In 2006, I was a few years into my post-grad study in marketing whilst juggling a management role in a busy integrated marketing communication agency and a young family. I chose an elective unit, Change Communications, where I came across models I still refer to these days and first heard of IABC. It was the source of credible research in the space. Upon reflection, I’d connected with the lecturer, a change practitioner, and respected her opinion and expertise. She planted the IABC seed in the back of my mind.
Jump forward five years and I was at a career crossroad. I’d just walked away from leading strategy in a full service ad agency which was no longer the right fit. I didn’t know what I would do next but I knew I had to build my professional network beyond what I already had. I sought out networking events where I could build my profile and connect with people who might be valuable in my job search.
One of those was an IABC Victoria ‘speed networking’ event facilitated by a recruiter I wanted to reconnect with. At the time, networking made me anxious particularly if I was solo. This event was different. My anxiety quickly dissipated as people engaged with me. I felt welcome. The next IABC Victoria event followed suit. IABC people were friendly, diverse and willing to share their knowledge. It was the right fit and I became a member.
At the same time, I’d started my own strategic consultancy working with agencies and brands alike. My first project for a global pharmaceutical firm involved brand repositioning, employee engagement, internal communication and campaigns. It really was the beginning of the convergence of the disciplines for me. Access to tools, relevant research and knowledge was essential and I found this through my professional associations, including IABC.
During this time, I set myself a long-term career goal to be in paid board director roles by my mid-50’s. I knew I had a learning curve ahead of me, so I pursued board or committee roles with two non-profit charities in areas I was passionate about. One of these was a lead from an IABC connection.
In 2012, the Victorian chapter called for board nominations and I became the Vice-President (President-elect). It was a fertile and safe space to learn and further my director capabilities. It was hard work but incredibly worthwhile. Aside from the professional learning, it enabled me to become a better communicator, leader and connector. This IABC leadership role gave me the opportunity to meet and connect with professionals that I would not have had access to including business leaders in major organisations and subject matter experts in Australia and across the world. Many of these are now friends or colleagues that I can call on for advice without hesitation.
During my time as Chapter President, we worked to build equity in the IABC brand with corporate and individual members through a strong calendar of PD events, content, recognising excellence and bringing the “I” in IABC to life. We reached out to our global connections to deliver content and events. We were fortunate to coordinate member events and corporate visits with IEB Chairs for four consecutive years as well as the brand evangelist and entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki for a sell-out event. That was an opportunity that I took upon approaching him at #IABC15. I’m still a little star struck that I negotiated with him directly and drove him around Melbourne a few months after we met in San Francisco. I look back at my chapter board experience and I’m thankful. I worked with some of the most talented and generous people who gave so much to make it work. We took the time to connect and understand with our current and lapsed members to deliver value that was meaningful to each of them.
One thing that is clear about Aussies is that we do look beyond our shores for validation. Connecting with global SMEs for best practice, as well as engaging Australian communicators in the IABC Gold Quills program are how we can see where we’re positioned. I’m in a privileged position where I have won a Gold Quill for my work, but each year I mentor some who enter the Gold Quills as well as evaluate entries as a Blue Ribbon Panel evaluator (obviously not entries by people I know). I’ve seen some incredible examples of work across many categories and disciplines, and I can’t tell you what a wonderful feeling it is to come across an entry that is at the Gold Quill merit or excellence standard. (I do also judge Australian marketing awards and I can attest to the standard and rigor of the IABC Gold Quill awards.) My fellow Aussies should be proud of the standard of their work as it is certainly on par with the best in the world.
Another interesting insight into IABC comes from volunteering at one or more of the international committees or task forces. Before my IEB commitments, I was able to contribute my brand, governance and program management expertise to time-specific task forces and programmatic committees, which deepened my knowledge of IABC and how it operates globally. This has continued to this day through my IEB commitments, where I’ve either been the IEB liaison or chair. The commonalities across all of these has been gaining knowledge, appreciating the diversity of thinking and culture, the professionalism and the energy of the IABC staff and volunteers.
