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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11/17/11 – Shel Holtz Presented “Maximum Awareness, Minimal Effort” at Avery Dennison

IABC-LA presented “Maximum Awareness, Minimal Effort” by Shel Holtz on Thursday, November 17, 2011 at the Avery Dennison headquarters in Pasadena.  Holtz is an expert in communications, social media and technology and was superbly engaging in sharing “What’s the least we need to stay in touch, remain marketable and keep up-to-date?” And who has the time to use all these tools?

Holtz of Holtz Communications+Technology, is also known for his outstanding “For Immediate Release” (FIR) podcasts on business communications and tech with co-host with Neville Hobson.  He is a former IABC-LA chaper president and his expertise covers employee communications, corporate PR, crisis comms, media relations, financial comms, IR, marketing comms and compensation and benefits communications.

Shel addressed over 20 IABC-LA members over a buffet dinner at Avery Dennison’s cool 1960’s-style headquarters (the welcoming Koi pond was incredible!).  Christopher Swan of Avery Dennison assisted with providing the venue and an outstanding professional development evening.  The evening kicked off with member introductions and Paula introducing Holtz. We were just delighted to have Shel address the chapter…knowing full well of his intense global and domestic schedule.

Shel led everyone through various social media channels with an emphasis on matching the right tool with what the user is trying to accomplish with an audience.  Going beyond the standard FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn tools, Holtz illuminated outstanding resources such as Delicious, Paper.Li, ScoopIt, Mashable, Marketing Over Coffee and Storify.  And audio podcasts like Marketing Over Coffee and FIR allow you to multi-task and take a break from a screen. While you do not need to become an expert in all of these tools, it is very important to understand how content curation is integral to creating a filter for information overload.  (Look for the chapter to start using Storify…this was one of my favorite tools presented besides Marketing Over Coffee…and of course, FIR!)

Content curation was one of the big takeaways of the event and how trusted guides in content curation have evolved in media. Yet Shel spoke about the absolute necessity of context with content curation. Just like an art curator, it’s not enough to add pictures and artwork to a collection, there must be a context of what and why content is being added to a social media or media platform.  Shel supports the notion there’s no such thing as information overload, yet there is a serious problem with organizations and sometimes communicators not using enough filters to mine information.

Shel discussed two emerging career positions: community liaison and content strategist.  Within the community liaison role, someone has to have eyes and ears on the community surrounding an organization to achieve true community engagement.  A content strategist supports Shel’s concept that these days every company is a media company, whether the company chooses to be or not.  The difference between a content strategist and a traditional PR strategist is the content strategist focuses on content that is not pitched, yet still engages.  No corporate agenda pushing!

Interesting tidbits…Tumblr blogging tool has surpassed WordPress now. And GooglePlus is just terrific for getting answers to questions very quickly.  Christopher Swan pointed out…getting answers to Google Plus in general!  Christopher is part of the experienced trendy tool intelligentsia…with his “voice of reason” behind it all.  (Listen to Christopher on the video wrap-up of the event.)

On the subject of blocking employees from using social media on the job, the idea that just Millenials use social media is statistically wrong.  Age group 35-55 within companies using social media has created a flat statistic from even a few years ago.  It is crucial that employees have access to social media as studies have shown increased productivity.  88% of employees check social networks as a break between tasks, resetting concentration to do more work, not less work!

The evening wrapped up with a Whole Foods gift card to Shel for coming out to the chapter after a presentation same day to the IABC-USC Student Chapter.  Chapter President Paula Cassin also welcomed past chapter presidents who each told a funny or philanthropic anecdote while they were in office.

The conversation continued with Shel and well attended “After Dark” post-event socializing at “Bar Celona” for empanadas, Sangria, coffee, and connected conversations.  Shel pointed out how the face-to-face “After Dark” events are as important to communicators and the chapter as keeping up with contacts through social media connections. We appreciated Shel’s sentiments that IABC in general has a warm tone throughout its membership base.

Tremendous thanks to Shel Holtz, Christopher Swan, Avery Dennison, Christopher Cabrera who played escort to Holtz navigating Los Angeles chapter events and logistics while also moderating the evening’s event, and Dana Edler and Cheryl Farrell in welcoming/checking-in welcoming members. Special thanks to Adam Kevorkian, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes on important meeting logistics (like food!) We couldn’t have done it without him.








Quality Time for PR Minds 2011


Calling all PR professionals who want to give back!

If you have at least two years of public relations experience and are interested in donating your time and creativity to some very worthy nonprofits, then join PRSA-LA for “Quality Time with PR Minds

On Saturday, October 29, from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm, at RAND Corporation in Santa Monica.

