My journey to GCCC certification was long but well worth the effort. I’ve been a professional business communicator for more than 30 years, and I had a long-held desire to achieve professional accreditation through IABC or PRSA (I am a member of both). Both accreditation programs’ requirements were tough for me as much of the qualifying work I have done over the years was confidential and proprietary to the companies I worked for. In other words, I could not pull off the portfolio requirements. But I was confident I had the knowledge and skills, and I am good at multiple-choice tests. And GCCC held a huge appeal (for me) over accreditation from PRSA: it is a global certification that was built to meet ANSI-ISO standards for such programs.
So as soon as IABC’s new certification program was launched, I was one of the first to apply to sit for the CMP exam. I earned my CMP in February 2016. Because I wanted to support the program, I volunteered to serve on the Global Communication Certification Council, the appointed board of communicators who oversee the program. I was chosen as vice chair of the GCCC and began my three-year commitment in June 2017 at the same time that I sat for the first-ever SCMP exam. So I earned my SCMP and became chair of the whole darned thing in 2017! It has afforded me some great leadership experience and some new friendships I will treasure always.
Professional certifications are held in high regard by many employers. They help earn promotions, better pay and career development opportunities. Certification gives you an edge in the job market. It says you are skilled and knowledgeable with the six core principles of the IABC Global StandardSM for Communication Professionals: ethics, strategy, analysis, context, engagement and consistency.
As a consultant and business owner, my certification validates my credentials and skills to prospective clients and colleagues across the profession. More important, it provided self-validation. Was I as good as I thought? The certification says ‘yes.’ (Shameless pat on my back- forgive me! LOL).
Maintaining my credential is easy for me, too. By keeping current with the profession, attending IABC meetings and training programs and speaking at professional events, volunteering for IABC and delivering training programs to others (which I do for a living), I easily earn the points required to maintain my certification each year.
One of my favorite things about working on a university campus is this time of year – back to school time represents a fresh start. Each year is a new beginning and a chance to learn new things – or maybe make good after a prior year that didn’t go so well (or where too much fun was had!)
They don’t always believe me, but I tell students that, particularly in our business, you never really stop learning. You could argue that the field of marketing broadly, and especially marketing communications, has changed more with the digital revolution of the past 10-12 years than in several decades previously. The explosion in new technologies coupled with the rise of the empowered stakeholder make it more important than ever that those of us who work in audience communications think about our skills development.
Given this need, the value proposition for IABC should resonate more strongly than ever. Gone are the days when interacting with our broader professional community colleagues is a “nice to do” or a box to check off to make us feel like we’ve networked. The cold reality is that, if you aren’t constantly thinking about what Covey called “sharpening the saw”, you risk being left behind. The lost opportunity cost of missing a promotion or even losing a job opportunity to someone else who presents themselves as more knowledgeable is too great to ignore.
The good news is that organizations like IABC make the process of life-long learning manageable and cost effective. As an IABC member, for example, whether you pick up a concept or a tool that can help you on The Lab, attend a professional development session with a local chapter, or take an entire educational course through the IABC Academy, the opportunities are plentiful.
As I participate as a new member on the IABC international executive board, I am thrilled to see the very intentional and deliberate emphasis on professional development offerings. We realize that the high-caliber communications professional who joins IABC understands the need to improve themselves, and that they have careers that require multiple (and convenient) learning formats. I think it may be the most meaningful way we can contribute to the industry.
Enjoy this season and its reminder of our need to keep our saws sharp.
Certification is a key strategic priority for IABC. Can you help spread the word?
Are you looking for a volunteer opportunity? Give back to the #comms field and host a certification exam in your area. Get the details in this blog post: https://t.co/C5HCiFfKK7 pic.twitter.com/ZqHWJNbWlM
— IABC (@IABC) July 19, 2018
In a speech entitled The Battleground is Trust delivered at the National Press Club in Washington, global PR leader Richard Edelman notes that the codes of ethics and conduct of professional membership organizations like IABC and others are worthwhile. However, in the wake of the recent Bell Pottinger scandal, Edelman believes current standards do not go far enough to enforce ethical behavior and we must do better as an industry to regulate our practice.
Edelman states, “We need a set of principles that are universal, consistent, and well understood across the industry. The time has come to adhere to a single set of strong standards, and to hold all of our people accountable to them.” Edelman called for a PR Compact encompassing four principles of a global standard to regulate and enforce ethical practices that may serve to rebuild public trust in our institutions. He then called on like-minded groups globally to partner for ensuring the standard is followed around the world.
As the only global association for professional communicators, IABC applauds this initiative. We firmly stand by our Code of Ethics to guide the personal conduct of our member practitioners and we look forward to participating in this critical conversation about industry regulation on a global scale.
We have always believed professional communicators are at the heart of building trust, advising and holding executives accountable to authentic leadership, and driving business results through ethical practice within their organizations. In fact, the thrust of our #IABC1720 strategy to advance the profession is underpinned by our IABC Global Standard encompassing six core principles of professional practice where ethics stands at the top.
The Global Communication Certification Council (GCCC), an IABC initiative, tests communicators against that Global Standard. Ethics knowledge is a key competency within the Communication Management Professional (CMP) and Strategic Communication Management Professional (SCMP) certifications. The IABC Academy online courses also cover ethics themes.
IABC is dedicated to making standards of excellence accessible to communicators around the world.
We welcome the continued conversation.
Sharon Hunter, Chair
The second Leadership Forum for the new board year brought out another great turnout for our monthly online conversation. The Forum provides an opportunity to connect and collaborate with the IABC leadership community from around the world.
