Category Archives: IABC Leadership Forum

January Leadership Forum: Certification + Ethics

The fifth IABC Leadership Forum was pulled together from across three continents: Carlos was in Philadelphia, Dianne in Charlotte and Barbara Puffer was at large in Florida. I was in London – and Melissa helped with the Q&A from San Francisco.

Here’s the replay:

Quick recap of key topics covered

Special guest(s)


Dianne Chase also shared the latest from the Global Communication Certification Council on behalf of Sue Heuman:

  • New Communication Certification Professional (CMP) profiles coming soon
  • Next certification level will cater for the Strategic Advisor level of the global career paths (scroll down to see them)

Find upcoming CMP exam dates and much more here.

Barbara Puffer
Barbara Puffer

IABC Fellow, and Chair of the IABC Ethics Committee, Barbara Puffer joined to talk about the work to update the Code of Ethics. Join the discussion on the Chapter Leader forum on LinkedIn – or pitch in during the upcoming Leadership Institute in Los Angeles. The plan is to complete the revision in time for the 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM).


By the way, if you have ideas for how we can make the AGM more engaging, reach out…

Q&A Highlights

Thanks to all who attended. See you on the February Leader Forum.

Let’s #createconnection – like never before.

Michael Ambjorn

2016 Leadership Institute: #IABCLI

IABC Leadership Institute - inspiring the leader in you

It seems like the New Year is already racing away! We’re mid-way through January and there are already 2016 deadlines behind us. But there’s still time to book for this year’s Leadership Institute.

Haven’t decided if you’re attending yet? Here are some great reasons to get yourself to California in February:

Unmissable opening and closing sessions

Every year, Leadership Institute starts with the celebration of the annual Chapter Management Awards. The CMAs are a recognition of all things excellent in IABC’s chapters around the world, and the CMA presentation is also a great opportunity to connect (and reconnect) with IABC leaders near and far.

This year’s closing keynote on Saturday will be delivered by the energetic Michelle Ray, author of Lead Yourself First!. Michelle’s presentation, “Leadership: It Starts with Me,” will include strategies to re-energize your chapter leadership and build yourself a leadership blueprint. Her advice will give you tools to use within your chapter – and beyond.

An unbeatable program

Friday and Saturday’s programs will provide an opportunity to learn, contribute and connect. You’ll be able to:

  • attend presentations and that will provide insights into how other chapters are getting results. Topics will include chapter finance, member engagement, board management and more.
  • hear from International Executive Board members, committee leaders and staff on the progress of key initiatives in IABC’s strategy.
  • take part in collaborative sessions that will help to contribute to IABC’s future development.

View the complete program on Leader Centre. Once you’ve registered, don’t forget to download the Guidebook app for iOS, Android or desktop, where the LI 2016 program will be posted soon. 

Global networking

Our host chapters, Los Angeles and Orange County, will be hosting this year’s Dine Around – sure to be yet another legendary IABC night out! Like World Conference, Leadership Institute provides an exceptional opportunity to meet with likeminded global professionals who represent the best of IABC’s diverse community.

Hotel and Registration

The Leadership Institute is taking place at the Hotel Maya in Long Beach, just outside Los Angeles and only 30 minutes from LAX. The hotel is on the waterfront, set in a lush tropical landscape of more than 400 palm trees. The hotel style is inspired by the land and sea, and a fusion of Latin American and Southern Californian styles. If you can extend your stay for the weekend, there are plenty of things to do in the area.

You must book your room by Thursday 21 January to secure the group rate of $179 per night. Online registration for LI also ends on 21 January.

If you’d like to connect with other attendees before arriving in Long Beach, use #IABCLI – or checkout the event Facebook page and, as always, the Chapter Leader LinkedIn Group.

Let’s create connection like never before.

Michael Ambjorn

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


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.


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


November IABC Leadership Forum

The third IABC Leadership Forum was pulled together from across two continents: Carlos was in Philadelphia, Dianne in Charlotte, and I was in London – and Melissa helped with the Q&A from San Francisco.

Here’s the replay:

Be sure to tune in for the next one.

When & Where
Wednesday 16 December: 1pm PST / 4pm EST / 9pm London / 8am Sydney (Thur). Click here for time zone conversions in your part of the world. Full details here.

October IABC Leadership Forum: Basel, Baltimore, Calgary, Denver, LA, Rotterdam, NOLA…

Carlos Fulcher
Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE
Dianne Chase
Dianne Chase
Melissa Dark ABC
Melissa Dark ABC

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:

Mary Foshage
Mary Foshage

‘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

Camille Downing
Camille Downing

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.


Conferences around the world

High Octane

Dianne Chase, IABC Vice Chair, reported from the Canada West Conference in Calgary – chaired by Master Communicator Karen Lee ABC. Continue reading October IABC Leadership Forum: Basel, Baltimore, Calgary, Denver, LA, Rotterdam, NOLA…

September IABC Leadership Forum: Your Questions Answered

2015 09 #IABCieb Leadership Forum - Carlos FulcherSome 100+ IABC leaders from around the world participated in the inaugural IABC Leadership Forum – an initiative I first covered in an earlier post titled silos are so yesterday. They connected to a Google Hangout on Air, checked in via Twitter or checked out the replay (which is already available here) and we’ve had great feedback so far.

Q&A in action

Monthly – and yes! – 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 – you can also share your feedback on the call there, write to – or indeed, drop me a line anytime: @michaelambjorn on Twitter or via the good old electronic mail:

Some of the questions were around tough issues – we’re still on a journey recovering from ten years of underinvestment in technology. A topic I addressed at some length in my inaugural comments at the 2015 IABC Annual General Meeting in San Francisco. We are making progress though and I am confident that we’ve turned the corner – and there’s lots of exciting things going on.

Here’s a quick recap of what else we covered:

Dianne Chase
Dianne Chase
Carlos Fulcher
Carlos Fulcher
Melissa Dark
Melissa Dark

All of these items were interspersed with Q&A based on questions coming in from Hangout questions, Twitter etc.

  1. Welcome, brief introductions – I was joined by IABC Vice Chair Dianne Chase, our Executive Director Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE and our Global Communications Director Melissa Dark ABC.
  2. Quick revisit of questions from the  AGM (which included quite a bit on tech) – and top questions from the Chapter Leader LinkedIn group + any audience questions.
  3. What’s coming upplaces to #createconnection, October Member Month and Gold Quill  – and the Chapter Management Awards
  4. Top tools: Melissa walked us through the leader comms tools including the Leader Centre, the Leader Letter and a few other things you’re regularly getting in your inbox.
  5. The big international stuff: World Conference, Best in Show (get the leader toolkit) and a look ahead to the Leadership Institute in Los Angeles in February 2016.

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