First Event for 2011 – Pasadena, Jan 27th – IABC After Dark

Happy New Year! Get a jump on your resolutions by joining us for our first IABC/LA event of 2011. We’ll be at redwhite+bluezz in Pasadena, the city the world turns to every January to ring in the new year.  red white & bluezz screenshot

This is an IABC/LA “After Dark” no-host event (translation: food and drinks are on your own), where you can connect with your fellow communicators, expand your network and enjoy a little cheer.

 Date: Thursday, January 27, 2011

Time:  5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Location:  redwhite+bluezz
70 S. Raymond Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91105
Cross Street: Green Street
(626) 792-4441

Cost: 
Free admission to any current IABC member from any chapter
$10.00 non-members

RSVP Deadline:  January 27, 2011 at 5:00 p.m.

Parking:  Nearby public parking lots are free for 90 minutes and $2 per hour after that.

Notes:  The Happy Hour menu is available until 6 p.m. and live jazz begins at 6:30 p.m.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Murder Mystery Holiday Luncheon 2010

 

IABC-LA’s annual holiday teas have been truly lovely and held in beautiful tearooms over the last few years…however, there was a chalk mark drawn around the still body of the tea concept this year in favor of something entirely newand unique: A Holiday Murder Mystery Luncheon! 

How well does a Murder Mystery go with the holidays? Only ZorroClaus, a wisecracking “LAPD detective” and crime-solving IABC members them-elves could participate in such twists and turns at The Porterhouse Bistro in Beverly Hills on December 11, 2010.  And yes, the demise of some “victims” was brought on by our own members (see video attached).  Who was involved and why?  Besides inspired event coordination by Myra Jolivet (who brought up the idea originally), with assistance by Christie Ly and Christopher Cabrera, a secret source supplied information about some chapter members to the host of the interactive Murder Mystery to create intrigue, heavy laughs, red herrings and fun.

The L.A. Chapter maintained its commitment and passion to communications as bodies fell from being “shot”, “stabbed” or “poisoned.”  Chapter member Bill Spaniel donned his baseball caps in Sherlock Holmes style and used his delightful wit as one of the crime-solvers. Bill also reminded us of the upcoming judging opportunities for The Gold Quill Awards.  Rebecca Mikkelsen and chapter President, Paula Cassin, reiterated how much we learn from the entries in participating as a Gold Quill Judge…with terrific networking opportunities professionally and personally. (Rebecca and I have become wonderful friends since pairing up as Gold Quill judging partners last January.  I later joined Rebecca’s social media team for the chapter this year.)  Rebecca and Stephen Cassin also participated kindly as our mystery host threw questions at us about what we know about these two possible suspects. 

We enjoyed our four-course luncheon of gourmet food and wine while catching up with members. Later, Julie Fornaro, our new website’s mastermind, read from a suspiciously-dropped business card “Hits-R-Us” while a wisecracking “LAPD detective” threaded the mounting clues throughout the interactive plot… including a Santa hat with a sword poked through a note from “ZorroClaus.”  Otherwise hard-working Chapter President Paula Cassin revealed herself as “ZorroClaus” …and Keeping Up with the Kardashians..well, sort of…having much fun distributing “stolen” cash and presents.  Kerry Bonner sported her bright and cheery red jacket during the event’s pre-luncheon cocktails…only to “wear a knife” and create some great laughs during her “death scene.” Bill Spaniel, David Schmidt, Gail Herring, Chris Cabrera and Stephen Cassin were terrific sports against the detective’s banter. Chapter crime-solvers also included Mauria McPoland, Marsha Webster, Louvenia Austin, Elodie Khavarani , Susan Delgadillo and Pamela Corante-Hansen…all suspects until proven innocent. Cheryl Farrell had some serious explaining to do…which led to some hilarious communications and “battle scene” antics between the detective and Cheryl.  

Congrats to Ariela Iringan and Briana Sharp who were the closest in figuring out the details, motives and storyline when everyone paired up to solve the crimes.  Our host proclaimed the rest of us as not-yet-detective-ready in our “pathetic” attempts to solve the motives behind the secrets.  We enjoy solving communications issues…or bad puns like “Nobody Does It Deader.”

