CHOICES in Continued Education

Choices. We make them every day, all day long. Since we have the luxury of making choices, it’s nice to know we can choose options that work for us. What choices are you making?

Joining an organization is a choice, but do you really have time to attend one more meeting? We hear you! As my business with leading workshops for local, national, and global industries began to ramp up, I made the choice to join the Georgia Continuing Education Association (GCEA) and I’ve never regretted it. Serving as an active GCEA member has provided many more benefits than the time involved. From one professional to another, I personally want to invite you to join us and reap the many benefits GCEA has to offer.

Benefits of a GCEA Membership:

Keep current with trends: attending well-planned monthly meetings will keep you informed of trends and best practices in the training and development field. Staying relevant in your field involves examining issues as they develop and adapting to the changing landscapes of continuing education. Maintaining your credibility as a workshop leader involves spending time and energy to stay on top of your game.

Build networking and leadership skills: meeting fellow association members, connecting with potential clients, collaborating with instructors, and exchanging ideas expands your professional network and boosts leadership skills. The “who you know is as important as what you know” adage is real.

Share experiences, perspectives, and resources: valuable insights, best practices, new ideas, and others’ experiences and perspectives are helpful when navigating the murky waters of training and development. As you learn from others and benefit from their experiences, you’ll achieve clarity with challenges that might otherwise seem unattainable. My new GCEA friends are always quick to offer suggestions that are realistic, clear, and on point. The website (www.GaCEA.org) has a free resource book and monthly blogs address key topics that make short work of planning and hosting professional development sessions.

Earn credentials to boost credibility: many organizations require employees participate in twenty or more Continuing Education Units (CEUs) each year. Often, they count monthly meetings as CEUs, and some companies allow time and a half if you are a presenter. Additionally, the best place to learn about certifications will be at an organizational meeting. Certifications earned will boost the CEUs and your credibility as a workshop leader. That’s a win-win!

Attend monthly seminars and yearly conferences: once-a-month meetings, lunch and learn seminars, and yearly conferences host a wealth of information and opportunities. Use this avenue to meet potential mentors or to mentor someone. Yearly conferences include knowledgeable key-note speakers and break-out sessions designed with you in mind. Oh, did I mention that conferences are often in a great vacation spot? It never hurts to include rest and relaxation following a productive conference!

Build your resume: adding professional development organizations to your resume will let others see that you are staying ahead of the curve. This also can add an extra dimension to your next job interview.  

Find employment: when looking for a new employee for your department, you’ll find the best candidates at a professional organization meeting. Observe the participation and attendance of organization members and you’ll also understand their personal work ethics. I’ve met members that I would love to hire because they were consistent with their attendance, positive, and quick to share the load. Their value to a company is obvious by the way they interact, participate, and contribute to the organization.  If you are the person looking for new employment, I can’t think of a better place to demonstrate your skills than GCEA.

The Georgia Continuing Education Association recently opened membership for the 2023-2024 year.  Join us, get involved, take responsibility for one of the offices, and let’s work together to make Georgia the best place to work! If you have questions, contact us through our website at www.GaCEA.org, or email our president, Cher Brister, at CBrister@GwinnettTech.edu. Now, that’s a choice you’ll be glad you made!

Here’s to making good choices,

Dr. Penny Joyner Waddell
SpeechShark Training and Development Instructor
www.SpeechShark.com