Stepping up to the IEB in 2016 was a significant commitment which ends this June. It’s a well-run board with strong governance principles and clear focus upon the sustainability of the association and delivering value to members. It’s a competency based board so we have a robust mix of skills and experience, and it’s truly international. Of course, being involved in an international organization means being accustomed to early morning video calls or late evening calls.
Like any professional board, we set the strategic direction, evaluate the progress, change course if needed and oversee risk. It’s been hard work with some challenges, but the reward has been immense. It’s no longer about promise and potential, IABC is really moving forward. It’s thanks to our staff, our volunteers and of course our members.
When you’re in the leadership role, whether it is at chapter, region or international, you do need to walk the talk. Sometimes that means stepping outside your comfort zone. For me it was stepping up to lead, entering the Gold Quills, writing the SCMP certification exam, public speaking or undertaking thought leadership research. I’ve learnt every step of the way and validated my expertise.
Challenge yourself and take a risk. That could be as simple as getting involved at a chapter or regional board, the regional or world conference organizing committee, a programmatic committee or task force, speaking at an event or webinar, running an Academy course or contributing content for CW. Make sure it works for you. IABC is a diverse and inclusive organization that has been called a “tribe” – it is in its own way. It will welcome you, help you, develop you and give back.
What’s next for me? Continuing the growth of IABC in Asia Pacific supporting the chapters to deliver value to their members and our members-at-large.
In 2018, the International Executive Board (IEB) established a Task Force to explore current programs and better understand mentoring opportunities for IABC chapters. A toolkit and a report with strategic context is now available on the IABC Leader Centre.
Thanks to all the chapters who fed into this work as well as all the individual IABC leaders across the globe who helped with input and ideas, including those who participated in the record-setting #CommChat on mentoring. Some of the quotes in the document are from that vibrant exchange.
This work is dedicated to all the IABCers out there already mentoring. Thanks for all you do. We hope it will inspire more leaders across the globe to join your ranks.
Join in: #IABCmentoring
It is wonderful to be back in Long Beach for this year’s International Leadership Institute – aka – #IABCLI.
Whether you’re attending #IABCLI or you’re participating from afar, be sure to use the hashtag in your tweets during the event to be entered to win a book written by the keynote speaker. Two winners will be selected. Get the details here: https://t.co/atHzHmHIW1 pic.twitter.com/rfKPUdUcgw
— IABC (@IABC) February 8, 2019
Also, don’t miss the latest report:
— Ginger Homan, ABC, SCMP (@GingerHoman) February 8, 2019
My journey to GCCC certification was long but well worth the effort. I’ve been a professional business communicator for more than 30 years, and I had a long-held desire to achieve professional accreditation through IABC or PRSA (I am a member of both). Both accreditation programs’ requirements were tough for me as much of the qualifying work I have done over the years was confidential and proprietary to the companies I worked for. In other words, I could not pull off the portfolio requirements. But I was confident I had the knowledge and skills, and I am good at multiple-choice tests. And GCCC held a huge appeal (for me) over accreditation from PRSA: it is a global certification that was built to meet ANSI-ISO standards for such programs.
So as soon as IABC’s new certification program was launched, I was one of the first to apply to sit for the CMP exam. I earned my CMP in February 2016. Because I wanted to support the program, I volunteered to serve on the Global Communication Certification Council, the appointed board of communicators who oversee the program. I was chosen as vice chair of the GCCC and began my three-year commitment in June 2017 at the same time that I sat for the first-ever SCMP exam. So I earned my SCMP and became chair of the whole darned thing in 2017! It has afforded me some great leadership experience and some new friendships I will treasure always.
