2018 IABC Atlanta Lifetime Achievement Awardee
We sat down with Terry Cerisoles, SCMP, winner of the 2018 IABC Atlanta Lifetime Achievement Award, to learn more about what IABC has meant to her throughout her impressive career. Here is what Terry had to say about her proudest professional accomplishments, women movingup in the profession and the people who helped shape her career.
IABC Atlanta: Wow! Congratulations Terry on your lifetime achievement award from IABC Atlanta. What advice do you have for women communicators in the profession?
Terry: The Communications profession has such diversity of disciplines, there’s something for every communicator. If you dig crises, that’s an area really in demand right now. If you love writing speeches or presentations, that’s a high value role in any company. For women specifically, NEVER say “I’m not good at math, that’s why I love words.” Math is the language of business and is critical to your success if you are ambitious.
IABC Atlanta: What does this award mean to you?
Terry: Frankly, I was stunned when told about it! I am so thrilled because it means that my contributions to IABC and IABC Atlanta are recognized and appreciated.
IABC Atlanta: As you look back on your career, what are your proudest accomplishments?
Terry: Winning my first IABC Atlanta Golden Flame award (way back when!). Winning my first Gold Quill (international award) and achieving my SCMP certification are definitely a couple more highlights. Though more recently, seeing my team win them was just as, if not more, satisfying.
IABC Atlanta: Was there a specific person or event that really shaped your career?
Terry: There are a whole lot of people but they are ALL IABC MEMBERS! They taught me good communication techniques, how to support one another and how to be a good leader. They gave me confidence and encouraged me to take risks. They also provided me with a lot of diverse opinions, so I gained new perspectives. I certainly would not have achieved the career successes I have without IABC!
IABC Atlanta: What has your membership and leadership role in IABC Atlanta meant to you throughout your career?
Terry: IABC has been – and continues to be – my extended family. I have turned to my IABC friends and colleagues for advice, for support, to share heavy loads and to challenge myself. I can still remember the day I was asked to consider a board position. I was absolutely thrilled, and that day led to years of different roles. I particularly loved leading Membership efforts. To me, it was so easy to share why I loved being a member.
IABC Atlanta: Who do you admire and why?
Terry: I’m a big Ruth Bader Ginsberg fan. Like me, she lost her mother at a young age and had a lot of challenges to overcome. She used her intellect and drive to take her rightful place in a very male-dominated field. She was a role model for me when I became the first female sports producer for Turner Broadcasting in my pre-communications career. My favorite quote about her from NPR is “She has a soft voice but says really devastating things in that quiet voice!” I admire her advocacy for gender equality and womens’ rights – and that she’s still doing that at 85!