Robin McCasland, IEB Chair Provides Outstanding IABC Transparency and Profession’s Global Trends

On Tuesday, April 22, 2014, Robin McCasland, International Board Chair for IABC visited Los Angeles chapter members at RGP’s offices in downtown Los Angeles.  Our chapter members were treated to two outstanding presentations, both substantive in transparency about IABC headquarters and in content in “Who We Are, Where We Are, and What’s Next?”  

“Communicators have evolved into facilitators of the conversation,” said McCasland.  Robin also stated the take-notice fact that communicators, especially in the present glare of 24/7 media exposure, are now being viewed as professionals with highly skilled expertise in the same context doctors and lawyers are viewed professionally in respective careers.

Before Robin pulled us deep into the GPS of exactly what’s happening with communications’ professional and global trends. McCasland invited us into a transparent GPS operations-view of IABC Headquarters. IABC is now 70 countries/9 regions strong! With highest membership in the U.S. and Canada, the organization is expanding even further into Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia, South America, Middle East and Russia!

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Robin worked closely with Ann Lazurus, Interim Executive Director of  IABC, as well as several other “razor-focused” IABC execs dedicated to refreshing IABC and addressing multiple “thorny” issues.  Task forces were created. Issues addressed include an extremely expensive headquarters’ lease to attracting new staff to eliminating or reducing extraordinary budget expenses.

IABC’s ancient website and ABC professional certification are being updated…Gold Quills process has been transformed  and much more. IABC headquarters may transition to a virtual office, be moved locally or completely relocated. Members have positively praised new staff for their customer service and member focus! For Robin’s inside look at headquarters, please access YouTube audio links:

Around the World with IABC
Communications Trends
IABC International Update

On global trends and the profession, Robin provided facts and figures in her Prezi presentation which are “waking up” other industries, viewing communications professionals as extremely necessary in today’s business world. See 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer.

McCasland stated, “Running a communications department today is like running a political campaign.” Social media, workplace environment, clients’ new power in shaping engaged information…and are you ready to respond to a crisis in five minutes? In the current climate as a pro communicator, you need to be. Stories are now told in visual images to evoke an emotional response to get customers or employees to take action.

Moving forward, IABC is looking at how the industry can create consistent standards in certification as a professional communicator both domestically and globally. The org is also exploring the value in creating courses and education for recent young college grads heading into business environments, yet without tools such as Ethics and Strategic Comms.

Huge thanks to Robin McCasland, FRSA, who took on a tremendous amount of responsibility as IABC’s IEB Chair when many would have backed away…and for giving the L.A. Chapter incredibly valuable information to support the chapter and our careers.

Big thanks to Vivien Hughes, Managing Director, Marketing, Communications & Media, and Chris Paik-Phong, Sr. Operations Manager, RGP (Resources Global Professionals), for allowing us to use the cool event space! She’s invited us to use it again at a later date.

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Thanks to Dustin Alipour, VP, Events for catering help, and to Mike Spasoff, President-Elect for photos and tech help.  And appreciative thanks to attendees for supporting these events:

 

 

 

 

 

 

IABC Cutting Edge Internal Comms Panel Wrap Up

(Los Angeles) On Wednesday, February 26, 2014, IABC Los Angeles hosted a networking panel event “Cutting Edge Internal Communications” with internal comms experts at the South Pasadena Central Library in Pasadena.

Moderated by President-Elect, Mike Spasoff, the internal comms panel provided everything from insights to the newest internal comms vehicles, what new tools add value and which tools get in the way, approaches to cross-generational challenges, tried-and-true skill sets, and the differences from internal comms compared to external marketing and PR.

The panel consisted of Kristin Wong, Manager, Internal Communications, Global Corporate Communications at Avery Dennison, Jeremy Soule, Manager of Employee Communications at Activision Blizzard, Daniel Penton, Founder of ICPlan, and Betty Henry of Betty Henry Communications.

IABC Members, non-members and guests enjoyed a light dinner, pithy panel discussion and Q&A.

Kicking off the question on what “stubborn” vehicles are still being used vs. what’s new, Jeremy Soule simply replied, “Email!” Regarding new tools, Jeremy emphasized a social collaboration platform is a must with  a “fun, positive voice” to reflect the employees. Kristin Wong stated Avery Dennison made the decision “the email attachment was dead” and transformed the entire employee population to Google Docs for shared collaboration.  Daniel Penton discussed Yammer, smart phones as engaging employee comms tools. Betty Henry emphasized connecting the company’s brand with internal tools, including entertaining or humorous ways to engage employees.

