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Julie Armstrong Passes Accreditation Exam

Julie Armstrong, APR

      Chapter member Julie Armstrong, APR, a visiting assistant professor of communications at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas, recently passed PRSA’s APR examination and is now an accredited member of the Society.  She joins 22 other Pikes Peak Chapter members who have earned their APRs.

      Julie, who resides in Colorado Springs, has been teaching at St. Edwards University for more than a year.  She also serves as the faculty advisor for the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter there.  During the 2017 Spring semester, she was selected as one of two faculty members to journey to Angers, France, to teach at the Université catholique de l’Quest for the St. Edwards Study Abroad Program.  While there, she will teach Global Health Communication, Presentational Speaking and Introduction to Communications.

      Prior to moving to Austin, Julie was a visiting assistant professor of mass communications for three years at Colorado State University-Pueblo.  Before becoming a professor, she spent 25 years in healthcare marketing communications for hospital systems in Texas, Louisiana and Colorado.  She served as director of marketing communications for Penrose-St. Francis Health Services here for the final 10 years.

      She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and a master’s degree in communications from Trinity University, also in San Antonio.

      Accreditation is the mark of distinction for public relations practitioners who have demonstrated their commitment to the profession and its ethical practice.  It also certifies that Julie has demonstrated competency in the knowledge, skills and abilities required to effectively practice PR in today’s competitive environment.

      PRSA members interested in accreditation should contact the chapter accreditation chair, Fred Morgan, APR, Fellow PRSA, at 488-8352 or  He will be offering a six-week APR workshop for serious candidates in March.  More information about the workshop and benefits of the APR are at this link.



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Honored To Serve As Your
2017 PRSA President -
Our Agenda For This Year

Happy New Year!  What wonderful opportunities we have before us.  Before I begin, I want to thank the Immediate Past President Stacy Swanson and the 2016 board for their terrific work.  We will build on their ongoing momentum.   Thank you!

Let’s get personal.  As I wrote in my military PR transition blog, I am deeply indebted to the PRSA and specifically to the local Pikes Peak Chapter.  PRSA helped me to connect with Colorado Springs PR professionals, provide tangible advice for my Army retirement to civilian journey, connect with different stakeholders, gain a cultural understanding of the Springs’ and civilian landscape, and obtain my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR).  Simply amazing!

You, the Pikes Peak PRSA Chapter members, are truly my family.  Besides my lovely wife’s family who has lived here over 100 years, you’re it!  With public relations being a niche career field, we need to continue to learn, talk and share with one another.  Communications can be quite the character.  It’s fun, fast-paced and ever-changing!

Teamwork is vital to any success or positive change.  So – let me introduce our 2017 Pikes Peak PRSA Board Members:

President-elect: Christy McGee, APR; Immediate Past President:  Stacy Swanson; Vice President:  Andrew Montgomery; Treasurer and Accreditation:  Fred Morgan, APR, Fellow PRSA; Secretary:  Samantha Briggs; Membership:  Katherine Sartain; Community Outreach:  Joy Maples, APR; Communications:  Marjorie Noleen; Public Relations:  Sarah Schaefer; Assembly Delegate:  Patrice Lehermeier, APR, Ethics:  Janet Stevens, APR; Advocacy:  Catherine Creppon, APR; Awards:  Paul Fanning, APR

Please make sure you thank these wonderful PR leaders for their time and commitment to our chapter.

Our board is excited as we began initial discussion into some different areas to assist our networking, professional development and learning.  We have an open survey that we want your feedback on… more details below.  But, let me go over a few topics that we discussed:

1.  Make PRSA More Relevant to You.  We have an open survey and currently only half of respondents believe that PRSA is beneficial to them. Topics will center on “how to’s”, communication strategy, reputation management, mentorships, crisis and digital communications.

2.  Luncheons on Wednesdays!  Based on our survey feedback to date, Wednesday is more accommodating to schedules.  See you Jan. 11 and Feb. 8!

3.  Take our online Survey – 3 minutes, 10 questions.  Let us know what we are doing well and what we can improve on.  Here’s the link:

4.  Workshop planning now.  A significant majority of survey respondents said the professional development all day workshop is helpful.  We are starting the planning now to ensure we continue this great tradition.  We will seek speakers from the Denver area.

5.  Shared event with Denver PRSA.  A majority of surveyors said they want a Denver/Colorado Springs event – located in Castle Rock.  I have started the discussion with the Colorado chapter.  This might be a short professional development followed by networking. More to follow.

6.  Breakfast on Friday Mornings.  We will have several Friday morning breakfasts throughout this year.  Look for one breakfast per quarter which will be an addition to the luncheon.  Right now, we will probably have a 30-minute professional & 30-minute networking portions.  Low cost.  Low maintenance.  High reward!

