Are you a Communications Leader?

A guest post by Terry Cerisoles, SCMP

As a lifelong learner, I continue discovering nuances of the communication profession, not to mention the ever-evolving social, environmental and technological advances impacting our organizations everyday. I pore over professional development websites and brochures like a holiday gift catalog, looking for pertinent topics, and wishing I had extra hours to savor them.

Over the years, I have taken advantage of many professional development sessions at IABC World Conferences, regional conferences, IABC Academy courses, PRSA, Ragan and at my monthly IABC Atlanta chapter lunches. I have gained knowledge and practical expertise across the many functional areas our profession includes. Now, my career is at the business leader level where I lead a large multi-discipline department responsible for some of the most critical business decisions impacting thousands of staff. As a member of the C-suite, the trust and respect of my executive colleagues is paramount.

When the Global Communication Certification program rolled out in June 2015, I was anxious to be among the first participants, and thrilled when I passed the exam and could place the prized “CMP” letters behind my name. My company recognized me in all their news channels and more importantly, my staff realized that I held myself to the Global Standard of Communication Excellence. Now, two years later, I have repeated the process, this time at the higher Strategic Communication Management Professional (SCMP) level.

For me, SCMP certification is proof of my competence and my leadership. It demonstrates to my staff that I am willing to test my own knowledge and the importance of continual learning. The maintenance component of both CMP and SCMP ensures that our skills stay up to date. A good communication professional recognizes that his/her value lies in being at the forefront of change and applying new knowledge to achieve business outcomes. How better to ensure this success than to commit to a professional certification?

At my C-suite, the room is filled with professional certifications that speak to that highest level of expertise: CPA, J.D., CIP, PMP and SHRM-CP. I’m proud to take my place alongside them with my SCMP, and be recognized for the true value of our communication profession.


Terry Cerisoles currently leads all Global Communications for the American Cancer Society, the largest nationwide voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer. A member of executive management and reporting to the CEO, she leads teams in public and media relations, issue management, multimedia, executive and internal comms and strategic planning. Her long history as an IABC member includes serving on the International Board of Directors as Treasurer for two terms, Chairing the Investment Committee and serving on the Audit, Finance and Gold Quill program committees. She is also Vice President of Membership for her home chapter in Atlanta, Georgia. She was the recipient of the 2017 Rae Hamlin Award, which recognizes IABC volunteers for their work and impact at the grassroots level in advancing certification in their chapter, region or workplace, and received her SCMP in the inaugural class of 2017.