Accreditation: APR


As a skilled PR professional, you know your success depends on staying relevant, resourceful and inspired. Established in 1964, the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential sets you apart from your peers and demonstrates your commitment to the profession and adherence to industry best practices and ethics.

It takes a professional—someone with exceptional experience, broad expertise and strong dedication and values—to thrive at what you do. The APR credential certifies your drive, professionalism and principles. Preparing for the APR provides you with uniquely comprehensive, relevant, and forward-thinking PR skillsets and personal career insights that enhance career versatility and viability.

PRSA Georgia is a strong supporter of the APR credential and APR candidates. Since 2005, approximately 80 Chapter members have earned accreditation with educational support from the Chapter. Nearly 15% of our current members are accredited, and in a 2015 member survey, nearly 50% of respondents said they were considering pursuing accreditation.

Members pursue accreditation for various reasons, including making themselves more competitive in their current workplace and in the marketplace; reinforcing public relations principles, and personal accomplishment. Regardless of the reason, accredited practitioners agree the pursuit and attainment of the APR credential is personally and professionally rewarding.


Who is eligible?

APR is a certification program open to public relations professionals. It is administered by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), a consortium of leading public relations organizations, including PRSA.

Any PRSA member in good standing can take on the challenge of earning accreditation. However, it is recommended that candidates have at least five years' experience in the full-time practice or teaching of public relations, and have earned either a bachelor's degree in a communication-specific field or have equivalent work experience.


Getting Started

Are you ready to distinguish yourself as an expert in the public relations field? The PRSA Georgia Chapter can help through its comprehensive program designed to help candidates prepare for and earn accreditation. Check the PRSA Georgia website and weekly emails for information about our local preparation sessions offered to Chapter members. Also visit the APR website,, for a wealth of information and resources.

Ready to get started? Contact Accreditation co-chair Melissa Smith, APR or board liaison Stephanie Fitzsimmons, APR.


Meet PRSA Georgia's Newest Accredited Members

Erica England, APR is a public relations and marketing professional with 10 years of experience working with a variety of clients in the technology, hospitality, construction and transportation arenas. Erica started her career implementing grass roots campaigns for General Motors and managing media relations for both the Jacksonville Aviation Authority and Jekyll Island. At Arketi Group, Erica spends her days working with Atlanta’s most interesting B2B technology companies. She loves helping businesses find and tell great stories. Erica earned her bachelors of communication and advertising from Flagler College. Erica pursued her accreditation to make the important transition in her career from tactician to strategist. Throughout the process she realized it is vital for her to have a strong understanding of the skills needed to become an impactful strategic counselor.


Lindsay Haynes, APR is the PR Manager for Moe’s Southwest Grill & Schlotzsky’s, part of Focus Brands. She is an expert in PR and communications within the hospitality industry, previously spending eight years working at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) managing PR for Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, among other brands. Lindsay graduated from Georgia Southern
University with a degree in Public Relations. Lindsay pursed her accreditation because she felt
it was time to broaden my strategic PR approach, network with other PR professionals and
further establish credibility with my internal and external clients.


Caroline Huston, APR is the Brand Communications manager at IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) for the Holiday Inn and IHG Rewards Club brands, where she leads PR in the Americas region for one of the travel industry’s most iconic hotel brands and the world’s largest loyalty program. She joined IHG in 2003 and has since held various roles of increasing responsibility in both corporate communications and brand public relations. Caroline earned her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia and returned to UGA to earn her MBA while continuing to work full-time at IHG. Since earning her degree in journalism, Caroline pursued her because all of her PR knowledge has come from on-the-job experience. She wanted a more formal process that would help her further develop strategic planning and critical thinking skills.


Austin Roebuck, APR joined The Coca-Cola Company in October 2017 as Communications Manager, Global Public Affairs & Communications. He previously launched the boating industry’s first government relations department at Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA. Roebuck started his career working as political staff for US Congressman Lynn Westmoreland and Georgia State Majority Leader Ronnie Chance. He graduated from the Georgia State University Honors College with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Communications. Austin pursued his accreditation in PR because he wanted to sharpen his skill sets as a PR practitioner and gain the credibility associated with the credential. The RPIE process, 10-step planning process, and communications models and theories have already made him a more effective professional communicator.


Carisa Turner, APR is the Director of Communications and Public Relations for Roswell Inc, the economic development and business advocacy organization for the City of Roswell. In this role, she leads all public relations efforts for the organization, overseeing strategic communications, reputation management, media relations, executive communications, brand and marketing communications, digital and social, community engagement, and stakeholder relations. She received a B.A. in Journalism and Spanish from Mercer University. Pursuing her accreditation felt like the natural next step in her professional development, one that would allow her to grow as a public relations and communications leader both in her career and within the industry. The APR process strengthened her understanding of the essential and foundational role public relations plays in public life and made her a strong advocate for the strategic, research-based, outcome-driven, and ethical practice of the profession.


Dawn Wotapka, APR is a public relations manager at UPS, where she oversees the retail segment. She is a former journalist who changed careers and worked at a classic NYC PR firm and a startup focused mainly on technology companies. She is a graduate of NC State and has a master’s degree and a business certificate from New York University. Dawn pursued accreditation to show that she is committed to public relations. Many former journalists now in PR beg to go back to bylines, but she fell in love with the PR planning and strategy that she learned. APR shows that her second act just as exciting as her first.