7.  Mentorship makeover.  Younger PR professionals are seeking advice on how to make their office or business more successful.  We have several master practitioners that can provide insight and understanding.  Again, PR is a niche area.  It’s great to have a mentor at any age.

8.  APR Workshop.  I obtained my APR and it was worth it.  Read my APR journey blog to get more detail. With this said, we have one of the best coaches in the nation.  Please take advantage of our local accreditation chair’s (Fred Morgan, APR, Fellow PRSA) knowledge and teaching. 

9.  Awarding Excellence.  We will be awarding two PR professionals this Wednesday with our new "Caught In The Act" award.  And we want to recognize even more practitioners this year.  The Lifetime Achievement Award - Pinnacle and Community Leader Award - The Vista Award need to be presented to deserving individuals.  Let's find the best practitioners and recognize them!

As you can see, we have a engaging agenda set with room to maneuver and adapt.  Again, we need your specific feedback on the survey.  Please email or call me if needed.  My email is and my number is 719-314-4312.  I am available during the work day, evenings and weekends. 

Finally, I invite you to attend our Wednesday, Jan. 11 Luncheon with the new Gazette Editor Vince Bzdek as he talks about “The State of the Gazette” and pitching stories.  The Wednesday, Feb. 8 luncheon will be about “Communication Lessons Learned from the 2016 Presidential Election” with Social Media Expert Lauren Hug and The Independent News Editor Adrian Stanley sharing their insights and takeaways. 

 Thank you for being a member of the Pikes Peak PRSA Chapter.  Our profession has never been more exciting or prominent in this non-stop, multi-channel, real-time communications age. 

 Let’s make 2017 a fantastic PRSA year!

 A PR salute to you!

PRSA PresidentJP Arnold, APR
President, Pikes Peak Chapter PRSA
Communications Manager, AspenPointe
Adjunct Instructor, PPCC






Chapter Plans March Workshop for Members Pursuing Accreditation

      PRSA members interested in seeking accreditation in public relations will have another opportunity to participate in a Pikes Peak Chapter-sponsored preparation workshop in March.

      Taught by Chapter Accreditation Chair Fred Morgan, APR, Fellow PRSA, and other accredited chapter members, the workshop is normally offered after work for two to two and one-half hours for six consecutive weeks. But the workshop’s final design will depend upon the needs and desires of participants. A fee of $50, payable to the chapter, is charged those who participate in the APR workshop.

      Morgan firmly believes that practitioners should establish professional goals for themselves early in their careers, and that seeking accreditation is one of the most important ones they can choose. “Earning the APR designation indicates that one has demonstrated competency in the knowledge, skills and abilities required to effectively practice PR in today’s world,” he said.

      The accreditation program is administered by the Universal Accreditation  Board, a consortium of nine leading PR organizations, including PRSA.  The
“APR” designation was developed 52 years ago by PRSA, but can now be used by any consortium member who successfully completes a readiness

questionnaire, passes a face-to-face presentation and review conducted by a panel of three accredited members from their chapter, and successfully passes a three-hour, 45-minute, examination administered at numerous testing centers throughout the nation. The test is offered locally by Prometric Testing Centers on North Academy.

      Anyone interested in pursuing accreditation must be a member in good standing of PRSA or another consortium organization, have five years experience in the full-time practice or teaching of PR and have a bachelor’s degree in a communications field or equivalent work experience which includes:

  • PR principles
  • PR writing
  • PR campaigns
  • Research
  • Ethics
  • Law
  • And practical experience under supervision of an experienced practitioner

         The cost of accreditation is $385.  PRSA members receive a $110 rebate upon completion of the test.  If the exam has to be retaken, the fee is $200, provided the retake occurs with six months.

      Accreditation candidates will have chapter support available as they study for both the panel presentation and the examination. “The chapter board of directors purchased six college PR textbooks,” said Morgan, “and these will be available for loan to candidates on a first come, first served basis. I’ve coached a large number of accreditation candidates during the past 24 years, and have achieved the best success with group study involving three to six people.”   This year’s workshop will be the last one taught by Fred Morgan – he plans to give up the accreditation chair at year’s end.

      The Pikes Peak Chapter has one of the strongest accreditation programs in the nation with 23 of its 67 members accredited – 34 percent of the chapter.  The national average is between 19 and 20 percent.

      Members interested in learning more about earning their APR should check out the Universal Accreditation Board website at Those interested should then contact Fred Morgan at 488-8352 or The deadline to sign up for the March workshop is February 15.

      The APR designation, once earned, is a lifetime accreditation. Accredited members must complete maintenance requirements every three years, however.