In the middle of the United States we are officially in the dog days of summer — long days of sweltering heat and no breeze. We dream of nippy nights and an occasional storm to cool things off.
In the midst of the heat, the board’s Executive Committee met with senior IABC staff in July to hammer out our work plan for this year. This past week it was approved by the board – so it’s full steam ahead.
Since this is the second year of our three-year strategy, so we are definitely focused on advancing the profession, creating connection and developing strategic communicators around the globe. Here are some highlights from each area:
At our board meeting the IEB approved IABC’s first D&I statement that will serve as a guide to building diversity and inclusion as a core strength. It will be released later this summer with the approved short and long-term strategy to help us achieve more diversity at the international level – including a commitment to the #PanelPledge, a new Chapter Management Award for chapters that excel in D&I and creating safe spaces at all of our events.
I’m proud of how welcoming we are as a group, but there is always room for improvement. In the coming months you will hear more about changes we will be making to ensure we are living this core value. We know that improved business outcomes are directly tied to diverse workforces and communities. IABC is no different. This is critical to our success as an organization and we can’t just talk about, we have to be intentional to succeed.
Where ever you are, I hope you are enjoying your family, friends and work. We have a few regional conferences coming up APAC, Southern, Africa and Heritage. I encourage you to attend if possible. It is always great to connect and grow with other communicators.
As part of IABC’s work to develop strategic communicators, we’re looking at the role that mentoring can play.
Mentoring (and reverse mentoring) can make a difference at all career stages. And it can make a difference at all ages.
Despite that, you might have seen this in CW earlier in the year:
‘Mentoring offers a boost, study says, but few take advantage’
“Organizations with formal programs claim plenty of benefits for the mentors, mentees and the organization as a whole. The mentee benefits most often cited in the study are professional development (36 percent) and a better understanding of organizational culture (30 percent). Top benefits for mentors are “developing new perspectives” (59 percent) and developing leadership skills (49 percent). And organizationally, respondents said the top benefits were higher employee engagement and retention (50 percent) and supporting the growth of high-potential employees (46 percent).” – read more in the Feb 2018 CW
Why? Because many of these chapters are keen to share – and getting more mentoring is a way of IABC having tangible, measurable, long-range impact on life and careers – across the globe. And what’s not to like about that?
To that end there’s a new International Task Force working away. Here’s the team, in reverse alphabetical order:
…and yours truly.
The first order of the day is to map and share existing good practice from chapters and regions. If you’re not already in touch with this team, and you have something to share, be sure to reach out. We’d love to hear from you on the IABC Hub about your experiences being mentored, or mentoring others, through IABC.
Michael Ambjorn, SCMP
Last week I got to hang out with a bunch of IABC superheroes — the Council of Regions.
As IEB Vice Chair, I serve as Chair of the ‘Council of Regions’ — every time I say the name, I can’t help but picture the superheroes in the DC Comics ‘Justice League’. So, it’s a good thing for everybody that the Council of Regions is mostly just known as CoR.
The members of CoR really are superheroes though — these are the eight region chairs from around globe, and their role is to oversee the chapters and members-at-large in each region, providing a critical link between the international association and local leaders.
This year, CoR will be focusing on several key objectives:
Last year, each region also developed a strategic growth plan, and this year’s CoR will be focused on executing initiatives that will strengthen chapters, increase engagement of members-at-large and grow the region overall.
See what I mean? Total superheroes.
One of the coolest parts about CoR is that every region has different strengths and challenges, so the group can serve as a great knowledge-sharing resource, and its members can inspire each other to tackle old problems in new ways. For example, a region that has been very successful at recruiting amazing chapter leaders, may have strategies and processes that can help a region that has struggled in this area.
Last year’s LI keynote speaker, Cynthia D’Amour made a big impression on CoR. Her call to eliminate the style of ‘martyr leadership’ prevalent in so many volunteer-led associations, including ours, will be a vital tool in helping CoR achieve its goals.
Personally, I am really excited to see how CoR can contribute to the success of the new corporate membership program. Having a group that can help connect the dots, broker relationships and identify opportunities to bring in corporate memberships with communicators in multiple regions is a powerful role to be able to play in IABC’s growth.
I always feel like the Council of Regions is one of the best kept secrets in IABC. We focus on chapter leadership, and region leadership and the IEB, but people forget about the magic of CoR — this group that links all of those elements together. It’s also one of the times when the ‘I’ in IABC is most evident — it is the only leadership committee in the association that, by definition, has 100 percent global representation.
When I became APAC Chair in 2015, I remember sort of stumbling into my first CoR meeting, not really sure what it was, truth be told. I was instantly blown away by the opportunity to work with all these other amazing leaders from around the world, and to get this glimpse into their regions. This experience vaulted me into a whole new level of understanding of the association, and played a big role in helping me take on my current role as IEB Vice Chair.
Last week was the first official meeting of the 2018-19 Council of Regions, and it was so exciting for me to be their Chair as that same powerful realization started to sink in for them. As you can see from the photos, they are a pretty cool group, and I can’t wait to see what they achieve together!
