June 08, 2020 5 min read

Starting your professional development journey might feel like finding yourself up a creek with no paddle. You know you need to do something to move forward but you’re just not sure where to start. Especially now when it seems like every direction is frozen and blocked off to you. What if we told you that’s not true? That now is the right time to get moving, to thaw out that uncertainty so you can work on yourself. Your professional development, or ‘PD’ as Gabriele Janes, Vice President of Learning at the CMA, calls it, is still as important as ever. By pursuing your professional development now, you’re proving to yourself and others that you’re committed to lifelong learning no matter the circumstances. Like a river, your professional development will always ebb and flow with the times. And you have the paddles to wade through it. (They were just hiding.)


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Why is PD so important? Well, to start off with, it proves to you and your associates and your employer that you're committed to lifelong learning. —Gabriele Janes

There’s Knowledge All Around You

Man sitting and working
So where do you get started on your professional development journey? A misconception for many is that it starts once you have a job, and that’s not true in today’s day and age. With new technologies making it easier to stay connected, acquiring new knowledge is as easy as snapping your fingers. That could seem overwhelming, but luckily Gabriele is an expert on different styles of learning that may be the right fit for you.

  1. Relevant Learning
    Let’s say there’s a seminar or an online event on a topic that’s always been on your mind. Perfect! You’ll be learning and having a good time. That’s exactly what relevant learning is. It’s about seizing those experiences that align with your curiosity and knowledge gaps.
  2. Leadership
    We all look to our leaders for answers, and that in itself is a form of learning. They’ve been where you’ve been so their experiences are worth their weight in gold. Ask the questions, follow up, and soak it all in.
  3. Self-Directed
    If you’re reading this article, congratulations! You’re already a pro at self-directed professional development. You are actively seeking out new ways to continue your PD during your already busy life. Whether it’s a blog article, podcast, or a great book, this counts and is easy to do.
  4. Structured Learning
    We’ve all experienced this one at some point in our lives. The assignments. The exams. The pressure. It’s the most traditional form of learning, and it’s always available to you through different institutions and online platforms thanks to the internet. Speaking of which, we’ll get into an amazing online program a bit later so stay with us!

Accelerate to Merge

Remember the first time you learned how to merge with traffic? Your mind is racing and there’s so much noise from the cars in front and behind you. Your speed needs to increase, and your split-second decision to merge feels life-changing. So much seems to be happening at once, and it seems impossible you’ll ever be comfortable hopping on that long stretch of road. But you overcome that fear with each practice run, remembering to accelerate when you have to, and eventually you know what to expect. You’ve merged. You’re part of the traffic. The road seems infinite in front of you.

Woman in a carThat’s how your professional development journey is going to feel like at first, but you must keep at it. Wanting to improve your skillset and knowledge is only ever going to be a win. And why? Gabriele points out that industries are always changing at an incredibly rapid pace. New technologies. New information. All of it coming at hyper speed. By merging your professional development as a regular part of your routine, you’re never left behind. You’ll not only know what’s going to change, but you’ll also be the one that others look to for direction on that change.

You’ll become exactly like that one relative who always manages to know the latest social apps. They joined Tik Tok before you even knew it existed. (You can’t help but be impressed and horrified at once.) That natural curiosity is something we all possess. So, lean hard into that curiosity to stay ahead of the game.

Say Hello to the Chartered Marketer Program

Remember how we talked about structured learning? If you haven’t heard of the Chartered Marketer Program, or the CM as we affectionately call it, let us introduce you. The Canadian Marketing Association founded the CM program to help marketers gain that upper hand in their careers. This top-tiered online program was designed by the CMA Learning Department’s senior management, with the help of Canada’s leading industry professionals and the CMA’s board of directors with experience in both marketing and education. It stands as Canada’s only industry-recognized professional designation for marketers. Being an online program, it works with your busy schedule rather than against it.

Did we mention that it’s updated on the regular and that each stage has been well-thought-out to help you achieve success? Well, now you know! Plus, as you make your way through the program, you’ll be rubbing elbows with other marketers like you making it easy to make connections. If you want more juicy details, then be sure to check out the CM’s page: charteredmarketer.ca

Become A Chartered Marketer

How PD Leads to Creativity

If professional development doesn’t sound good already, then let us push the envelope for you further. You’ve acquired new skills or improved them, which puts you ahead of the pack. Don’t think you’re through just yet. Every new experience you’ve had in your professional development is going to be both a learning curve and a chance to be even more inquisitive.

“First of all, PD is going to help you acquire new skills. And, then it can help you enhance those skills. And finally, it can help you open [up to] new perspectives and new ideas.” - Gabriele Janes

We all know that sometimes creativity strikes like lightning – unexpectedly and without pause. Whatever approach you take with your PD, you’re being open to ideas or perspectives you might not have thought possible. You’re at the right place at the right time. Each piece of new information or new experience is going to be your muse of inspiration. Where will that skill lead to? What strength do I have that I can apply here? All good questions that you might have missed!

Start Your PD Journey

Like they said in school, show your work. No one can do your work for you. Professional development works the same way. If you want to see the growth in your career then take action now. It can start as simple as listening to a podcast or investing in an acclaimed online program (wink, wink). You’ll learn new skills that’ll keep you afloat in this ever-changing world, and you’ll find new opportunities in the form of an idea, project, or new colleague. Get your PD on. You’ll only have yourself to thank.


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