December Leadership Forum: Finance & Brand

The fourth IABC Leadership Forum was pulled together from across three continents: Carlos was in Montréal, Dianne in Clinton, Ginger in Tulsa and Priya in Toronto. I was in London – and Melissa helped with the Q&A from Melbourne.

Here’s the replay:

Special Q&A guests

Finance

Ginger Homan
Ginger Homan
Carlos Fulcher
Carlos Fulcher

On this edition we were joined by IABC Treasurer, Ginger Homan, ABC.

Ginger has been working closely with Carlos Fulcher to create a balanced 2016 budget for IABC – including essential strategic technology investments including:

  • An updated Association Management System – to better serve staff and leaders – in line with our theory of change
  • A Learning Management System for the IABC Academy – to better serve those seeking professional development through IABC – in line with our mission

Additional strategic investment is going into better serving our Corporate Members – and short-term improvements are also being made to the current member management system (MMA).

Our association is still working through the aftermath of ten years of underinvestment in this area. Progress is being made.

One further major financial item to note is the $300K+ cost reduction we will be realising through moving our offices. Carlos briefly spoke to this at the end of the call.

Brand

Priya Bates
Priya Bates

Past Chair of the IABC Brand Task Force, Priya Bates, ABC, MC, joined for a Q&A on the brand roll-out.

Priya’s key messages:

  • It is great to see so many chapter adopting the brand so fast – some are still to pick it up though. Help is available… just ask.
  • Whatever you do visually: keep it simple.
  • And remember, the brand is more than the logo – use all of it – see the Brand Toolkit.

A practical, actionable element of the latter which you can RT:

Quick overview of the further topics covered

Dianne Chase
Dianne Chase

Dianne Chase shared a look ahead to #IABCLI – aka –  the 2016 Leadership Institute. We look forward to seeing you there. Dianne also shared the latest top  growth chapters – impressive and encouraging: 

Large Chapters

Edmonton 26%

Medium Chapters

Canberra 15%

Small Chapters

Switzerland 40%  

Well done. 

Also big thanks to all who participated in the IABC Leadership Survey that just closed. We’ll look closer at the insights early next year. Meanwhile,  Gold Quill is well underway. Here’s your toolkit.    

…and, also topical – a reminder from the Past Chair:   

 


Q&A Highlights

Question from Sheila Carruthers from Calgary: In addition to IABC working on corporate discount offerings, will there be consideration to offer discounts at LI and conferences for independent consultant members and individuals who pay their own membership fees?

Answer: Check out the scholarships for LI in the first instance – Ginger also offered to connect offline to talk more.

Question from Maliha Aqeel from Toronto: Are there any plans for HQ to conduct a brand compliance audit?

Answer: The recent Leader Survey had a set of questions around brand adoption – we will share more on that early next year.

Question from Gay Flashman from London:  Is there any way in which we can share our original blog & social content between chapters for use on local IABC channels?

Answer: The Editorial Committee has been charged with creating a global conversation calendar that can help facilitate this. Watch this space.

Last but not least, I shared a brief update on my recent #IABCAPAC trip. Here’s a decent summary of how I felt after – fuller notes will be filed in the usual place.

Thanks to all who connected – and you don’t have to wait until next month to get a question answered. Just head over to the IABC Chapter Leaders Group on LinkedIn and pitch in.

Let’s #createconnection – like never before.

Michael Ambjorn

 

Skills, skills, skills…

Stacy Wilson
Stacy Wilson

Guest post from World Conference – aka #IABC16Programme Advisory Committe Chair Stacy Wilson, ABC

Serving as the 2016 IABC Program Advisory Committee (PAC) chair has brought many revelations. One very important one is that being an IABC member and a long-time volunteer is not enough to ensure my place as a speaker.

I’ve submitted to speak to World Conference many times and been refused on numerous occasions; even as I speak frequently for other organizations, chapters and my region. I used to think that my long service in many different roles should have influenced my selection. One of the reasons I agreed to this last-minute assignment was to more fully understand the process. Now I do.

My PAC team – which is a remarkably talented group! – comes from 15 different time zones. There are millennials, mid-career professionals and very senior practitioners. There are people from corporate, consulting, not-for-profits and government. We even have several non-members to help us better understand what brings non-members into the fold.

These are the amazing people who evaluated the nearly 200 submissions received. This week, I’ve fielded many emails from the disappointed speakers who did not receive an invitation to present.

How the process works

Every proposal is submitted online. Prospective speakers are asked to provide session titles, descriptions, value/benefit explanation, along with their biographies, references and supporting documentation that helps us understand their skills as a presenter/instructor. Submitters are asked to consider a variety of concerns, such as theGlobal Standard, Career Paths and the conference theme.

Each submission is reviewed by at least two evaluators. Each is scored based on various elements related to content and presentation skills. Evaluators are able to comment on the submissions they review. Then begins a complicated process of identifying the short list of speakers to invite, considering these elements:

  • Track
  • Session type (e.g., traditional, workshop, IABC talk, speed presentation)
  • Speaker locations
  • Scores and evaluator comments

We also looked at who had spoken at the prior two conferences so as not to repeat too many of the same faces. This is in response to attendees who want to see fresh, new ideas from new faces. If we consider a speaker who has spoken recently, we review recent ratings for that speaker.

If we can’t discern the prospective speaker’s presentation skills, we may follow up with references to understand more about delivery style. Video clips help tremendously here. Only a small fraction of submitters even submitted a video clip. Evaluators often search online for these.

