December 13 Event Summary: 6th Annual Holiday Tea Party

<a href=”http://”>Gordon Ramsey at The London West Hollywood
Insults!  Shouting! Scones with Crème Chantilly being thrown at one another! When I walked into IABC-LA’s Holiday Tea at the Gordon Ramsey Dining Room at The London in West Hollywood, I expected a very intense, heated atmosphere…as well as an expectation that IABC-LA members would be whipping up our own afternoon tea menu and we’d better get it right.  Luckily, Mr. Ramsey’s namesake dining experience was not only a truly relaxing, bright, cheery room in a hip yet elegant hotel, but also a lovely tea menu free from fiery explosions.
 
IABC-LA President Christie Ly welcomed about twenty L.A. member attendees in which we each introduced ourselves and our communications specialty, while Past President Jamie Lipson announced the chapter will be making a donation this year to the Young Storytellers Foundation (http://youngstorytellers.com). The 6th Annual Holiday Tea was truly a time to relax, meet fellow members for the first time or catch up with friends, and enjoy some holiday spirit quietly.

While lively conversations were going on at different tables, I enjoyed hearing about current projects and initiatives happening under Chris Cabrera of Southern California Edison (Past IABC-LA President ’02), and Greg Cash of ALS…and of course, in tea party fashion, our conversation turned to music and the arts.

The Los Angeles Chapter wishes all IABC members Season’s Greetings and very happy holidays.

IABC’s 6th Annual Holiday Tea Party


 

Nov. 12 Event Summary: “Hiring Practices: What Communications Professionals Should Know”

IABC-LA’s Paula Cassin and Cheryl Farell, Panelist Moderator, with Jay Berger, Pamela Jones and Lilli CloudOn November 12, 2009, Cheryl Farrell, IABC-LA Board Member and Chair, Regional Events, served as Panel Moderator for three distinguished panelists who not only engaged 30 member participants, but also helped attendees recalibrate search efforts in this distinctively tough job market.  While you may be “analytical,” “strategic,” and “organized” according to your resume, those attributes are simply not enough to obtain an interview…yet gaining clarity on what works and what doesn’t will help place you on the top of the interview pile.

Cheryl and attendees welcomed:  Jay Berger, PhD, Manager Partner, Morris & Berger (www.morrisberger.com), whose boutique executive search firm finds senior level execs for non-profit clients; Pamela Jones, Senior Recruiter, The Walt Disney Company, who is responsible for full life-cycle recruitment in Production, Marketing, Studio Operations, and more; and Lilli Cloud, Founder & Principal, Blue Feet Communications, who helps entrepreneurs and job seekers develop their personal brand (www.yourBlueFeet.com).

The combination of prepared and audience questions and expert panelists’ answers covered what’s-on-our-minds topics ranging from the top three elements found in successful placements to overcoming an applicant’s impediments to becoming a job-seeker entrepreneur.

Here are some strong suggestions from Jay, Pamela, and Lilli regarding key topics:

Resumes, Cover Letters and Personal Branding:
• Jay: chronological and 2-4 pages ideal (1-page resumes can be frustrating for a senior level recruiter!). No gimmicks, no photos. No generic cover letters.
• Pamela: Keep it simple. “Interests” not necessary. Pay attention to the job description and have searchable terms that you can back up in an interview.
• Lilli: Become a job-seeker entrepreneur. Consulting is replacing many jobs, so do both job search and consulting.  Hang your personal branded website shingle. A professional head shot is crucial to be taken seriously. Raise your visability through social networking yet get out of your house physically and to make those in-person contacts.

Secrets to Successful Placements:
• Jay: On-line applying is here to stay. Send cover and resume as an attachment.  Word-of-mouth snowball approach works.
• Pamela: Understand and speak to the job you are applying for vs. “I always loved Disney as a child”!  Be prepared with job-specific examples as opposed to canned responses. Do research on the company prior to interview…take the old school approach.
• Lilli: Be prepared to answer the toughest questions that you may normally want to avoid in an interview regarding your experience (e.g. not finishing school, gap in employment)

And More…
• Personal branding means presenting “the you on your very best day.”
• Plan to stay with a company at least for 2-3 years
• Employers can see where you have been applying; so keep your search focused
• Non-profits will consolidate marketing and communications professionals into one role: “Institutional Relations”…excellent opportunities for good writers; grant writers.
• Give as much as you get from a networking contact (ex. Share an interesting article or something of value to them.)
• Volunteer at non-profits…towards a full-time position.

And finally…”Be Encouraged. Network. Demonstrate (Show Don’t Tell).”

The early morning breakfast event simply would not have been possible without the Calabasas headquarters location of The ALS Association generously provided by fellow IABC members, Jeff Snyder and Greg Cash. This event was also attended by Career Transitions Now members, led by Douglas Whitaker.

