Until IABC’s 2016 Leadership Institute (LI) this February, the International Association of Business Communicators had seemed more to me like the Association of Business Communicators. I had attended plenty of local meetings and three or four regional meetings, all of which were great educational and networking opportunities with my peers. But I had never thought about my peers being from South Africa, Australia, Switzerland, Great Britain or Trinidad/Tobago. Nor had I expected to have a conversation about how a degree, certification or work e
xperience is valued differently in other parts of the world. Clearly, I needed to broaden my view of IABC!
I’m guessing that a quarter to a third of the people I met at LI were international, but IABC members are the same in so many ways. In a room full of communicators, it takes only seconds to start a conversation. Everybody is friendly and willing to share their ideas, challenges, hopes and concerns. We are all overstretched, but committed to best practices. We are all dedicated to our individual roles and professional ethics. None of us are perfect. We are all volunteers (even the executive board). And we are committed to IABC because it advances the profession and the best in ourselves.
During LI, I learned a lot about chapter leadership and best practices. I learned about the common challenges we all face, and how IABC headquarters is making progress, especially in the areas of technology and customer service, that will better serve us all. And, possibly best of all, I learned about valuable resources available beyond monthly meetings and annual conferences—resources such as Communication World magazine, the IABC Academy, social media outlets, and a vast library of topical articles. (If you’re not yet a member, check it out now at www.IABC.com because some of this great content will soon be moving behind the member wall!)
IABC’s Leadership Institute was an eye-opening experience for me, but it was also so fun. The first night, IABC-Colorado’s Past President Sherry Boyd received the Chapter Leader of the Year award. She
deserved recognition for all the work she put in to the Southern Region held in Denver in October—so we were very excited to see her win! Our Dine-Around group Friday night went to Sir Winston’s aboard the Queen Mary. Not only was the atmosphere historic, but the dinner conversation included ghost stories. (Communicators tell great stories!)
Find out more about the serious and not so serious sides of Leadership Institute at #IABCLI. And, if you want to talk about LI or IABC, catch me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deanna Geldens, VP of Finance