This year’s Council of Regions is:
Our Montreal World Conference was a whirl wind – but now we are running at pace to prepare for 2019 in Vancouver.
For those of you that missed our Annual General Meeting (AGM), here is a rundown of the business conducted:
In addition, our out-going chair Sharon Hunter gave a report about progress made in the 2017-2018 board year (including the launch of The Hub) and secretary/treasurer Alain Legault gave a financial report. Sharon’s annual report will be released this week.
As the new chair, my remarks focused on creating an organization that our next generation will value, with a focus on executing year two of our three-year strategy. I highlighted three items for our 2018-2019 plan and beyond:
Stay tuned as we explore mentoring and how it can make us all better. In addition, we are launching a Panel of Producers. Check out this link to apply to create videos, audio, photography and animation to tell our story. The deadline is June 21, so don’t delay.
While it didn’t happen at the AGM, we announced a partnership with ICKollectif — an independent nonprofit based in Montreal; dedicated to sharing knowledge, insights and on the practice of internal communications. So far, they have included practitioners from more than 157 countries. This is a major step forward in delivering top quality content to members and supporting work being done in our profession.
These are exciting times – so stay tuned.
Photo: Connie Eckard, ABC, Ph.D., IABC Fellow and Executive Director Stephanie Doute at 2018 Leadership Institute.
If you came to the 2018 Leadership Institute you had a chance to meet Connie Eckard, ABC, Ph.D., IABC Fellow, and be inspired. The standing ovation he received brought tears to my eyes as we celebrated a man who has given so much to the profession and to our association. Even in his retirement, he continues to serve on the Pacific Plains Region Board.
Right now we have a lot of ways to get involved at the international level. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of time to give, or only a little, we have a role that fits your skills and availability.
To accomplish our vision and get professional communicators at the heart of every organization, we need you. You are our missing piece!
Right now, we’re searching for the people who are willing to help lead the charge. Our strategy is three-fold:
You’ll have an opportunity to learn something new, advance the profession and meet colleagues from around the globe.
These are the committees and a little something about what they do:
Programmatic Committees: operate as an extension of staff, working in alignment with the board approved strategy and budget.
Board Committees: work as an extension of the International Executive Board.
Download all the details on applying in our Candidate Briefing packet. You’ll find roles and responsibilities related to each of the committees. Deadline is March 20, 2018.
Please consider what role you can play. It takes all kinds of skills and specialities to achieve our vision. We need your voice at the table.
Learning to lead so others can shine
Many of us had a wake-up call at Leadership Institute last week in San Diego. Our keynote workshop with Cynthia D’Amour, MBA, hit home as she pegged a style of volunteer leadership that leads to:
We all know the type and some of us resemble them — they give 110 percent because they care. They work long, hard hours. So, what’s the problem? It is killing our volunteer pool and in some cases our chapters.
Cynthia encouraged us to:
So, our work and success will be shared with others. We will become masters at giving others the opportunity to shine. The more others shine, the more fun the group will have and before you know it – your community is growing.
This is leadership, as opposed to managing a chapter, region or even the international board. With this style of leadership, there is more focus on getting others involved to be part of the solution. So basically, if we stop being a martyr, it gives others a chance to be engage. The trick? We have to do it before it’s too late.
Cynthia reminded us that people join a community for one of three reasons:
Cynthia’s best advice for recruiting volunteers or chapter leaders, is that we must first determine which of the three hot buttons motivates each person.
As Cynthia said – “you can’t go too far on the first date. Wait to ask about board service until you have them hooked. Pull them in, instead of pushing them away.”
Even the invitation to our events should contain the answers to all three hot buttons (learn, help and meet) so we are offering something to everyone.
For those of us in the room at LI, it became clear that if we are a martyr leader, we are keeping others from getting involved and having their opportunity to shine. There is an art to leadership – and that art is about knocking down roadblocks and empowering others to succeed.
Sometimes we just have to get out of our own way!
Cynthia D’Amour, MBA, is author of The Lazy Leader’s Guide to Outrageous Results. For twenty years she has worked with association leaders and staff to help get more members involved using a relationship-based approach.
Thank you to these sponsors for our keynote speaker Cynthia D’Amour. A special shout-out to the women leaders of the IABC Tulsa Chapter that made this possible with donations from their companies.
In a speech entitled The Battleground is Trust delivered at the National Press Club in Washington, global PR leader Richard Edelman notes that the codes of ethics and conduct of professional membership organizations like IABC and others are worthwhile. However, in the wake of the recent Bell Pottinger scandal, Edelman believes current standards do not go far enough to enforce ethical behavior and we must do better as an industry to regulate our practice.
Edelman states, “We need a set of principles that are universal, consistent, and well understood across the industry. The time has come to adhere to a single set of strong standards, and to hold all of our people accountable to them.” Edelman called for a PR Compact encompassing four principles of a global standard to regulate and enforce ethical practices that may serve to rebuild public trust in our institutions. He then called on like-minded groups globally to partner for ensuring the standard is followed around the world.
