By Jennifer Ferrero, APR
After 20 years of work, 2016 was the best year of my career life because I chose to make it great. I’ve been an entrepreneur for most of my career, choosing to chart my own course. I’ve had some different business models, and partners along the way along with hundreds of clients. There are always enjoyable projects and not-so-enjoyable projects – which I imagine is true for most business people, whether self-employed or not. But one thing is for certain, you can choose to love you career and be happy in it – or you can let yourself down by feeling frustrated, angry or overwhelmed by your circumstances.
For me, it started with the desire to truly love what I am doing. At the end of the day, I need to make a living. But money has never been the motivating factor for me. Sure, I like to make and spend money, but it’s just a reality of living – it costs a lot!
In early 2016 I started on the path to earn a public relations accreditation through the Public Relations Society of America and the Universal Accreditation Board. I had months of study in front of me, and five text books to crank through – but I was motivated. Public relations has always been my favorite part of the job. And, with a degree in Communications from Boise State University, it was a natural next step.
By the end of June, I had passed a review board and the 3+ hour accreditation exam and received my certification – but I didn’t stop there.
Following the high from earning accreditation it occurred to me that the sky is not the limit! I could really do anything that I wanted to do. I may be a late-bloomer, but I decided that I was just hitting my stride.
I started developing my newly invented public relations business, an off-shoot from the original company Switch Up Web & Marketing, and started seeing clients and developing strategic plans. I also booked and attended both the regional Public Relations Society of America conference in Reno and the national PRSA conference in Indianapolis. So much amazing learning!
Next, I got involved – I went to every Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) meeting to soak up the learning and to network. I attended the Spokane MarCom Association meetings as well as the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce meetings – if you’d like to know the menus of our local hotels and event centers, just ask because I’ve eaten the meals!
Additionally, I decided that my next step would be to become a top-notch public speaker. In my career I often have opportunity to speak to groups. But, I knew that I could improve. By August, I joined my local Toastmasters Club. By December I was voted to become the Club’s Vice President of Public Relations for 2017. I am on track to complete the Competent Communication and Leadership Manuals for Toastmasters within 2017.
The PRSA Board asked if I would join them as well – I said YES!
Do I feel a little concerned about being overwhelmed by my new found commitments? Maybe a little bit. But being engaged within so many groups has helped me to develop an amazing network of friends and business colleagues. I feel enveloped with caring and true friendships and I am learning more everyday.
My advice – Don’t wait – participate! Get involved and get engaged. You will feel so blessed and happy when you do!