Time flies and we’re already back from Dallas and our Leadership Institute 2017! What an engaging and energizing event it was, as so many of you have said in your feedback.
Huge thanks to everyone who participated in making this year’s annual IABC leaders gathering so rewarding, and a stellar boost of motivation and connection. We hope that you left inspired with plenty of take-aways to put to work back home at your chapter or region.
Sharing insights, knowledge and good practices has always been the very essence of Leadership Institute. We hope you’ll keep the conversations going! Keep connecting with IABC members around the world who can help you achieve your goals. Remember those work plans from the World Café and the take-aways from the outstanding sessions to tee up action for your future-forward plans.
A highlight of Leadership Institute is recognizing outstanding achievement by our chapters and leaders in our celebration of the Chapter Management Awards.
During a special ‘L.I Reflections’ Leadership Forum yesterday our special guests were Claudia Miller, the 2017 Regional Leader of the Year and Will Tigley, president of IABC/Calgary, our 2017 International Chapter of the Year. They shared their success stories, learnings and tips for success. Watch the recording if you missed it.
We met to define our business priorities for the coming board year. It was exciting to be in the room with so many people who are passionate about IABC’s success.
Our senior management team kicked the session off with presentations that showcased their ideas on how to move the association forward. I want to personally thank our outgoing Executive Director Carlos Fulcher, and our now Acting Executive Director Stephanie Doute – as well as Director of Professional Development Ron Hansen, Director of Content Natasha Nicholson, Director of Finance Brook Yciano and Governance Manager Kirsten Peterson for their contributions.
We were also joined by Jodie Slaughter, President and Founder of McKinley Advisors, the company that conducted our recent membership survey. She shared trends in membership associations, which was incredibly insightful. One key point – successful associations are exploring relevant Big Data to gain actionable insights.
As we move into the last year of the 2014-2017 strategy, it was a pleasure to mark many items off the list as completed! Thank you to all our 1,000+ leaders across the world for the hard work you have put in to make that happen. Read the latest annual report to learn more.
Moving forward for this board year, we established four key business objectives to continue our progress towards our established strategic goal of achieving financial sustainability and increasing our membership retention.
While we did make advances in each area this past year, there are still improvements that need to be made to reach our ultimate goals.
1. Retention: substantially enhance the existing plan, utilizing the information from the membership survey we conducted earlier this year.
2. Technology Strategic Plan: we made significant investments and improvements in our technology over the past two years, but we must continue to wisely invest to improve our member experience and customer service.
3. Strategic Communications Plan: continue to focus efforts on our external communications and reaching new audiences to generate increased awareness about IABC. Our Communications Committee is in place and working to advance the association and our profession.
4. Strategic Marketing Plan: IABC has a lot of great products and can add significant value to members of the professional communicators profession – however, we don’t do a good job of telling our story and getting our message heard, understood and acted upon.
As to the Strategic Marketing Plan, this is a combination of a couple of objectives from our previous list of business priorities – to focus on the success of our mature products and to engage with professional communicators who are not members – but it actually will provide a platform for making that happen. Utilizing the survey data, as well as the personas developed by the Membership Task Force, a comprehensive marketing plan will be developed to sell all of our products. Initially, it will focus on Academy offerings, but quickly scale up to include all of our offerings.
A senior staff member was assigned to each objective and milestone dates were set – and we’ll keep you posted on progress.
And I hope to see you at the Washington Hilton next year for #IABC17! Mark your calendar now: 11-14 June 2017.
Dianne Chase 2016-17 IABC Chair
P.S. Got a recommendation for the #IABC17 team on who should keynote? Share your suggestion here – and please help spread the word.
We just closed the 2016 International Leadership Institute. Thanks to all who came in person, from near and far. And all who engaged via #IABCLI. It is great to see such global connection in action.
It was a highly interactive, engaging – and ultimately inspiring event. I’m extremely grateful to the Council of Regions, chaired by Dianne Chase – and Chapter Relations Manager, Micayla Felicion-Davin, for their work putting together the programme. An effort that couldn’t have been pulled off without our hard working staff. Big thanks to them too.
Now with fond farewells come an opportunity for a fresh hello. We’re getting the band together again–and soon: the February Leadership Forum is upon us. We’ll recap what happened at the Leadership Institute and take a quick look at the latest Quarterly Report.
Plus special guests
IABC Fellow John Clemons will talk about the work to create an editorial calendar all of IABC can draw on to create global conversation.
The Leadership Forum will be a Google Hangout. If you have a Google+ account, just join IABC there to participate. If you don’t have a Google+ account, just tune into YouTube, where it will be broadcasting live.
You’re welcome to submit questions prior to the call on the IABC Chapter Leader Group on LinkedIn. During the call, if you’re in Google+, you’ll be able to participate through the Q&A feature. If you don’t have a Google+ account, you can add a comment to the YouTube view, or you can tweet using the hashtag #IABCieb.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
Some 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
#IABCieb@iabc. How often will we do these Leadership Forum call? And, can we send questions in advance?
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:
All of these items were interspersed with Q&A based on questions coming in from Hangout questions, Twitter etc.