In 2020, many Americans were forced to step back from their normal lives and take inventory of their skills during rapidly changing and uncertain times. The world changed significantly with many in-person activities shifting over to virtual platforms. Several industries also faced extreme changes in their business processes. A-G Associates was no different than most.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, A-G worked in a hybrid environment, working from an office and from home; the switch to working virtually was not an extensive change in process or collaboration. However, not all of our clients worked virtually. As such, we realized that we needed to adapt to better serve our clients. As part of A-G’s continuous learning efforts, we turned internally to identity the skills that would be necessary to serve our clients more effectively. To accomplish this, several A-G staff members made major investments in time and resources to acquire new skills through industry standard certifications listed below:
- Certified Virtual Event Producer: A-G had to plan and execute virtual meetings instead of in-person meetings for our clients this year. The Certified Virtual Event Producer (CVEP) built on existing event management skillsets. Our clients were able to rest assured knowing that that a CVEP understood and utilized virtual event best practices for diverse digital platforms. Additionally, CVEP has recognized credibility in the profession. The program provided continuing education opportunities through iCohere Academy so that event planners were always up to date with the technology needed to support virtual events. Stephanie Crews, Aisha Walker, and Michelle Wagler have successfully completed their CVEP certification.
- Certified Government Meeting Professional: The Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) is the highest designation among government event planners. This certification is beneficial to our clients because it provides meeting planners with the fundamental rules and regulations to support government events, understand event ethics, Federal budget and appropriations, Federal travel regulations, and contracting. Stephanie Crews successful obtained this credential.
- Project Management Professional: Project managers are an important asset to any organization, laying the foundation for business by planning project workflows and ensuring efficient execution. The Project Management Professional (PMP) is a certification that is recognized globally in the field of project management benefiting both our company and providing project management services to our clients. Individuals are taught the industry standard utilizing the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) which covers content in five performance domains: initiating the project; planning the project; executing the project; monitoring and controlling the project; and closing the project. Achieving this rigorous certification requires preparation, dedication, and commitment to the end goal. Individuals often take the PMP exam multiple times before passing it. Following in the footsteps of A-G’s President, Chris Gonzalez, Michelle Wagler was able to pass the test the first go around with Sonya Hyde set to achieve hers in 2021. Way to go Michelle & Sonya!!
- CVENT Event Manager Certification: CVENT provides software solutions for event planners for online event registration, venue selection, onsite, virtual, and hybrid events, and participant engagement. The Event Manager Certification (EMC) is designed to build on the knowledge for those event planners who are experienced with CVENT. Our clients benefit from this certification by utilizing skilled meeting planners to implement strategies to plan and promote events, increase participant engagement, automate budgetary and cost controls, generate reports, and analyze registration data and surveys to address event outcomes. Michelle Wagler completed this certification.
While our employees gained incredible advantages for obtaining new skills, we also found the following benefits for our company as well:
- Based on our annual internal survey, employees were happier working in an environment that promotes and recognizes staff development. Employee longevity increases with employee satisfaction. Employers benefit from employee longevity and employee satisfaction.
- Through acquired certifications and staff development, employers can be assured that their employees are using the industry standards, best practices and have the skills and knowledge to address emerging trends.
- Your clients are encouraged when they see employees with industry standard certifications. This distinction can give the employer a competitive edge.
- Employees who engage in staff development are more productive and more invested in career upward mobility.
In closing, we are pleased with the accomplishments of our staff and our ability as a company to flex and adapt to address the changing needs of our clients. Becoming certified is not simple or easy, but the designation represents a high level of experience which immediately boosts the credibility for your employees and more importantly, your company.