Highlights from our August session include important updates from our Acting Executive Director, Stephanie Doute, and a comprehensive update on certification from the chair of the Global Communication Certification Council, Terry Cerisoles. We have many exciting and valuable initiatives being advanced across our organization.
Check it all out here:
Oh, and in case you missed it, here’s a link to the first Leadership Forum of 2016-17, held in July with a view of the priorities for the year ahead along with updates on initiatives since World Conference.
I hope you’ll save the dates below for the upcoming Forums and join in our monthly exchanges aimed at building greater connections and engagement to advance the success of our IABC!
28 September, 10 a.m. PDT
26 October 26, 2 p.m. PDT
16 November, 10 a.m. PST
14 December, 2 p.m. PST
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any input, comments, questions and insights.
Thank you so much for your dedication, leadership and support.
All the best,
Guest post by Neil Griffiths, ABC, Chart.PR
Some time has passed since IABC first embarked on the journey towards a new global credential for communication professionals: the CMP (or Communication Management Professional, for those who are ‘acronymed out’!).
The program is in full swing, with graduates around the globe now able to include these all-important letters after their name. IABC has of course been dedicated to setting a standard for professional communication for decades, most notably with the development of the Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) designation that is still held by hundreds of professionals worldwide. This commitment to setting a global standard for professional communication practice paved the way for the association to enter into the development of the new CMP credential.
So, why is certification the right choice for IABC?
This is a question that came up back in 2013 and people are still asking us. For me this was the result of a number of threads that all became intertwined at the same time. If we cast our minds back to the 2011-14 strategic plan, the IEB sought to align all IABC’s programs in support of communication professionals’ careers. At the same time, the Accreditation Committee had highlighted several key issues for the long-term sustainability of the ABC program. In looking at the various options open to IABC in response to this, certification emerged as an avenue that could meet the association’s needs in many ways:
Why does ISO matter?
Once certification was determined to be the right way of moving ahead, IABC had a decision to make: figure this out on our own or follow the international standard for the management of professional certification programs. It chose the latter for a number of reasons:
Given that IABC is seeking to establish the value and impact of this important new program, I think that its focus on making it the best it can be from the outset is admirable. It will help build credibility amongst anyone who is trying to learn more about it, not least of which the hiring managers around the world who are going to be curious to know what is behind the new set of letters they are seeing after communication professionals’ names in years to come.
I am honestly thrilled to see the progress that has been made with the certification program and I am impressed with how much it is being embraced by our organization worldwide. This is all thanks to the commitment of the series of IEB members since the journey began, as well as the hundreds of people who have been involved in bringing certification to life. I have been lucky to witness this from the inside, from my time on the Career Roadmap Committee where I saw all the various streams begin to align, and then as part of the inaugural Global Communication Certification Council (where I co-chaired the exam committee). The current GCCC is in the process of developing the next level of exam to bring the designation to an even broader group of professionals. It’s incredible just how far things have come in such a short space of time. Learn more about Certification.
I can vouch for the passion and drive that has been a huge part of realizing IABC’s vision for certification and I am still massively confident in what it will do for IABC, for communication professionals around the world and for raising awareness of what we do to people who are far less familiar than we are. The journey is far from over, but I hope you’ll join us all on it.
Neil is Past Chair of IABC EMENA and has served on numerous IABC committees, notably the inaugural Global Communication Certification Council. Neil is a Regional Leader of the Year and in 2015 received the Rae Hamlin Award for services to professional certification. He is currently Vice Chair of the Program Advisory Committee and will chair the 2018 World Conference in Montreal.
Both the main IABC World Conference, 5–8 June 2016, and the pre-conference workshops, 5 June, will help you meet the application requirements for Communication Management Professional (CMP) certification. And if you already have your CMP (through the Global Communication Certification Council), those credits will count toward maintaining your certification.
This is the first World Conference where professional development credits can be collected this way. It is an essential part of our strategic commitment to certification—and to lifelong learning opportunities.
See you at #IABC16!
Let’s #createconnection – like never before.
P.S. Here’s how you earn points and hours.
If the financial crisis didn’t teach us anything else, then it hopefully taught us that it is not just commercial firms that need to operate professionally and with a solid business model.
Non-profits need to do that too, and increasingly we see expectations like this put on government departments as well. What is common across all of these? These organisations need solid professional communicators to support them. Don’t take my word for it. Take SAP’s CEO – our keynote speaker earlier [at #IABC15] – take his word for it.
The Global Communication Certification Council will, under the leadership of Sue Heuman, ABC, deliver the next level exam. Meanwhile the Academy will step up under the leadership of Theomary Karamanis to meet the need for new skills in fast changing landscape.
What can you expect from me? I will follow the path Russell has forged for visible leadership at IABC. At the time Russell took over we needed a strong central figure to continue to hold things together. Looking at this room, and reflecting on the progress we have made – as challenging as it has been – I would like to venture to say that we now need a thousand leaders to stand up and be counted.
We have a thousand leaders in this association.
You’re a highly engaged bunch. You’re kind. You’re hard working. And you’re demanding.
So what will I do to help you? I will do my utmost to live what we want the tone around here to be:
Accessible Open Lighter Contemporary Professional
To that end, and accompanying the now once-again regular quarterly reports I am instituting a quarterly progress call – the corporates amongst you will know it as an earnings call – but we of course have no shareholders. We do however have stakeholders and we need to continue to have regular exchanges, as piloted this year as ‘open mics’. Look out for an invite to a Google Hangout where you can hold me, and the board, to account, ask questions and get straight answers.
I will also kick off a new conversation once a month – aligned with the IABC editorial calendar – and I encourage you to participate, or indeed, kick off your own.