What most surprised you about the certification process:
I think probably the thing that surprised me was when I got in there to take the test, I knew how much time we’d have for each section, but it really hit me when we were taking the essay portion, because it’s so much. From the time they said, “Go,” you’re typing, and you really almost don’t have time to pause and think of your next sentence, because of the fact that you know you’re under such a time constraint. That probably was the thing that surprised me the most, was just that feeling almost of a panic, of not having enough time to complete all the essays, and then go back and format them, and re-read them, and whatnot.
If you could choose one thing, what is your most successful economic development tactic?
Probably collaborating with other groups, and building consensus. I think some of that comes from my planning background. When you’re a planner, you really are looking at consensus building, and creating this shared vision. For me, I’ve kind of taken that with me in economic development. That’s one thing that I think we all do, through relationship building, and working together with our allies and partners. I think for me, that’s probably my most successful tactic, because you’re able to do more with more hands. I think the more we can work together, the better off we all are.
I would tell them that they should go for it. Really, you have nothing to lose other than your time. If you’re not willing to invest your time in yourself, then I think you really need to look at what your passion is. To me, the idea of becoming certified was really more of a personal achievement. I think it’s great – it makes me more marketable as an economic developer and there’s a sense of accomplishment, but I looked at it really as an investment and a challenge to myself.
Definitely to read all the material. I mean, there’s no doubt about it. You’ve got to read all the manuals, and re-read them in order to pass the test. There’s no doubt about that. I’d tell them to talk with others that have taken the test, those that have passed and failed, because I think for me, one of the things that really helped in preparing, was just talking with other people, and finding out how long they studied for, and were there certain books that they focused more on, and whatnot. Just getting the advice, and mentorship from others is huge.
Be disciplined in your study habits. That was something that was really a constant challenge for me, because we’re busy. You’re busy at work, you’re busy at home, and trying to set aside time on my schedule to devote to this test. I’ve had to just set it like I would any other meeting or appointment, and make that something that was a priority. So being disciplined in your study habits is huge.