Rachel Frey, Sam Houston Electric Cooperative communications specialist and CCC candidate

ccc_profileWe normally highlight a current CCC in our quarterly newsletter. For this issue, we decided to put a twist on our CCC profile and share insights from a current CCC candidate. Rachel Frey, communications specialist at Sam Houston Electric Cooperative in Livingston, Texas, is working on her portfolio and hopes to sit for the CCC exam at the CONNECT Conference next year in Portland, Ore.

Why are you earning your CCC?

I am attempting to earn my CCC to gain a greater understanding of the electric cooperative industry. I received my bachelor’s degree in public relations, and I believe I have a good foundation of basic communication principles. I want to learn more about industry-specific challenges and opportunities, as well as increase my communications knowledge.

What do you hope to get out of the process of earning your CCC?

I hope to gain a greater understanding of our industry and the important role communicators play in member relations. I also hope I can better serve my Cooperative and our members by becoming a better communicator.

How do you think earning your CCC will enhance your career?

I think this will enhance my career by increasing my knowledge of the electric cooperative industry and communications tools and strategies. My father is in the construction industry, and has always told me the adage that my life is like a house. By better educating myself and enhancing my career, I am building a strong foundation for my future.

What obstacles are you facing going through the process?

I am currently working on my portfolio, which is daunting. I have had problems selecting my best work out of the work samples I have accumulated in the past year and a half. I am also starting to prepare for the test, since the body of knowledge is quite extensive. I have struggled to get started since it is a little intimidating.

Would you recommend the CCC process to other communicators?

I would definitely recommend that any cooperative communicator pursue this accreditation. So far, I have really enjoyed compiling my portfolio and writing about my experiences. It is helping me to gain better perspectives on my work and evaluate it after some time has passed. I am also excited to jump into the body of knowledge, even if it is frightening.  I know I will be reading information that I can apply immediately to my job.

What keeps communicators from starting the process?

I think it is easy to be intimidated by this process. I definitely hoped I was done with large exams after college, but I know this exam and the process in general will help me prepare for future communications challenges. Additionally, when you see that the process is expected to take a year to two years, it can seem overwhelming in addition to your everyday duties.

What is your role at your Cooperative?

I am a Communications Specialist at Sam Houston Electric Cooperative. I work with Mary Kate Pedigo and Keith Stapleton. My main responsibilities include news writing for internal and external audiences, planning communications efforts for our advanced metering deployment and implementing and managing our Operation Round Up program.