The New Shape of Internal Communications

By Eli Natinsky
IABCLA, Vice President of Operations

My fellow IABCLA board member Ephraim Freed recently wrote a blog post entitled “The iconoclast’s guide to internal communications” where he outlined best practices for internal communications. An iconoclast, we note, is “a person who attacks cherished beliefs or institutions.” Freed, the employee experience manager at Regent, L.P., encouraged me to comment on his work.

Here are my thoughts:

– Item #1: “The smasher of cherished traditions has no time for dry, boring communications that may, in fact, say nothing at all,” he wrote. “Today’s leading internal comms teams help executives tell authentic stories that show emotional vulnerability, ensure transparency around decision-making, and strive to help employees make personal connections to leaders, the brand and each other.”

The words “authentic” “vulnerability,” and “transparency” stand out. In our information age, people crave genuineness. The public is inundated with news, opinion, and marketing and its volume and ease of access can create cynicism and doubt – it’s hard to know who or what to trust. Therefore, it is vital that communications professionals help others tell authentic stories that can slice through the clutter by conveying genuineness. Leaders need to be relatable to their employees, letting them know they also face struggles in their personal and professional lives.

Freed mentions, for example, Facebook’s Cheryl Sandberg. The tech giant’s COO is an executive who embraces openness. She discussed the challenges of being a woman in the workplace in her book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” In addition, Sandberg chronicled her grief following the loss of her husband in “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy.”

– Item #2: “The new internal comms team is actually an employee experience team that, in addition to multimedia communications capabilities, includes skills around UXD, research and data analysis, business process management and product management,” Freed notes. “This team also needs to be connected at the hip with technical teams that work on networking and security, sys admin, development and support.”

The words “employee experience team” resonates. As I’ve progressed in my career, I’ve come to appreciate the group dynamic and the fact that each person brings different experiences and abilities to the collective. My primary skills are PR/marketing writing and project management, and so I must rely on those who are adept in areas outside of these. One of my favorite expressions is “I know what I don’t know,” and I’m all too happy to collaborate with a colleague who possesses an expertise that I lack.

– Item #3: “In the new model internal comms plays a role of expert sherpa, helping employees at all levels identify their audiences, use optimal channels, and deliver content that meets relevant quality standards,” Freed explains.

The phrase “helping employees at all levels identify their audiences” is noticeable. It is vital to hear from people at various standings in an organization, as everyone brings value and perspective. A personal example of this is a blog entry I recently wrote for the IABCLA site
(“I Found My People in IABCLA”). The chapter’s senior leadership asked me to talk about the association from the perspective of someone who recently moved to Southern California and joined the board. They felt that as a newcomer, I would offer a fresh take on the value of involvement in the group.

To summarize, my takeaway from the Freed’s post is: the field of communications is fluid and must change with the times. Further, the best comms is authentic, team oriented, and should involve individuals at all levels of an organization. “Today the employee is the customer, the leader is a listener, and internal comms is a multidisciplinary team that facilitates connection and change,” Freed noted, and I completely agree.


Eli Natinsky is IABCLA’s vice president of operations. His writing explores various media, marketing, pop culture, and technology topics. Additional pieces are on his website: elinatinsky.com.

I Found My People in IABCLA

 

By Eli Natinsky
IABCLA, Vice President of Operations

“Do you want to join the board?” IABCLA Vice President Jenny Matkovich asked me at the end of my first chapter event in November. I had the opportunity to not only meet Jenny at that first function, but several board members and chapter regulars. It was a warm and welcoming group, so it was an easy decision when I was asked to take on a leadership role.

I was already well-versed in the benefits of IABC, having been involved in the Detroit chapter. I gained a great deal from my participation – networking, friendship, professional development, educational opportunities. So, IABC was one of the first organizations I sought out when I moved from my hometown of Southeast Michigan to Los Angeles this past fall.

I’m now the vice president of operations, and my duties include taking notes during board meetings, writing up said minutes, researching and implementing internal tools such as conferencing capabilities, creating blog posts such as this, and contributing in whatever other ways are needed. It’s the first time I’ve been on the board of a professional organization, and I love it.

I took part in our board retreat in January, and it was tremendous experience. There was great energy and enthusiasm at the gathering and several programs were conceived – this includes Dine & Discuss on February 21 at TOMGEORGE and Coffee Connection on March 3 at Andante Coffee Roaster. I’m excited for both happenings, as it’s rewarding to see ideas go from inception to completion.

