We did the second IABC Leadership Forum on the road: Carlos and I broadcast from the stage at the Heritage Region Conference in Baltimore and Dianne checked in from Charlotte, fresh back from the Canada West conference in Calgary – and Melissa helped with the Q&A from San Francisco.
You can watch the replay here:
It was a great session, but don’t just take my word for it:
‘Love this! Am going to encourage our whole board to join.’ – Mary Foshage, VP Marketing IABC St. Louis
Quick overview of the topics covered
All of the following was interspersed with Q&A – see a run-down of the questions at the end – and the Leadership Forum is all about creating connection between leaders, hence all the people are hyperlinked in case you want to follow up.
Welcome, brief introductions
The core team (above) + special guest Camille Downing who joined to share an update from the Heritage Region conference which gathered a strong contingent of communicators from across the East Coast of the US – and even a couple of Canadians.
Earlier this month I changed planes eight times to get to a range of IABC commitments. One of the things that made it so worthwhile was the warm welcome and the human connection one come across wherever a stop is made in the IABC universe.
A quick count tells me I talked 1:1 with a 100+ leaders, but as an espresso drinker I appreciate that your coffee break might not last all day. So I’ll focus in on three leaders who inspired me (in the order I met them).
In Jacksonville I had the opportunity to talk at length with long-serving leader Marci Larson.
Patient, graceful – and strategic.
A leader who quietly develops the next generation of local leaders.
We need more people like that.
In Denver I had the opportunity to meet Cody Bromley, the IABC Southern Region Rising Star for 2015 – and I can see why!
A bundle of energy and insight. Not afraid to challenge – or be challenged.
We need more people like that.
In Baltimore I had a chance to talk to Brenda Siler – Past Chair of the Association (1998-99). She’s got that quiet confidence and gravitas of an accomplished leader.
Plenty of irons in the fire, yet ready to help if called upon.
We need more people like that.
What they all have in common is the only place that connects internationally minded communicators. Join us.
Our Executive Director Carlos Fulcher and I just hosted a the closing session at the Denver ‘Taking it to the extreme’ conference – organised by the IABC Southern Region and chaired by long-time IABC leader Sherry Boyd and hosted by Regional Chair Julie Ludwig. Their team did an ace job bringing together 120+ communicators from across North America.
It was a fast-moving session – the group reflected on the insights, ideas and opportunities that had come up during the conference.
One of the outputs from the session was a shared reading / listening list – and it is a long one.
I think we can safely match it to the theme of the conference: taking it to the extreme.
If you have an article, book or podcast to add – please post it in the comments – or tweet me @michaelambjorn and I’ll share in a future post.
The IABC International Executive Board – aka #IABCieb – recently held its fifth board meeting of this term and here’s a quick recap of what was on the table in addition to the usual reports from the Chair; Vice Chair Dianne Chase (with a specific focus on the work of the Council of Regions (#IABCcor); Financials from Treasurer Ginger Homan ABC and last definitively but not least, the report from our Executive Director, Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE:
Portfolio Review & Organisational Alignment
Following on from the discussion at the September board meeting, the board reflected further on the decision to focus more tightly on our core audience at the international level.
Another recommendation that came out of the portfolio review is to bring clearer definition to the value of membership. Now this is of course work that is already well underway in the form of the Membership Task Force, led by Claudia Vaccarone with support from our Director of Membership, Stephanie Doute CAE – and with a strong team of leaders providing input. In parallel, and in order to accelerate this broader work, the board has directed the senior management team to explore how IABC’s website might enable better differentiation of access to content based on whether one is a casual visitor or a full member. The work on further refining and focusing in IABC’s portfolio and the association alignment work will continue meanwhile.
Member Month & Technology
Linked to the above, the board discussed the latest membership figures and Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE reported on the latest work on the iabc.com website which has made joining (and renewing) a smoother experience. Moving IABC’s technology infrastructure into the 21st century after ten years of underinvestment continues to be hard work, but progress is being made. I continue to be in awe of the effort being put in by our hard-working HQ staff – and our leaders in the field – to serve members around the world. Thankyou!
October is an incredible important time for IABC as it is the time of year when many are coming up for renewal. With support from our hard working Director of Global Communication, Melissa Dark ABC, a set of fabulous campaign materials are out there, ready and available for leader use.
I count on you to help create connection and grow the value of our shared network. You can read my full call-to-action here – and I hope you will do your bit to be recognised as a Very Important Communicator (to find out what that entails, you’ll have to read this).
