Vita Kernel and Connie Ruhe at #IABC15

The year ahead: greater interaction, greater connection

SAP CEO Bill McDermott thanking his comms advisor on stage at #IABC15
SAP CEO Bill McDermott thanking his comms advisor on stage at #IABC15

If the financial crisis didn’t teach us anything else, then it hopefully taught us that it is not just commercial firms that need to operate professionally and with a solid business model.

Non-profits need to do that too, and increasingly we see expectations like this put on government departments as well. What is common across all of these? These organisations need solid professional communicators to support them. Don’t take my word for it. Take SAP’s CEO – our keynote speaker earlier [at #IABC15] – take his word for it.

The Global Communication Certification Council will, under the leadership of Sue Heuman, ABC, deliver the next level exam. Meanwhile the Academy will step up under the leadership of Theomary Karamanis to meet the need for new skills in fast changing landscape.

What can you expect from me? I will follow the path Russell has forged for visible leadership at IABC. At the time Russell took over we needed a strong central figure to continue to hold things together. Looking at this room, and reflecting on the progress we have made – as challenging as it has been – I would like to venture to say that we now need a thousand leaders to stand up and be counted.

We have a thousand leaders in this association.

You’re a highly engaged bunch. You’re kind. You’re hard working. And you’re demanding.

So what will I do to help you? I will do my utmost to live what we want the tone around here to be:

Accessible          Open         Lighter         Contemporary         Professional

To that end, and accompanying the now once-again regular quarterly reports I am instituting a quarterly progress call – the corporates amongst you will know it as an earnings call – but we of course have no shareholders. We do however have stakeholders and we need to continue to have regular exchanges, as piloted this year as ‘open mics’. Look out for an invite to a Google Hangout where you can hold me, and the board, to account, ask questions and get straight answers.

I will also kick off a new conversation once a month – aligned with the IABC editorial calendar – and I encourage you to participate, or indeed, kick off your own.

What do I hope to review with you when I stand here next year?

All of us truly living the brand – and I am not talking about the logo here.

I’m talking about the depth and breadth beyond it. And I want to take this moment to thank Priya Bates ABC and her ace team for all their work on this.

What else?

  • An Academy delivering the comms skills we need to meet a new reality and a Certification programme to test and verify them. We need this if we are to remain a current global profession.
  • A vibrant global conversation taking place amongst members – and the wider world – centred around a focal point: an editorial calendar that advances the exchanges across our diverse community.
  • With that a rejuvenated network of people using their skills and connections to create real impact – measurable impact based on insights and results – to deliver on our vision that communication truly can be a force for good. As a practical example within that: a revitalised Foundation that takes the Gift of Communication and our mentoring programmes around the world to the next level – and with that reactivated fundraising to support it.

Most of all I want to see our members, chapters, regions and international task forces, committees and indeed the board and staff work together like never before. Let’s remove friction points that are holding us back, let’s truly bring new and fresh approaches where needed, and let’s refine the things we do best, even better.

Let’s #createconnection like never before.

Michael Ambjorn

The above is an excerpt from the inaugural comments at the 2015 Annual General Meeting of the International Association of Business Communicators. The full speech can be found here (PDF).

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