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A Gold Quill-Driven Career Turn

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Ed Kamrin, SCMP, is principal of Kamrin Strategy + Consulting, and is immediate past chair of IABC’s awards committee. He recently recognized the value of Gold Quill when he was advising on a strategic hiring decision. Here, Kamrin talks to IABC about that experience, the value of the Gold Quill process for individuals and organizations, and how the award can help set people and companies apart.

Recently I was asked to advise on a search for a senior communications person. The organization really wanted someone with strategic communications experience. We had a slate of candidates, all of whom were very qualified and had the right skill sets — but one had won the Gold Quill award.

The award was on her resume, and that stood out to me immediately. Reflecting on it now, it stood out for three reasons: One is that it showed her work is high-quality and had earned that external seal of approval. The second is that showed a high level of ambition. But most of all, it was a signal that she was able to think strategically in communications — she understood how the Gold Quill process worked and the framework for excellence that the award espouses.

When we interviewed her, those things all came to the forefront. We had strategy questions for all the candidates — it was a very fair process — but she in particular really shined on those questions. It was clear that among other things, the process of entering Gold Quill had honed her ability to think strategically. And that was great, because what the employer wanted was someone who could engage with them on that level. They wanted an advisor and a partner, not an order-taker. They wanted someone who had something to bring to the table and a point of view. The Gold Quill award spoke to her ability to think strategically and understand the role of communication as a business driver.

In terms of career progression, there’s huge value in Gold Quill as a differentiator. When you’re on the hiring side you see so many resumes, and they all start to look alike after a while. Getting credentialed or winning an award like Gold Quill is one way to stand out in a sea of applicants.

Gold Quill is in so many ways a case study competition. It’s not a beauty pageant — you’re looking not just at the work, but at what went into the work. That is so valuable right now, at a time when you have to justify the work you’re doing and show the measurable results of it. Gold Quill focuses on that — the objectives you’re setting, the business case you’re making, the audiences you’re communicating to. That thoughtfulness and careful use of resources is baked into the Gold Quill process. The quality of work is important, but the thought process is equally important because that strategic thinking is how you drive the profession forward.

Organizations should understand the value of IABC’s award and what it signifies. It’s not just a feather in your cap — it demonstrates strategic thinking that is vetted against the Global Standard. Gold Quill is a professional development exercise that makes people grow into better strategic advisors.

–As told to Jason Meyers

Do you have a case study that’s of Gold Quill caliber? Entries for the 2021 awards open in mid-September. Keep an eye out for more information from IABC. 

Jason Meyers

Jason Meyers is the senior director of content strategy for IABC.

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