Carlos Arcila, APR, is PRSA NJ’s Newest Accredited Member

By Michele Hujber

Congratulations to Carlos Arcila, APR, the latest PRSA NJ chapter member to join the ranks of Accredited Public Relations professionals!

Arcila’s current role is an external communications manager for Ericsson’s Business Unit Support Solutions where he plans, implements and manages strategic business unit external communications initiatives for Ericsson [NASDAQ:ERIC], a leading provider of communications technology and services. Prior to Ericsson, Arcila was a corporate public relations manager for Telcordia Technology Inc., a privately-held, provider of communications software and services (primarily OSS/BSS). In his career, Arcila has held senior positions in public relations agencies both in NJ and in NYC. He holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Montclair State University and is also a musician and an avid long-distance runner.

The APR designation marks the accomplishment of a goal Arcila set for himself when he began his public relations career about 10 years ago.  As is the case with many successful public relations professionals, time was a major challenge in meeting this goal.  “With work, family, and more work, finding time to study the material--which is extensive--was challenging,” said Arcila.

He overcame these obstacles by enlisting in an APR boot camp that was held at a nearby university during reasonable--and accessible--hours.

“By going to class, I was able to carve out study-only time in my schedule,” Arcila said. “I also received support outside the classroom by arranging outside-the-classroom meetings with my APR mentor to discuss my portfolio and preparation.”

A universal challenge of Accreditation is the sheer volume of information that a candidate must review in order to pass the Readiness Review and Exam. Arcila explains that he met this challenge by quickly assimilating the information into his thought process at work. “I began very early in the process to internalize the material by actually thinking in APR terms,” he said. “I would view my everyday work activity through an APR lens and would make associations to the APR study materials. I would ask myself, ‘what am I doing now that relates to the material I’m studying?’ and I’d find that I could connect many of the suggested APR approaches to facets of my everyday work.”

The APR process helped Arcila to develop a different, and better, frame of reference towards the profession of public relations. Describing the new frame of reference, he says:

The view that I am, and should be, a trusted and knowledgeable counsel that should advise, anticipate and communicate to members of my organization on areas related to how and why the organization should maintain mutually beneficial relationships, is a big responsibility. It’s taking on that responsibility and saying to ones’ self, ‘yes, that’s me,’ and building up that knowledge base: through study, reading, and most importantly doing it, that has made my role in the company more effective.

When asked about any additional advice he had for APR candidates, Arcila offered these suggestions:

Take advantage of any and all resources available to you by the PRSA and its member community. Though the study guide may be the Holy Grail, look into the APR Online Study Course, and the read recommended titles. Cutlip&Center’s Effective Public Relations is an excellent reference book to have on hand. Also, connect with other public relations professionals – adopt APR concepts and use APR keywords/phrases in your everyday lexicon – you’ll find that internalizing the material will benefit you more, in the long run, then just memorizing it.

Arcila believes that having an APR is good accreditation, but doesn’t assume that it is an automatic passport to greater opportunity. Rather, the acting upon the deep knowledge of the field that coalesced during the Accreditation process will be what opens doors. “New opportunities will open up for me when I articulate the APR knowledge base I’ve learned,” he concluded.

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