Due to the vibrant success of “Hiring Practices,” for those IABC-LA members who missed this opportunity, the event is being coordinated for a January presentation at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. So start networking!

Lilli Cloud of Blue Feet Communications discusses personal branding towards getting work

Participants learned hiring practices’ secrets to being a successful job seeker

November 12: Pre-Event Summary: “Hiring Practices”

IABC-LA Regional Meeting, Calabasas Hills
 “Hiring Practices: What Communications Professionals Should Know”
Thursday, November 12, 2009
8AM – 10AM
Three Distinguished Panelists/Cheryl Farrell, Moderator

Posted by: Cheryl Farrell
Email: la-woodlandhills@iabc.com
If you had the chance to ask a tenured hiring practices expert any question, what would it be? What if you had the opportunity to sit across the table from a managing director of a major recruitment firm that specializes in non-profit executive placements? Or, how about chatting with a senior recruiter of a major entertainment conglomerate? Finally, what-if you can ask a personal branding expert about the essentials of a compelling branding statement?

All this will be available to you at the November 12 IABC-LA professional development meeting. Thanks to the generosity of fellow IABC members, Jeff Snyder and Greg Cash of The ALS Association, the event will be held at the association’s Calabasas Hills headquarters.

As moderator for the event, I have the privilege of preparing questions for our distinguished panel. Here is a sample, and I welcome your questions.

1. Please describe the top two or three themes you find in your successful placements. [E.g., résumé quality, word-of-mouth referrals, use of social networking]

2. On the matter of hiring practices from earlier times, what is your opinion about online applications versus hard-copy submissions? What about following the rules in the “don’t call us, we’ll call you” instruction?

3. Please describe the top two or three impediments you find in your applicant base and how can applicants overcome them.

4. For new entrants in the hiring marketplace, what is the best strategy to distinguish oneself from others with similar credentials? 

5. What does it mean to be a job seeker-entrepreneur? How important are job seekers’ communications skills to increase the chances of being hired?

Register for the event that is sure to provide valuable information on current hiring practices and employment options.

To register, go to http://la.iabc.com to “Upcoming Events.” Click on November 12th event then click registration link.

The ALS Association
27001 Agoura Road, Suite 250
Calabasas Hills, CA 91301
Thursday, November 12, 2009
8AM – 10AM
Members: $30
Non-Members: $40

Price includes light breakfast. Door prizes courtesy of the IABC Knowledge Centre. Free parking. Limited seating.

Panelists
Jay Berger, PhD, Managing Partner, Morris & Berger
Twenty-two years experience as principal with Morris & Berger, a boutique executive search firm working on senior level searches, exclusively for nonprofit clients.

Pamela Jones, Senior Recruiter, The Walt Disney Company
More than a decade of corporate recruiter experience, responsible for full life-cycle recruitment in the areas of Production, Marketing, Studio Operations, Home Entertainment, Distribution and Music.

Lilli Cloud, Founder & Principal, Blue Feet Communications
Communications veteran of 20+ years, Lilli helps entrepreneurs and job seekers develop their personal brand and articulate that both verbally and in writing, in a clear, compelling way that makes them stand out from the crowd. Visit www.yourbluefeet.com.

Panel Moderator: Cheryl Farrell, IABC Board Member and Chair, Regional Events
An award-winning communicator with a career that spans broadcast media to corporate banking. As a volunteer, she writes and speaks on behalf of advocacy organizations such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The ALS Association Hosts
Jeff Snyder, Vice President, Communications
Greg Cash, Director, Communications

October 7 Event Summary: “What’s the State of Your Employee Communications?”

Guest speaker Steve Crescenzo of Crescenzo Communications (www.crescenzocomm.com) presented the latest trends in employee and corporate communications within a small, conversational-style gathering of IABC-LA members at downtown L.A.’s Checkers Hotel.
 
Steve earned his employee communications stripes for years as the assistant editor of “The Ragan Report,” reviewing countless company newsletters and not-so-effective communications efforts.  I enjoyed his story about Larry Ragan, founder (and Mark Ragan’s father), who was way ahead of his time in the 1960’s:  Regan wanted to treat employees like adults and incorporate their opinions and valuable feedback regarding employee and company communications, and ditch the cartoons and recipes.  Fast forward to today’s employee communications climate, Larry Ragan would have embraced wholeheartedly social media, blogs, FaceBook and YouTube as instrumental tools in employee communications.

Steve covered five biggest trends:
 1) Battlefield has shifted…social media must be incorporated into employee communications. Communication pros can suggest social media as a facilitation mechanism for providing specific company tools and information.
2) The role of the communicator as publisher is over.  We are now creating conversations.
3) Multi-media use such as YouTube is now a viable employee communications tool. 
4) With so much social media overload, communicators are starting to tell better stories with a two-way communications approach… such as employees showing employees what’s happening using a Flip camera. 
5) Print is the “new” technology.  Using print to cut through the white noise of social media is on the rise. Drama, passion and cool photos are making its way back into print…and getting employees’ attention.