Being on the board has provided me entry into the LA communications world. I look forward to continuing to build relationships with other local practitioners, as well as exploring the regional comms landscape. I’m now searching for a full-time position, and my involvement in the association will likely play a part in securing me a job.

I often hear of the need to “find your people” in that it’s important to seek out like-minded individuals who appreciate you. I’m happy to say I’ve found them in IABCLA, and I encourage other communications professionals in Southern California to become involved just as I have. Thank you to Jenny and the other board members – Ephraim Freed, Deborah Hudson, Sara Laurence, Morgan Robson, Grant Skakun – for including me in their efforts to build a stronger chapter.


Eli Natinsky is IABCLA’s vice president of operations. His writing explores various media, marketing, pop culture, and technology topics. Additional pieces are on his website: elinatinsky.com.

IABC-LA releases Strat Plan for 2013-2016

The vision is in while refreshed priorities grabbed a foothold in IABC Los Angeles’ new strategic plan.

IABC Los Angeles is the leading community for communications professionals working across industries and disciplines. We are diverse storytellers. Rich with top-notch communicators, IABC-LA membership’s talent is critical to the success of Los Angeles’ businesses, large and small.

In support of a storytelling focus, the overall strategy employs a 360-degree approach on three building blocks of content, career and business to deliver membership value.

The plan delves into significant opportunities in the Los Angeles niche market. From Silicon Beach to tech know-how for communicators to thriving student engagement, IABC-LA’s strategic plan boosts our  membership, partner organizations, special interest groups and businesses’ engagement.

Storytelling reaches in and around communications silos in the most progressive of ways.  Our L.A. business communicator members are now expected to combine skills, attaining new ones at an alarming rate.

Through strategic chapter events planning, meanwhile sharing original and curated content, the strat plan supports members in a best practices platform while building stealthy ties to Los Angeles’ businesses.

Welcome to the 2013-2016 Strategic Plan: IABC-LA Strategic Plan – Chapter Copy (2)

 

September 2012 is a Worldwide Membership Month!

Give your career the boost it needs! For more than 40 years, IABC has brought communication professionals together to learn from one another, promote credibility for the profession and build enduring friendships. By joining IABC, you become part of a community of more than 15,000 members around the world who are dedicated to helping each other improve skills, share best practices, advance careers — and have fun doing it.

And, here’s good news: If you are a new or lapsed member who joins or re-joins IABC, we’ll waive the application fee ($40 for faxed/mailed/phoned enrollments; $30 for Internet enrollments). Please note: Your application must be received at the San Francisco headquarters office during the month of September to qualify.

Join now by visiting www.iabc.com/join, downloading an application or calling 1-800-776-4222.

Not quite ready to join? Sample the benefits! IABC is hosting an open house of the members-only international IABC website throughout the month of September. You have free access to the following resources:

  • Discovery, IABC’s enhanced–search archive of proprietary content. Discovery contains archives of Communication World magazine, CW Bulletin and numerous Research Foundation reports along with searchable knowledge centre manuals worth more than $1,800 if purchased in hard copy form.
  • MemberSpeak and the IABC Buzz (read-only access). These are online forums where members ask questions and share personal and professional information.
  • The Job Centre, IABC’s job listing site. (Only members have premium access to new listings.)

Go to www.iabc.com/login/trial/. (This login will not be available after the month of September.)

To learn more about IABC membership, visit www.iabc.com/about/membership.

We look forward to welcoming you to the IABC community!

Nominations Open – 2012-2013 LA chapter board members and directors

Nominations for July 2012 – June 2013 LA chapter board year are now open.

If you are a current IABC member and interested in volunteering to advance your career, expand your network, gain management experience, or develop your communications skills, please review the board and volunteer positions listed below and contact Paula Cassin, at la-president@iabc.com or 805 758-3392 to discuss!  We welcome all help, of all sorts and sizes.  We do have people expressing interest in many of the roles listed, but can always find a match for your personal goals and what’s needed to run the chapter. 

The deadline for nominations is midnight Saturday, the 12th of May.

IABC Los Angeles is a unique professional association, known for its friendliness and for providing access to network of 14,000 professionals around the world. The Los Angeles Chapter has been providing face-to-face, quality networking and professional development events for all communicators in the LA area for decades, all through a rotating volunteer board.IABC Logo

Serving on the board provides an incomparable professional development experience, creates lifelong friendships, and provides opportunities for communicators to expand their skill set in areas that may not be available at work.

