By Nancy Helledie
Director, Professional Standards, IABC/Calgary

Have you heard of the GCCC and wondered what all those Cs stand for and what ever happened to ABC?

The GCCC is the Global Communication Certification Council, an IABC initiative, which is an autonomous governing body for the Global Communication Certification Program. This new program was created a few years ago by a strong slate of communication professionals from the industry worldwide, including many ABCs. – Accredited Business Communicators.

This new certification program brings tremendous value to our profession, to our community, to those who procure our services and to us as business communicators. Just to add to the confusion…here’s a few more Cs that frame what all the fuss is about.

It is very rare for a profession to have international standards and certification. Most professions have local or at best national standards. Since the communication profession is related to some universal truths about being human, about shared meaning and about how we are wired up that transcends boundaries, it is very unique that we have certification which is universal and linked to ISO standards.

The Council has created and is maintaining an internationally recognized standard of communication excellence based on a global understanding of key principles and job competencies worldwide. The global standard states that “communication professionals around the world embrace a shared career purpose and six core principles as the building blocks of their work.” Those principles are:
• Ethics
• Strategy
• Analysis
• Context
• Engagement
• Consistency

Achieving certification from the GCCC designates that you have professional competence in all these principles. These competencies can support a certified communications professional from Calgary in living and working internationally or working in a multicultural organization.

The GCCC certification program has annual requirements for the need to re-certify or retain your certification. It is not a one-time exam you write or process you go through and then you can call yourself a Communications Management Professional (CMP), for example, for years to come. This continuous re-certification process is already at the core of most other professional certifications and we have now joined the club. This means that those certified by the GCCC program are remaining current in the ever fast-changing world of communications.

The Council encourages and executes a process of credentialing of communicators who achieve a global standard at four different points of their career path. The only level currently available is the CMP or Communications Management Professional, which is appropriate for those approximately eight years into their careers. The next level, the Strategic Communications Management Professional, will be available for the first time in June 2017 at the IABC World Conference in Washington, USA, and in Calgary in October 2017. The foundational level and the business manager level will not be available until 2018. The eventual full offering of the various levels of certification will equip communicators with credentials they can use as support in obtaining a position in an organization or to be selected to do specific consultant work and to keep their careers on track.

Do you struggle to be taken seriously when you offer professional communications advice?

Do you have to fight to ‘get a seat at the table’ in your organization?

This certification is a form of confirmation by an external assessment of our skills and experiences. It proves we are communication professionals. This will make us more readily recognized for the communication skills and experience we have. This will also help those who procure our services to know what they are getting as well.

In my role on the IABC/Calgary Chapter Board as the Director Professional Standards for the past two years, I have been continuing the long-standing tradition of supporting the professionalization of business communications in our community. A part of the Board’s focus recently has been on placing our Chapter at the forefront, locally and internationally, of proceeding with the GCCC certification program. I am frequently asked by communication professionals at varying stages in their careers about whether it would make sense for them to consider obtaining a certification. It is always a personal choice. I only hope that these ramblings have made you think twice. Perhaps you will consider seeking to understand more about the value of certification for you, our profession and our community.

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