Attendees at IABC-LA's "Cutting Edge Internal Communications" event on 2/26/14 in Pasadena.

On tools adding value or getting in the way:  Kristin stated employees absorb information visually now in an anytime, anywhere platforms. Avery Dennison created a risky yet very rewarding video blog of the CEO who uses his own iPhone to capture himself all over the Avery Dennison global offices and shares the super short video blog posts with employees, and answers questions.

Jeremy Soule says tools must reinforce Activision Blizzard’s “We make fun” motto.  He shared his views on how extremely important trust-building is with employees, especially when there are tough announcements later.

Kristin Wong shared on cultural shifts and a values-based company culture affecting Avery Dennison’s significant milestone building location change.

Betty Henry discussed mapping out employees’ ages, education-levels, towards understanding the employee audience. She also discussed a fun case study engaging employees through an employee film festival in which over 50 hilarious films were submitted. Betty also mentioned employee audiences are more of a finite audience compared to external audiences.

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Internal comms approaches also included wi-fi, no company phones on desks, gaming, using enthusiastic employees as change champions, training bosses to walk the walk, and profiling departments separately vs. treating employee populations as one homogenous group.

“Use your feet!” says Jeremy Soule.  Face-to-face hallway meetings can be incredibly effective in gaining needs information, even at super-cool and gadgety Activision Blizzard!

Daniel Penton emphasized internal communicators “must give internally what employees are exposed to externally.” In other words, same quality counts inside as outside messaging and visuals.

The attendees’ Q&A produced some terrific follow-up discussion on different apps such as Crowd Campus, push notifications, MailChimp and more case studies. The audience got a big laugh at Betty Henry’s story on “Compliance. A Hotbed of Comedy” and enjoyed Kristin Wong’s recap of how a life-sized cardboard cut-out of the CEO was photographed all over the world and authentically connected employees from Ohio to employees in Asia.

Huge, special thanks to Mike Spasoff for putting such an outstanding, informative panel together and the South Pasadena Library.  Thanks to board members Dustin Alipour, Kyle Kearney, Gerhard Runken and Christie Ly. And thanks to Bill Severino for assisting in the set-up!

For more event details and photos, follow us on facebook at “IABC Los Angeles” or twitter (@iabcLosangeles)

Photo credits: Kyle Kearney.

 

Warner’s Corner – IABC Media Leaders Content Marketing Panel Wrap Up

(Los Angeles) On Tuesday, October 8th, 2013, IABC Los Angeles hosted a networking media panel event with Media Leaders at the ROC Center Santa Monica.

Moderated by Josh Ochs, the integrated communications panel covered everything from effective content creation, industry blunders/lessons learned, content marketing trends to leveraging social media tools.

The panel comprised of Chris Bechtel, Chief Marketing Officer, Make Good Social, Debra Eckerling, Goal Coach,Guided Goals and WriteOnLine, Priscilla Vento, Founder & CEO, 30 Miles North and James Aldous, Communications Director, OpenX.

IABC members and guests mingled with a diverse mix of West LA StartUps, Investors, Marketing/PR & corporate communications pros, social media managers, web developers, entertainment folks, gaming peeps, SEO gurus and much more.

Kicking off the panel, Josh Ochs asked the panel about leveraging online platforms to gain brand momentum, for which panelists cited a variety of tactics.

From hiring guest bloggers to managing editorial calendars, Debra Eckerling shared blogging tips, workflow tools and best practices.

On driving brand visibility, “get your video into the hands of relevant influencers,” said YouTube guru Priscilla Vento of 30 Mile North.

Chris Bechtel and James Aldous agreed Facebook is more consumer driven, and less business to business orientated. Panelists agreed. Aldous cited online chat tool Quora and Linkedin.

“Understanding where your audience lives is key,” said Bechtel.

2013-10-08 IABC-LA Media Leaders Event

 On integrated communications, the panel discussed the changing tides of earned-owned-paid-evolved media silos.

One IABC member asked where the panel thinks social media departments “live” these days. Vento said their social media manager functions separately from their media relations. Panelists agreed.

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In closing, panelists each shared a unique personal story. Turns out Priscilla Vento is an avid skateboarder, Aldous a non-fiction writer, Eckerling a karate black belt with stripe, and my personal favorite…Bechtel, a Bay Area rap video production founder (no longer). “Once clients who paid all in cash wanted their money back, I left town,” said Bechtel. The audience laughed.