Potential projects for 2012-2013 include planning the events program for 2012-2013,  rethinking event structure (virtual events? can we tie in social media more deeply at live events? partnering with other organizations? experimenting with the cutting edge in comms), overhauling how we showcase members online and at events, expanding our membership to new groups of practitioners.

Board level roles include the opportunity to travel to IABC Leadership Institute (Scottsdale, AZ in 2013) and regional IABC meetings, to meet with peers from around the world and also to regional chapter meetings and conferences.

Chapter board level roles:

President 2012-2013 – (Dana Edler)

Past President 2012-2013 – (Paula Cassin)

President Elect – Position Responsibilities:

  • Automatic succession to the position of president
  • Perform duties assigned by the president
  • Act on the president’s behalf in case of their absence
  • Act as the chapter’s main contact person for the Pacific Plains Regional Board
  • Manage the development of the official slate of next fiscal year’s Board members and work with the president to issue the final slate for voting to IABC-LA’s members
  • Manage the volunteering director and help establish  a healthy turnover of volunteers
  • Provide advice and counsel to the president on the direction and progress of the chapter

VP of Communications – Position Responsibilities:

  • Maintain the chapter’s broadcast communications calendar and craft the communications plan for the year (using past resources, best practice templates/work plans, and own initiative)
  • Manage and coach the social media, email, newsletter and website directors as needed to get content posted and broadcast.
  • Ensure all member mailings reflect the IABC-LA brand
  • Create and maintain a style book that reflects IABC-LA’s preferred look and feel for all member communications
  • Collect and publish member profiles
  • Work with the newsletter director to deliver the monthly e-mail newsletter for members

VP of Membership – Position Responsibilities:

  • Advocate and coach chapter volunteers on membership value and craft a membership promotion for the year (using past examples, best practice templates/work plans, and own initiative)
  • Member outreach – new, renewing, and lapsing members
  • Email new member packets monthly to all new IABC-LA members
  • Call members on their anniversary to thank them for their membership and ask for their feedback about events etc. being offered
  • Reach out to prospective new members and encourage them to join – through email, phone or mailings
  • Manage and coach new member welcome volunteers
  • Promote membership deals that IABC International offers by asking Website Chair to post details on the LA site and sharing that information with regional event planners so they can announce opportunities at monthly events.

VP of Professional Development (Programming, Events) – Position Responsibilities:

  • Lead Programming Committee to determine event calendar for September 2012- June 2013
  • Responsible for event calendar changes, updates, and relaying info to website director for posting
  • Manage and coach regional event directors, helping them stay on track, flag any problems
  • Responsibility for maintaining central database/info on topics, speakers, venues
  • Maintain a list of locations that have hosted events in the area for use by future Board members
  • Update Board on event status monthly

Treasurer – Position Responsibilities:

  • Must have served on the IABC-LA Board of Directors for one full fiscal year prior to accepting the role of Treasurer
  • Ensure the financial health of the chapter by monitoring the budget, managing all financial accounts, monitoring all financial transactions and issuing payments to vendors
  • Reimburse board members for expenses
  • Store and maintain all financial receipts and records
  • Prepare financial reports for IABC as requested by IABC
  • Manage new vendor contracts as necessary

 Directors (reporting to and coached by a board member, varying levels of commitment required):

Social Media – responsible for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn Group, and promoting chapter members and activities through social media

Events, South Bay – organize an event for a particular month in a particular region

Events, Pasadena/Burbank – organize an event for a particular month in a particular region

Events, Downtown- organize an event for a particular month in a particular region

Events, Woodland Hills/Westlake- organize an event for a particular month in a particular region

Website – post news, event information, member profiles, event photos/video on our website

Monthly Newsletter – monthly round up of events, activities, notable news from IABC that goes out to members and non-members

Email communications – manage email broadcasts and eventbrite broadcasts during the year

Job Board  – receive and post job openings provided for SoCal during the year (5-10 per month currently), promote and spread awareness of our members-only free channel

Event volunteer – check in registrants, print out badges, etc)

Secretary/Administrator – attend board meetings, take minutes and post, print name badges,

New Member Welcome Committee – volunteers who contact new IABC members, find them a buddy, assist the VP Membership,  introduce new members at events

Programming Committee – volunteers who meet during June and July 2012 to agree and schedule the event calendar for 2012-2013

Volunteering – connect with members and non-members interested in volunteering and connect them to the right director or VP.

