By: Kathy Francis, MS, CEM, MDPEMP & Sam Lombardo, M.E.d

Dear MACEM Staff and Students:

Welcome to the 2017 Spring Semester at Frederick Community College’s Mid-Atlantic Center for Emergency Management (MACEM). You are part of a program that prepares quality, competent Emergency Management professionals nationwide. The MACEM was built upon the core values of HONOR, INNOVATION, EDUCATION, and SERVICE. Thank you for joining this program and improving your skills to serve and protect our nation.

As we open a brand new calendar year and semester, we offer you a few tips to increase your awareness of strategies for career advancement and advocacy.

Share your passion: First, fall in love with your work. “Passion for our work is a critical element of success and abundance. Passion is a virtually unstoppable, attitudinal force that generates energy, creativity, and productivity. When you love what you do, it is not difficult to succeed” (Richard Carlson, Ph.D.).

Share your dedication, and model the discipline with great enthusiasm. You will notice that your passion gains and maintains attention. Your actions will exemplify that preparedness and survivability are absolutely doable. Consider volunteering in your community to help lead citizens to disaster readiness.

Genuine passion for Emergency Management should translate into a never-ending thirst for knowledge in the profession. Becoming a lifelong leader of Emergency Management will help to enhance your credibility, reputation, and professionalism.

Surround yourself with great people: Surround yourself with great people – people who challenge you to think analytically, critically, and creatively. There is so much to learn from leaders in the industry. Your educational experience can be the hub of the many aspects involved in your professional network. Benefit from others’ knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Prepare a career development plan: Invest in yourself! You will undertake the continuous and challenging endeavor of leading, preventing, and responding to problems in a very complex world. Take a critical look at where you are today, where you want to be in 5 or 10 years, and the marketability of your occupational direction. Embrace technology; it will be an essential career component! New software and platforms are frequently fielded that make emergency planning and response more effective and consequential. Explore your ability to use current technology, and find opportunities to keep your skills current with today’s workplace expectations.

Identify a career advocate to help you create opportunities to share your knowledge, dedication, and commitment while providing you access to experiences and networking opportunities. Define what diversity in Emergency Management means to you and how you can increase your awareness and value a diverse workforce. Your career advocate is a great sounding board and will take a thorough look at your career development plan and review it with you every year.

Explore career expectations: The challenges facing Emergency Management professionals have become more frequent and convoluted and require the engagement of all aspects of society. Being successful will require the ability to work collaboratively, constructively, inclusively, and confidently with your political and social leaders and followers in society. Develop skill sets to make preparedness champions of the whole community through genuine respect for and consideration of others.

Your honor and character are important! The importance of your words and deeds cannot be overemphasized. Whenever and wherever you go as a public safety leader, people are watching and observing your actions. Remain above reproach.

Emergency Management touches every aspect of our nation. To further the community emergency preparedness effort, be aware of the many funding sources and how to apply for them. Credibility and reliability in the discipline are essential! Know the laws and policies affecting Emergency Management beginning with Articles (I and II) and Amendments (X – Reserved Powers) of the U.S. Constitution, National Preparedness Goal and System, Federal Response Framework, and Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act. Be aware of Emergency Management law, including key legal decisions, and potential triggers for lawsuits and liability.

Expect to continue your education beyond the associate degree. There is a whole community of scholars available to you, from your instructors and program leaders to your fellow students. This is often the group that identifies research trends, generates new knowledge, and explores current workplace innovations. Will you be one of them?

Identify what sets you apart: Many professions are now embedding Emergency Management competencies into their own professional certifications and credentials. Your Emergency Management career can expand in more ways today than ever before. Through your professional development process, find what sets you apart, pursue your passion, and customize your employment portfolio to make you marketable. Reflect upon the networking content in the beginning of this post. Now, think about the diverse pathways into the field and the rich, experienced professionals who can be a part of your network.

You are or are preparing to join an honorable and tremendously valuable profession that provides critical leadership within American communities. Take pride in what you do! Do your jobs; do them well; and then do a little more. We all share a passion for this great nation, the world we live in, and a desire to make it better. We encourage you to be a visible role model for Emergency Management, to share your passion, and to surround yourself with great people – those who share your values and those who challenge you and help you grow. Invest in yourself, and prepare your career development plan. Know who you are, what you are all about, and what distinguishes you and your skills above the rest!

From the MACEM, there is great satisfaction in making a difference in some small way, in giving back, in sharing openly so the next generation of Emergency Management professionals can achieve their dreams and life’s potential. We will see you in the traditional or online classroom in 2017!

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