Quality Time is your opportunity to make a significant contribution in just one day by helping to inspire, encourage and empower local nonprofits to tackle their most challenging communications issues.

For more information, please visit PRSALA.org and click on “Quality Time with PR Minds




October 12th – Social Media CRASH Course and Workshop

On October 12, 2011, IABC-LA members attended “Social Media CRASH Course and Workshop” hosted by Belkin at corporate headquarters in Playa del Rey.  Christopher Keough, Corporate Communications Manager at Belkin hosted members to a case study discussion of in-depth social media platforms. Meanwhile, Julie Fornaro, the chapter’s social media chair, masterminded a scavenger hunt workshop equipped with learning-as-you-go clues and “sweat-producing” tasks divided amongst team challenges.  Myra Jolivet, chapter communications chair volunteer, moderated the overall discussion.

Keough introduced Lee Drasin, Belkin’s new Director, Interactive Marketing and Leah Polk, Senior Global Public Relations Manager.  Drasin came to Belkin from Petrol Advertising and shared an example of using FaceBook and email as a platform for an interactive social game named “Battlemail”.  Drasin’s example proved to be an exciting concept for the receptive client, however, as time wore on, so did the client’s concern about strategy, presentation and the approved 100k budget to create awareness for a movie entitled “The Crazies” tied into the social media platform.

How did a social media incident end up crashing Belkin.com? Leah Polk discussed a case study in which a recent incident involving a “30 routers in 30 days” campaign turned into a worldwide 50 percent of sale that lead to a learning experience of learning experiences in social media usage and strategy.  Polk also mentioned creative social media strategies such as Belkin’s “make over your dorm room” prizes. There was much discussion about whether communicators will become Google-Plus supporters, comparisons with FaceBook’s capabilities, and how Klout can be an effective tool regarding scoring social media’s effectiveness.

Armed with laptops, cell phone apps for the social media scavenger hunt and a truly engaged attitude, participants included: Christie Ly, Chris Cabrera, Cheryl Farrell, Charlotte Lassos, Jevon Ooi, Divya Chandran, Kris Kraves, Roxanne Truesdell, Dawn Pace, Beth Martin, Ann Giblin, Deshauna Brown, Stacy Noble, Julie Pine, Mark Dernheim, Hillary West. All “got game” in Julie Fornaro’s fun twists, turns and team challenges during the social media scavenger hunt.

IABC-LA Chapter President, Paula Cassin, ended the evening with invites to upcoming not-to-be-missed events including Shel Holtz and the laugh-a-minute Murder Mystery Holiday luncheon in December.

Finally, Paula thanked Belkin by offering an honorarium from the chapter to a charity of Belkin’s choice for outstanding hosting and speaker participation.  We so appreciated the evening!




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

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

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

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

 Register now

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

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

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

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

Register now

Melcrum’s “What Does the Future Hold for Internal Communication?”

May 10, 2011…IABC-LA held an exclusive event “What Does the Future Hold for Internal Communication?” for 25 participants presented by Melcrum’s Strategic Communication Research Forum.  Melcrum is an internal communications company dedicated to offering domestic and global clients comprehensive body of knowledge of best practices, toolkits and research on every level of internal communication.  Jeff Hostler, Melcrum Vice President Research and Content, presented some eye-opening research such as “people don’t leave companies, people leave managers of companies.”  Jeff was accompanied by Melcrum’s Key Accounts Executive, Mike Dombo. Mike briefly described  Melcrum’s Black Belt Program which sets the standard for internal comms globally and the basis for research data presented during the evening.

IABC-LA Social Media Chair dynamo, Rebecca Mikkelsen, introduced Jeff Hostler who led us through a discussion starting with the post-recessional environment. Companies must rebuild trust and re-engineer respective employee value propositions.  Later, Jeff covered corporate structure and management style, roles and responsibilities, partnerships, technology, research and measurement and more with an emphasis on outcomes, not just outputs.
• Companies must take into account how four cross-generational groups of employees must interact and communicate with each other…and then think globally, culturally as well.

• The great challenge of evolving internal communications, no longer just a function “sitting on the side of the desk.”  Developing processes to support trust and transparency as well as sustainability is a key factor.

•  Building 10% more trust equates to 36% more pay increases for employees.  Now that’s positive!

Jeff also discussed partnerships and the importance of ensuring consistency across channels and stakeholders, as well how execs can foster trust without just pushing info out. 

