Meet the Board: Catherine Brozena, APR, Director of Accreditation in Public Relations
In another edition of our Meet the Board series, we are excited to introduce Catherine Brozena, APR. Catherine is serving as our Director of Accreditation in Public Relations this year. She also hosted a virtual APR open house earlier this year. Miss the event? Reach out to Catherine to find out more about your APR. In the meantime, meet Catherine here!
Tell us about yourself and your current role
I am a communications consultant with my own independent PR and communications practice that serves organizations and initiatives in the social change space. So I work almost exclusively with non-profits and foundations, supporting them with everything from developing communications campaigns, initiatives, and brand strategies to visual design and storytelling. I’m a graphic designer and dabble in website design as well. So, a lot of my work is creative and visual in nature, which I love. I’m also a musician and someone who feels very at home in the artistic and spiritual space. I am constantly looking for ways to integrate all of that into who I am and how I connect with others.
How did you get into PR?
I got into PR through my work with a number of environmental and public health non-profit organizations early on in my career. I love supporting mission-driven organizations who are striving to make the world a better place for all of us. As I’ve worked with these organizations, I’ve found that communications and public relations really fits my creative gifts and my personality — I enjoy writing and design and thinking through ways to engage people on a meaningful and authentic level. My work in PR took a big step forward when I took on a position in community health communications for a large non-profit health care organization, and then again, when I left to start my consultancy and decided to pursue the Accreditation in Public Relations.
What do you love about PR?
Public relations is such a dynamic space. There are so many facets to it and so many aspects of the work that allow for meaningful engagement. To me, it really comes down to relationship building. You might do that on a very straightforward level, literally engaging in conversations with people about important topics or opportunities. Or it may be engagement at a more subconscious level — using thoughtful messaging and visual storytelling to move people’s hearts and minds and encouraging them to engage in your cause. I think it’s the combination of the dynamism, creativity, and strategic thinking that goes into PR that makes me enjoy it so much.
Why are you in PRSA-SF? What do you feel the benefits have been for you?
I joined PRSA-SF through a previous employer and always found the learning and networking opportunities very stimulating. When I started my consultancy, I knew I wanted to keep that going, so I continued my membership and involvement. I’ve found that through the consistency of my membership with the SF Bay Area chapter, I’ve gotten to know a number of members personally and have enjoyed feeling like I’m part of a thoughtful and respectful team. Not to mention that everyone seems to be practicing a different form of the art of PR. So it’s been very stimulating to learn from people in all different dimensions of PR practice.
What are you hoping to accomplish during your year as Director of APR with PRSA-SF?
Getting my APR was a major step forward for me in my practice of PR and in my confidence, and I really want to share that experience with others and support their path to accreditation. When I first started out as a consultant, I was really basing my practice off of what I’d learned at other jobs. But when I went for my accreditation, I felt like I learned the inner science and art of PR and developed a whole new respect for the strategic thinking that it requires. My hope is that others will seek out the APR and find the value in that experience that I did. And in doing so, I think we will be helping to build the field and strengthen PR practice.
What's one piece of advice you wish you would have known when you started out in PR?
That there is room at the PR table for just about everyone. It’s up to you to find what aspects of PR you’re good at or passionate about. I found that I am passionate about visual storytelling and thoughtful messaging, and I love to do that in the social change space. But others might find passion in doing tech PR or government relations PR or health care PR. There are literally hundreds of ways that PR can be practiced and skills that you can bring to the practice.
What are some of your hobbies? What do you do for fun?
I like to say that when I’m not enmeshed in the virtual world of my computer (which is quite often!), you can find me engaged in more tactile adventures: running, bicycling, hiking, culinary explorations. I love to bake. I’m especially fond of pies! I’m a regular practitioner of meditation and yoga. And perhaps my greatest passion is music: singing, playing piano, other instruments I have. And listening to good music. Nothing quite like a good jazz harmony or beat to elevate your spirit to a new level.