Tag Archives: Natasha Nicholson

Strategy summit – at the site of #IABC17

The IABC executive committee and our senior management team met in Washington D.C. at the Washington Hilton, which is set to host the 2017 World Conference – aka – #IABC17. A great location in a great neighborhood.

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.

Carlos Fulcher
Carlos Fulcher
Stephanie Doute
Stephanie Doute
Ron Hansen
Ron Hansen
Natasha Nicholson
Natasha Nicholson
Brook Yciano
Brook Yciano
Kirsten Peterson
Kirsten Peterson

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.

February Leadership Forum: Editorial + Academy + Eurocomm

The sixth IABC Leadership Forum was pulled together from across three continents: Carlos was in Philadelphia, Dianne in Charlotte – and special guests Ruth and Theomary were at large, but crucially, with internet. I was in London – and Melissa helped with the Q&A from IABC’s newly relocated offices in San Francisco.

Quick recap of key topics covered

Carlos Fulcher
Carlos Fulcher

Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE also reported a set of initiatives to step up customer service. These include a feedback loop for those getting in touch with HQ – and a hunt group for phone calls, ensuring you get to a person with a smile more easily.

Dianne Chase
Dianne Chase

Dianne Chase shared the work underway by the Council of Regions to make the IABC Leader Centre for leaders, by leaders. If you have suggestions or recommendations, do get in touch with Dianne. And don’t forget that there are lots resources in the library already including the brand toolkit, guidance for awards programmes, marketing resources and more.

Special guests

Editorial
Ruth Kinzey
Ruth Kinzey

Rutz Kinzey checked in on behalf of the Editorial Committee, chaired by IABC Fellow John Clemons ABC.

Natasha Nicholson
Natasha Nicholson

Ruth talked us through the work the group has done with Natasha Nicholson on staff to develop a new Editorial Calendar for IABC that can be used across all levels of the organisation. The aim is to drive a global conversation to advance good practice in specific and the profession in general. If you’re working on professional development plans for your chapter, do align with the calendar – it’ll massively increase timely resources around your local initiatives.

Next they’re looking to widen the diversity of contributions from across the world – and longer term how to ensure IABC’s flagship publication  If you know of a thought leader who has insights to share – please direct them to the editorial guidelines and encourage them to pitch.

Big thanks to the team of leaders and staff advancing this work.

Academy
Theomary Karamanis
Theomary Karamanis

Theomary Karamanis shared the latest from the IABC Academy and how it ties into the IABC Career Roadmap – specifically focusing on the Strategic Advisor level.

Theomary also talked through the work to help professional communicators get the skills they need in order to certify – and what’s next for the Academy more broadly – including plans for self-paced learning.

Check out the upcoming workshops –  and meet the full Committee working with staff to advance this work. Big thanks to all involved.

Eurocomm

Klavs Valskov and his Europe, Middle East and North Africa team is bringing you a Regional Conference in Rotterdam this April.

#Eurocomm 2016 | 18-19 April | Rotterdam

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

Let’s #createconnection – like never before.

Michael Ambjorn

#IABCieb Notes & Queries: August ’15 board meeting

Dianne Chase
Dianne Chase
Ginger Homan ABC
Ginger Homan ABC

The IABC International Executive Board – aka #IABCieb – just closed out its third 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 – aka #IABCcor); Treasurer Ginger Homan ABC and last definitively but not least, the report from our Executive Director, Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE:

Awards

Cindy Schmieg ABC
Cindy Schmieg ABC
Monika Lancucki ABC
Monika Lancucki ABC

Cindy Schmieg ABC, board liaison to the Gold Quill Committee, shared an update on their work: it is well underway with planning for this year’s awards cycle.

I hasten to bring your attention to the opportunity to serve here: are you the next Vice Chair of Awards? You’ll be working with Monika Lancucki ABC who is looking to take the awards work to the next level in line with the board’s priorities for this year.

If you want to see how the Gold Quill framework can be used off-season too, check out this earlier post.

Academy

Theomary Karamanis PhD
Theomary Karamanis PhD
Sharon Hunter
Sharon Hunter
Ron Hansen PhD
Ron Hansen PhD

The board also had an update from the IABC Academy – one of the perhaps less exciting roles of the board (yet essential) is reviewing terms of reference to ensure clarity of roles, responsbilities – and ultimately alignment with our purpose, vision, and mission. Big thanks to Academy Chair Theomary Karamanis (and congrats again on the recent move to Cornell) as well as board liaison Sharon Hunter for their work on this with Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE and Ron Hansen, our Education Director on staff. This work forms an essential part of the #IABC1417 strategy, specifically in consolidating gains from the 2011-13 strategy cycle.