Chris Cabrera of Southern California Edison and Paula Cassin, presented a $500 donation check to our chapter’s guest, Gina Quesenberry, Librarian at the El Monte Library in support of the El Monte Library’s programs that reach children, teens and adults.  We were delighted to have Gina take part in our mystery while being a gracious and good-humored recipient toward our chapter’s commitment to supporting our communities.  Chris Cabrera also stated that Southern California Edison is making a donation of 85 books to enhance the library’s materials towards further support.

Warm thanks to Myra Jolivet, Christie Ly, and Chris Cabrera for putting their distinct and creative fingerprints all over this memorable event.  Acting nods to Paula, Kerry and Cheryl…for hilarious comedic “drama” and our thanks again to The Porterhouse Bistro actors and staff who put some holiday crackle into our tongue-in-cheek event.

Don’t Trust Anyone…

Join us for the Holiday Party – Who Will Be “Knocked Off?”

What’s this?? I’ve 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 with the Murder Mystery 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 (especially Myra and Christie) have put in a lot of work to create an event that we believe will be great for networking, great for your stomachs (4 course meal) and great for the spirit (lots of laughs and camaraderie).  We decided to try something new this year (breaking from our afternoon tea tradition), and hope you will like it as much as we anticipate.

Please join us if you can.

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

Here are details for you:

SATURDAY, December 11th, 2010

Porterhouse Bistro in Beverly Hills.

Networking Reception: 12:30 – 1:30PM
The “Murders” Begin: 1:30 – 3:30PM

Register for A Holiday Murrrderrr Mystery Matinee with IABC-LA! in Beverly Hills, CA  on Eventbrite

Valet Parking is $5, limited street parking also available.



Post Event Report: Nov 17th, 2010: “Staying Relevant as a Communicator”

November 17, 2010…IABC-LA presented Susan San Martin’s “Staying Relevant as a Communicator.” This event was graciously hosted by Ernst & Young in downtown Los Angeles, and coordinated by our talented chapter member T.J. Stevko. “Who is hiring?” “What skills are in demand?” “How can a communicator showcase his or her special experience?” These questions and much more were addressed by San Martin, Principal, Plan B Communications, a results-driven executive search and consulting firm.

“It’s always dangerous for me to draft a presentation a few days early before the event.” said San Martin. San Martin shared with us her decision to scrap her well-prepared presentation in order to re-tool the entire thing…brainstorming on her dining room table with large sheets of rolled paper connecting boxes and brainstorming notes. And San Martin does get results. Feedback came in from 18 reliable lifelong communications contacts. This global outreach fostered an even more substantive cross-section of answers and suggestions from communications leaders all over the U.S. and the world…including India.

Is the hiring market improving for communicators?

• In absolute numbers, hiring is quiet in the U.S., yet we’re seeing a lot of hiring where business is growing in Asia and Latin America.
• There’s an increase in internal and employee communications communicators
• Re: social media expert hirings: Hire a 20-year employee. They know how to write and how to work through the system of a company.
• Bi-lingual and tri-lingual employees are in demand regarding social media with their ability to switch between cultural environments

What role does social media play in your communications strategies?
• Just knowing how to use FaceBook and LinkedIn does not define you as knowing social media.
• A really strong social media strategy pairs an employee 2-3 years out of school who knows how to connect with bloggers and dig out resources with a more traditional communicator of 20+ years who truly understands how to edit content.
• (One of our favorites!) Question: Do you have a social media strategy? Answer: Do you have a telephone strategy backing up your social media? (Nice!) Too many social media strategies rely on digital relationships without any personal touch.
• For communicators intimidated by social media…social media is a new tool, but not a new skill. Relax…you can do this because you already know how to communicate.
• Audiences do care about the written word, it’s just not accessed the same way.