As the only global association for professional communicators, IABC applauds this initiative. We firmly stand by our Code of Ethics to guide the personal conduct of our member practitioners and we look forward to participating in this critical conversation about industry regulation on a global scale.
We have always believed professional communicators are at the heart of building trust, advising and holding executives accountable to authentic leadership, and driving business results through ethical practice within their organizations. In fact, the thrust of our #IABC1720 strategy to advance the profession is underpinned by our IABC Global Standard encompassing six core principles of professional practice where ethics stands at the top.
The Global Communication Certification Council (GCCC), an IABC initiative, tests communicators against that Global Standard. Ethics knowledge is a key competency within the Communication Management Professional (CMP) and Strategic Communication Management Professional (SCMP) certifications. The IABC Academy online courses also cover ethics themes.
IABC is dedicated to making standards of excellence accessible to communicators around the world.
We welcome the continued conversation.
Sharon Hunter, Chair
At today’s International Executive Board, at the 2017 World Conference in Washington DC, we closed out the 2014-17 Strategy.
At the 2017 Annual General Meeting a talented group of leaders are set to step up and take for the next strategy: #IABC1720
As with any 46-year-old organisation, much work remains, yet our leaders around the world report that they have seen a step-change. And, as with any 46-year-old organisation, much that came before has been built on. We’re grateful to all who put their should to the wheel over the years.
Building on the best from our founding, we moved from an organisation that had friction and confusion into one ready to re-energize. Today at the AGM we’ll set out a rechartered mission to that effect.
Ready for #IABC1720
Lessons learnt? Almost uncountable. Painstakingly documented on this blog – some 100+ posts. Go ahead and explore. For example, there’s a whole section dedicated to insights articulated through Venns – and we even have paper airplanes with leadership advice from your peers. Because strategy work can otherwise be a bit dry.
The board spent time reviewing what was good, and difficult – during the implementation of the 2014-17 strategy. It was an opportunity close loops, and discuss what needs to be done differently in the coming years.
— Michael Ambjorn (@michaelambjorn) 10 June 2017
Thanks to the 2014-15, 2015-6 and 2016-17 boards who oversaw the development and implementation of the strategy. And our hard working leaders in the field. The people who power chapters and regions around the world.
And our staff. Thank you all. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Here’s to the next chapter!
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.
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.
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 are working to eradicate a problem, to create solutions that can be spun off into self-sufficient businesses,” says Clare. “That is how you get long-term solutions. We can deliver social value through our businesses and get to a place where we no longer need foundations.”
Under her leadership, Emirates Foundation has transformed from one that was a short-term grant giving organization to one that is focused on solving a social problem – permanently.
“The idea is to focus your efforts so that every dollar spent helps make true, systemic change,” said Clare. “Before we were giving to all sectors. It is very difficult to measure social impact, to determine what is working, what is not.”
Using the model of Venture Philanthropy, the Foundation conducted market research to understand the gaps in the market and then to determine how to fill them. Based in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, they explored the economic challenges of the country, along with the country’s goals and the underlying core strengths.
The research showed that by focusing on the youth of UAE, the Foundation could help create a sustainable future for the country.
Today the Foundation has six programs, all focused on inspiring, empowering and guiding youth to create a thriving nation.
“Even the approach to fundraising is different,” says Clare. “No longer are we going into a corporation and asking them for money to support our causes. Now we are bringing something of value to the table and asking them to partner with us for mutual benefit. We build a value proposition around their corporate objectives, showing our common goals and how we can create more social impact together. These are true partnerships — we are offering them a service, not just asking for money.”
Foundations experimented with variations on the classic grant-giving model for years, but as budgets got squeezed, philanthropists began blazing new trails in funding models designed to yield social impact, as well as a financial return on their investments. Clare has taken this model and created a foundation with programs that can solve the social issue, but also generate enough funding to ultimately be self-supportive.
“Our goal is to create programs that fix a social issue,” says Clare. “What do young people need? What does the market need? Can we create a product or service that closes the gap? Then we test solutions and find the right balance using business-based concepts. That doesn’t mean we are turning the philanthropic sector into a commercial entity,” she added. “What is means is that there is a call for philanthropic funds to be spent wisely and more systematically so that they create long-term change.”
“In today’s world, businesses can’t just focus on the bottom line. Millennials want companies that are focused on meeting a purpose beyond the profit. They want to be a part of a business that delivers not just to the shareholder, but the broader stakeholder base.”
At Emirates Foundation they measure results with solid metrics tied to each program – how many did they deliver services to, were services delivered cost effectively, were participants satisfied, was the issue solved?
“The mindset of the organization has changed,” says Clare. “We are much more entrepreneurial – more like a private sector company. We have great traction with our corporate partnerships and funding from the private sector too. They trust us to create value – and we are.”