On the topic of technology, Jeff purposely did not discuss social media in-depth, yet stressed connecting with local IT to collaborate on defined goals.  Too many internal comms departments put the FaceBook horse before the business strategies cart, without first evaluating whether specific social media is applicable.  Business priorities must lead over choosing tech methods. That said, too many companies also negated employees’ social media use by banning use during work hours, only to discover employees have smart phones in their purses and pockets to access social media anyway. 

Jeff also covered research and measurement and again, emphasized how important it was to measure outcomes not output.  It is internal comms responsibility to prove the value of a specific suggested strategy, which does require extra work time.  It’s not enough to know that 4,000 employees actually read an email (output)…how did they act on it (outcome)?   Company internal comms mistake survey answers from employees who state they understand a company’s business goals, yet that’s not a measurement…how do the actions of the employees support the business goals?

There were some excellent feedback and suggestions from our savvy participants providing terrific takeaways for everyone.  Chris Cabrera of Southern California Edison described a truly innovative employee resource group at SCE supporting SCE’s employee value proposition.
Big Thanks to the incomparable Gail Herring and Toyota for hosting the event.  Gail also serves on the chapter board as Treasurer.  Participants were also very appreciative to meet and hear experts Jeff Hostler and Mike Dombo of Melcrum, and to partner with Melcrum on senior internal communications events.

Please see video posted on YouTube at http://youtu.be/b54ZNZ9X5cI

Social Media Experts to Converge Thurs, Apr. 7

“There is a lot of social media thought leadership and good work happening in LA that we like to tap into annually.”  John Gerstner ABC, President, Communitelligence Inc., which is organizing the April 7 Social Media Advanced Skills Huddle (“SMASH” conference) and co-hosting the IABC-LA meeting immediately afterward.

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

Q:  Your company, Communitelligence, has been producing social media conferences in LA for quite a few years. Why Los Angeles?

A:  We actually produced one of the first social media conferences in the country there in 2007. It was called PR Online Convergence. Beyond simply liking the city for its flair and weather, there is a lot of social media thought leadership and good work happening in LA that we like to tap into annually. And this year we have some great partners to help, including Social Radius, USC and IABC Los Angeles.

Q:  What’s unique about next week’s S.M.A.S.H. (Social Media Advanced Skills Huddle) at USC April 7?

A:  It should be a fun and valuable day of learning. We have lined up some of the smartest and most interesting experts on social media, and the huddle agenda has built-in huddle time to group-brainstorm practical answers to a set of how-to questions.

And if you can’t attend the day, there will be a recap during the reception that IABC-LA is hosting from 5-7 PM, plus if the technology Gods allow, there will be a webcast hookup with the MediaSense conference taking place in New Zealand at the same time.

April 7 SMASH Speaker Says Engagement is Key in Social Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 7 Social Media Advanced Skills Huddle

Join IABC LA and Communintelligence April 7th at USC for a Social Media Advanced Skills Huddle! Here are the details:

April 7, 2011- Full-day Workshop: Social Media Advanced Skills Huddle (SMASH),  Communintelligence

University of Southern California, Downtown Los Angeles

Click here for details (registration through Communitelligence)

SPECIAL IABC LA Discount Code ($200 off): smash11iabc

April 7, 2011 5-7pm – SMASH Summary by Expert Speaker and Cocktails

University of Southern California, Downtown Los Angeles

If you can”t come to the full day workshop – why not join us for 2 hours? We’re going to virtually connect with the New Zealand Mediasense social media conference happening at the same time. We’ll hear highlights from their event and Michael Terpin and Sally Falkow will webcast a brief recap of SMASH for local and New Zealand attendees. For Workshop attendees, this is included in registration, but IABC members and friends can register just for the evening speaker and networking event.

Members: want to judge the 2011 IABC Gold Quill ””Writing Category”” entries?

Bill Spaniel, ABC, is coordinating the writing category entries for the 2011 IABC Gold Quill Awards and invites you to be part of the judging panel for 2011. The panel will conduct judging from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 12 in Santa Clarita, Calif. Should judging not be completed on all entries at that time, he will host an additional round of judging on Feb. 26 at the same location.
Volunteering as a judge is a prestigious and important role. Becoming a Gold Quill judge provides an unrivaled development opportunity, as you review and learn from some of the best work in the industry. As a judge, you are responsible for upholding the standards and reputation that has made Gold Quill the world’s most respected standard for communication excellence.

If you would like to sign up as a judge for either or both of the above dates, contact Bill at bill.spaniel@calcpa.org.

For more details on the program, go to www.iabc.com/awards/gq