For more event details and photos, follow us on facebook or twitter (@IABCLosangeles)

Special thanks, IABC-LA volunteers Stephanie BelskyLinda Arres and event sponsor Angel Launch.

by Warner Boutin, VP, Communications – IABC Los Angeles. Photo credits by Calvin Lee. 

For the complete 1-hour plus event video:

http://youtu.be/Qbl8BHX-OU4

 

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)

 

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.
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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!

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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

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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.

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IABC Los Angeles “Diverse Storytellers” Video Series

Nicole Maury kicks off the “IABC Los Angeles Diverse Storytellers” video series featuring board members, past chapter presidents and chapter members. Bringing insights about our chapter from a Los Angeles niche perspective, the video series aims to bring fresh collaborative energy on what it means to be an IABC member here in L.A., and the benefits for you that resonate outwards to your work community.

May 14th – Bill Chott’s Presents “The Improv Trick”

Standing in a circle for an improv exercise, pointing to a peer across from you, and waiting for a “Yes” from them before walking across the circle to take his or her place doesn’t take a lot of brains. Yet it did for me, because I wanted the already-established rhythm of pointing and “Yes’s” and criss-crossing in the group to keep going. If a participant was slower on the “Yes”…I needed to not move until hearing that positive, welcoming “Yes!” from another.  But I did move! Welcome to Bill Chott’s “The Improv Trick” presented at our host, DIRECTV’s facilities.

Embarrassed? Sure! The “Slow Down. Walk. Don’t Run” tool applies here which is difficult to do in a business climate where we are expected to be “on” and “prepared” 24/7. Bill Chott, an experienced comedian from The Second City, is a highly experienced improv master who had us on our feet to experience creating, facilitating and bringing about positive change in ourselves and our team to approach just about any work situation.

So what is “The Improv Trick”?  In all fairness to Bill’s workshop participants all over the globe, we won’t reveal the answer here.  Yet the trick is related with taking that nerve-wracking anxiety we have all experienced when in a new business situation and…following your fear. Fun, interactive exercises included posing while another responds to that pose with his/her own pose.  The interactive creativity began when the rest of us called out 10 different adjectives or nouns to describe these integrated “statues”.  Once again, no planning involved, just getting out of ourselves and  participating in a moment’s notice in what’s happening. In another interactive exercise, DIRECTV host and IABC Exec Board Member, Michael Ambrozewicz waxed poetic on “cobwebs.” Student Outreach Chair Kyle Kearney let loose on “chocolate” and Greg Cash put “brussel sprouts” on our minds. When I looked over at Michael and Warner Boutin, Development Chair doing the mirroring exercise, it looked like a John-Wayne-Meets-The-Matrix-movie situation.

What does brussel sprouts have to do with business interaction? The answer is “trust”. Trust that your mind and creativity will work in a spontaneous, non-planned situation.

“The Improv Trick” managed to work well with introverts and extroverts alike in the group. We learned tactical tools in how to think and engage differently while on our feet and it made for a truly fun, friendly and “Yes!” evening.

Huge thanks to Bill Chott, and Michael Ambrozewicz and Caroline Leach of DIRECTV for sponsoring the event. I enjoyed planning the event while Christie Ly, Treasurer managed Eventbrite and registration details. Betty Henry, Communications Chair and Warner helped promote. Mike Spasoff, Media and Technology Chair did on-site and post-production work. Warner and Kyle captured still photos. Catering services provided by Open Sesame Grill.

In a final addendum announcement, we invited participants to stay to add a few words to our “Who Is IABC Los Angeles?” video project.  This chapter video series of :45-:60 video clips featuring current and past board members and members will support the niche that makes the Los Angeles chapter unique while also supporting the overall vision of IABC headquarters.  Look for the video series soon as we’ll populate social media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming in May: The Improv Trick!

What’s the key to teamwork, communication and creative problem solving?

Learn the trick used by every professional actor and comedy whiz. In this two-hour workshop, you’ll learn “The Improv Trick,” from Bill Chott. Bill’s interactive seminar will get you on your feet and practicing exercises that you can use to build your confidence as a public speaker, facilitate icebreakers and get a team in gear.

Bill Chott is known for his work with Selena Gomez as Mr. Laritate on Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place, and he also voices cartoons on Saturday Night Live. He appeared on screen with Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary and was one of the stars of the Top 10 film The Ringer. In 2012, Bill won the INNY Award for Best Improv Coach and was awarded the 2010 Mastermind Award from St. Louis’ RFT Magazine. His improv troupe The Sauce was recently on the cover of the arts section of Pasadena Weekly.

