Strategy summit – at the site of #IABC17

The IABC executive committee and our senior management team met in Washington D.C. at the Washington Hilton, which is set to host the 2017 World Conference – aka – #IABC17. A great location in a great neighborhood.

We met to define our business priorities for the coming board year. It was exciting to be in the room with so many people who are passionate about IABC’s success.

Carlos Fulcher
Carlos Fulcher
Stephanie Doute
Stephanie Doute
Ron Hansen
Ron Hansen
Natasha Nicholson
Natasha Nicholson
Brook Yciano
Brook Yciano
Kirsten Peterson
Kirsten Peterson

Our senior management team kicked the session off with presentations that showcased their ideas on how to move the association forward. I want to personally thank our outgoing Executive Director Carlos Fulcher, and our now Acting Executive Director Stephanie Doute – as well as Director of Professional Development Ron Hansen, Director of Content Natasha Nicholson, Director of Finance Brook Yciano and Governance Manager Kirsten Peterson for their contributions.

We were also joined by Jodie Slaughter, President and Founder of McKinley Advisors, the company that conducted our recent membership survey. She shared trends in membership associations, which was incredibly insightful. One key point – successful associations are exploring relevant Big Data to gain actionable insights.

As we move into the last year of the 2014-2017 strategy, it was a pleasure to mark many items off the list as completed! Thank you to all our 1,000+ leaders across the world for the hard work you have put in to make that happen. Read the latest annual report to learn more.

Moving forward for this board year, we established four key business objectives to continue our progress towards our established strategic goal of achieving financial sustainability and increasing our membership retention.

While we did make advances in each area this past year, there are still improvements that need to be made to reach our ultimate goals.

1. Retention: substantially enhance the existing plan, utilizing the information from the membership survey we conducted earlier this year.

2. Technology Strategic Plan: we made significant investments and improvements in our technology over the past two years, but we must continue to wisely invest to improve our member experience and customer service.

3. Strategic Communications Plan: continue to focus efforts on our external communications and reaching new audiences to generate increased awareness about IABC. Our Communications Committee is in place and working to advance the association and our profession.

4. Strategic Marketing Plan: IABC has a lot of great products and can add significant value to members of the professional communicators profession – however, we don’t do a good job of telling our story and getting our message heard, understood and acted upon.

As to the Strategic Marketing Plan, this is a combination of a couple of objectives from our previous list of business priorities – to focus on the success of our mature products and to engage with professional communicators who are not members – but it actually will provide a platform for making that happen. Utilizing the survey data, as well as the personas developed by the Membership Task Force, a comprehensive marketing plan will be developed to sell all of our products. Initially, it will focus on Academy offerings, but quickly scale up to include all of our offerings.

A senior staff member was assigned to each objective and milestone dates were set – and we’ll keep you posted on progress.

And I hope to see you at the Washington Hilton next year for #IABC17! Mark your calendar now: 11-14 June 2017.

Dianne Chase
2016-17 IABC Chair

P.S. Got a recommendation for the #IABC17 team on who should keynote? Share your suggestion here – and please help spread the word.

IABC Executive Director, Carlos Fulcher, moves on with thanks from the board

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Carlos Fulcher

IABC Executive Director, Carlos Fulcher, moves on with thanks from the board in the last year of the contract.

“After much deliberation, I have decided to step down from my role as Executive Director,” said Fulcher. “I have utmost respect for the International Executive Board and IABC. I found my two plus years with IABC to be very rewarding and filled with great accomplishments. I wish IABC and all its stakeholders the best of luck and a prosperous future.”

Great strides were made in the last couple of years advancing our financial recovery and overall sustainability as an association; as set out in our regular quarterly and annual reports.

Stephanie Doute

Stephanie Doute, CAE, IABC’s Membership Director, is taking over as Acting Executive Director with immediate effect.  “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to step into this role and work with the IABC leadership and staff moving the work of the association forward to serve our members.” Doute noted.  “I am humbled and excited and look forward to our continued advancement.”

Help shape the future of the IABC Foundation

Looking for an opportunity to pay-it forward – and give back to the profession? Here’s a way you can do just that: step up and serve on the new IABC Foundation Committee.

