In 2020, as Treasurer of the DC Metro Chapter for the GPA, I was “volunteered” to facilitate the chapter’s GPC exam study group. The 8-week virtual study group, which consisted of more than 20 grant professionals from Atlanta to California, forced me to create a study plan and adhere to a study schedule each week. I also benefited from a mock-writing prompt exercise where I received feedback from fellow study group members. Outside of the study group, I also studied on my own using various resources, including Prepare for the GPC Exam: Earn Your Grant Professional Certified Credential and The GPC Study Guide and Bibliography by the GPA.
I am grateful to have had the support, mentorship, and guidance of many women in the grant profession throughout my career. My journey towards the GPC was no different. In addition to my mentor Ericka, Trish Bachman GPC, and Jo Miller, SMS, GPC also offered advice and encouragement as I prepared for the exam. Learning about their GPC journeys and exam preparation strategies provided me with reassurance that certification is achievable. As a former GPA Board President and GPCI education provider, Jo shared more about the GPC exam scoring process and what to expect at proctoring centers, which calmed my testing anxieties.
Also, the virtual study group provided me with the structure, accountability, and support that I needed to prioritize preparing for the exam while juggling work and home life in the midst of a global pandemic. Together, we navigated closed testing centers, extended eligibility windows, re-scheduled exams as well as trying to work and study from home. I met so many supportive grant professionals across the country through the virtual study group, including Shavonn Richardson, MBA, GPC, Rhonda Poppen, GPC, Cecilia Peredo, GPC, and Claire Honsinger, GPC, to name a few. I received emails of positive vibes, reminders, and well-wishes the day before the exam from study group members. They were among the first people I reached out to after the exam and when I received my results. It’s been great to witness so many study group partners, now friends, take and pass the GPC exam as well as celebrate each other’s career milestones.
Obtaining the certification has renewed my energy to continue in the profession. I feel a sense of internal validation that is completely different from winning grants for organizations. Becoming a GPC has boosted my confidence to pursue other professional opportunities as well as position and present as an expert in the field. It’s raised my professional brand as it demonstrates to others that I’m qualified in the core skills and competencies of the profession. As I move into the next decade of my grant professional career, I hope to support other grant professionals obtain certification while building their confidence, competence, and career.