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


Places to #createconnection

At IABC, we connect communicators to a global and local network, career opportunities, resources and knowledge – using communication to engage, influence, counsel and execute.

One of the most tangible ways we do this is through our events programme, which runs throughout the world. Here’s a roundup of what’s coming for communicators in general, and for our leaders specifically.

Where to develop your communication skills


Check your local website for events coming up – and don’t forget, if you’re on the road, you’re welcome to attend events in other cities. For example, if you’re in London September 23, come along to ‘Making Global Communications Work‘.

Prefer the shorthand of Twitter? IABC Detroit maintains a handy list that allows you to keep the finger on the pulse of 70+ chapters around the world.


Conferences run throughout the world and across the year – London and Johannesburg earlier this year and here are three more coming up:

  • Calgary – ‘High Octane’ – 15-17 October 2015
  • Denver – ‘Taking it to the extreme’ – 15-18 October 2015
  • Baltimore – ‘Re:ignite’ – 18-20 October 2015

Dianne Chase, IABC Vice Chair, will attend the Canada East conference in Calgary – and I am honoured by the invitation to close the Southern Region conference in Denver. Carlos Fulcher and I will also run a highly interactive workshop and meet with the #IABC16 Programme Advisory Committee – and then it is straight onto Baltimore to open up the Heritage Region conference. Hope to see you there.


Missed #IABC15? Worry not: The new Best of Show webinar series is a global virtual learning experience that takes the highest rated sessions from the World Conference and brings them directly to you.

The program builds on the success of this year’s event and offers participants access to the best presentations from 2015’s conference. For those who have never attended an IABC World Conference, it provides the opportunity to preview the kind of high-quality learning to be expected at World Conference.

If you're an IABC leader, get the Best of Show marketing toolkit on the Leader Centre
If you’re an IABC leader, get the Best of Show marketing toolkit on the Leader Centre
Mark your calendar for World Conference in 2016!

And if you’ve got what it takes to speak at our flagship event of the year, get your pitch in now. Want some advice from previous speakers first? Check out this exchange on our LinkedIn group (and add your own advice too).

Where to hone your leadership skills


Even though the 2015-16 board year is well underway, your local Chapter board might very well be looking for an extra hand. Reach out to them. There’s nothing like hands-on practical experience.


Klavs Valskov
Klavs Valskov

The Europe, Middle East and North Africa (EMENA) Region is running a Leadership Institute in Basel, Switzerland at the end of this month. Regional Chair Klavs Valskov is pulling out all the stops for this one and Dianne Chase will be participating to take input for the ongoing work to implement our three year strategy – aka – #IABC1417. The conferences mentioned in the section above also have a Leadership Institute element, which will have leadership attendance. Carlos Fulcher, our Executive Director, and I are also excited to be participating in a workshop with the Programme Advisory Committee for the 2016 World Conference – #IABC16.

Ron Fuchs APR
Ron Fuchs APR

The EMENA event is kindly hosted by #IABCieb member Ron Fuchs APR from Roche. A great example of how members often leverage organisational support to help advance the profession – and in this case the leadership within the association.


The annual International Leadership Institute – #IABCLI – will be in Los Angeles, February 4-6, 2016 – again, one for the calendar.  Looking forward to seeing you there.

Let’s #createconnection – like never before.

Michael Ambjorn

P.S. As an IABC leader, need some practical tools and templates to advance your work? Log into the Leader Centre where you’ll find a whole library of useful information:

  • Brand Toolkit
    Information and resources for IABC’s brand
  • Awards
    Develop your local chapter awards programs
  • Finance
    IABC’s financial management guidelines
  • Governance
    High level tips and tools for board support, encouraging volunteerism and documentation
  • Marketing
    Market your chapter and IABC membership in your community
  • Membership
    Membership marketing made easy
  • Professional Development
    A guide to event planning, budgeting and management
  • Sponsorship
    Generate revenue for your chapter through sponsorship




September ’15 Board meeting

The IABC International Executive Board – aka #IABCieb – recently held its fourth 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

At the 2015 AGM I talked about the commission of a comprehensive review of our portfolio of programmes, products and services to ensure that each and every one of them makes a return. Whether in the form of impact in line with out mission, or financially, to fund impact elsewhere.

Ginger Homan ABC
Ginger Homan ABC

I am extremely pleased that thanks to the hard work of our Treasurer Ginger Homan ABC and our Executive Director Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE

Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE
Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE

this work has now been completed.

The IABC Executive Committee recently convened in San Francisco to review this and we brought our findings to the full board for an initial generative discussion. The Council of Regions is also being asked to give input.

The board will convene one more time this month to focus in on this topic further with the aim of making IABC more than the sum of its parts.

Gold Quill

Continue reading September ’15 Board meeting

#IABCleaders: silos are so yesterday

How do you get people across the world to work together collaboratively in pursuit of a shared aim? That’s a tricky question when you have 1,000 leaders distributed across the globe. Anybody who has worked for a large organisation will recognise that silos can quickly develop. Silos that slow things down at best, or confuse and cause wasted effort at worst.

Traditionally organisations rely on cascade – but in today’s interconnected world we know that doesn’t always work. Just look at the standard open rates for mass email. Sobering. Then look at the click rate. Doubly sobering.

I am pleased to say that IABC’s monthly Leader Letter (put together by our hardworking staff at HQ) has an open rate that far exceeds the industry average. We know it is valued by the many leaders who engage with it. We also know that amongst the readers – and those who do not – there is an appetite for more communication: realtime conversation in addition to the traditional asynchronous cascade. The Chair of the board’s Communication Committee, Katie Macaulay, has in fact written a whole book about it, but that’s another story.

In last Weekly Venn we looked at timezones, today we’ll look at a practical way we hope to connect leaders across the world to share and learn. It is called the #IABCleaders Forum – and here’s a snippet preview from the plan:

Continue reading #IABCleaders: silos are so yesterday