Professional certifications are held in high regard by many employers. They help earn promotions, better pay and career development opportunities. Certification gives you an edge in the job market. It says you are skilled and knowledgeable with the six core principles of the IABC Global StandardSM for Communication Professionals: ethics, strategy, analysis, context, engagement and consistency.
As a consultant and business owner, my certification validates my credentials and skills to prospective clients and colleagues across the profession. More important, it provided self-validation. Was I as good as I thought? The certification says ‘yes.’ (Shameless pat on my back- forgive me! LOL).
Maintaining my credential is easy for me, too. By keeping current with the profession, attending IABC meetings and training programs and speaking at professional events, volunteering for IABC and delivering training programs to others (which I do for a living), I easily earn the points required to maintain my certification each year.
IABC leaders — the deadline to register for Leadership Institute 2019 is FAST approaching, and I don’t want you to miss out. Come join us in sunny Long Beach, CA Feb 7-9 and learn how to grow your chapters, and your career. I can’t wait to see you there! 🏖 Already registered? Yay! Please tag in some of your fave IABC leader colleagues you’re looking forward to reconnecting with in Long Beach next month 😊
Join keynote speaker, Cynthia D’Amour, MBA, author of The Lazy Leader’s Guide to Outrageous Events, to learn how to design magnetic experiences that keep your members coming back.
You will learn how to:
Together you’ll create a collection of meeting starters to use when you get back to your chapter.
As we celebrate #GivingTuesday, I am reminded of the many ways the IABC Foundation gives back to our community globally. If you are not familiar with the Foundation, it is the charitable arm of our organization with four pillars of focus: The Gift of Communication; the Gift of Excellence; the Gift of Insight; and the Gift of Experience. Though I encourage you to learn more about the Foundation, and how it is working within our organization, I’d like to focus today on the Gift of Communication.
The Gift of Communication encourages members and chapters to give back to our communities by utilizing our professional skills and expertise to help local charities address communication challenges. Gifts happen year-round in chapters around the globe and at the World Conference each year in June. And in recent conversations I have had with IABC members, I have heard a resounding pride that our organization has a focus on giving back to our peers in the profession.
Earlier in my career, I had the privilege to work for a global nonprofit organization. I was the VP of Communications and Marketing and was lucky to have a small department staff, which is rare for most nonprofits. However, we were still challenged to support more than 30,000 people who received our services, a volunteer base of more than 20,000 and something like 500 events annually. The only way to find success with so much going on and limited resources was to be strategic, creative, and build partnerships.
Through these partnerships, I was able to build a volunteer communication and marketing advisory group of eight senior communication leaders, who freely shared their experiences, guidance, and resources. Their dedication to our organization, and those we served allowed us to run amazing award-winning communications and branding campaigns that greatly benefited our organization.
I think of that group often when I think of the Gift of Communication. Most nonprofits don’t have that luxury. In many cases, they may have one person that does fundraising, marketing, and communication all in one. Sometimes they want direction and guidance, sometimes they need solutions, and sometimes they desire peers with whom to bounce ideas. The expertise our members give so freely during Gift events allows the nonprofit staffs to be more successful for their mission.
If you’d like to participate in a Gift, I’ve listed a few upcoming December events. If you’d like to host a Gift at your chapter or if you are hosting a Gift, we’d love to hear about it. Reach out to IABCs Foundation Manager Kirsten Peterson for more information or to share your Gift news. If you’ve volunteered for a Gift, THANK YOU! Time is the most precious gift you can give.
As an independent consultant, I know the success of my business often rests on my ability to achieve a goal – whether it be increasing awareness of a government program, enhancing the fundraising efforts of a non-profit corporation, or engaging the public using social media tools.
This desire to achieve a goal is shared by all of us who work in communications – creating some kind of change – that’s what our work is all about. It’s the foundation of why we do what we do. The formula for success is always the same – identify the business problem, create objectives that are measurable, do your research and analysis, find a solution and evaluate your results. Voila! Success! Easy peasy right? If only…
We all know the hard work that goes into ensuring success, so now that you’ve achieved a business goal or two, why not be recognized for it? Consider submitting your successful project for an IABC Gold Quill Award and tell the world about your success!
