InterCom has been there for me through three decades as I’ve worked in corporate, nonprofit and educational settings, and now as a freelancer. I’ve been a member since 2011 (and also for a few years in the late ˜90s).
Professional communications is a demanding career choice: You work long hours, you may struggle with being both an introvert and a perfectionist, you find yourself correcting passive voice a lot, plus almost no one really gets what you do (and the pay often reflects that).
That’s why InterCom is so beautiful. People who understand! People who get what you do, and sympathize with your struggles and joys as a communicator! That alone is worth the 45 bucks a year. But wait; there’s more! Here’s my Top 10 List of InterCom membership treasures:
1) Friends and Mentors
Fellow InterCom members tend to be smart, funny, amiable folks: Great friend material and excellent mentor material. I’ve been fortunate to connect with a true friend and mentor through InterCom (our board prez, Gretchen Johnson!) who has helped me stretch, develop and grow, both in my career and personally. My InterCom friends are wonderfully welcoming. They’re excellent conversationalists. They tend to have an outstanding sense of humor. And they make me smile. Bam.
2) Shared Prosperity
My InterCom cohorts have also been incredibly generous in referring me for contracting work “ jobs I never would have known about or pursued if I hadn’t been connected through InterCom. We’re a sharing group of people. We spread the abundance. That’s how we roll.
3) Truly Valuable Volunteer Opportunities
When I joined the InterCom Board of Directors in 2015, I knew it was a working board. But I had no idea how much I’d be challenged and pushed (in a good way!) to learn new skills on the fly, to produce great material quickly and to try new things. My board service pushed me right out of my comfort zone, for my own good (and my clients’ too!). I’ve received much more than I’ve contributed.
4) Community Savvy
Thanks to the diverse lineup of InterCom speakers we’ve hosted, and the many opportunities to network with colleagues, I’ve been utterly thrilled to learn WAY more about Greater Kalamazoo than I (even as a native and K-College grad) ever knew. InterCom has expanded and filled in my inner map of our community. This enriches my work and my life.
5) Gabbing, Meeting, Getting the Inside Scoop — aka Networking
So much of what’s happening in the local communications field is only gleaned through face-to-face interaction. I’m not talking about gossip, but information flow. If you want to know the scene, and know who to ask about x, y or z, you’ll want to join InterCom. Today.
6) Skills! Skills! Skills!
Every speaker we host inevitably shares real tools that are immediately applicable to a professional communicator’s work. From promoting a tourism-boosting beer trail, to harnessing the power of digital marketing, to a behind-the-scenes look at the renovation of a community institution’s brand, InterCom provides a platform for sharing best practices that matter in the real world.
This is one of my faves. Being around creative people, hearing innovative speakers and working on the board expose us to new ideas and concepts that inspire us to think bigger. Deeper. And even to take risks. That’s how Breaking the News 1 & 2 happened. We had no idea how it’d go over ¦ and it was spectacular. (See a recap of Part 2 here.)
8) That Push
Speaking of risk: InterCom can give you just the right nudge to consider doing something new and different. To challenge your preconceived notions of what your job is or how your career should progress. How? By exposing you to people at all stages of professional growth, in all kinds of different job configurations, from business owner to freelancer to director or manager or specialist. You get to see all the work options out there, and connect with the people living them — and, perhaps be inspired to make the leap to something different.
This is crucial. We put the joy in joining. There’s no excuse for a professional association to be boring. We take our fun seriously. Come to one of our evening events, in particular, and you’ll see.
10) Celebration & Commiseration
Finally, InterCom is that friendly space everyone needs where it’s safe to be who you are, in all your professional-communicator glory. When things go great, we want to know about it and celebrate your successes. And when things are tough, we have your back. We’re here to listen, support and commiserate. Because we’ve all been there.
I could go on. But I think you know exactly why joining InterCom (or renewing your membership) would be a perfect move. So I leave you with this link to do just that.
Cathie Schau is a writer and communications consultant with a small outfit called GoodPoint! She’s also a proud InterCom board member, a kindly troublemaker and an advocate of all working people.