At the 2016 World Conference in New Orleans, the IABC Foundation was re-launched – focused on driving IABC’s mission to drive communications as a force for good in business and society.

What is the IABC Foundation?

The mission of the IABC Foundation is to generate resources to fund and support strategic initiatives in line with IABC’s mission and to demonstrate the power of professional communication as a force for good in business and society.

Your opportunity to lead at the strategic level

The Foundation Trustees are now seeking to establish a new committee that will provide strategic guidance and execute the activities of the IABC Foundation. Specifically across the development of these four pillars as part of the revitalization plan::

  • Gift of Communication – Providing the tools and funding for chapters to give back to their local communities.
  • Gift of Experience – Invest in experience-gaining activities for the next generation and those in transition. Includes scholarships, internships, mentoring and more.
  • Gift of Excellence – Support certification of professional communicators around the world
  • Gift of Insights – Grants for targeted research that results in case studies, white papers or other publications supporting member needs, IABC thought leadership and advocacy for the profession.

Who are we looking for?

To implement the revitalization plan, committee members need to have an understanding of:

  • Philanthropy and fundraising
  • Strategy setting
  • Finance and marketing.

Vacant Positions: Chair, Vice Chair – and Committee Members-at-Large.

How to apply?

We are inviting IABC members in good standing to apply, or nominate a colleague. Read more here – and please help spread the word.

Deadline for submissions is Tuesday, 16 August at 5:00 p.m. EDT

This is an exciting opportunity to make a real difference.

Michael Ambjorn
IABC Nominating Committee

Leading the profession on the certification journey

Guest post by Neil Griffiths, ABC, Chart.PR

Neil Griffiths, ABC
Neil Griffiths

Some time has passed since IABC first embarked on the journey towards a new global credential for communication professionals: the CMP (or Communication Management Professional, for those who are ‘acronymed out’!).

The program is in full swing, with graduates around the globe now able to include these all-important letters after their name. IABC has of course been dedicated to setting a standard for professional communication for decades, most notably with the development of the Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) designation that is still held by hundreds of professionals worldwide. This commitment to setting a global standard for professional communication practice paved the way for the association to enter into the development of the new CMP credential.

So, why is certification the right choice for IABC?

This is a question that came up back in 2013 and people are still asking us. For me this was the result of a number of threads that all became intertwined at the same time. If we cast our minds back to the 2011-14 strategic plan, the IEB sought to align all IABC’s programs in support of communication professionals’ careers. At the same time, the Accreditation Committee had highlighted several key issues for the long-term sustainability of the ABC program. In looking at the various options open to IABC in response to this, certification emerged as an avenue that could meet the association’s needs in many ways:

  • Assessment for certification depends on a body of knowledge for the profession – this could also be a basis for other programs for professional development, awards, etc. and for the association’s content strategy. (This body of knowledge is developed by and with the profession to make sure it represents what we should know and the skills we should have.)
  • Assessment is based on an exam and evaluation is in no way subjective
  • The volunteer commitment to run the program is much less intensive
  • The process around certification (as opposed to accreditation or other similar programs) reduces liability for the association, as it is related only to the body of knowledge
  • The ISO 17024 standard for professional certification programs provides a framework for building the program; meeting this standard sets our program apart from any other in the world

Why does ISO matter?

Once certification was determined to be the right way of moving ahead, IABC had a decision to make: figure this out on our own or follow the international standard for the management of professional certification programs. It chose the latter for a number of reasons:

  • No other communication association has an ISO-standard certification program; this differentiates us from the competition by having a built-in level of credibility
  • As an international association, IABC wanted a truly global credential, not one that only met the standards of one country
  • The ISO guidelines apply to the management of the program and provide quality assurance for the administration and development of the credential. This is critical in showing people, particularly those outside our profession, that all aspects of the program conform to international standards of best practice
  • It provided guidance as to how to establish the program (we didn’t need to figure this out on our own) and would avoid having to retrofit the program later on and make (potentially costly) changes to how the program is administered
  • Recognition of ISO standards in industries and markets across the globe is very high, which would give visibility to our certification program. Many organizations have to meet ISO standards (for compliance with health & safety, for example) and there is increasing interest in setting standards for professions at the ISO level
  • The pursuit of the ISO standard is voluntary and shows IABC’s commitment to meeting the highest possible standards for its certification program

Given that IABC is seeking to establish the value and impact of this important new program, I think that its focus on making it the best it can be from the outset is admirable. It will help build credibility amongst anyone who is trying to learn more about it, not least of which the hiring managers around the world who are going to be curious to know what is behind the new set of letters they are seeing after communication professionals’ names in years to come.

