APR Month: A Q&A with Suzanne Henderson

During the month of April, the Public Relations Society of America shines a light on the APR (Accreditation in PR). This credential sets communications, public relations and marketing professionals apart from the rest of the industry. After a year of hard work, PRSA Hoosier Chapter member Suzanne Henderson earned her APR in September 2022.

Henderson majored in public relations at Ball State University and minored in communication studies. During her time at Ball State, she was active in PRSSA and the student-run pr agency. After earning her bachelor of science in 2004, she pursued her master of science in management from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2014.

Today she serves as the director of public relations and communications for Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance. In this role, she directs and manages 12 team members and the activities the department is responsible for. This includes overseeing activities such as media relations, strategic external and internal communications, crisis communications, customer satisfaction, member/client communications, employee engagement, community relations, philanthropy, issues management, marketing content oversight, forms administration, graphic design, and management of company communications systems.

Learn more about Henderson’s APR educational journey.

Why did you decide to earn your APR?

I was researching courses to refresh and confirm my knowledge of the practice. In my research, I learned more about becoming accredited and the great value it could add to my career.

Tell me the most challenging part of the APR certification.

As with most professional development, it takes time and commitment outside of your regular workday and home life. I also found it challenging to anticipate panel presentation and exam questions, but I assume that kind of anxiety is normal. As a result, I spent a lot of time preparing, studying, and practicing for both.

Have you noticed a difference in your work since earning your APR? Explain.

The APR journey taught me a great deal about the importance of strategic communication. I have found that I more intentionally embed more research and evaluation into project requirements, which can be easy steps to overlook in the interest of speed in the workplace.