Leadership Institute Volunteer Opportunities List

The Los Angeles and Orange County chapter members are being called on to form a Hospitality Task Force for the IABC Leadership Institute conference in Long Beach this February, 4-6. Several exclusive volunteer opportunities are available within this committee  for those wishing to be part of an international event while demonstrating leadership skills.

VOLUNTEER LEADER POSITIONS:

  • Hospitality Committee CO-CHAIRS: One member from Los Angeles and one member from Orange County chapters, preferably past chapter leaders. This position(s) will:
    • Name the three positions on the Hospitality Task Force for the Leadership Institute and ensure that they understand their roles:
      • Volunteer coordinator
      • Hospitality coordinator
      • Dine-around coordinator
    • Set up regular meetings of the Hospitality Task Force and establishing a reporting structure to track progress
    • Communicate important information from staff to other task force members
  • Volunteer Coordinator:
    • Recruit 10-15 core volunteers to hep staff registration, hospitality and dine-around tables.
      • These volunteer staff positions are to be organized in shifts for a total of 2-5 hours throughout the LI conference.
    • Assign volunteer schedules at least two week prior to LI and provide instructions about responsibilities
    • Provide IABC staff liaison with a schedule that lists volunteer names, contact information and schedule.
    • Working with the Dine-Around Coordinator to recruit a dine-around host for each of the dine-around restaurants and provides direction for their assignment.
    • Working with Hospitality Coordinator, recruiting volunteers to lead the hospitality activities on Thursday/Friday of the LI conference.
    • With the hospitality and dine-around coordinators, recruit volunteers to staff the hospitality and dine-around tables over four days of the LI conference.
  • Hospitality Coordinator: The Hospitality Team is largely responsible for making sure that the conference’s social programs not only capture the international culture of the association, but also the spirit of the host city and region. The coordinator of this team will:
    • Manage the staffing and setup of a hospitality table onsite to introduce visitors to the host city, including where conference attendees can get information about restaurants, city tours, points of interest and other must-sees.
    • May develop a resource list of city restaurants, attractions and information to help familiarize attendees with the city.
    • Obtains hospitality tale materials such as city maps, transportation information and coupons (if possible).
  • Dine-Around Coordinator: The Friday-evening dine-around, coordinated entirely by the local chapters (LA and OC), has proven to to be of the highlights of the Leadership Institute. The dine-around provides participants with an opportunity to network with one another in a relaxed, informal setting and to enjoy one of the city’s restaurants while learning more about local city. Chapter volunteers serve as hosts at this “pay your own way” dinner. The coordinator of this team will:
    • Coordinate Friday evening dinners to approximately 10 local restaurants.
    • Identify restaurants in a range of cuisines and budgets, make reservations prior to the conference, and reconfirm all reservations on the day of the event.
    • Develop individual restaurant sign-up sheets with sample menus, cost information, and other key restaurant info for the dine-around table at the conference.
    • Works with volunteers to manage sign-ups at the dine-around table at the conference, Thursday-Friday
    • Identifies and recruits volunteers (dine-around hosts) to lead dinner groups on Friday evening. Provides instructions to the hosts.
    • Designs and prints a dine-around guide for onsite distribution at the conference and/or posts dine-around information on chapter websites prior to the conference.

 

SUPPORT VOLUNTEER POSITIONS

CMP Exam Proctor(s): The Communication Management Professional certification exam is to take place on Thursday during the conference. It is preferred that one male and one female volunteer to be present to sit in for this exam, as proctors must escort test-takers to the restroom if needed, in order to eliminate any opportunity for cheating. There will be a 20-30-minute training session provided to the proctors for the exam.

Core Volunteers: 10-15 volunteers to receive LI registrations and participate in the following duties:

  • Provide support at IABC registration desks to welcome attendees and distribute conference badges and materials
  • Checking badges at general session doors
  • Staffing the following two tables:
    • Hospitality Table. The volunteers who staff this table provide attendees with info about restaurants, points or interest and other must-sees. They will host a table with city guides, maps and other visitor info. Hospitality Table hours roughly follow IABC registration hours, Thursday/Friday.
    • Dine-Around Table. The volunteers who staff this table assist attendees in sign-up for the Friday dine-around restaurants. Familiarity with restaurants on the list is an asset. Dine-around table hours roughly follow IABC registration hours, Thursday/Friday.
    • Note: Hospitality and Dine-Around tables may be combined into one table for this event.