I am honestly thrilled to see the progress that has been made with the certification program and I am impressed with how much it is being embraced by our organization worldwide. This is all thanks to the commitment of the series of IEB members since the journey began, as well as the hundreds of people who have been involved in bringing certification to life. I have been lucky to witness this from the inside, from my time on the Career Roadmap Committee where I saw all the various streams begin to align, and then as part of the inaugural Global Communication Certification Council (where I co-chaired the exam committee). The current GCCC is in the process of developing the next level of exam to bring the designation to an even broader group of professionals. It’s incredible just how far things have come in such a short space of time. Learn more about Certification.

I can vouch for the passion and drive that has been a huge part of realizing IABC’s vision for certification and I am still massively confident in what it will do for IABC, for communication professionals around the world and for raising awareness of what we do to people who are far less familiar than we are. The journey is far from over, but I hope you’ll join us all on it.

Neil is Past Chair of IABC EMENA and has served on numerous IABC committees, notably the inaugural Global Communication Certification Council. Neil is a Regional Leader of the Year and in 2015 received the Rae Hamlin Award for services to professional certification. He is currently Vice Chair of the Program Advisory Committee and will chair the 2018 World Conference in Montreal.

Greetings from the new IABC chair

Happy Greetings from your new 2016-17 IABC Board and your very humble and grateful new chair!

What an incredible tribe we have ~

Our IABC – an Inspiring, Amazing, Brilliant, Community…. Because you are Inspiring, Amazing Brilliant Communicators.

We all have come to this community on our unique paths. I always love to hear your stories, and during this coming year I really hope I’ll hear more. While we’ve all come into our tribe by different paths, we’ve stayed because we found something really special.

We have a secret sauce in IABC.

For me, my first taste came after rather hesitantly agreeing to attend a chapter meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina in place of a senior colleague. That was it – the feeling of “professional family” on first meeting was all it took; what a rare and wonderful thing. It’s not something you can find online, at a meet-up group or, I don’t believe, quite the same in any other professional association.

So, the next thing I knew I was on the chapter board and over the years served as chapter president three different times. Then my path led to the Southern Region board where my passion for the “I” in IABC really escalated. Being the Southern Region chair offered incredible opportunities to lead, share, learn and give back to a truly diverse and amazing professional community. I’m sure you know that “IABC” feeling, as well.

Many of you have worked with incredible fortitude and dedication to lead IABC in good times and through tough patches and for that words can’t express how much you are appreciated. You’re the heart and soul of IABC.

Over the past year a lot of hard work has gone into shoring up our IABC infrastructure, thanks to the leadership of immediate past chair, Michael Ambjorn. Now, with our new strengthened governance and policies we’re set for delivering five star service.

Here’s how five star service is officially defined:

One star – for making you feel special – personal attention

One star –  for resolving issues ASAP

One star – for genuine friendliness, smiles and personality

One star – for getting your money’s worth

One star – for rewarding your customer loyalty

These, in a nutshell, are what IABC is committed to and keeps at the forefront of everything we do.

The year ahead is brimming with opportunities for our communication community.

We will continue to grow our professional development offerings through the IABC Academy with new self-paced courses, in addition to the online workshops and webinars. Our Academy is a go-to resource not only for professional development aligned with the Global Standard, but also for helping prepare for the new Certification program. It’s very exciting to see the ever growing interest and engagement with the initial Communication Management Professional (CMP) level and we are moving forward to offer the next level of certification aimed at the strategic advisor level in 2017. I encourage you to seek out one of our new CMPs and ask them about the program.

Another important advancement on the way– the reinvigorated, reimagined and revamped Leader Centre. The Leader Centre task force is wrapping up their work and the Council of Regions will begin instituting the vision and resources which will provide increased value, relevance and support for our leaders. The overarching goal is to make the Leader Centre a resource by leaders – for leaders.