We engaged discussion in the importance of mastering content and how good communications spans generations and has evolved to be more conversational.  Board Member Paula Cassin brought up the issue of management pushing company agendas disguised as interactive employee social media, while Steve emphasized “Communicate to the culture that you want to be!” (…not to the company culture that exists.)
 
Check out Steve’s 2-minute video series on his website…hilarious takes on employee communications’ cliches…do’s and don’ts.

June 24 Event Summary: “Best Practices for Effective Communications” at the 2009 IABC-LA Annual Awards Banquet at Dodger Stadium

SUCCESS Award Winner, Linda Livingstone, PhD, and SUNSHINE Award Winner, Danielle ScottPast President, Michael Ambrozewicz, Immediate Past President, Jamie Lipson, and 2009-2010 President, Christie LyReed Dickens, Former White House Assistant Press Secretary  

IABC-LA members enjoyed a winning season as chapter participants celebrated with Guest Speaker,  Former White House Assistant Press Secretary, Reed Dickens.  The event bases were loaded with a fun stadium tour, a mouth-watering southern Backyard Barbeque, a state-of-the-chapter address by outgoing IABC-LA President Jamie Lipson, presentation of awards, and finally, an introduction of new 2009-2010 L.A. chapter Board Members.

Guest Speaker Reed Dickens shared stories that not only illustrated best practices for effective communications while he was in The West Wing, but also how he applies his communications skills to Fortune 500 CEOs, celebrity athletes, and entertainers through his communications strategy firm, Outside Eyes www.outsideeyes.com.  Early on, Reed claimed he knew nothing about politics and was way over his head while taking his third airplane flight of his life in AirForce One, yet evolved and grew through his formative assistant press secretary experiences.  Now Reed and his team are much sought after for crisis management situations, which he not only claims are all the same as far as human emotion and flaws in each crisis, but how participants react and make the same mistakes within the first 48 hours.

Dicken’s strategies involve two key elements to turn a devastating situation around quickly: transparency and speed.  He recommends emphatically not letting lawyers answer questions in the media for a devastated or embarrassed client.  Leave the “no surprises” strategies to the professionals…communications strategists. Yes! Dickens states, “…because everyone will eventually find out everything.”  Reed also emphasized you don’t have to have a major media event to apply best practices in crisis management…a senior level executive being dismissed at your company can be strategized in the same way.   Finally, Dickens presented a tool of asking whether or not a client’s issue is a perception problem or a reality problem?  Sometimes the reality of a situation is the reality, and it can’t be hidden under the guise of perception no matter what the client requests.

A behind-the-scenes tour of Dodger Stadium included a walk through the famous and exclusive DugOut Club featuring outstanding memorabilia.  And talk about a “backyard”!  Members enjoyed sitting in the Dodger dugout and touching, not stepping on the famous groomed grass field.  We learned it’s no accident the opposing team’s dugout is facing the bright western sun during games!

Michael Ambrozewicz presented The SUCCESS Award to superior communicator Linda Livingstone, Ph.D., Dean and Professor of Management, Graziadio School of Business and Management.  Dr. Livingstone accepted her award with great insight about best practices which included truly listening to people around you and in your organization to avoid mistakes.  Jamie Lipson presented the “SUNSHINE” award to our chapter’s enthusiastic Website Chair, Danielle Scott.  And finally, we welcomed incoming IABC-LA President ’09-‘10, Christine Ly, who introduced our new Board of Directors for the upcoming year and made closing remarks. 

DodgerTown got to experience it’s best practices by IABC-LA!  Go, team!

IABC-L.A. members on the field

Dodger Dugout players: Paula Cassin, Linda Davis, Pamela Corante-Hansen, Nancy Shonka Padberg

Dodger Memorabilia

2009 IABC Gold Quill Marketing Communications Judging

In February, IABC-LA member Bill Spaniel hosted a judging session for the Marketing Communications Category of the 2009 IABC Gold Quill Awards.

Volunteers spent the afternoon reviewing entries and they took a moment to comment on what they were looking for in winning entries. See the judges’ thoughts and opinions here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6Yvfz0kGoA

March 20th, 2009 Event wrap up: venturing into new territory, experiencing a new approach to writing

After spending some time networking and catching up over breakfast, we spend an hour and a half with Virginia Green, PhD, who took us through some exercises to help up approach writing in a new way.  We drew self portraits using 5 lines (!), brainstormed over a Vermeer painting, explored our strengths through an entrepreneurial lens, and then tied it all back to tapping into right brain creativity as well as left brain analytics and language.

