​​By Terry Mazzone, CCC, Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative

The CCC program is growing quickly; in the last five years, 59 communicators have earned their C’s. Our count going into NRECA’s “Co-op U” this month stands at 228 and we could reach the 250 milestone next year following the CONNECT Conference in Portland, Ore.

More and more CEOs and general managers understand that having a well trained, informed communicator at the management table is critical to the success of their cooperative.

As of late September, we have 34 candidates in the CCC pipeline, meaning they have submitted applications and are eligible to begin the process by submitting their portfolio. Once the CCC candidate’s application is reviewed and accepted, they are asked if they would like to work with a CCC peer advisor, formerly known as CCC mentors. The peer advisor is an individual in the cooperative network who has earned their C’s and is willing to help prospective candidates throughout the portfolio and test preparation.

  • About 85 percent of our candidates accept the peer advisor offer.
  • We need more peer advisors.
  • Because of their familiarity with the CCC exam, current CCC board members are not able to serve at peer advisors, which makes the need even greater.

Five of the 13 who passed their CCC exam at the 2015 CONNECT Conference have agreed to serve as peer advisors. Those who earned their credentials within the last five years make ideal peer advisors because they understand the current CCC designation process and their own experience is still fresh in their minds. Of course, any of our CCCers are encouraged and welcomed to serve.

The CCC process can appear daunting and a peer advisor can review and advise the candidate during preparation of the portfolio. We try to team candidates with CCCers from their state or region for better success.

The Body of Knowledge is an excellent resource and study guide which encompasses everything from crisis communications to advertising to meeting planning. We recommend that candidates take the BOK in small doses and plan to prepare for the test over four to six months. The peer advisor can help keep the candidate on schedule and answer questions.

Your CCC board is meeting in October and we will discuss a training session for peer advisors. Please consider giving back to the program by serving as a peer advisor. We need the support. Contact Sheila Glenn of our CCC Program Staff at sheila.glenn@nreca.coop

On another note, our committees have been busy this summer reviewing the results of a survey we commissioned from NRECA Market Research. We surveyed CEOs, current CCC’s and non-CCC’s. Among the findings, we learned those who earned their C’s need to be adequately recognized and honored and we need to improve communication to CEO’s and board members about the complexity of the program.

Our CCC committees, along with members of the Council of Rural Electric Communicators who graciously joined us, analyzed sections of the survey throughout the summer. When the CCC board meets in October, we will be discussing the results in detail and incorporate findings into an updated strategic plan.

Don’t forget to follow the Electric Cooperative Communicators Facebook page and make sure you’re signed up on the CCC listserv on cooperative.com. We have a lot of knowledge and experience in our unique group and it’s important to work together for continued success. It’s the Co-op Way!

"The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world; I am like a snowball - the further I am rolled the more I gain."

-Susan B. Anthony