What career missteps do you see?
• Communicators can be too choosy and too fearful. Get outside of your comfort level. If you’re a specialist, take on communications challenges so you become a generalist.
• Google, Ford, Intel all produce exceptional communications employees. Why? Because the employee does a stint in many different departments, becoming a business person first, a communicator second. Become a business person.
• Don’t forget how to write…grammar, SpellCheck. Print, emails, blogs all count.
• You must tie communications to business results.
• Don’t ramble in interviews. Practice sound bytes.
• STOP TMI!!!! Too much information on an interview or exchange.
• Not enough follow-through. Excitement on a social media project does not replace follow-through.

What smart moves are communicators making?
• Companies look for intangible qualities; sometimes the softer piece of information on a resume can make you stand out…rather than “blaring” it out loud.
• Go above and beyond. It’s about attitude…unexpected opportunities are your friend.
• Use a pay-it-forward mentality. Have a relationship-building focus.
• On an interview, do say “I’ve got initiative” as opposed to “I’m a fast learner”…be prepared to back it up.
• Research the company culture in your job search and understand it first, be honest with yourself if it’s the right culture for you, regardless of the company.
• It’s okay to make a resume 3-4 pages, as long as the information helps you to stand out.
• Look for successful communications organizations who reward good work and punish bad work consistently the same. They talk the talk and walk the walk.
• Develop relationships with subject matter experts.

Overall, Susan encouraged all communicators to get out of our comfort zones, and reassured those with 20 years experience that traditional skills still work in our rapidly changing landscape. Re-aligning relevant talent and skills is challenging…yet very rewarding.

Susan San Martin was a Vice President and Executive Recruiter with The Repovich-Reynolds Group where she conducted mid to senior-level communications and marketing searches. She has partnered with clients such as: SC Johnson, DaVita Inc., Dell Inc., Western Union, The Blackstone Group and many others. Over the last two years, she stepped out on her own to create Plan B Communications, using her 20+ years of diversified communications and marketing experience to become a highly-regarded executive search professional.

We welcomed Susan to join us for the “After Dark” portion of the evening at “The Library Bar” to learn more about Susan’s passion for talent acquisition and her love of cooking!

Thanks to T.J., Ernst & Young and Susan San Martin for a very powerful evening of professional development.

October 26th, 2010…IABC-Los Angeles presented “An Entertaining Evening with Sony Pictures Global Communications”

 

Imagine developing integrated global employee messaging to 140 countries. Or creating a fun, interactive worldwide online employee scavenger hunt to find “Salt.” Or pondering what Jimmy Stewart would think of solar panels on his namesake Sony lot building.
 
IABC-LA members packed the Thalberg screening room in Culver City on the historic Sony lot to hear how Sony approaches its external media and integrated internalmedia campaigns. IABC-LA Board Member Myra Jolivet, event coordinator and presenter host, introduced Jim Kennedy, Executive Vice President, Global Communications, Erica Netzley, Vice President, Employee Communications, and Helen Porter, Director, Employee Communications for an inside look at how the Japanese-based company keeps a global focus through its diverse media divisions. The Sony panel covered internal, external, corporate social responsibility and employee meetings and events.

Kennedy discussed how home entertainment has evolved with changing consumer habits. (BlueRay is hot!) Meanwhile, Sony expands further into Russia, China and India where movie audiences are the fastest growing.  Kennedy noted “Movies still remain one of the most cost effective means of entertainment” for individuals. External communications strategies also include building up environmental responsibility, as well as the current popularity of 3-D movies.

Kennedy and Netzley emphasized Sony’s commitment to a creative, casual culture, while Kennedy stated the company is not a factory.

While all Sony employees access the recently launched “my SPE” (Sony Pictures Entertainment) for worldwide internal news and interactivity, Netzley discussed sharing the 30,000 ft. view from above through a still-hard-copy-printed quarterly newsletter. The quarterly educates employees across Sony divisions including Imageworks, Screen Gems, Columbia Pictures and more.  Global employee communications include a Q&A from division execs to take a “deep dive” into the inner workings of each division. A weekly “Sweeps” newsletter has been transitioned from print to e-newsletter. Erica and Helen noted Sony employees were currently not interested in using social media on the employee site, yet this is a topic that will be revisited.