PRSA Georgia Accredited Members

Joel Ames, APR
Caryn I. Anderson, APR
Jenny Lynn Anderson, APR
Jason Anthoine, APR
Jimmy M. Autry APR, Fellow PRSA, CCC
Kristie Benson, APR
Ellen G. Berman, APR
Myra Blackmon, APR (retired)
Katrina D. Blauvelt, APR
Debra S. Bloom, APR
Dana Bolden, APR
Judi B. Borgo, APR
Celia C. Boswell, APR, Fellow PRSA
Nancy Broe, APR
Stephen Brown, APR
Amanda Brown-Olmstead, APR, Fellow PRSA
Marleen Burford, APR, Fellow PRSA
Anna G. Burns, APR
Conrad H. Busch, Jr., APR
Rukiya-Shani Campbell,APR
Kay Harle Cavender, APR
Angie Champsaur, APR
Pat Check, APR
Tacey Derenzy, APR
Vincent J. Dollard, APR
Marian Douglas, APR
Crystal Irene Drake, APR
Mary Dugenske, APR
Paul Dusseault, APR
Sherry Duvall, APR
Mark Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA
Mary Cammack Eitel, APR
Erica England, APR
Donald W. Felice, APR
Annette Filliat, APR
Stephanie Fitzsimmons, APR
Sarah Funderburk, APR
Roszell Gadson, APR
Carol Galbreath, APR
Coleen Gowen, APR
Lillian Govus, APR
Patty Gregory, MPA, APR
Jennifer Grizzle, APR
Michael Hagearty, APR
Elyse Hammett, APR
Roger Durant Hannah, APR
Beth Hardy, APR
Ellen Weaver Hartman, APR, Fellow PRSA
Sherrie Lynn Hauser-Simmons, APR
Jacob Hawkins, APR
Jessie Haynes, APR
Lindsay Haynes, APR
Craig A. Heighton, APR
Randall W. Hines, Ph.D., APR
Neil Hirsch, APR
Richard E. Hodges, APR, Fellow PRSA
Jasmine Hoffman, APR
Justine Holcomb, APR
Jeffrey Huett, APR
Timothy L. Hussey, APR
Caroline Huston, APR
Megan Jentz, APR
E. Juliann Kaiser APR
Pamela A. Keene APR
Sherri Kightlinger, APR
Nancy Klentak APR
Delos L. Knight, APR
Karlie Lahm, APR
Kent Landers, APR
Geri Laufer, APR
Diana L. Lewis, APR
Darrya A. Lipscomb, APR
Gayle B. MacIntyre, APR
Rodney Maddox, APR+M
Kate Maine, APR

Katherine Mason, APR (2016 UAB Member)
Victoria Barksdale McGhee, APR
Hillary McKean, APR
Gary W. McKillips, APR, Fellow PRSA
Elizabeth McMillan, APR (2016 UAB Chair)
Megan McRainey, APR
Lynn Harris Medcalf, MA, APR
Melissa Medori APR
Michelle Leff Mermelstein, APR
Kimberly Miller, APR
Carol P. Milliron, APR
Scott Mills, APR
Theresa Minella, APR
James M. Montgomery, APR, Fellow PRSA
Tami Randahl Morris, Ph.D., APR
Liza Mulkowsky, APR
Barbara Myers, APR
Mickey G. Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA
Kelley Nave, APR
J. Michael Neumeier, Jr., APR
Sandra N. Nicholls, APR
Mary Olsen, APR
Patricia E. Palmer, APR
Patricia A. Parker, APR, Fellow PRSA
Judith A. Parker APR, Fellow PRSA
Adacelis Perez, APR
Quiana Pinckney, APR
Tammy C. Poole, APR
Arleen Porcell-Pharr, APR
Don G. Reichardt, APR, Fellow PRSA
Kim Resnik, APR
Rocio Rivera, APR
Austin Roebuck, APR
Jason Rollins, APR
Susan Rosenberg, APR
Lynne M. Sallot, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA
Mimi Schroeder, APR
Nancy Schubert, APR
Jennifer Scott, APR
Amy Shaffer, APR
Tim Shannon, APR
Beverly Shepard, APR
Melissa Smith, APR
Ronn K. Smith, APR
Tiffany Mailen Smith, APR
Kimberly M. Starks, APR
Rich Steele APR (2016 UAB Chair)
Stephanie Stinn, APR
Jane Stout, APR
Jean Tate, APR
Rosemary Taylor, APR
Megan Terraso, APR
Alicia Thompson, APR
Ana Toro, APR
Barbara S. Touchette, APR
Dr. Joseph V. Trahan, III APR, Fellow PRSA
Sherry Treco-Jones, APR, Fellow PRSA
Carisa Turner, APR
Lynn M. Wallace, APR
Michael L. Warden, APR
Judith E. Webb, APR
John B. White, Jr. APR
Judy DeRango Wicks, APR, Fellow PRSA
Malika Reed Wilkins, Ph.D., APR
Nancy K. Wood, APR, Fellow PRSA
Dawn Wotapka, APR
William T. Wright, APR
Stephanie Zercher, APR


PRSA Georgia APR Committee Co-Chairs

Melissa Smith, APR
Kristie Benson, APR
Kimberly Starks, APR

Board Liaison: Sarah Weston, APR

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