Meet the full IABC Academy Committee and check out the upcoming workshops and webinars that can help you stay sharp in a competitive environment.

World Conference

Preston Lewis
Preston Lewis
Natasha Nicholson
Natasha Nicholson
Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE
Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE

Carlos, our Executive Director, took us through the comprehensive report on this year’s World Conference – big thanks goes out to Preston Lewis who chaired the #IABC15 Programme Advisory Committee and helped feed into the analysis work led by Natasha Nicholson, IABC’s Director of Content. All that after they had delivered a successful conference too! ‘No rest …’ as the saying goes.

Stacy Wilson ABC
Stacy Wilson ABC

I’m super excited to be working with Stacy Wilson ABC on #IABC16. We’ve had a tremendous response to the Open Call to serve on the 2016 Programme Advisory Committee. Great to see so many leaders from around the world looking to step up and serve.

We’re looking forward to welcoming you all to New Orleans.

Here’s a sneak peek – do help spread the word:

Continue reading #IABCieb Notes & Queries: August ’15 board meeting

#IABCieb Notes & Queries: June ’15 Board Meeting

The IABC International Executive Board – aka #IABCieb – held its first board meeting of this term at #IABC15 in San Francisco and here’s a quick recap of what was on the table:

Strategy 2014-17 & 2015 priorities

Dianne Chase
Dianne Chase
Shannon Frederick ABC
Shannon Frederick ABC
Ron Fuchs APR
Ron Fuchs APR
Alain Legault

In addition to welcoming new board members featured to the right – and thanking those outgoing – the incoming board started off reviewing the road travelled so far.

From the strategic intent for 2014-17:

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.

The big opportunity to be grasped is then: Increased reputation in the profession; better brand positioning; and greater interaction with business – as a revenue generator and reputationally.

To the more detailed priorities for 2015.

I thought I might share what an engaging road it has been – as it has been a long one, I’ve put that right at the end for those who want to geek out on what it takes to arrive at a shared strategy – there are no shortcuts…

Following the strategy grounding, the board discussed alignment – and ran through the playbook for the year: essentially who does what, when and why.

The board then considered a number of papers for decision:

Membership Task Force & Survey Policy

Claudia Vaccarone
Claudia Vaccarone

Claudia Vaccarone brought two papers for consideration. Both advance our 2014-17 strategy – and a number of 2015 priorities in specific. Both were adopted:

  1. The first one kicked off a focused look at our membership offering. A range of initiatives have looked at elements of membership over the years, yet based on feedback from our leaders across the world, it is time to take a look at the bigger picture as the market is changing fast. The group includes leaders from across the world identified through the IABC Council of Regions and will report back at the 2016 Leadership Institute.
  2. The second paper was on surveying – recognising that in the age of big data it also needs to be well structured! The aim is to switch from the current ad-hoc approach to a regular schedule of timely and relevant surveys from IABC that can help inform leaders for action at all levels of the organisation

Nominations Process

In the interest of securing the best leadership talent to help IABC deliver on its mission, vision and purpose – and in line with its stated philosophy:

“IABC is a volunteer-driven organization whose strength is derived from the dedication of its members to the advancement of their profession, with a commitment to improving the effectiveness of organizations through strategic, interactive, integrated business communication management.”

The board agreed to institute open calls for relevant incoming IEB Board and Programmatic Committees using the IABC Leadership Competency Framework. Look out for the Open Calls!

Editorial Committee

Stephen Welch
Stephen Welch

The board considered a paper I had asked Stephen Welch to put together in collaboration with Natasha Nicholson, IABC’s Content Director and Editor of Communication World (CW).

Natasha Nicholson
Natasha Nicholson

I am glad to report that the board agreed to a proposal to reinvigorate our approach here, making it a shared approach across all of IABC – we have great events, insights and outputs created across the world every day. Now let’s turn it into a real global conversation.

Look out for the Open Call for a refreshed Editorial Advisory Committee to come in and help shape the conversation that advances the profession – and if you’re a Chapter Leader, you don’t have to wait, you can align your event schedule to the CW editorial calendar right now (and indeed, pitch an article).