Netzley and Porter discussed the importance of “my SPE” and “SPE Life” as “Cool…new…fun…and on the lot.” This casual, accessible strategy allows Sony employees to enjoy video clips of Sony Co-Chairs Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal discussing, for example, a current tv show with great humor. “My SPE” also includes video clips of employees’ jobs all over the Sony world.

There was a tremendous emphasis on being, acting and staying environmentally friendly as Sony transforms its culture as a worldwide globally green leader. The “My SPE” dedicated green home page communicates pilot composting programs, earth days, beach cleaning days, transforming sets for reuse, and much more. Culver City employees have influenced green behavior resulting in 99% of Sony waste being diverted from landfills. And Sony’s movie productions are now receiving awards for green behavior.

IABC members enjoyed a substantive Q&A with the panel at the end of the presentation, and then continued the conversation at the “After Dark” event at Culver City’s “BottleRock Wine Bar” for some loud(!) lively wine and beer networking at a record turnout.

Big applause and thanks to Myra Jolivet and the engaging Sony presenters for such an informative inside look!

September 23, 2010: IABC-LA’s Fall Networking Kickoff Mixer and “After Dark” Event

http://www.youtube.com/v/rq4WIpEk6oU

September 23, 2010 – IABC-LA hosted its free fall Networking Kickoff and Mixer to members in Pasadena with Indian flair and “After Dark” desserts.  Paromita Ghosh, Events Chair for the area, put together a lively, colorful, mouth-watering evening at Mezbaan Indian Bar & Restaurant, Pasadena.
  
Paula Cassin, President, IABC-LA, says the L.A. chapter’s plans for the 2010-2011 year will include more fun, more relaxed and casual networking opportunities in addition to the year’s schedule of heavy-hitter speaker and panel events.  So we Chicken Tikka’d and found some new friends and members along the Kickoff way. 
 
We welcomed new and existing members Karrie Hawbaker, who just moved from Washington, DC, Lisa Wendt, David Jamieson and Kelley Haggert of Disney, Ernest Greene from USC, Vivien Hughes of Resources U.S., Jim Wong, Dawn Pace of KPMG, Risa Koppel of Pacific Bell, and David Gordon Schmidt of DG Schmidt PR/Marketing Services. Rebecca Mikkelsen, Social Media Chair for the chapter enjoyed a social media topic chat with Jim Wong and David Gordon Schmidt, who recently relocated from Michigan.

The chapter also kicked into the new IABC-LA “After Dark” series of meet-ups after events to continue the conversation and fun at a nearby location for after dinner drinks, desserts and/or those foamy lattes we all enjoy. David Schmidt enjoyed “After Dark” at the buzzing Mi Piace in Pasadena on Thursday night after Mezbaan…well, he should…he’s a former Wolverine in his past Michigan life!  Chris Cabrera of Southern California Edison, mastermind of the “After Dark” series, welcomes L.A. chapters members to enjoy just a little more nightlife together at L.A.’s best haunts.

September 1, 2010: IABC-LA, PRSA-LA and HPRA Presents “Marketing to the New America: Gaining a Share of the Trillion-Dollar Multicultural Economy”

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On September 1, 2010, IABC- L.A Chapter teamed up with PRSA-LA and HPRA for a powerful evening to discuss the new multicultural “general market” with expert industry panelists on the research, client and agency sides.  This event was held at the upscale Twist Restaurant & Bar at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel.  David Ono, ABC7 Eyewitness News Anchor, moderated this exceptional evening to hear from the industry’s most knowledgeable multicultural experts.  Sponsorship of the event included Nakatomi & Associates and Farmers Insurance.

After drinks and hors d’oeuvres, Ono’s opening remarks on diversity began with the ABC7 News station.  ABC7 was the first news broadcast to fully embrace and create diversity by hiring multicultural news anchors and reporters after the Walter Cronkite years.  It was very important to ABC7 Eyewitness News to create a viewership that felt represented.

Panelist David Morse, President & CEO, New American Dimensions, compared the record number of immigrants at the turn of the 20th century to the current influx today.  In the early 1900’s, U.S. labor demands brought southern and eastern Europe  immigrants, as well as Chinese who helped build the transcontinental railroad. Today, a record number of Hispanics and Asians are creating a revolutionary nation of immigrants all over again.  There are now 50 million Hispanics compared to 2.2 million in the 1970’s.  “No one knows where we’re going,” says Morse. 