In the coming year we will continue to look at new ways to increase the value of membership, beginning with the new “Members Only” offerings. As members, you will have exclusive access to resources that you want and need with the institution of the new members-only content on www.iabc.com.

I’m super excited with the re-launch of our IABC Foundation.  You play a critical role in helping IABC live out our mission and mantra that we believe communication is a force for good in business and society. We’ll need your support in terms of leadership, engagement and donations – seed money for success. Stay tuned for the open call for nominations to the new Foundation Committee and please join in moving this important initiative forward. By this time next year, I’m confident we will be able to show real impact. We can and will do this through the power of our shared passion for the ideals of our profession.

Another important advancement is the establishment of a new Fellows Committee. As you know, these IABC icons have achieved the highest level of honor bestowed by our association and serve to inspire us all.

I believe we have incredible opportunities in the coming year to make IABC the global resource for professional communication. We have set the Global Standard and we can lead by example. We will gain greater visibility in the marketplace with increased communication and data-driven, highly targeted marketing.

But we “each one need to reach one.”

Who can you bring to our tribe? A new member?  A new volunteer?  A new leader? A new CMP? A sponsor? A Foundation donor?

I’m incredibly honored with this opportunity to work with and for you.

I hope you’ll join me in working to make our IABC all it can be.

More than ever let’s #createconnection with and for communicators and our communities around the world.

Together we can do great things!

All my best,

Dianne

dchase

2016 IABC Chairman’s Award

These two exceptional leaders have each made contributions to IABC that have had a global impact advancing the association and the profession. Both are role models for IABCers around the world.

Ginger Homan ABC
Ginger Homan ABC

Ginger Homan, ABC, has made a strategic contribution to the association above and beyond the call of duty. Operating at the highest level, her contribution has been centerpiece to the execution of the 2014-17 strategy for IABC, effecting a turnaround. Ginger is the embodiment of a world class board member: open, accountable and effective – with a relentless focus on enabling organizational delivery. She is also a joy to work with.

Jennifer Andrewes
Jennifer Andrewes

Jennifer Andrewes brings to life the best of IABC in the field. As an organization we believe that in today’s world, communication can be a force for good in business and society.  To make that happen we need to reach into boardrooms around the world. Jennifer and her chapter team out of Wellington, New Zealand, raised the bar in terms of height and breadth reached. Opening doors for IABC with leading government departments, blue chip corporates and agenda-setting non-profits – and those who influence them as strategic advisors. This is true leadership both advancing and enhancing the profession.

Learn more about the Chairman’s Award – and please join me in congratulating these two exceptional leaders.

Michael Ambjorn
2015-16 IABC Chair 

Commercial Thinking Critical to Creating Lasting Change

An interview with Clare Woodcraft – by Ginger Homan, ABC in connection with the 2016 IABC World Conference Foundation Panel on giving.

A world that doesn’t need foundations – that is the dream that drives Clare Woodcraft CEO of the Emirates Foundation.

Clare Woodcraft
Clare Woodcraft

“We are working to eradicate a problem, to create solutions that can be spun off into self-sufficient businesses,” says Clare. “That is how you get long-term solutions. We can deliver social value through our businesses and get to a place where we no longer need foundations.”

Under her leadership, Emirates Foundation has transformed from one that was a short-term grant giving organization to one that is focused on solving a social problem – permanently.

“The idea is to focus your efforts so that every dollar spent helps make true, systemic change,” said Clare. “Before we were giving to all sectors. It is very difficult to measure social impact, to determine what is working, what is not.”

Using the model of Venture Philanthropy, the Foundation conducted market research to understand the gaps in the market and then to determine how to fill them. Based in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, they explored the economic challenges of the country, along with the country’s goals and the underlying core strengths.

The research showed that by focusing on the youth of UAE, the Foundation could help create a sustainable future for the country.

Today the Foundation has six programs, all focused on inspiring, empowering and guiding youth to create a thriving nation.

