Our SMS professionals serve as ambassadors for our certification program here at NISM. Not only are they knowledgeable about our curriculum, but they also share our passion for social media. Best of all, their stories help shape our organization and the work that we do here.
Our “Meet and Greet” series introduces you to one of our SMS professionals and shares their story. We hope that by sharing these stories, not only will you learn more about others who share your passion for being an SMS professional, but you also will want to connect with them further. We encourage you to “meet” this featured individual by reaching out to them through your favorite social media platform or by commenting in the section below this article.
And with that, we’d like to introduce you to Joe Cannata and his story.
Hi, Joe! Please tell us a little about yourself and the work you do.
I live in the north Atlanta suburbs and have been here for 32 years. I grew up in the metro New York area and attended college at Stony Brook on Long Island. I presently work as the Certification Director for Kinaxis, an Ottawa-based SaaS company that sells the industry’s leading enterprise supply chain management platform. I run our certification program as well as the digital badging program. I handle exam development, customer service, and marketing, and manage the certification platforms.
How did your work in credentialing lead you to discover NISM? What connections did you make between your work and that of an SMS?
I first learned of NISM while attending an industry conference in March of 2018. Dr. Amy Jauman was speaking about the use of social media to promote certification programs, a topic where I had experience and a lot of familiarity, as I was doing that since 2008 at a former employer. We stayed in touch, and later that year she had me speak with Jen Radke, CEO of NISM, about joining the NISM Advisory Board.
Is that why you decided to earn your certification as a social media strategist?
Yes, joining the board meant going through the training, and at a minimum, attempting the SMS exam. I felt it would be useful at Kinaxis to take what I learned and apply it to my own marketing efforts for our certification program. The certification exposed me to content and concepts I had not seen before. I thought I knew a few things, but I later discovered I had much, much more to learn, and the idea of having a formal strategy versus “living day by day” was going to be immediately helpful. Plus working in certification as a profession, I knew the value of obtaining any respected industry credential, earning a digital badge, and the rigor in preparation. The SMS was unique, and I wanted to introduce it to others in my company and peers in the industry. The SMS certification was not about the usual social media platforms and trivial ideas; it encompassed six content domains from marketing, to legal, to compliance, and more. Not only would I learn, and then prove by getting certified that I knew the content, I could take it back to work and show professional development in my career and make significant improvements in my marketing strategy to get our burgeoning certification program noticed.
We’re glad to hear you were able to apply your SMS Certification to your work right away. Did you go through a prep course or complete the self-study program?
I opted to take the instructor-led prep course, led by the same Dr. Amy Jauman, over a multi-week period. The content exposed me to so many new ideas, had great examples from real life, and Amy’s background gave her instant credibility. I could not wait for each new lesson, as we tackled one of the content domains each week, so it was six weeks in duration. We had homework, and I used my job for many of the assignments so I liked that I could directly apply what I was learning. I was amazed at how fast the time went in each class. The course book was and still is an excellent reference I use to this day, especially having the updated version. I was pleasantly surprised at how comprehensive the course was.
Now that you’ve been certified for a few years, how has the SMS certification continued to help you in your career?
The certification gave me instant credibility with my company’s Marketing Department. I could talk to our social media staff in a common language and share some of what I learned with them. I also encouraged one to get certified, and she became the first SMS in Canada. They now had more trust in me and gave me access to key corporate assets not widely available. I’ve used what I learned to help broaden the reach of the Kinaxis Certification Program, and through NISM I have met so many bright people in the industry with a kaleidoscope of skills, all of which I tap into because of being part of the NISM community. It has led to three different speaking engagements at industry conferences, as well as internal and external webinars, and a few blogs.
As you mentioned earlier, you are also a valued member of our Advisory Board. Can you tell us a little bit about what that experience has been like thus far?
Being a part of the board is fantastic. I get some executive-level experience, and a chance to help chart the path and future of NISM. I am also a member of the Executive Committee where I have served as Vice Chair, Chair, and Past Chair, and now I am in charge of development for the SMS exam. I cherish the opportunity to work with such talented people and offer my business and certification experience to improve NISM. Now with the OMCP acquisition, I can use my experience in the commercial world to help the combined companies. I feel a sense of pride, and accomplishment being part of a leadership team, as a trusted advisor. I also serve on the Scholarship Committee, judging the applications of potential SMS candidates for NISM scholarship awards.
You certainly are an esteemed member of the NISM team and we’re so glad to work with you. Before we go, we like to end things with a fun fact. Can you tell us something about you that not everyone would know?
I have been in all 50 US states, and DC. I accomplished this feat in 2000, spending a night in Montana, my 50th state. My next goal is to be in all of the Canadian provinces. So far I’ve made it to six.
To end things on a really fun note, Joe sent in this photo of him attending a Kinaxis company picnic. Blue looks good on you, Joe!
Thank you for your willingness to share your story with us. Keep up the excellent work!
If you’d like, you can connect with Joe on LinkedIn.