Meanwhile, the African American and LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender) population are also changing buying power in the U.S.  Morse’s statistics also stated that African Americans have been viewed through the lens of history the last 100 years as either being ignored or represented as gross stereotypes. 
 • Barack Obama’s election has been part of the new American revolution.
 • There are now 17 million in the LGBT market segment.
 
Kimberley R. Thompson, Senior Project Manager, Global Diversity, Starbucks, stated Starbucks aims to be the most inclusive, equitable and diverse company through its partners, customers, communities and suppliers.
 • Kimberley presented a Starbucks marketing example of a blended Frappacino beverage, most popular among African Americans. 
 • Starbucks analyzes customer food attitudes and behavior, partners with companies that hold the same views on diversity to create integrated marketing solutions.
 • “Listening to their voice!” is a huge part of Starbucks’ and Kimberley’s action plan.
 
Panelist Luis Sahagun, Director, Media & Public Relations – North America, Farmers Insurance Group stated the Hispanic market is growing faster than the overall U.S. general market! Sahagun stated most companies today are not doing nearly enough to keep up with Hispanic market.
 
 • Hispanics put their trust in Spanish-language commentators who have smaller, more concentrated audiences, rather than general market social and political commentators such as on CNN.
 • Farmers Insurance sponsored a Jorge Campos and Mexican soccer tour.  Instead of utilizing expensive general market strategies, Farmers invested in Spanish-language advertising.  Results produced a much higher return at a fraction of the budget.

Sponsor and panelist, Joni Byun, Senior Vice President, Nakatomi & Associates, presented pithy statistics and research of the emerging Asian American market from decades ago.  Asians now have $600 billion in buying power!  Asian Americans focus on education, family and health.
 
 • Some of the highest and lowest statistics criss-cross in hot-button issues like teen pregnancy in the multi-segment Asian American population.
 •  Cultural differences produce a laugh: “tobacco-free environment” translated to some Asian Americans as free cigarettes! 
 • Asian American culture has influenced the trendy general market: Think “Kogi” food truck!
 • Asian Americans are gaining more roles of substance in the entertainment field.
 •  Multicultural research has taught U.S. companies like Chase Bank, Farmers Insurance and Southern California Edison to use the word “qualified” when marketing to lower-income Asian American families who would rather not be referred to as “poor” or “lower-income.”

Finally, Stephan Roth, Principal, OutThink Partners, presented statistics and information on the LGBT market.  The LGBT market is currently a $750 billion market growing to $845 billion by 2011.

 • There is lots of LGBT  income with predominantly double-income and no kids.
 • LGBT market is a great “influencer” market: first to adopt new technology, read and write blogs, involved creatively in business such as design, PR and advertising.
 • Brand loyalty: tremendous brand loyalty…however can backfire if bad press against an LGBT issue.
 • LGBT market travels more which allows more sponsorships and partnerships.
 • Trends/insights in the LGBT market show more mainstream integration: marriage rights as well as having babies.  Optimism is also a big trend among this population segment. 

Corporate America and communications pros have been shaken up in how we must collectively embrace multicultural marketing, PR and advertising.  We received information on multicultural trends that have reached way beyond a temporary phase, now a new American reality: a trillion-dollar multicultural economy reality. As communications and PR professionals, it is our responsibility to actively listen to the multicultural voices. 

June 16th: 2010 IABC-LA Annual Banquet: “Putting Communications at the Center – A Way to Frame the Future of Media, Public Relations and the World”

On June 16, 2010, at IABC-L.A.’s Annual Banquet 2010, the chapter presented “Putting Communications at the Center – A Way to Frame the Future of Media, Public Relations and the World” at the trendy venue of First & Hope Downtown Supper Club.

After cocktails, a Downtown family-style dinner and some lively networking, the chapter welcomed and was challenged by esteemed keynote speaker, Ernest J. Wilson III, Dean, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, to “figure out or fail” in the ever-changing new media environment.  Dean Wilson relayed a quote “The new rules environment has created both a blessing and a curse of the nearly unmanageable deluge of information essential to the communications function.”  The Dean also encouraged “weird experience and weird stuff” works to our advantage to figure it out (!)

