A Q&A with Pam Weber, ICE Career Pathway and Emerging Leaders Task Force
How do you start a career in credentialing? For some, it doesn’t occur naturally – it’s more happenstance than a planned path. This was the case for Pam Weber, CAE, who began her career working in the agriculture industry. Today, she works for the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and serves as the chair of the ICE Career Pathway and Emerging Leaders Task Force.
We spoke with her to learn more about her path to credentialing, advice for others in the field, her work on the task force and more.
Can you tell us about your career path and how you found your way to credentialing? What can people learn from your story?
I started my professional career in the agriculture industry working for John Deere Company. My education and family roots are in agriculture, so it was a natural fit for me. I moved to the Washington D.C. area in 2001 and was interested in a new professional field. Through the advice of a career counselor, I landed in association management work.
I realized I had a strong interest in serving professional societies toward a common mission. For several years I focused on adult learning programs and awards-based programs. When the organization I worked for decided to start a certification, I applied many of my skills in professional development to fill that role.
I immediately started reading any book I could find about starting and operating a certification program, from experts in the field like Lenora Knapp, Joan Knapp and Mickie Rops. The organization also hired consultants in certification to assist us. From that experience, I learned the value that certification brings to both the professionals who earn it and to the public.
From my experience and from what I am learning from other certification professionals, you don’t always plan to go into this community. You may not realize that you are headed into a long-term career path in credentialing. Once I got into it, got involved with ICE and with the Certification Network Group (CNG), I realized I was part of a larger community of professionals who also value the personal and public benefits of credentials – that’s what has encouraged me to stay!
What do you enjoy most about being in the credentialing profession?
I enjoy working with professionals in various industries and assisting with the growth and development of a profession. Working in credentialing affords the opportunity to think broadly about national or worldwide economic, societal, education and employment trends. Through my everyday work I have had a positive impact on public school administrators and students, yoga teachers and students, and breastfeeding and lactation care professionals and breastfeeding families. This is what motivates me to get going in the morning!
Can you tell me a bit more about the work of the Career Pathway and Emerging Leaders Task Force?
The Career Pathway and Emerging Leaders Task Force was created from two synergistic ICE task forces. The combined task force was created in 2018 with the purpose to better define career pathways in credentialing and to see how ICE can best assist professionals in this community throughout their career.
To reach these objectives the task force surveyed ICE members about their career experiences and aspirations and conducted a storytelling session at the 2018 ICE Exchange. As a result of these activities, ICE has gained greater knowledge of what directs us to be credentialing professionals, what keeps us in this profession (or dissatisfies us), and what skills gained from previous job experience helps us in this profession. It’s an exciting group to be part of, especially in 2019, as we will be creating valuable resources for ICE members about what it means to be a credentialing professional and how to navigate your career in this community.
Why is a defined career path from the credentialing industry important to have?
It’s important on two levels. On the first level it is important for us to think about our work as a profession. As credentialing professionals, we spend much of our workday helping other professions and industries define, create and grow. This project provides us the opportunity to explore more about our own profession. This will ultimately help us better understand our career options, as well as strengthen the resources available to us for professional development.
On the second level, this information can assist the public in understanding better what we do and how this profession may be attractive to potential job seekers. The number of credentials is growing. It’s important to the public, credential holders, and credentialing organization to hire and retain trained, skilled credentialing professionals.
What is your advice for those who are entering the field or are new to the profession?
Experiment in various areas of credentialing! Discover what you like most and how it fits best with your skill set and professional goals. Working in credentialing provides access to many different aspects of program management, governance, accreditation, marketing and promotion, examination development and administration and psychometrics – just to name a few!
Anything else you’d like to share?
I appreciate the time to share my experiences and encourage others in the profession to tell their story. Share it with someone new to the credentialing community or looking to start a new career. Credentialing may be a good fit for them. Also, if you have experience and are willing to share it, consider mentoring someone in this community. The ICE Exchange is a good way to meet people and build those relationships with colleagues.
Interested in learning more about the ICE Community? Visit our website here.