There are always some who decline the invitation, which sends us back to the backup list to fill such gaps. This means that a rude/inappropriate response to the initial decline doesn’t help your case for a secondary invitation. Remember, the speaker slate isn’t done until every speaker is under contract.

What it comes down to

In the end, here are my top take aways from the experience thus far:

  1. Evaluators may not know the prospective speaker personally. Even past chairs and Fellows may not be well recognized for their important role. Being a long-time member and/or volunteer really gives a submitter no edge.
  2. Submitters who do not provide clear demonstration of their speaking skills and ability will suffer lower scores. Slides alone cannot provide evaluators this level of information. Video is the best way, but providing exercises, methodology, handouts, tools, etc., can make up for a lack of video evidence.
  3. A high rating with one topic at the prior year’s conference is no guarantee that your new topic will make it through the PAC process. Last year’s rating is a secondary metric. If a submitter fails to impress with the new topic (e.g., vague description, poor supporting documentation), his/her score will not elevate the proposal to the short list.
  4. Every submitter believes his/her topic is the most important – I always thought this too – and is incredulous when it isn’t picked. What they don’t know is that there may be many other similar presentations submitted. The most competitive tracks areEmployee Engagement and Leadership and Strategy. If you submit in one of these, your chances of getting selected are smaller because these are the tracks with the most submissions.

So what is really important in this process? According to the PAC’s charge, it is these considerations, in this order:

  1. Quality
  2. Content
  3. Global representation

Clearly, many prospective speakers do not understand how to submit a great proposal. I certainly wasn’t submitting the greatest proposals. To support prospective speakers we are going to create a how-to toolkit. This will help anyone submitting put together a great proposal in time for the 2017 call for presentations.

I get it now.

2016 PAC members were not allowed to submit; a change to the PAC terms beginning with this term. There is no bias, no politics involved in speaker selection; it’s been very democratic. The team is trying to deliver the very best in service to the member, the association and the profession.

As the PAC chair, I am not allowed to submit for either 2016 or 2017. But, I can promise you I’ll be ready to submit for 2018, and I’ll use my new-found insights to ensure that my submission wows even the evaluator who has never heard my name!

December ’15 Board Meeting

The IABC International Executive Board – aka #IABCieb – recently held its seventh 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); Financials from Treasurer Ginger Homan ABC and last definitively but not least, the report from our Executive Director, Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE.

The 2014—2017 strategy says, in a paragraph:

“Financial recovery and sustainability is primary, as is the loyalty and development of our members and leaders and consolidating gains from the 2011-14 strategy. Increased reputation in the profession; better brand positioning; and greater interaction with business as a revenue generator are then the big opportunity to be grasped”.

Financial Recovery and Sustainability

Ginger Homan
Ginger Homan
Carlos Fulcher
Carlos Fulcher
Brook Yciano
Brook Yciano

At this board meeting the board reviewed the Finance Committee’s proposed 2016 balanced budget – including a set of strategic investments in:

  • Association Management System (AMS)
  • Learning Management System (LMS)
  • Office relocation costs

The latter will ultimately yield a saving of $350,000 in its first year.

The first two are essential steps in our continuing work to make up for ten years of underinvestment in technology. I am pleased to report that the board unanimously adopted the budget. Big thanks to Treasurer, Ginger Homan ABC,  Executive Director, Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE and Finance Director, Brook Yciano – and all of the hard working Finance Committee.

The board also reviewed progress reports from Audit & Risk, Policy ReviewAcademy and the Global Communication Certification Council.

Loyalty and development of our members and leaders

Dianne Chase
Dianne Chase
Micayla Felicion-Davin
Micayla Felicion-Davin

Once a year we bring IABC’s top international leaders together. IABC Vice Chair Dianne Chase shared an update on the preparations for this with help from the Council of Regions and Micayla Felicion on staff.

See the full programme – and register.

Connect with others going: #IABCLI – and if you haven’t been to one before, why not check out some of the photos from last year’s Leadership Institute?

Better brand positioning

In line with the focusing in on Strategic Advisors as the core audience for IABC, the board was pleased to learn that the Global Communication Certification Council has decided, after considerable deliberation, to pursue that level as the next Certification. Stay tuned for more on this in 2016.

Greater interaction

I reported how, as Chair, I was honoured to join 32 IABC Leaders from across Asia-Pacific who met for the first Leadership Institute in the APAC region since 2012 – and the first since the formation of the APAC Region Board. The event was hugely successful and offered a balanced mix of workshops, educational sessions, networking opportunities and social events.

 

This was in addition to 40+ engagements in 7 cities across 14 back-to-back days on the road. Our leaders in APAC are nothing if not ambitious on behalf of IABC’s leadership. This included advocacy opportunities with:

  • Five government departments, a major police force and other public service bodies
  • Australia and New Zealand’s biggest banks, a cellular operator, an insurer, a financial institution, a major engineering firm, and more…

You can read what I learnt on this – and other trips – in the Field Notes section of this blog. So many to thank – esp: Leanne Joyce, Zora Artis, Monika Lancucki ABC, Damien Batey, Mike Shaw, Kathryn Britt, Yvonne DensemJennifer Andrewes and John Tulloch + the amazing and unstoppable Kirsten Peterson.

Let’s #createconnection like never before.

Michael Ambjorn