By Rhonda Smith, CCC, Account Coordinator, G&T Communications, Inc.

CCC. What certified cooperative communicator could ever forget the process of earning that coveted title? A 24-month journey — studying anywhere and anyplace that spared a bit of time, the angst, preparation, sleeplessness, hoping and perhaps some praying — that all culminated in a four-hour exam followed by weeks of anxious waiting to find if it had all paid off.

Twenty-six communicators completed that journey in 2016, joining the CCC ranks and growing the CCC family to 225 nationwide. There are about 40 candidates in the program now, and many will start the process in 2017. Each one can benefit greatly from having a mentor to help advise and support them on their journey. As a CCC, consider making a difference through mentoring, not only in another’s life but also in your own.

I speak from experience, after being paired with a wonderful mentor and earning my certification in 2014. Like many before me, I questioned how I could possibly find time to complete the steps and prepare as needed to earn my certification. I had a full-time job and family responsibilities, after all. To say I was intimidated and lacked the confidence that I’d reach the finish line would be an understatement.

What a difference a mentor makes! From help selecting the best options for my portfolio to her guidance on keeping my study time focused, there aren’t words to express how helpful and calming it was to have Maggie Tilley, my mentor, on the other end of the phone and email. There were times when the counsel and guidance she gave were just the nuggets of reassurance to help me “keep on keeping on.” It meant even more that she was there to cheer me on the day I took the CCC exam in San Antonio.

Maggie is among many who have mentored young CCC candidates through the program. “It’s a unique and personable way of investing in young communicators that always enriches my life in some way,” she shares. “A bonus is the lasting connections and friendships created.” As a testament to that, Maggie and I are currently co-mentoring an aspiring CCC candidate.

Mentoring doesn’t take a lot of time or effort. YOU can be just what a CCC candidate needs — a cheerleader, coach, encourager, listening ear and even a dose of personal Prozac if necessary. Start making a difference. Volunteer today!

If you are interested, please contact Sheila Glenn: