June 12, 2013: 2013 Annual June Dinner with Keynote John Kobara of California Community Foundation

IABC Los Angeles celebrated the end of the chapter year in trendy and gourmet style at Le Ka Restaurant in downtown L.A.  What a truly memorable, upscale event and vibe for existing members and new faces to meet, enjoy each other’s company over deeply-flavored red wines, a three-course gourmet dinner and John Kobara’s outstanding commentary on 21st century philanthropy. The IABC Los Angeles board also announced the new board slate for the 2013-2014 year and upcoming plans.


The board welcomed longtime members Deborah Hawkins of Focus Communications and Past-President (2000) Trish Lester  of  Signature Communications who have been exemplary and dedicated members.  Deborah and Trish sat with our very newest volunteer, Dustin Alipour, VP, Events (2013-2014) and discussed strategies to bring lunch-time get togethers back to the chapter. How’s that for networking and rolling up Dustin’s sleeves already!


John Kobara, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, California Community Foundation insisted on no long, formal verbose introductions of his accomplishments! He’s clearly a renaissance man with tremendous professional experience in  managing development, marketing, marketing, grant-making, civic engagement and donor relations functions of the foundation. He provided our attendees with with a glimpse of:

  • what the Foundation truly supports 
  • how Ivy-League colleges are influencing applicants in terms of focusing an applicant’s true interests vs. what’s expected
    by parents or misperceived “balanced” activities
  • how micro-lending changes a motivated entrepreneur’s life
  • statistics in terms of philanthropic giving in Los Angeles…we think the $10 individual gift doesn’t make a difference. It does!

The California Community Foundation provides programs and grant-giving focusing on the most pressing and critical issues in the arts, education, healthcare, housing and human development and has over $1 billion in assets.


While John spoke, the otherworldly chocolate bittersweet dessert communicated yet another engaged “Wow!” moment to our senses during the evening.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/iabc-la/9029590551/We also welcomed Betsy Berkhemer Credaire who announced her new groundbreaking book “The Board Game: How Smart Women Become Corporate Directors” featuring how women can get on thriving corporate companies’ boards. The book also discusses Betsy’s movement to make it legally mandatory to have at least three women on a public company board.

I briefly informed members of the progress we’ve made since I took the helm months ago. We are looking forward to a very substantive 2013-2013 year with chapter events in the works featuring a strong line-up of professional development and networking opportunities, including very collaborative events leveraging other associations who would like to leverage themselves with us as well. Our hefty yet very-refreshed strategic plan is being refined and we’ve launched our chapter’s video series on “We Are Diverse Storytellers”.

Warner Boutin, VP, Development gave a preview of some very updated events in the works for members including our chapter’s leveraging of Silicon Beach (Santa Monica) to how agency and content managers are working together in communications. Our student outreach is very much underway and we are working smart to bring students into the IABC family of communicators.

I thanked the existing board members who gave such dedicated time and energy to revitalize the chapter, create momentum and add  outstanding contributions so the chapter thrives at a new level of engagement:

President: Nicole Maury
Past President: Paula Cassin
Treasurer and Chair, Major Events: Christie Ly
Chair, Member Communications: Betty Henry
Chair, Membership: Kerry Bonner
Chair, Website: Mike Spasoff
Chair, Social Media: Warner Boutin
Chair, Student Relations: Kyle Kearney


We would like to express our sincerest thanks and appreciation for these IABC-LA members who graciously volunteered time and services throughout the year and for the June event:

  • Michael Ambrozewicz
  • Chris Cabrera
  • Bill Spaniel
  • Gerhard Runken
  • Rhonda Sciarra – Pacific Plains Regional
  • Dawn Pace

The IABC Los Angeles board also announced its new slate of all-volunteer board members:

2013-2014 Chapter Year

President: Nicole Maury
President-Elect: Mike Spasoff
Treasurer:  Christie Ly
VP, Membership: Gerhard Runken
VP, Development & Social Media: Warner Boutin
VP, Student Outreach: Kyle Kearney
VP, Events: Dustin Alipour

Finally, we are so delighted to connect with some members and new faces who are interested in volunteering: member Amy Friend of the The Capital Group, and new faces Lucine Ying Chen and Benjamin Kee.

We thank each and everyone of our attendees for celebrating with us. And a very special thanks to Christie Ly who created such an outstanding and engaged event for all of us. There was such a camaraderie with new and veteran friends.


Health Care Reform Event at L.A. Care Health Plan on March 21, 2012

IABC-LA presented a highly informative panel of communication experts to discuss “Communicating Complex Change: Health Care Reform” on March 21, 2012 at event program sponsor L.A. Care Health Plan’s headquarters.  Cheryl Farrell, Board Member of IABC-LA, moderated this invaluable panel session to share how local health care professionals are communicating the complex changes of health care reform to various audiences (Event Podcast).

The distinguished panel included Patricia Clarey, Senior VP, Chief Regulatory and External Relations Officer of Health Net ;  John Merryman, Senior Director, Marketing/PR of South Bay Family Health Care; Ronald Owens, Director, Corporate Communications of Kaiser Permanente Southern California; Elena Stern, Communications and Marketing Director of L.A. Care Health Plan; and Cheryl Fields Tyler, Owner and CEO of Blue Beyond Consulting. The panel informed our chapter members how health care reform is being received and integrated by leading health care companies in Southern California (listen to the event podcast).

The panel discussion after a quick buffet dinner covered topics such as how this legislation is an extraordinary opportunity for innovation within the health care system as well as communications, how the new competitive environment created by mandating state-based Exchanges on individual policies will create positive benefits for consumers, and how do communicators break through to its new and existing audiences (we learned about the role and importance of Spanish-speaking Promotoras!)

So many advances have been made towards creating a communications system that is much more efficient than yesteryear including revolutionary a $5 billion electronic computerized patient records system as opposed to handwritten files and notes as discussed by Ron Owens of Kaiser Permanente.  Doctors are required to learn this system so a patient can be treated across states with tremendous efficiency.

Healthcare communications consultant Cheryl Fields Tyler emphasized the extraordinary opportunity for innovation that comes with such far-reaching legislature and how this is a game-changer for U.S. business overall.  She also emphasized the need for communicators to embrace and support the new legislation positively to create better understanding and trust between employers and employees.  Employees trust face-to-face meetings with direct managers.

Pat Clarey of Health Net has served as chief of staff to both former California governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pete Wilson, with current Health Net responsibilities for federal and state regulatory, legislative and compliance issues.  Pat discussed the new legislative concept of “guaranteed issue” for individuals seeking individual insurance policies through the reform’s American Health Benefit Exchanges, which has not been offered in the current California landscape if an individual had a pre-existing condition such as asthma.

John Merryman of South Bay Family Health Care noted the importance of funders for newly established programs.  In his view “money follows money” and the health care reform will shift how funding funnels through non-profits as well as private health care companies.

Elena Stern of event sponsor L.A. Health Care Plan enlightened us on how significant the role and use of a Promotora, a female Spanish-speaking healthcare advocate, is to underserved communities needing an array of healthcare and healthcare related services.

Finally, audience participants engaged in a Q&A with more information shed on topics such as how doctors are receiving all of this new legislation.

Big thanks to “Communicating Complex Change: Health Care Reform” event committee including IABC-LA members Cheryl Farrell, Paromita Ghosh, Adam Kevorkian, T.J. Stevko and Cimone Farrell.  Bill Spaniel served as podcast engineer while Ed Carreon of www.carreonphotography.com provided photography.

The chapter also kindly thanks event sponsor L.A. Health Care Plan for its sponsorship and use of its downtown headquarters facilities.

Please click here to listen to the event podcast.


“The Care and Feeding of Your Network” Event – Il Fornaio on 2-29-12

IABC-LA Members participated in an engaging, interactive presentation entitled “The Care and Feeding of Your Network” at Il Fornaio in Manhattan Beach on 2-29-12.  Are you an introvert or an extrovert when making connections at specific events?  When you hear the phrase “networking event” do you dismiss the whole concept as too much smiling-and-business-card-exchange work? Are you one of the 99% of people who are full of …. (rhymes with “it”!) when it comes to follow-through according to author and expert connector Peter Shankman?

Presenters and L.A. Chapter Board Members Cheryl Farrell, Chris Cabrera, Paula Cassin and Christie Ly presented valuable statistics, and tips on much deeper networking practices, with interactive exercises on ice breakers, elevator pitches, connecting, and the importance of follow-up! The evening allowed extrovert and introvert members to practice and engage with each other going beyond status-quo networking while getting to know one another’s expertise and even passions.  Lots of buzz in the warm and toasty Il Fornaio room as new conversations and new connections were being made.

Cheryl Farrell of Cheryl Farrell Communications presented tips for panic-free interactions with “strangers”.  Cheryl cited Myers-Briggs research on introverts vs. extroverts behavior as being misunderstood.  Myers-Briggs states what types of people, activities and events gives you energy determines introvert and extrovert status.  Many of us may be a blend depending on activities.  Cheryl discussed how we may test ice breakers in safe places, be well read with conversational topics and reframe initial introductions with less “me focus” and more outward focus in an “exchange of attention.”

Chris Cabrera engaged members on the subject of elevator pitches.  Elevator pitches need to be crisp and to the point, compelling with an attention-grabbing phrase and spoken with confidence.  We congratulated new member Betty Henry who tried her elevator pitch out for the first time in front of the group, and Charlotte Lassos who bravely demonstrated her elevator pitch.  The elevator pitch concept sounds easier than it looks, even for professional communicators, yet is an essential component of deeper networking.

Paula Cassin discussed connecting vs. standard business-card-exchange networking.  Truly connecting involves not only connecting to a new contact, yet also who you may be able to connect that person to who may need a specific resource.  By removing the expectation that a new contact must do something for you immediately if you do something for them right now allows for a longer-term payoff and certainly a more authentic connection.  During one interactive exercise, Paula asked us to write down 1) our passion, 2) something we are looking for right now, and 3) our expertise…and then engage and connect to others in the room looking for intersecting interests and needs, professionally and personally.

And finally, Christie Ly discussed the importance of follow-through, which according to author and expert networker, Peter Shankman, is a serious faux-pas for most networking people in his article “Why Most People Are Full of S…, and How Not to Be One of Them.” We all want to be thought of as “the nice guy” yet follow-through is where the other 1% lives.  Follow-through takes work yet can be a huge pay-off. Christie discussed how important it is to help others make connections if you mentioned a contact or resource.  To support the follow-through ideal, IABC-LA member Anna Lefter told of her early work experience with PR pro Carl Terzian, who wrote handwritten notes after initial introductions and kept a journal on contacts so he could remember children’s names, interests, and other professional and personal facts.

We were delighted to welcome new chapter members Deborah Hudson of Zurich Insurance and Betty Henry, while seeing participants Chris Keough of Belkin, Anna Lefter, Charlotte Lassos, Anne Giblin, Allison Mullin, Kerry Bonner, and former chapter president Jamie Lipson who was a terrific sport in revealing her favorite guilty-pleasure t.v. show “The Bachelor”!

Big thanks to presenters Cheryl Farrell, host and presenter Chris Cabrera, Paula Cassin and Christie Ly with event assistance from the awesome Cimone Farrell.  We also appreciated the roaring fireplace and the calamari hors d’oeuvres.  Great connections were made by all!

IABC Crisis Communications Summit: Los Angeles, CA

ABC 2011  Crisis & Issues Communication Summit: November 15 and 16th, 2011
The rules have changed in the era of instantaneous communication  #iabccrisis

University of Southern California
Davidson Executive Conference Center

3415 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, California 90089-0871

Come join us and advance your corporate communication to
all your stakeholders through crisis and issues communication at this
important summit

The biggest mistake companies make during a corporate or operational
crisis is a lack of communication and transparency with stakeholders and
employees, causing a negative impact on valuations, according to a
survey jointly released recently by the Canadian Investor Relations
Institute (CIRI) and Fleishman-Hillard Inc.

Yet for those who have a crisis plan in place, only 29 percent of
companies update it once a year, according to the survey results. As a
rule, it is best practice to update a crisis plan at least once a year
to ensure the content is evolving and maintaining relevance in today’s

Click here to find out more and/or to register.

Murder Mystery Luncheon

We brought back by popular demand, a murder mystery luncheon.