The board approved the work plan for 2016 Theomary Karamanis PhD brought to the board, with support from our Education Director, Ron Hansen EdD and his staff. The next step being budget discussions.
Since the June 2015 report the Academy has progressed significantly.
The Academy identified two subcommittees to provide a focus on
key objectives, as described in the approved Terms of Reference:
a) The curriculum subcommittee, focusing on pedagogy, curriculum and related tasks
b) The strategic plan subcommittee, focusing on strategic planning, branding and policies and procedures for the Academy
Meet the international team behind this here – and also big thanks to Sharon Hunter for her ongoing strategic liaison work with this team.
World Conference: #IABC16
The board received an encouraging progress report from Stacy Wilson ABC for the 2016 World Conference coming up in New Orleans. Hundreds of applications to speak have been received. The next big challenge is for the super-sized Programme Advisory Committee (PAC) to work through all these applications, using the objective review process and then the creation of the final programme. I am pleased to say that a number of exciting keynotes are also being shortlisted.
The PAC is also working on rethinking the Foundation Luncheon and the Circles of Wisdom.
I am also pleased to report that PAC Vice Chair Sarah McLaughlin is working closely with the leaders of the Gift of Communication as well as liaising closely with the local New Orleans Chapter for support around Dine-Around and more.
Leadership Institutes – Regional and International
People go to World Conference – [and the many Regional Conferences such as those coming up next week: Denver, Baltimore, Calgary, and Rotterdam early next year] – in order to build their communications skills.
Leaders also go to Leadership Institutes. To build their leadership skills. And again, they happen around the world: Minneapolis and Johannesburg earlier in the year, Basel just last week and Sydney in November – to mention a few of the Regionals.
These tend to be smaller and more tightly focused on the unique challenges within a Region – and the board appreciated Dianne Chase’s update from her attendance at the Europe, Middle East and North Africa Leadership Institute in Basel. The board is grateful to the teams who put events like this together (and thanks to IEB colleague Ron Fuchs for hosting). Not to mention all the leaders who turn out to share their ideas, insight and passion. Whilst the market continues to be challenging, it sounds like there is a clear plan in place to face it head-on.
Global leaders also need a global perspective – as good practice knows no borders. To that end IABC leaders from across the globe convene once a year at what we call fondly call #IABCLI. Dianne Chase presented the preliminary programme from the Council of Regions, who oversee this programme with support from Micayala Felicion MBA.
Whether you’ve been to one or not, I hope to see you this coming February in Los Angeles. Please mark your calendar:
One of the cornerstones of the current three-year strategy is increased reputation in the profession and better brand positioning – and one of the routes to achieving this is by stepping up our own practice of communication. Here’s a direct quote from Katie Macaulay‘s report from the Communications Committee to the board – a first sharing of ideas to test the ground:
The next few years can be viewed in two ways – as a struggle for survival in a competitive and demanding marketplace, or as an exciting and unique opportunity.
Membership associations around the world are struggling to remain relevant and commercially viable due to the countless ways professionals can now connect with each other, receive support and promote their disciplines.
However, there is good news. The value of communication – in business and society – has never been better understood.
Communicators are playing an increasingly strategic role inside their organizations as the business community recognizes that success hinges on having a clear, credible and differentiating message.
So, despite a tough market, there has never been a better time to promote our profession and connect with communicators.
To help in this task, we have a new vision for non-member communication – to demonstrate the power of our profession.
The board welcomed the initial thoughts shared and asked Katie to come back to the board following further work by her Committee as well as broader stakeholders. Also big thanks to Ron Fuchs and Melissa Dark ABC for their ongoing liaison work.
At the November meeting, in addition to the Comms Committee returning, the Membership Committee reporting initial findings we will also look at board evaluation.
Before that? Well, a fair number of us are hitting the road next week: Dianne is heading to Calgary for the Canada West conference and Carlos, Ginger and I will be at the Southern Region Conference in Denver. Both Carlos and I will then go onto the Heritage Region conference in Baltimore. I hope to see you there – even if you’re not planning on travelling.
How? Join the next IABC Leadership Forum online. Details here.
Recently I had the privilege of chairing an event on behalf of IABC UK, kindly hosted by top comms headhunting firm VMA.
I’ve been reading the follow-on blog posts and I particularly like the nice visually-amplified summary from Gay Flashman. I would add just one more column (which Gay covers in the main text): the Global Standard. It adds the professional process that helps practitioners make sense of the other two.