When I returned to the workforce in 2014 after an eight-year hiatus to look after my two young boys, I realized that in the years in between, developments in technology had swept my profession into uncharted waters (at least for me).
Social media platforms, which had previously been a space for cute family pictures and informal news commentary, had blossomed into the go-to spot for many interactions. There was a wide gamut of technologies to which I had to become accustomed if I wanted to be relevant and communicate effectively in professional settings.
Thus began my journey toward certification. I was already an Accredited Business Communicator (ABC), but now needed to update my body of work and my skills to match the dynamism of an evolving marketing and communication landscape. I began gingerly, then with increasing confidence, to unpack the potential of vlogs, short-form videos, group wikis and podcasts.
I was fortunate to continue working as a consultant, which allowed me to amass experience in diverse sectors. But with a hectic work and home schedule, I was unable to take the certification exam as quickly as I had anticipated.
COVID-19 brought the blessing of remote work; without the morning and evening commute I had extra hours to read and network with other communicators. The Gift of Excellence from the IABC Foundation toward my application for the exam was the final encouragement I needed. I submitted my application began to prepare in earnest.
I pored over “The IABC Guide for Practical Business Communication,” the IABC Code of Ethics, as well as a selection of online articles on the subject areas to be tested. I enrolled in online training courses to plug gaps in my skills and knowledge, and continued to volunteer as an assessor for the post-graduate course in integrated marketing and communications at a local university.
I also got great advice and encouragement from fellow members of the outgoing IABC Ethics Committee who had already been through the process.
In May 2022, I took the opportunity of a short vacation in Toronto, Canada, to sit for the exam. It was more challenging than I had expected, but I returned to Jamaica as the island’s only SCMP™!
While that carries a certain cachet, I am anxious for others in my country to be similarly certified, as this lends credence to the professional standards at which we operate. Many Jamaicans already have the experience and qualifications necessary for either level of certification which the GCCC affords.
I am excited to report that there are now conversations about reactivating the IABC Jamaica chapter to build a strong support network for professional development opportunities, such as certification!
I look forward to mentoring future generations of GCCC aspirants and hope to be able to share that journey with you.
Lavern J. Reid, ABC, SCMP™
Lavern J. Reid, ABC, SCMP™, is an international communication consultant with more than 20 years of experience across both public and private sectors in the Caribbean and Europe, including the United Nations and academia. Functions of her roles have included strategic communication advisor, editor/speech writer, business protocol trainer and media relations manager. She enjoys employee engagement, crisis communication and event management. Reid is multi-lingual and is most happy when surrounded by books, dogs, sunsets, quirky shoes and ice cream. She is based in Kingston, Jamaica.