Audit & Risk

Learn what is happening within nonprofit boardrooms today in this comprehensive review and analysis of the Leading with Intent survey data; includes insights into trends, strengths, and challenges across the sector.
Learn what is happening within nonprofit boardrooms today in this comprehensive review and analysis of the Leading with Intent survey data from BoardSource.

The board agreed to a broader remit for the IABC Audit Committee.

Good industry practice, as set out in Leading with Intent – a national index of nonprofit board practice – indicates that an organisation of IABC’s size should have a separate Audit Committee. This is already in place at IABC, yet historically it has focused mainly on the association’s finances, unlike other organisations where it has a broader remit. Also, unlike many Audit Committees it does not meet throughout the year, nor does it consider broader risk for the organisation – as is good
industry practice.

Again, look out for the Open Call!

IABC Annual Policy Review Checklist

IABC Fellow Brad Whitworth ABC
IABC Fellow Brad Whitworth ABC
Zora Artis GAICD
Zora Artis GAICD
Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE
Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE

The board also had a report on the work done by the IABC Policy Review Committe, led in its inaugural year by IABC Fellow Brad Whitworth ABC.

Brad reported that the Policy Review Committee has assisted across a number of areas across in the
2014-15 board year:

  • First broad review of the IABC Policy Manual for 10+ years.
  • Terms of Reference review and recommendations for the Global
    Communication Certification Council and the IABC Ethics Committee.
  • Review and recommendations for 2015 updates to the IABC bylaws.
  • New model bylaws for a Region – with a pilot roll-out for APAC.

Big thanks to the hard working 2014-15 team: Michael Ambrozewicz, Suzanne Poggio and our Executive Director Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE. Also congrats to Zora Artis GAICD who has taken the lead for this strand of work for 2015-16.

Notes from the road to #IABC1417

The IABC operates against a rolling three-year strategy and as the 2011-14 strategy came to a close, the work preparing the way for 2014-17 – aka #IABC1417 – was already well underway:

Russell Grossman ABC
Russell Grossman ABC

Back in 2013 the board directed the then Vice Chair, Russell Grossman ABC, to convene a working group to deliver a framework by June 2014 – and Russell in turn asked me to do the facilitation work.

Recognising that IABC strategy is by its nature iterative – we need to bring all stakeholders with us – #IABC1417 is not a big bang; more an evolution that helps us transform over time.

Overview of how we got to where we are at today:

  • Summer 2013 – Russell Grossman ABC convenes Strategy Group virtually
  • October 2013 – Strategy Group meets for Think Tank in Los Angeles and defines the challenge, sets out ambitions and identifies high level opportunities
  • November 2013 – January 2014 – Strategy Group deliberates further on Basecamp
  • February 2014 – The Council of Regions (CoR) and the leader of the Chapter Relations Task Force + key staff hold a Think Tank session at the 2014 IABC Leadership Institute in New Orleans. Burning issues are explored as a way of creating a common purpose. Prezi: j.mp/IABC1417-LIprogressprezi
  • March 2014 – Outputs from the new deliberations continue on the dedicated Basecamp site; Past Chairs asked to start wrapping up outputs and outcomes from 2011-14 – aka – #IABC1114 so that we can honour and celebrate the many people who helped make it happen.
  • April 2014 – Strategy Group discussion continues via dedicated Basecamp; IABC’s International Executive Board (IEB) reviews strategy discussion deck
  • May 2014 – Deliberations continue virtually across the IEB and Strategy Group Basecamps in preparation for more formal review
  • June 2014 – A formal proposal for the strategy is taken to the IEB for approval
  • July 2014 – A senior staff day-long summit with the IABC executive held to further align on the strategy and agree the prioritised operational plan for the year which flows from it.
  • Autumn 2014 – This then determined the strategic workplan for IABC staff, to operationalise for 14- 15. The Strategy also became the workplan for the 2014-5 IEB.
  • January 2015 – Then IABC Chair Russell Grossman ABC gives update in quarterly report
  • February 2015 – Q&A with leaders at the ’15 Leadership Institute in Orlando
  • April 2015 – Further update in quarterly report
  • June 2015 – Annual Report for financial year 2014 issued

Stay tuned for the next steps on this blog.

Let’s #createconnection like never before.

Michael Ambjorn