make a true impact while avoiding sounding fake or rehearsed
  • and an ask-me-anything social media panel with area experts from agency, government and local media members from the largest news market in the Carolinas. 

This half-day event is jam-packed with engaging, useful content – and it’s being offered at a more affordable rate than ever before! This year’s Symposium is only $80 for members and $100 for guests! Plus, you can save 20% when you sign up 5 or more colleagues at once.

Register today to access this renowned lineup of speakers, and gain the networking opportunities you’ve been craving in these stay-at-home times. Learn more at: https://www.prsacharlotte.org/events-awards/communications-symposium/

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Get Involved

Joining a chapter committee is one of the best ways to get involved and make an impact.

If you are interested in serving on the membership committee please contact Membership VP, Tiffany Norton.  

Or maybe programs and professional development is your passion. In that case, you will definitely want to connect with Professional Development VP, Adrian Grimes


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