I recently went to a conference for Public Relations professionals where one session was led by a couple of improv experts. The audience was nervously anticipating what the hour would bring with some attendees showing excitement about the opportunity to participate in a lively session. Yet, even in a room full of communicators, there were those who were, well, not excited about what was to come. Many were scouting out the nearest escape routes, hiding behind large handbags and plotting important phone calls/medical events/lost contact lenses.

Escape plans were soon forgotten as we engaged in a Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament. We would find partners, play a game and the winner would move on to play another winner, while the losers sat. There was eventually one winner. That person clapped and smiled to a room full of people who were already checked out mentally, hunched over their phones, scrolling through Facebook. What a hollow victory.

We played again, but this time, we played Rock, Paper, Scissors, Cheerleader. Playing this way, when the winner moves on, the person on the losing side joins the winner to cheer them on. This went on until the entire room was full of two players and dozens of cheerleaders, screaming like it was Super Bowl Sunday, and Drew Brees just threw the winning touchdown pass with help from his freshly rehabbed thumb. (Insert your sporting event/team/player/injury here. Or just stick with the Saints analogy. It’s the best one, really.) Even with the final match, the “losing” team became part of the other and everyone in the room clapped and smiled. Not one person was checking their Twitter account.

Of course, the point is that when we lose and take ourselves out of the game, we don’t really care about the outcome. We don’t feel like we are part of anything bigger than ourselves. However, when we decide we are going to be part of a bigger team and play a role in the success of that team, we all celebrate the victory.

One of my favorite things about the co-op world, especially the co-op communications world, is that we see the benefits of supporting one another being a part of something that is bigger and greater than we are individually. Whether we are working on a project at our individual cooperatives or pursuing something like the CCC designation, we are always more successful when we work together and encourage one another.

The CCC board, those who have earned the title of CCC and the NRECA staff who work to maintain the program, are here to serve as a support system for those who want to enhance their careers by pursuing the CCC designation. We want the program to evolve as our jobs and technology evolve, keeping it relevant and engaging throughout the career of every CCC. As we change and grow, we want to keep building the support system around the program. Just like a good game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Cheerleader, when we support one another, we all become part of a larger, greater team of communicators at the top level of our profession.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be an advocate for this program and to work with an awesome group of professionals dedicated to elevating our profession for all our fellow communicators.

April Lollar, APR, CCC
Chair, CCC Board
Director of Communications
Coast Electric Power Association