“Even the approach to fundraising is different,” says Clare. “No longer are we going into a corporation and asking them for money to support our causes. Now we are bringing something of value to the table and asking them to partner with us for mutual benefit. We build a value proposition around their corporate objectives, showing our common goals and how we can create more social impact together. These are true partnerships — we are offering them a service, not just asking for money.”

Foundations experimented with variations on the classic grant-giving model for years, but as budgets got squeezed, philanthropists began blazing new trails in funding models designed to yield social impact, as well as a financial return on their investments. Clare has taken this model and created a foundation with programs that can solve the social issue, but also generate enough funding to ultimately be self-supportive.

“Our goal is to create programs that fix a social issue,” says Clare. “What do young people need? What does the market need? Can we create a product or service that closes the gap? Then we test solutions and find the right balance using business-based concepts. That doesn’t mean we are turning the philanthropic sector into a commercial entity,” she added. “What is means is that there is a call for philanthropic funds to be spent wisely and more systematically so that they create long-term change.”

“In today’s world, businesses can’t just focus on the bottom line. Millennials want companies that are focused on meeting a purpose beyond the profit. They want to be a part of a business that delivers not just to the shareholder, but the broader stakeholder base.”

At Emirates Foundation they measure results with solid metrics tied to each program – how many did they deliver services to, were services delivered cost effectively, were participants satisfied, was the issue solved?

“The mindset of the organization has changed,” says Clare. “We are much more entrepreneurial – more like a private sector company. We have great traction with our corporate partnerships and funding from the private sector too. They trust us to create value – and we are.”

2016 IABC Annual General Meeting – Q&A

This post will be updated as we go through the Q&A – making sure we haven’t missed any of the questions from Twitter and submitted by email. If you have an additional question not covered here, please let us know.

Q: IABC Code of Ethics – the version approved at the 2016 AGM – when will it be posted to iabc.com?

It is has already been updated – find it here: iabc.com/about-us/governance/code-of-ethics/

Big thanks again to IABC Fellow Barbara Puffer ABC and the Ethics Committee for their leadership in this consultative process.

Q: 2016 IABC Survey – what were the key insights and when will we learn more?                

Thanks to all who participated: members current, past and prospective. We had a great response rate.

The results are literally just in and analysis is still underway.

The board reviewed the first draft at the board meeting immediately before the AGM. It is the first time we’ve done this in a long time – and the first time with professional support. Once we have actionable insights, they will be really useful for HQ – and Regions and Chapters. For more on how this will unfold, keep reading.

Running a survey after a break, compared to a consistent year-on-year survey, is a bit different. Basically, people share feedback as far back as last time they were asked. In this case it is a number of years. Which also means that a fair amount of the feedback did not come as a surprise to the board – as similar input has been gathered from 1:1 meetings, chapter events, conferences and so on. What it has added is an important and essential additional layer of data – and with professional support from the vendor, an independent view.

We want to make sure we use the data to focus the organisation – and help us advance in a positive way.

Big thanks to Claudia Vaccarone who wrote the board paper that kicked off this whole process – and the Membership Task Force for their massive contribution – and thanks to Stephanie Doute and Carlos Fulcher on staff for driving this forward.

In line with the fact that some of the feedback did not come as a surprise, some recommendations are already well underway – as per the AGM remarks from the 2015-16 Chair. That said, there is much to be done to further advance the organisation –

Timeline

  • June 2016 – Email to all participants with thanks for participating; top insights and next steps
  • June 2016 – Email to all IABC Leaders building on the above + Q&A on IABC Leadership Forum
  • July 2016 – Email to all Regional and Chapter Leaders with more relevant insights for regions and chapters as relevant
  • November 2016 – IABC Leadership Forum Call status update and Q&A
  • February 2017 – Leadership Institute – status and Q&A

We will also report progress as relevant on this blog – and in our regular reports.

 

2016 IABC Annual General Meeting – in brief

The meeting in brief:

Also, at the meeting the 2015 AGM Minutes were agreed, the revised IABC Policy Manual was noted and the IABC financials were discussed – including the 2015 Audit Report

Annual Report

2015-16 Chair’s remarks in brief

1000+ leaders around the world put their shoulders to the wheel in the last year. It is thanks to these hard-working practitioners that the association, and our shared work for the profession, has moved forward. So if you meet an IABC leader, please stop and say thank you. They’ll appreciate it.

