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Lanette Hart, APR, CPRC

Lanette Hart, APR, CPRC, began her service on the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) in January 2015, stepping in to fill the position vacated by the late Dr. Jay Rayburn, APR, CPRC, and teaming up with Kathy Giery, APR, CPRC, as representatives for the Association. 

The UAB is very much a working board and during her first meeting, Lanette was assigned to the Examination and Preparation work group, then chaired by Kathy, and immediately thrown into the arduous challenges of item writing. 

Kathy, who would work on the UAB for four years with Lanette, said, “It was my pleasure to serve with her and the board was fortunate to have her as a member for so long. She was a valuable member of the UAB who made many significant contributions over the years.”

One of those significant contributions came in 2017 when Lanette took over what many would consider the most mundane assignment on the board — leading the Eligibility and Appeals/Policies and Procedures work group. It focused on rules, definitions and other administrative issues.

According to Kathy, prior to Lanette’s leadership, “it was a quiet assignment without many changes made each year. However, over the next few years, it was among the more active teams.” 

Kathy noted that Lanette was the driving force behind the “tremendous rewrites” to all policy sections covering the reformatted Panel Presentation (formerly Readiness Review), the KSAs and spearheaded the seismic shifts in the APR recertification process making it easier for Accredited professionals to renew the credential. 

Dr. Douglas Cannon, APR+M, PRSA Fellow who served as the UAB’s chair in 2019, said, “I saw Lanette Hart quietly but significantly change how the Accreditation process operated … she enthusiastically tackled the work despite the enduring challenges of developing a recertification process.”

“Her recommendations didn’t always prevail, but she persisted,” said Cannon, adding that Lanette’s persistence led to a process that was logical and transparent.

The recertification evolution entailed hours of research as to how other organizations renewed professional credentials, adjusted submission cycle, revised fees and the move to replace “maintenance” points with today’s renewal system of Continuing Education Units (CEU) tied to federal standards for professional development activities.

“This significant change didn’t come without lots of discussion, skepticism and resistance,” said Cannon, a communications professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. “She calmly and pleasantly navigated competing priorities among participating organizations for two years, collecting feedback and negotiating compromises, as she proposed clearer and more challenging renewal requirements.”

Carlos M Rivera-Cuesta, APR, described the four years he served on Lanette’s work group as a “super nice experience.”

“Lanette is warm, friendly, professional and very detail-oriented,” said Rivera-Cuesta, who represents the Asociación de Relacionistas Profesionales de Puerto Rico on the UAB. “Witty and lovable, those are some of her traits. I will miss Lanette a lot …” 

That sentiment is echoed by Dr. John E. Forde, APR, Fellow PRSA, who served with Lanette for seven years.

“We appreciate all of the many contributions she made over her time on the UAB,” said Forde, professor of communications at Mississippi State University whose term on the board ended last year. “She always demonstrated a passion for public relations and the APR credential throughout her service. In addition to being a hard worker with attention to details, she always displayed such a positive attitude and was an encourager to others … I know she will be missed on the UAB, but her work will continue to enhance the profession.”

And what does Lanette’s latest FPRA partner have to say? Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC, joined the UAB in September 2019 – the first and last time the two attended an in-person meeting together in NYC. Since then, all UAB business and work sessions have been conducted via Zoom.

“Part of my enthusiasm for serving on the UAB was knowing I’d be working with Lanette,” said Byrnes. “I am such a fan of hers and was immediately impressed by how she negotiated some truly turbulent waters with such grace, poise and professionalism. Plus, Lanette did so much heavy lifting and put in tremendous, untold hours of work to get the job done. Our Association, anyone interested in the integrity of the APR credential, and members of our profession owe Lanette an incredible debt of gratitude.”

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Take 5: A Public Relations Podcast presentation slide