Professional development from community

From the desk of Gretchen Johnson, President of Intercom and owner of WordPlay Marketing

There’s no single path to professional development. Like success in any field, professional communication is about producing good work first and foremost. But good work alone is not enough. You have to understand the industry ” the tools required of the trade ” and the community ” your colleagues, your organization and the greater community in which all of these things come together.

InterCom provides an opportunity to work on each of these elements all at once. And it’s one of the reasons I’ve been so excited to stay active in a leadership role here. InterCom gives me an opportunity to give back to my community ” my collective of colleagues and the physical place I’ve called home for nearly 30 years.

From colleagues to friends

As an inaugural member of InterCom, I’ve gained experience working with local businesses and organizations and I’ve had the pleasure of building my career alongside many of the region’s top communicators. We’ve broken bread together at the InterCom Speakers’ Series and we’ve shared a glass of wine at association celebrations, gatherings and holiday events. Over the years we’ve had the chance to share our professional achievements and even, sometimes, to commiserate together.

Today, when I face a challenge or an opportunity that will benefit from their expertise, I’m comfortable picking up the phone and calling many of them for help or advice. And I’m humbled and flattered when they reach out for the same from me. Over the years, they’ve become more than colleagues. I consider a good many of them my friends.

Putting it all into context

Throughout my tenure on the InterCom Board of Directors, I’ve been adamant that our members hear from local leadership about what’s happening in the region. Of course there’s a foundation of communication education and development in each event, but I believe we need to hear that information from the perspective of what’s happening regionally. This adds a contextual layer to our professional community. The more we know collectively about the who, how and why behind what’s driving local business, education and our nonprofit community, the more our individual work will benefit.

Our August gathering is the first formal gathering of the new InterCom season and now is a great time to join or renew your membership. There are a lot of great reasons. In my mind, among the strongest reasons for joining is that we’re exclusive to professional communicators here in the region. We’re in this together. I hope you’ll join me.