In addition to the progress reported in the Annual Report

RECOVERY

We’re returning to growth and we’ve overcome the show-stopping issues.

We have conducted the comprehensive portfolio review we promised at last year’s AGMand this has enabled us to:

FOCUS

First and foremost on Strategic Advisors – the strongest segment in the IABC Career Roadmap – because we can’t be all things to all people. This was further to a global consultation (Council of Regions, Regional Conferences, and LIs etc.). And it has been validated by the recent survey (results literally just in!).

Which in turn means we’re now obsessing about:

VALUE

A member wall is kicking in just after World Conference – increasing membership value overnight + the Membership Task Force has made further huge strides (stand by for survey insights for chapters and regions!) – and a pricing review under way working with the Finance Committee.

Which in turn leads us to our secret advantage as an association:

LEADERS

We clarified and aligned Who Does What and our Theory of Change – and a re-designed Leader Centre is on the way. We have also reaffirmed the continual investment in leadership – including our commitment to a competency-based Open Call – and much much more…

All in line with our brand platform… and our commitment to be:

OPEN

Regular quarterly reports, annual report + board blog with 70+ updates in the last year – and a GuideStar Gold Star rating for organisational transparency.

In conclusion: thank you leaders. You made it happen. You created connection like never before.

Here’s to the 2016-17 board – and our 1000+ leaders around the globe who will take things to the next level. Stand by for much much more on the year ahead from Dianne and the team.

But first: #IABC16. Let’s make it heard around the world.

Michael Ambjorn

P.P.S. If you want to do a deep-dive, you may also want to check out some of the other posts on this blog. Here are the key categories and what you can find within them:

#IABCieb Notes & Queries

Notes from IABC International Executive Board meetings.

IABC Leadership Forum

Q&A and more from the 2015-16 Leadership Forums.

Annual General Meeting

Notes from the Annual General Meetings.

Field Notes

A range of reflections – some examples:

Guest posts

Does exactly what is says on the tin. We always need more of these.

The Weekly Venn

It is all about the intersect…

 

The #IABC16 Bloq Squad – step up!

Here’s the official blog squad for the #IABC16 World Conference

Be sure to follow these intrepid international reporters – they will share their insights from key sessions – as 1,000 communicators from around the world convene in New Orleans.

Brad Gorman
Brad Gorman

Brad Gorman
United States

Communications & Engagement Manager at Whirlpool Corporation.

Follow @BradGorman

Claudia Vaccarone
Claudia Vaccarone

Claudia Vaccarone
France

Head of Market Research & Customer Experience at Eutelsat and also a member of the #IABCieb.

Follow @claudia_v_

Alain Legault
Alain Legault

Alain Legault
Canada

Directeur des communications, affaires publiques et relations gouvernementales at Cégep Edouard-Montpetit et son École nationale d’aérotechnique. Also #IABCieb. 

Follow @IcareMtl

Amy Miller

Amy Miller
United States 

Senior Customer Communication Specialist at LexisNexis, one of the leading providers of legal, government, business and high-tech information sources. 

Kristin Hancock
Kristin Hancock

Kristin Hancock
Canada

Manager Of Communications College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba.

Follow @KristinAnneH

Christine Elmer
Christine Elmer

Christine Elmer
Australia

Director, Marketing and Community Relations Cabrini Health 

Step up and join the #IABC16 blog squad: be a conference reporter in three easy steps

  1. Write a brief (<500-word) story about a session you’re attending, drawing out key learning points and highlights – following the IABC Content Guidelines when developing the story.
  2. Tag with #IABC16 and post it on your preferred platform – for example: LinkedIn, Medium or your own blog.
  3. Share via your favourite social channels – again using the hashtag so others can find it and help spread the word.

Also, submit your best story of the day on IABC’s editorial contributions page. Filed stories will be reviewed for possible inclusion on wc.iabc.com – and may be featured in CW Observer, a blog-based supplement to IABC’s magazine, Communication World.

Let’s #createconnection like never before.

Michael Ambjorn

P.S. Got Tone of Voice?

The official blog of the Chair of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)