Magazine article Communication World

Accreditation - It Builds Credibility

Magazine article Communication World

Accreditation - It Builds Credibility

Article excerpt

The IABC accreditation program is celebrating its 25th year. Is it 25 years young? A Generation Xer? Or is it 25 years old? Mature, wise and worldly? It's the best of both.

The accreditation program grows and learns as the profession grows. The exams are contemporary, unbiased by gender or geographic eccentricities. And, like Generation X, it is on a constant quest for new knowledge.

Balanced with this drive to meet and embrace change is a maturity that assures all who engage in the process of becoming accredited are challenged to meet consistently high standards. As a result, becoming accredited has significant meaning for our colleagues who have earned the designation of "ABC." We've asked a few of our accredited members what accreditation has meant to their careers. Regardless of when they were accredited, they share some common values.

Candace Kessel, ABC, Candace Kessel Communications, Washington, D.C., earned her accreditation in 1978. What motivated her? "I thought it would help get me out of a rut. And it did!" she says. Becoming accredited did more for Kessel than get her out of a rut, it increased her self confidence and gave her a distinguishing mark that set her above other candidates for what she describes as a "super job," which came with a 35 percent increase in salary.

Since moving to that super job, Kessel moved on to form her own business eight years ago. "At a minimum, becoming accredited means you have standards and principles," she says. "And while one more accredited communicator may not change the image of the profession, it sets you apart."

"If everyone in our field, whatever the title, could win accreditation, we wouldn't be plagued by the incompetents, phonies and disreputable operators," said Sandra J. Beattie, ABC, who is semi-retired from a career in post-secondary education.

"I believe that it has influenced my attitude toward the various positions I've held since achieving it," says Beattie. "It has kept me involved in the profession."

Standards, principles, ethics, self confidence, strategic thinking. All the accredited communicators we talked with used these words to describe the values associated with accreditation.

"It has caused me to think more strategically all the time," says Robert Holland, ABC, managing editor at Capitol One, Glen Allen, Va. "I think ahead to the results I want to achieve through any communication activity, and I create a plan that will get me there."

Holland, who became accredited in 1993, says his credibility with his colleagues became easier to establish once he'd earned his accreditation. "It's raised the trust level. I don't have to work as hard to gain their confidence."

Earning a "seal of approval" from the world's leading communication association only can be good for a profession that does not always rank highly on people's "most admired" list, notes Holland. "I believe the emphasis on ethics is especially important if we are to gain the trust and confidence of our various constituents," he adds.

"It turned my job into a career," says David Himmel, ABC, communication manager, Columbia Gas Transmission, Herndon, Va. "Over the past eight years, it has guided me from worker bee to supervisor to manager. …

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