Here’s a video wrap up from some of the participants:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/2F4hjtlEEes" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

In order of appearance:

Jeff Gilling of McCrindle Research, visiting from Sydney, Australia

Rebecca Mikkelsen, new IABC member recently relocated to Los Angeles

Virginia Green, our esteemed speaker, and

Kerry Bonner, IABC member and PR/Marketing freelancer.

October 14th Event: Selling and Selecting Freelance Services

What does it take to start up your own communications practice? How should you go about finding the freelancer who’s right for your company’s projects? We’ll ask these questions and more to our experienced panelists over breakfast. They will share with you what makes a successful partnership between a freelancer and corporate professional. They’ll talk about the successes and the nightmares they’ve experienced, and leave you with food for thought you can use.

October 14th, 8am – 10am

Maggiano’s Restaurant in Woodland Hills, CA.

So please – get up early, join us for a great breakfast & lively discussion, and then cruise on over to work after rush hour. (Click here to register).

Your Expert Panel:

Deborah S. Hawkins, Freelancer

Charlotte Lassos, Straight Up Communications

Bill Spaniel, ABC, California Society of CPAs

Judy Sterling, Sterling Communications

Click here to go to Speaker Bios.

April 22 Event: Secrets of Highly Effective Employee Communications Departments

April 22, 2008 at Villa Sorriso Restaurant in Pasadena

6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Speakers: Valli Thornton & Jennifer Lee from Watson Wyatt Worldwide

We’re very excited that Valli Thornton and Jennifer Lee from Watson Wyatt Worldwide are joining us on April 22 to share the findings from their latest Communication ROI Study.

They’re going to share both encouraging and discouraging trends that have come to light since their initial study in 2003/2004.

If you attend this event you’ll learn:

  • Best practices of highly effective communication departments
  • The six secrets for effective communication
  • How to assess your communication effectiveness
  • How to build a business case for additional communication staff and budget
  • And more!

But before the event, we’re curious to hear about your best practices. Add a comment to this post and tell us about your successful communication tools or techniques. Even if you don’t think they’re particularly “cutting-edge,” we’d like to know what’s working for you.

You can learn more about the April 22 event and register here.

April 9 Event Summary: Cut Through the Email Clutter

April 9, 2008 at Raytheon in El Segundo.
Speaker: Paula Cassin from Cut Through Communications

Download the presentation materials (coming soon)

About 20 people joined us for the lunch event to hear how Vodafone in New Zealand was able to reduce its dependence on email and improve their employee communications.

First, Paula walked us through Vodafone’s internal communications objectives (and I’m sure these will sound familiar to anyone in internal communications):

• Reduce all-staff emails
• Grow and reinforce knowledge
• Reinforce brand and values
• Increase intranet usage
• Involve staff, build engagement
• Build community spirit
• Centrally manage communications
• Targeted communications that fit with work flows

Then, she introduced us to some interesting new channels offered by Snap Communications that helped Vodafone achieve those objectives.

Screensavers:
Okay, maybe you’re already doing this, but if not, it can be an effective way to market to your employees. Vodafone ran a series of screen savers detailing where they stood against their annual business goals. They also used them to ask employees for creative ideas to grow the business. Then, they created screen savers to share what employees were saying. They also used screen savers to promote an initiative to recycle mobile phones and drive awareness for an upcoming ‘Loud Shirt’ day to raise money for charity. And the list goes on. Using the snap tool the screensavers were quick and easy to produce and launch. They didn’t even have to go through IT! And the screensavers can link to anything you want them to link to so people can get more information.

Alerts:
You know how in outlook you can get that little pop-up window that tells you when you have a new email? Well, the snap alert system is similar. It pops up on the employee’s screen to give them a quick bit of information (and they can click to read more). You can target it to very select groups. For example, if you have a training class starting in 15 minutes, you can send an alert to the people registered for the training class that pops right up on their screen. This is also useful for crisis communications or if the email systems go down and you need to alert everyone.

Employee-Driven Content
She also talked about a wonderful tool that allows employees to submit news stories or announcements they want everyone to see. They submit them online using a template form that you create. When a new story is submitted the person you designate as the editor is alerted and they can accept the story, decline the story or edit the story before posting it. All the stories are then summarized on one nice html page that you can broadcast to employees as frequently as you wish. She said you can even have this html page come up when people are logging-in, so they can check out the latest stories for a few minutes each morning.

She also talked about quizzes, surveys and a ticker bar that can run across the bottom of the screens for “hot news”.

Other attendees also shared what they were up to including ensuring their external and internal webpages are accessible via blackberries and other mobile devices and hosting webcasts.

This is just a fraction of what we covered at the meeting. You can see Paula’s presentation here. (coming soon)

Let us know what you’re company is doing to limit its dependence on email as a communication tool. Are you having success with webcasts or video? Do you have a new tool or a strategy that’s worked well for you? Tell us about it!