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Collectively and individually, the L.A. Chapter has the brain power, determination, and the talent to figure it out.  As a new resident of Los Angeles over the last three years, The Dean spoke of “just listening” in his first year in The City of Angels resulting in four big issues facing communicators:

• The gap between C-level execs and the communication function of an organization.  Executive staffs don’t understand media, while communications professionals don’t always understand a CEO’s big-picture strategy.   He notes communicators get comfortable knowing what works, then a profound communication change comes along like the internet…then social media…then what’s coming by 2013. Dean Wilson has heard the same story from communicators whether it’s the White House, entertainment, manufacturing, oil companies…it’s a multi-industry-wide issue.

• “Who does what?”  This second big challenge issue is the reconfiguration of communications functions in the midst of new media.  Corporate communications, PR, Marketing, Strategic Communications all used to have clearly defined roles.  Yet a vast realignment of these departments and roles has shifted due to the new rules environment of new media and technology.

• With the expansion of dense communications through tweets, blogs, etc. beyond the traditional methods of communications and PR, the walls are falling away between these two functions.  The most trusted information now comes from employees, not the PR department of a company.  Who is managing the content?  Dean Wilson spoke of his faculty meeting which was reported in the L.A. Observer the next day.

• Finally, the “blessing and curse” and unmanageability of vast information increases the importance of metrics.  By measuring and evaluating messages, there are strong implications for organizational design, who gets promoted, and even on whole industries. Dean Wilson emphasized we’re only 10%-15% along in this social media revolution journey.

We appreciated Dean Wilson’s quest to thrive through “SAKE!”
• Skills
• Attitudes – we must embrace and adapt to change
• Knowledge – of technology, sociology, and globalization
• Experience – “We can’t afford to have identical people.”  Talk to innovative people who are doing weird stuff, weird experiences in new media and elsewhere.  The grid and demographics is constantly changing.
 
The quite accessible (and humorous) Dean took questions as the L.A. Chapter stood fortified and ready to take on his proposed issues.
 
Christie Ly, IABC-LA President, ’09-’10, presented the “State of the Chapter” thanking this past year’s board members and welcoming incoming President 2010-1011, Paula Cassin.  Paula presented Christie with a sincere “thank you” gift commemorating Christie’s dedicated service this past year, especially while the chapter faced strong challenges during a tough economy.  Paula also introduced new board members and their roles, as well as plans to update the website to become more social media-connected with the communications community.

A pregnant and glowing Jamie Lipson, past chapter president ’08-’09, presented the “John F. Cartwright – Sunshine Award” to a pregnant and glowing Jessica Schlotter, Chair, Membership ’09-’10!  The award is presented to a dedicated member of IABC for “infectious humor, kindness to others, enthusiasm and, above all, dedication and service to the Los Angeles chapter.”

Chris Cabrera, past chapter president, and Communications Project Manager, Corporate Communications, Southern California Edison, hosted Dean Wilson and chapter members at an “after-party” at the Downtown’s elegant-cool bar.

The event not only celebrated the success of the chapter this past year, yet also provided an extremely informative networking opportunity for all attendees.

The event was kindly sponsored by Toyota, VMS, and Cut Through Communications.

Jan. 25th Event Summary: “Foot-in-the-Door Job Seeking Practices” Co-hosted by IABC-LA & IABC-USC Chapters

IABC-USC Executive Board (From L-R)Lauren Schultz, Xiaochu Hu, Moqi Liu, Ashley Michaud. Carolyn Ray, Daniela Arellano, IABC-LA Board Members: Cheryl Farrell and T.J. Stevko

(L-R:) IABC-USC Executive Board: Lauren Schultz, Xiaochu Hu, Moqi Liu, Ashley Michaud, Carolyn Ray, Daniela Arellano; IABC-LA Board Members: Cheryl Farrell and T.J. Stevko

Lilli Cloud, Blue Feet, and Susan San Martin, Plan B Communications at USC. 