What’s this? I just found out that one of our members is going to be ‘knocked off’ at our Holiday Party…

A secret source told me that he’s working The Dinner Detective actors, and not only will we have a fun ‘whodunit’ to solve, but corporate communications and IABC- LA Chapter shenanigans will come into play.

The Board has put in a lot of work to create an event that will be great for networking, great for your appetite and great for the spirit (lots of laughs and camaraderie).

Please join us if you can.


We’ve kept the price low (below cost, as we’re supplementing with Chapter funds and sponsorships), so it’s an excellent opportunity to experience a murder mystery for very little cost. We encourage you to bring family or friends along!

 Event Cost and registration: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2488077908

Here are details:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Culver’s Club at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel

6161 West Centinela Avenue, Culver City, CA 90230


Networking Reception: 1:00 – 1:30PM
The “Murders” Begin: 1:30 – 3:00PM

Assigning Value to your PR Program – Angela Sinickas. Webinar Free to Members

From IABC, consider this upcoming free-to-members webinar by Angela Sinickas, noted communications measurement expert and authority!

PR today is about building communities with media, journalists, bloggers and other stakeholders – and then sharing information with them. It takes a new mindset, new tools and new metrics. If you do it right, you can enjoy greater success than ever before. Learn from those who are living in and profiting from this new reality.
Angela Sinickas, President of  Sinickas Communications, Inc., an international communication consultancy helping corporations achieve business results through targeted diagnostics and practical solutions, shows us how to tie PR efforts directly to behavior changes that generate revenue and then how to calculate the ROI of our efforts.
This is webinar #5 of a free 6-part series: “How to Supercharge Your PR Program with Social Media.”

Register and get more details here.

Shel Holtz, IABC Fellow – “Maximum Awareness, Miminal Effort” – Pasadena, CA

What’s the least we need to do to stay in touch, remain marketable and keep up-to-date?

IABC/LA is delighted to host Shel Holtz, ABC and IABC Fellow, an expert in communications, social media and technology who will answer this question for us. He will discuss how to maintain maximum awareness of the latest trends by focusing on the essentials.  Please join us at Avery Dennison in Pasadena, November 17th after work for dinner, networking, and a discussion with Shel Holtz.
About Shel Holtz, ABC

Shel is principal of Holtz Communication+Technology with expertise in employee communications, corporate public relations, crisis communications, media relations, financial communications, investor relations, marketing communications and compensation and benefits communications. His weekly podcast, For Immediate Release, which he co-hosts with Neville Hobson, provides an insightful assessment of all things related to business communication, social media and technology. Shel is also a former IABC-LA chapter president.

 Register now

Date: Thursday, November 17, 2011
Time:  6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Agenda: Networking, dinner, discussion and Q &A

Avery Dennison Corporation
150 N. Orange Grove Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91103

$20.00 Early-bird member (on or before November 7, 2011) then $25.00
$40.00 Non-member
$15.00 Students with ID

RSVP Deadline: November 14, 2011
Free Parking
After the main event, join us for IABC After Dark, our no-host, informal continuation of the evening’s festivities at an interesting venue nearby. (Details coming soon.)

Register now

April 7 SMASH Speaker Says Engagement is Key in Social Media

“We know that a high percentage of companies and nonprofits are using some form of social media, but unfortunately too many use it as a new channel to push out content.” –Social Media Strategist Sally Falkow, who will speak at April 7 Social Media Advanced Skills Huddle (“SMASH” conference) and the IABC-LA meeting immediately afterward.

Can’t attend the all-day SMASH conference?  Join us for the IABC meeting directly afterward to hear a brief recap from SMASH speakers Sally Falkow and Michael Terpin.  It’s April 7 from 5-7 p.m. at USC and everyone is welcome.  Here’s more from Sally:

Q:  What’s the most common element you find missing from social media strategies?

A: Engagement. We know that a high percentage of companies and nonprofits are using some form of social media but unfortunately too many use it as a new channel to push out content.  The engagement factor is still low.  Businesses need to learn to interact with their very smart and connected customers and employees.

Q: You have a new book coming out soon.  What does it cover?

A: It covers social media intelligence and how to find and extract actionable insights from the fire hose of data available in the online conversations.

Tickets include a drink and appetizers and are $25 for members and $40 for non-members.  Register by April 6 at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/1457462309/auto