You can learn a bit more about “The Trick” on Jon Grayson’s show Overnight America on CBS radio.

Watch the IABC Los Angeles website for more details!

November 15, 2012 – Erin Dick presents Megatrends in Communications at Il Fornaio, Pasadena

One of my favorite laugh-out-loud commercials of all time is when a then-unknown Jane Lynch (of “Glee” fame) hammers a microchip into the forehead of a new customer at Washington Mutual’s competing bank. A few moments later Jane’s colleague tries to scan some other poor customer’s head over and over.  With all the megatrends in technology moving at lightning speed, we may not be too far behind this commercial…and Erin Dick, Director of Communications for Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne knows this.

Through “The Future is Now…Now What?”, Erin presented some equally amusing demonstrations of just how far we’ve come with communications methods and gadgetry, as well as some very dramatic evidence of how technology supports our message-delivery choices, keeping us connected in ways that were impossible even just a decade ago.  Over appetizer skewers, stuffed mushrooms, and warm red wines at Il Fornaio in Pasadena, about 25 IABC-LA members and non-members listened to how megatrends in communications has evolved.

Erin discussed key elements, especially over the last decade, which includes shrinking gadgetry (think phone booths vs. cell phones and Nanos) and attention spans, transparency and decentralization, socialization and personalization, the need for speed, and the constants that continue to remain in the sea of change.

Besides a humorous overview of past devices such as brick-like cell phones and 8-track tapes, we got plenty of laughs from a spoofed newscast depicting the use and heavy reliance of social media amongst its “anchor and reporters.”  The reporter was up to 88 followers on Twitter yet just couldn’t seem to report the actual news.

On a more serious note, yet absolutely astounding, Erin presented a simulation of tweets that occurred before the earthquake and tsumami hit Japan and just after.  Social media was a means of communication that allowed Erin, who was in Florida at the time, to exclaim “I was in Japan!” meaning she was following the tweets as it was happening. She was stunned by the gravity of the unfolding situation as well as the importance of just how fast Twitter facilitated communications amongst the watching world.

Shrinking gadgets translate to shrinking attention spans to process the barrage of informative overload expected on a daily basis. Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of heavy multi-tasking having experienced the underbelly of it: brain fog!  Both Erin and other studies show our iCrazy “smart’ world is leading to shrinking attention spans, an inability to use imaginations, poor focus and much lower comprehension.  Erin points out we are assimilating data at such a rapid pace, our brains are adapting to this new pace. Instead of memorization, we are analyzing data more.  Yet through these shrinking gadgets, the world just got smaller.  We are globally connected…big time.

Some constants that still endure are:

  • the need for timely and relevant information,
  • the use of both traditional and non-traditional media and
  • the importance of keeping relationships on track

There is evidence that our bullet-train information overload is now creating a welcome backlash through marketing and ads that suggest unplugging, communicating and recharging in the most old-fashioned of ways.  And as Erin concluded, let’s remember to meet face-to-face, write a handwritten note sometimes and be socially connected through one of the best pieces of technology on the planet…our human selves.

We thank Erin Dick for her passion in communicating these megatrends and for bringing her extraordinary experiences from her U.S. Air Force experience to illustrate just how far we’ve come into the future…which is now!

Thanks to Betty Henry, Communications Chair, for connecting and arranging Erin’s guest spot and event postings, thanks to Mike Spasoff, Media Chair, for his experimenting with streaming the event as well as setting up the tech side of things. Thanks to Christie Ly, Treasurer and Past President, for coordinating details with the restaurant and Eventbrite coordination, and thanks to Paula Cassin, Past President for some admin coordination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IABC Los Angeles announces 2012-2013 Board of Directors

The Los Angeles chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators is pleased to announce our new board of directors for the 2012-2013 IABC season. The new board includes the following members:

  • Dana Edler, President
  • Paula Cassin, Past President
  • Christie Ly, Treasurer, and Director, Major Events
  • Adam Kevorkian, Chair, Membership
  • Betty Henry, Chair, Communications
  • Julie Fornaro, Director, Social Media
  • Nicole Maury, Director, Visual Media/Video
  • Mike Spasoff, Director, Technology

Our all-volunteer team creates professional development programs that benefit you, our fellow members. If you are interested in working with a great group of people, showcasing your talents through IABC and making long-lasting connections, this is your chance. There are still open positions on the Board and many other volunteer opportunities. For more information, contact la-president@iabc.com.