APR Spotlight

Darin Leach, APR, has been an accredited public relations professional for 14 years.

Tell us what you do.

Darin LeachFor the past 15 years I’ve held the position of public information officer for USDA Rural Development in Iowa. This summer I took a new job within USDA Rural Development and now I’m the associate director for our agency's management services division. I am responsible for overseeing all administrative (non-program delivery) functions in Iowa. This includes budgeting, staffing, information technology, staff training, human resources and communications. (We’re looking for a new public information officer, let me know if you'd like to know more about this position.)

 How long have you had your APR?

Since 2005 — so, 14 years now. It is crazy how fast that time has gone by.

Over the course of your career, how has the profession changed?

I was recently looking for a story I pitched to WHO-TV 10 years ago and saw I actually wrote my pitch on a fax cover sheet. That was a huge reminder about how much the profession and my job responsibilities have changed over the years. Last month I attend our agency's national public information officer training where we heard presentations about best practices using Twitter, GovDelivery (subscription-based electronic newsletter service), Adobe Spark video creation and Salesforce, our customer relationship management platform.

How has accreditation helped to advance your career?

The accreditation process gave me confidence at a critical point in my career starting a new job at USDA Rural Development with responsibilities for developing, executing and evaluating full communications as a one-person department. Having success with the APR process gave me a springboard into the next 15 years of my career where I’ve been asked to provide communications counsel to my state director and other members of the state management team. The studying I did during the APR process played an important role in shaping my career as a public information officer.

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