How to get the most out of your WMPRSA membership

You’ve joined WMPRSA – so now what? You get the most out of your membership by what you put into it, and we want to share some tips on how to maximize your membership to its full potential. After all, it’s an investment in yourself!

Attend monthly luncheons – WMPRSA offers monthly lunch and learn events on insightful and timely topics. 
Join a committee – Our chapter has eight committees, each with a different focus. Volunteering on a committee is a great way to meet a smaller group of members and work toward a common cause. See below for our full list of committees with respective chair people. Please contact anyone below for more information about a joining a committee.  

Participate in PR for Good – Every year, WMPRSA picks out a deserving local non-profit and provides pro-bono PR support. Join this meaningful committee that serves almost like a PR agency for the non-profit. We’re picking out our next non-profit organization soon, so now is a great time to get on board! 
Submit a project for the annual PRoof Awards – Each year, the West Michigan Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (WMPRSA) recognizes the year’s best public relations programs, projects and people in West Michigan at an annual awards dinner.
Apply for your Accreditation in Public Relations – The purpose of the APR accreditation is to unify and advance the profession of public relations by identifying those who have demonstrated broad knowledge, experience and professional judgment in the field. The program seeks to improve public relations practice, and promote standards of excellence for all PR practitioners.

If you want to get more involved but you’re not sure how, feel free to contact Rick Jensen, WMPRSA president, at to learn about more possibilities.


PRSA International Conference starts Sunday

Going to the 2016 PRSA International Conference in Indianapolis that starts Sunday? Keep up with all the latest information by downloading the free mobile app. You can also have your comments, photos and more shared when you use the #PRSAICON hashtag.

If you’re still considering attending, you can save 15% on registration by using the coupon code: DRIVE16. Astronaut Scott Kelly, NCAA President Mark Emmert, and Center for Human and Civil Rights CEO Derreck Kayongo are just a few of the presenters Oct. 23 – 25.

Back-to-School with WMPRSA

In this back-to-school season, it’s only appropriate to share news of our own WMPRSA board members hitting the books.  That’s right; Rick Jensen, board president, and Adam Russo, 2017 incoming president, have made the commitment to attain their APR (Accredited Public Relations Practitioner) certification.  We recently invited them to take a “study break” and share a bit about their APR adventure. 

Q1. Your PR career is on a roll – so why an APR?  What do you hope attaining your APR now in your career will provide, personally and professionally?

Rick Jensen (RJ): Most recently I completed my Master of Management degree after ten years in the industry of PR, and am committed to lifelong learning.  APR just seems like the next logical step in my career and is something I have always had my eye on since first graduating from GVSU with my undergrad in Public Relations.  After spending a few years out of college, a professional has a tendency to get rusty, and APR will hopefully be the oil can that keeps this pro on track!   

 Rick Jensen

Rick Jensen

Adam Russo (AR): I am a big proponent of continuous learning and improvement.  I believe that each day, our skills are either improving or getting worse and that potential often exceeds realization.  As a business owner, the APR certification process is a way for me to sharpen my PR practice and ensure that I’m providing my clients with the absolute highest level of service.  

 Adam Russo

Adam Russo

Q2. How will you prepare; are you organized and methodical, more of a “let’s wing it” or plan to revert back to college study tactics and burn the midnight oil?

RJ: I’m more of a ‘let’s wing it’ type of guy, although I already bought the book and started reading it.  So far it doesn’t seem that intimidating!  I’m only a few chapters in though…

AR: There are numerous resources available to prepare for the APR exam.  I plan to engage with the WMPRSA’s APR committee and other APR-certified colleagues for guidance.  Since they’ve already completed the process, I’ll be able to learn what worked for them, and what didn’t.   I also plan to prepare for the exam alongside current WMPRSA president and friend Rick Jensen.  I’m also looking forward to completing the certification with someone who I respect and enjoy working with.    

Q3. Tell us about your discernment process – how long have you been considering an APR certification?  What made you pull the trigger now and go for it now?

RJ: As president of West Michigan PRSA I take pride in our organization’s mission, vision, and values.  I have been considering APR for quite some time and believe in leading by example.  With no longer being involved in a graduate program it seems I have more time to study…and who doesn’t like studying?! Plus it’s a great season to spend some time in the hammock with a book – Fall is my favorite!   

AR: I’ve considered getting APR certified for a couple years.  However, preparing to serve as the WMPRSA president next year was a tipping point.

Q4. Excited? Nervous?  How are you mentally preparing?

RJ: I’m just plain old ready!  I say bring it!

AR: I’m always ready for a good challenge – so I’m looking forward to it.  

Q5. Advice for those considering their APR?

RJ: What are you waiting for?  Let’s do this together!  If Adam and I can do it, you can too!    

AR: Connect with someone from the WMPRSA APR committee or an APR-certified colleague.  They’ll be able to provide you with a first-hand account of what the process is like.  They’ll also be able to answer any questions you have and, perhaps, serve as a mentor along the way.  Remember, there is strength in numbers.  So consider finding a co-worker, friend or group to complete the process with.  Working with a team will allow you to hold each other accountable.  I believe investing in yourself is one of the best things you can do.  I encourage all West Michigan PR practitioners to join me in this journey.  After all, what do you have to lose?

WMPRSA Member Profile: Tara Hernandez

Name: Tara Hernandez

Organization: Gerald R. Ford International Airport

Title: Marketing and Communications Director

Reason you got into PR:
I got into PR for a new challenge. After spendinga decade as a sports anchor working long nights, weekends, and holidays I decided it was time to settle into something different. The airport has been a perfect fit for me. I have a chance to be creative and have some fun, plus I still get to share people’s stories, have an impact on our community, and have a little bit more of a ‘normal’ schedule!  

Biggest Career Break:
My first television job in Augusta, Georgia. I was the first female sports anchor hired in that market.

At work, I’m proudest when I can:
Partner with one of our tenants - whether it be an air carrier, parking, or even our skycap services - to provide a positive customer service experience. We’ve been able to tell some great human interest stories through these tenants, thanks to the wonderful community we have at GRR.

Dream Job:
I’m living it!