Lilli Cloud of Blue Feet, and Susan San Martin, Plan B Communications guide IABC-USC students towards successful job-seeking strategies.   

Written by: Cheryl Farrell

In a fine example of partnership to inform IABC members, two local chapters co-hosted a hiring practices seminar for early entrants into the communications marketplace. IABC-LA and IABC-USC (University of Southern California) joined to garner student-focused advice from two experts in the field of recruitment and personal communications branding.

Gathered at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism’s Cowan Auditorium, approximately 35 communications students, recent graduates, IABC-LA members, and Annenberg staff heard insightful responses to questions previously submitted to the speakers. Lively in their presentations, Lilli Cloud, Founder and Principal, Blue Feet and Susan San Martin, Principal, Plan B Communications shared their wisdom from a combined 40 years of experience helping hundreds of clients. Some surprising “do’s and don’ts” drew gasps from the audience.

Social Media and Online Resources
• “Cleanse your Facebook”—be aware that social media tools are actively used by hiring managers to obtain information that does not appear on a prospective hire’s application.

• Do not shy away from using social media pages because, as a communications expert, you are expected to know how to best use it in your respective professions.

• Research prospective employers—visit company websites for mission and values statements, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports, as well as private blogs about corporate culture. 

• LinkedIn and Indeed.com are highly recommended online resources for finding jobs.

Lilli Cloud, Founder and Principal, Blue Feet (left) and Susan San Martin, Principal, Plan B Communications  Networking Resources
• A highly recommended book about networking, “paying it forward,” and being generous with your time is “Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time,” by Keith Ferrazzi. [ISBN-10:0385512058] Offer to help others as you ask them to help you find employment.

• Volunteering, internships, and alumni associations are excellent sources of contacts. Approximately 80% of interns find fulltime employment at the companies where they volunteer.

• The Los Angeles Business Journal is another good resource.

• For international students, local consulates are helpful with contacts and other resources.

Resume and Interview Do’s and Don’ts
• Do not use “Objectives” on résumés. It is an outdated and self-focused statement. Instead, use a well crafted three-sentence summary of skills focused on how you can help a prospective employer meet its goals.

• Remember presentation—lots of white space and bullet points are best. There are so many applicants for every job that employers will not use time to wade through dense copy.

  • For new job entrants, the summary should be “aspirational” as opposed to inspirational. Send the message about what you would like to do for a company versus the practice of more seasoned professionals who inspire the reader with what they’ve done and can bring to an organization.

• Prepare to answer “softball” questions as well as dreaded questions in an interview. Be in control of your branding by preparing for the easy and tough questions.

• Integrity and honesty—while certain verbs can enhance the level of participation on a project, do not lie! A colorful example was cited that demonstrates how years of strong work experience can be eclipsed by blatant misstatement of facts.

The event co-moderator and co-chair was the talented and resourceful IABC-USC president, Carolyn Ray (M.A., 2010). Assisting her was an enthusiastic student board of directors. Inspired by an IABC-LA hiring practices event in November 2009, two IABC-LA board members co-chaired with Carolyn Ray in planning today’s event:  T.J. Stevko, Communications Specialist, Mercer (also co-moderator) and Cheryl Farrell, independent communications professional.

IABC-LA members, Chris Cabrera, Corporate Communications Project Manager, Southern California Edison and Ariela Iringan, Manager, Deloitte Consulting joined students for networking after the event.

Today’s hiring practices was well-received and similar co-hosting opportunities are being considered to help the Los Angeles and USC chapter meet membership objectives.

(L-R) Lilli Cloud, Susan San Martin, Cheryl Farrell and T.J. Stevko
“It was inspiring to attend the event at USC, and I was very impressed with the students. You could see some trends, based on the questions they asked. For example, many of them asked about corporate social responsibility, and I was able to share the good things my company is doing to help protect the environment, develop alternative forms of power, reach out to the community and help customers conserve energy. These students are the leaders of the (near) future, and it’s great to see where they want to focus their careers. And speaking of energy, they have lots of it.”

Chris Cabrera
Communications Project Manager
Past-President, IABC-LA