 

IABC-LA Congratulates Past President for New Position on the IABC Executive Board

IABC-LA’s Past President, Michael J. Ambrozewicz will be a Director on the IABC 2012-2013 international executive board.  Congratulations, Michael!

As the governing body of IABC, the international executive board develops the strategic plan and direction for the association under the guidance of bylaws approved by the IABC membership. The board supervises, controls and directs the affairs of the association; actively pursues IABC’s mission; determines its policy within the limits of the law, bylaws and articles of incorporation; upholds the IABC Code of Ethics; and supervises the disbursement of funds.

You can find the full IABC press release here: http://news.iabc.com/index.php?s=43&item=271

About MICHAEL J. AMBROZEWICZ – IABC Executive Board Director

Ambrozewicz is manager of corporate communications and diversity & inclusion at DIRECTV. He oversees global strategy communications as well as communications for employees, human resources programs and all benefit plan participants. He has won numerous awards for his communication efforts, including an IABC Gold Quill Award. His responsibilities also include managing DIRECTV’s diversity and inclusion strategy, which coordinates initiatives targeted at the company’s consumer and community marketplaces, inclusive workplace culture and diverse workforce.

Ambrozewicz served two terms as president of IABC Los Angeles, for which he was recognized with an IABC Chapter Leader of the Year honorable mention award. He holds a degree in international business administration and a degree in German studies from Loyola Marymount University. A native Californian, he lives in Los Angeles and has resided in Germany and Poland.

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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

Presidents Update to Members – Feb. 2011

I hope 2011 has started well for you. We’re halfway through the IABC-LA Board year, so here is a quick report on what we’ve accomplished so far, as well as a call to action for members.

Leading the IABC-LA Board this year, I understand that our main job boils down to providing value for membership. So far this year we’ve overhauled/modernized the website, created a social media and networking presence, started new, completely-free-to-members networking events and brought in high-caliber speakers across the L.A. region.

I know that I speak for the entire Board when I say that we are excited about the direction the Chapter is going, and we’re having fun making it happen.  I hope you’re finding value from your membership, too.

If you’re interested in getting more value, consider getting involved in one of these 4 ways:

Face-to-Face Events

Our updated calendar of events is here.  We have events planned every month through June (starting up again in September).  Please join us at one or more of these events – if you haven’t attended in the past, we hope you’ll come and discover for yourself why IABC-L.A. is known as one of the friendliest professional associations around. Our culture is one of collegiality rather than competition.

March Membership Month – refer a friend or colleague

If you’d like to see colleagues, friends or peers benefit from IABC, too, refer them to IABC-LA now – their registration fees will be waived through the end of March, and you’ll have a chance to win a Flip Camera as a thank you! Find out more here. We’ll be posting further updates and information over the next 6 weeks.

Connect on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook

To build on the camaraderie that develops at our in-person events, please connect with IABC-LA on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Please choose your preferred outlet so it’s easy to stay up to date on events, find old friends, ask for help or provide advice.  Our Social Media Chairs share information regularly and facilitate discussions, so even if you do not attend our face-to-face events, you can start to make meaningful connections with people.

Volunteer Opportunities

We could use your help! There are many benefits to volunteering – developing deeper relationships with peers, staying in the game while in transition, gaining experience or skills outside of your career specialty.  Please take a look at our ‘wish list‘ and see if anything sounds like you.  There are small jobs, big jobs and projects, all ready for you to make your mark.  You’ll most likely become lifetime friends with some of your fellow volunteers (no joke; ask Bill Spaniel or some of our other longstanding members).

I hope that one of the four options above appeals to you and look forward to connecting with you as a fellow member either virtually or face-to-face before the end of June!

Paula Cassin

IABC-LA President, 2010-11

Membership Month is Around the Corner!

As an IABC member, you know the benefits of belonging to a worldwide network of communication professionals. Why not help our network grow by encouraging your friends and colleagues to join IABC-LA. When they join in March, we’ll waive their application fee.

It gets better – for every person you refer who joins IABC-LA from March 1 -31, your name will be entered in a drawing to win a free Flip Camera. Isn’t it time you enhanced your social media efforts with video?

We’ll be sending you details about Member Month over the next weeks. In the meantime, start thinking about friends and business associates who may want to grow their network through IABC-LA.

P.S. Tell your colleagues they’ll save when they join IABC-LA in March !