In this 20th episode of CultivatED Marketer, hosts Brent Bowen and Matt Tidwell, PhD, sit down with Brad Whitworth, SCMP and IABC Fellow, at the IABC Conference. Brad Whitworth is a thought leader, lecturer and author in organizational communication. Throughout this episode, we discuss different certifications that can help you excel in your career. 

Brent and Matt talk with Brad Whitworth, communications thought leader.

Brad discusses his early career in broadcast and his current career projects.
  • Brent and Matt sit down in New York at the IABC Conference and introduce Brad Whitworth. They reflect on the conference after being back from the COVID-19 hiatus.
  • Brent opens the conversation mentioning Brad’s diverse career, from a broadcasting career, a relationship with IABC for many years, and the Fellows. He asks Brad about his career journey and what he picked up on the way.
  • Brad reflects on his first paying job in communications working with the yearbook in high school. He met people working in broadcast and was interested in getting involved. His position started like an internship, and transitioned into a paid gig at a commercial AM station. When he was at the University of Missouri, he added the educational FM station required with his curriculum.
  • When Brad was graduating from university, he said the biggest plus was having a variety of broadcast experience under his belt. He worked a few jobs in Springfield, Illinois and with the Association of Funeral Directors before finding his mark.
  • Brad says the stepping stone for his career was when he worked for an insurance company known as Horace Man. He got connected with IABC through a coworker, and quickly became Vice President of the chapter. He went to his first IABC conference in 1978, and he has attended almost every conference since then.
  • Brent mentions his time living in Springfield, Illinois and asked Brad about his experience with attractions from there, specifically the ‘Pony Shoe’ and ‘Horse Shoe’.
  • Brad moved to the West Coast to work at Hewlett Packard as an Assistant Editor. He worked there for 24 years working different positions within the organization. He was able to travel and learn about communications, cultures, and work alongside IABC along the way since it is an international organization.
  • Brad talks about how well IABC does with connecting people internationally with their shared interest groups. People can now have a community of practices to connect with others in their industry.
  • Brad advises listeners to be bold and make connections with as many people as you can. Build the network before you need it.
  • Brad talks about his experience working with Halo and his consulting work with smart-city companies. He is going back to school at his local community college in California studying Line studies. In his limited free time, he is also running a vineyard at home making Pinot Noir.

In the next episode, part two of our conversation with Brad Whitworth, we’ll discuss certifications, including …

The Intent of Certification and Professional Development

  • Brent asks Brad about the intent of certification and what it is meant to showcase.
  • Brad talks about IABC’s certification and the process to get involved. He says certification shows a commitment to lifelong learning, and the motivation for people to get certified can vary based on the reasoning for getting certified.
  • Matt talks about the competitive in marketing, and the (S)CMP certification allows you to stand out from applicants.
  • Brent adds to Matt’s point by saying the foundational element about commitment to professional development, and craving for knowledge will help grow your career.
  • Brad talks about the ‘IABC Package’, which includes everything from getting into the industry and getting local connections to help mentor you, to professional development with local chapters, conferences, award programs, and certification programs. He adds the experiences he has had in his career abroad would not have come without committing to professional growth.
  • Brent mentions a conversation with Cultivated Marketer guest, Jessica Best, about high achievers seeking leadership opportunities should pursue nonprofit or membership organizations to get that experience.

How to Prepare for Certification Exams

  • Brent asks Brad about knowing how to prepare and identify whether someone is ready for certifications.
  • Brad says the only way to know whether you are ready is to just do it. He says everyone learns differently, but he has guides on his website to help you study and prepare. Additionally, there are workshops, classes, and other study materials to help prepare you for getting certified.
  • Brad highlights an IABC exam launching that allows for participants to get certified right at home with a remote proctored exams, rather than traveling to take these exams. This initial exam is meant for senior level professionals.
  • After remote proctoring, the goal is to get an entry level exam based on principles learned in school, or experienced in an entry level job to use this credential to set you apart from other candidates.
  • Brad talks about is moderating work with IABC, and how it has helped him go back to his broadcasting roots. It has helped him learn the stream yard program. He advises others to tackle new technologies because you may need that knowledge in the future. It could be a useful tool in shaping communications program for employees or customers.
  • Brent mentions the Metaverse and how it can converge into business applications.
  • Brad says students or young professionals have a leg up since they grew up in a world with technology.
  • Brad invites others to add him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/bradwhitworth/ to start growing their network and help build your career.

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