Orlando Int’l Leadership Institute : Sunny Inside As Well As Outside

I was in New York recently, visiting the IABC New York Chapter.    While in the City, I noticed something I hadn’t before – that people no longer wait for the white man to light up, to cross the road.   It always used to be de rigueur to do so – but no longer.    Even on some of the busiest thoroughfares.

Perhaps because life now is busier than ever.  And the demands made on leaders at chapter level in IABC to attract, retain, and maintain members grows daily against a torrent of other things to occupy people’s lives.

So it was something of a relief to be able to get away for a couple of days at the end of last week to join with 175 IABC leaders for our Annual International Leadership Institute (ILI) which this year was held in Orlando, Florida.

It was both sunny outside, and sunny inside as we shared what I felt was a really special ILI.  Thank you especially to the IABC Council of Regions for putting the programme together, and to everyone who contributed – as a speaker or a listener

As communicators, we know listening is as important as talking.   It’s something we’ve tried to do more with members and leaders throughout this year on the International Executive Board (IEB) and I felt we had a good ‘open mic’ session for the last hour of our IEB meeting on Thursday.

In the general sessions at ILI, we gave IABC leaders an update on progress of the ‘new branding’ work, including a sneak peek on the new logo and typeface.  We did this despite the date being Friday 13th!  The response around the room and on Twitter seemed very good.  And I want to recognise at this point Arcas Advertising, for their significant pro-bono work to get us this far.

The logo will be formally launched from April onwards, though it will probably take the best part of a year for us to diffuse it over all our applications, as we want to introduce it at minimum cost.   But you can expect the new look to be very evident at June’s World Conference.

More important than the visual logo and type though, is our exposition of what the logo will stand for : the strategic IABC themes of community and camaraderie, of being a global communication practice, of recognising and realising the opportunities for IABC members to interact more with business and of building greater reputation : of IABC in the profession, and of the profession in the wider world.

Also at ILI, I shared with leaders how by the end of 2014 we’d got a grip on the Association’s finances; how we had significantly benefited operationally from the arrival of Carlos Fulcher our nearly-new Executive Director; how we had launched the much-anticipated new website; and how we are doing important, but back office, stuff to make sure our governance and policies are up to date.

I also explained that we now have a very clear business plan for 2015 with clear priorities, which focuses principally on retaining members, on building IABC reputation (for example, though work of the new International Communications Committee which will be headed by Shannon Frederick ABC) and of raising revenue from new sources –  all of it designed ultimately to flow back to a better experience for members at the chapter level.

I have encouraged everyone who attended ILI to go back to chapters and regions and to explain : not simply what they learned, not simply what they discovered, but especially what they now feel about the Association and our direction of growth in so many directions.

Why IABC World Conference Has To Be A Commercial As Well As A Programming Success

We’re well into delivery now for the signature event on IABC’s calendar – our World Conference, which this year is in San Francisco from June 14th to 17th.

As a two-time past World Conference Chair I’ve taken a special interest in this year’s event, whose theme is Changing the Landscape: Informing the Future.

…But I didn’t want that to be just a fancy PR slogan.  So I asked this year’s Conference Chair, Preston Lewis, and his Committee to give us something properly different.

Which they have.  And so this year we have an unparalleled set of speakers and uprated content, providing innovative thinking and significant professional development at all levels.  More at wc.iabc.com.

…But I didn’t want this year’s changes to be just about the content.  I also want the 2015 World Conference to be an outstanding commercial success.

Why? Because the money we generate from Conference each year generates funding to plough back into IABC, including subsidising member programmes and learning opportunities.

Such as?  The free member webinars we run through the year; the creation of our new Certification Programme (to be launched at Conference); and the investment of some US$70,000 we’ve put into training for chapter leaders at February’s International Leadership Institute.

So this is where you could come in.  As an Association, IABC has always been greater than the sum of its parts.  And given many of our ‘day jobs’ in the profession, I want to know if YOU have contacts which will help US make this year’s conference the one with the most sponsors, exhibitors and financial supporters.

We’re on the lookout for all sorts of companies and other for-profit organisations who can realise the synergies between THEIR products and OUR Association

Here are some resources to get you going:

All About World Conference – A description of the event, and what is special and unique this year.

News and Previews – Interviews with speakers, newest additions to the programme and all the latest happenings.

Sponsorship overview –A high-level outline about IABC and the programme.

Be a sponsor! – The options available to sponsors.  We will customize packages for them.

Be an exhibitor! – Why being an exhibitor will be better than ever this year.

We have made lots of sponsorship spots available! I want every one filled in the next three months. But  IABC can’t do that without a worldwide leader effort.

So please, get you great creative brains going.  Open up your App marked  “contacts” and match up the possibilities of being a business partner with IABC.

Feed thoughts, leads, ideas and contacts (however mad – sometimes those are the best ones!) to Marie Coppola (mcoppola@iabc.com).   Marie will sort all your queries as well.

Thank you for your support. I know that together we’ll produce outstanding commercial results to match the great programming one!