Can you tell us why you chose to go the IEDC classes route, versus the OU route?
With the schedule with OU, you’ve got a week and it’s more intense. Quite frankly, with the responsibilities of the day-to-day operation of the Economic Development Corporation, it’s easier to be gone two to three days here, two to three days there, and space those out. Plus it will give me time in between to digest those. I know people that have done it both ways and I think it’s kind of a tomato-tomato potato-potato as to what you like as far as your learning ability. I tend to like the smaller courses.
What has most surprised you about the classes that you’ve been taking?
I think the quality of the instructors. I do think that IEDC has chosen some really good instructors that present the material in a good way. You’re going to spend a couple of days, five, six, seven hours a day, in a class. You want people that can convey the information in an interesting way. I think that IEDC did that, especially with the real estate development. You had people that had been on the front lines in real estate development and people that had worked the deals from the economic development side and they had good speaking styles, they had an interesting way of presenting the information, they were open to questions and there was a lot of good class interaction.
I would look at what your responsibilities are and what your knowledge is. I know that my knowledge is increasing by taking the courses and frankly I toyed with whether or not the certification was worth it, but the fact that my board and my boss thought that it was a good idea. Then that automatically makes it a good idea for me. Now that I’m actually going down the path, I’ve really enjoyed it. It is increasing my knowledge about my position. It’s also increasing my professionalism in my position.
The devil is in the details and one of the thing that I have done is that I have identified multiple peers who have their certification. There are three different people who got their certifications at different times and they have all agreed to mentor me through the process. I picked their brains and listened to their advice. I will really pick their brains and listen to their advice once I finish the courses and really start to study for the exam, because my intent is to pass the exam first time.
It’s amazing already with the oral part of the exam and the review, I understand that you need to show up dressed professionally because you’re being interviewed by your peers. You’re interviewed by people who have worked hard to get the certification and they want to make sure you know how to present yourself professionally. I learned show up dressed for success for the interview. I also learned that the essay part of it, so far, is that there are different graders, but graders are looking for key words and they’re looking in the essay part of the test for an understanding that you know your job, you know what you’re doing, you know the profession, and you know how to make things happen. Those are things that I will be working on really hard as I study and get closer to the exam.