The IABC Gold Quill Awards program recognizes innovative, strategic work that delivers business results as measured against a global seven-point scale of excellence.
Not sure where to start? The Gold Quill Awards website provides numerous resources including a work plan template to help you prepare. The website also provides details on the global scale of excellence, case studies of Gold Quill Award entries, FAQs on the program process, and more.
Award winners are chosen in April, which gives you lots of time to plan to attend the Excellence Gala at the IABC World Conference in June, where you will be presented with your Gold Quill in front of hundreds of your peers.
Please note, the deadline to enter the 2019 Gold Quill Awards Program is Jan. 9, 2019. See www.gq.iabc.com for more details!
There’s no community like IABC. As Dianne Chase used to say, there’s a secret sauce that makes our association truly special.
What makes IABC unique is our diversity; we are an international community of communicators, with chapters and chapter leaders spanning the globe.
These collective experiences are our greatest asset, one which we must tap into more. Events such as Leadership Institute help to share learnings face to face. And the Council of Regions is another means to promote dialogue between chapter chairs.
I’d like to propose a third way, an open call to share EMENA’s expertise and resources with other chapters.
Over the past year we’ve been experimenting with podcasts. We’ve also been holding webinars for over two years. And we’ve been putting on EUROcomm (now EMENAComm) for years.
We’ve already begun sharing experiences with other chapters, particularly APAC, which has capabilities that we want to leverage and learn from when it comes to digital and events.
What I’d like to see us doing as chapters is engaging more closely, all year round, to learn how we can better serve our members and grow the IABC family.
This post is my call to start that process. Let’s begin the conversation and share our expertise as chapter leaders, to both get more achieved for our members and grow our memberships. I welcome your feedback, and am always open to providing our know-now and resources to others.
This has been a busy yet productive quarter and 2018 is zipping by!
In the latest IABC quarterly report, we highlight two committees and two task forces and the work
they are doing. A big thank you to Gabrielle Loring, Awards Committee Chair; Michael Ambjorn, SCMP, Mentorship Task Force Chair; Michael Nord, SCMP, History Task Force Chair; and Jen Bice, World Conference Program Advisory Committee Chair, for the work they are doing to lead the charge. IABC is volunteer-driven — and the caliber of volunteers we have willing to dedicate their time to advancing our
profession amazes me.
You’ll also find updates on how IABC is:
IABC is the only global association that connects me with the people and insights I need to drive business results. It’s transparent in this report that together, we are advancing the profession, creating connection and developing strategic communicators.
Thank you all!
#MyIABCstory started in college when my professor told me to join IABC. At that time, IABC gave me the tools I needed to succeed in my career and expand my impact. The lessons I learned and the mentors who provided council, showed me how to drive business results. The friendships I developed, showed me how to do it with grace.
Like many members, my IABC path wasn’t a straight one. Young children and a full professional life meant limited time. My membership lapsed. But when it was time to chase the first leadership role, I was back to earn my ABC. Later, as my teams grew, I learned to use younger IABC members as mentors to make me a better manager – to learn what motivated them so I could empower my employees to excel, to be their best.
No matter where you are in your career, you can use IABC to expand your influence and impact as well — get a mentor, participate in the Hub, take the CMP or SCMP exam, establish yourself as a thought leader by submitting articles to CW, or volunteer for a board or committee to grow your network and leadership skills. There are a million ways to pull together the perfect package for your growth.
If you are doing this already for yourself, consider sharing it with a friend so they can start their IABC story. If you get one person to join or rejoin before the end of October, you’ll be entered to win an IABC Academy all-access pass. If you recruit four people – you get a FREE year of membership, and four friends who won’t stop thanking you for inviting them to invest in their own growth.
So, whatever your IABC story is, share it.