Dine-Around Hosts to act as hosts for dinner groups on Friday evening during the dine-around at local restaurants. These volunteers ensure their entire group is assembled and assist the group in traveling to the restaurant by taxis, public transportation, or by foot. All dinner attendees pay for their own meals and transportation to the restaurant. Local chapter current members are preferred. These volunteers do not receive a complimentary LI registration.

 

INCENTIVES AND BENEFITS

IABC will arrange and assist in the delivery of onsite training at the hotel for all volunteers within the week prior to the conference.

The hospitality task force benefits from the opportunity to promote chapter activities and membership to attendees. Further, volunteers have the chance to network with other chapters’ members and demonstrate leadership within the chapter.

IABC’s conference budget does not include funds for any additional initiatives that the hospitality task force may choose to develop. Any initiative that the task force may wish to pursue should first be discussed with the IABC conference staff to ensure that it is in line with programming and sponsorship goals as set forth by the Program Advisory Committee and IABC, and the task force understands that it is responsible for all associated expenses.

IABC Leadership Institute in Long Beach this February

Take advantage of the LI Conference’s exclusive volunteer opportunities or register for the CMP Certification exam.

IABC’s Los Angeles and Orange County chapters are proud to host the IABC Leadership Institute Conference February 4-6, 2016, in Long Beach. Over 100 attendees from around the world will be visiting our area to share best practices, refine ideas and build relationships.

Even if you don’t currently occupy a leadership position with IABC, there is still opportunity for you to be involved i making this event a success. The Los Angeles and Orange County chapters will form a Hospitality Committee to facilitate registration, networking, and proctoring the CMP Certification exam.

This committee will:

  • Organize the Dine-Around
  • Host a welcome/resource table
  • Provide an exam proctor for the CMP Certification exam (details below)
  • Recruit volunteers

We are looking for one member from IABC-LA to join an Orange County member in co-chairing this Hospitality Committee. IABC will arrange and assist in the delivery of onsite training at the hotel for all volunteers within the week prior to the conference.

Here’s your chance to be part of an international event while networking and demonstrating leadership skills. Contact communications-vp@iabcla.com if you are interested in volunteering in any of the above areas. (More detailed volunteer position information will be posted soon.)

 


 

COMMUNICATION MANAGEMENT PROFESSIONAL (CMP) CERTIFICATION

During the LI Conference we will be offering the CMP Certification exam on Thursday, Feb. 4. Candidates that successfully complete the application process developed by the Global Communication Certification Council will be eligible to register for the exam. Keep these important dates in mind:

  • Jan. 4: Application deadline for PRIORITY consideration for the Feb. 4 exam date
  • Jan. 22: Deadline for candidates to register for the October exam
  • Feb. 4: Exam administration

For more information and access to the certification handbook and application, visit the CMP Certification page. For questions regarding the GCCC, contact Sara Fowdy, Ed. D. at GCCC@iabc.com.

State of the Chapter – Fall 2014

We’ve got a few great updates for you this month, including new board members and our very first online event!

Chapter update

The board and I have been quieter than usual over the past several weeks because we have been hard at work on fleshing out what it really means to deliver on the IABC-LA “lite” plan that we shared in our last update. As a reminder, this “lite” plan puts a focus on sustainability and building a chapter that can deliver long term value to our membership.

One area where we’re going “lite” is our member events. Instead of focusing solely on time-intensive in-person events, we are moving to online events as a way to address our geographically diverse membership. We’re excited about the potential of online events to help us engage with one other.

First online event on November 18

Starting this month we’re kicking off our new “Learning Lounge” series of online member events. Several times a year, we’ll gather together from our homes and offices to learn from experts in our field, share best practices and build relationships with colleagues across Southern California.

You’re invited to our first Learning Lounge on Tuesday, November 18 from noon to 1PM. Grab some lunch and join us from the comfort of your office or home for a lively chat about “Hot Topics in Communication.”

Register for free via GoToWebinar (IABC members only).
Can’t click the link? Copy and paste this URL into your browser: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1846924810286651394

We’ll be facilitating a conversation about the trends and issues that are on YOUR mind, as well as sharing ideas and best practices with one another. Social, mobile, gamification – we’ll go wherever the conversation takes us. It will be a great, fun way to learn something new, get inspired or just enjoy getting to meet other communication professionals.

New board members

I’m thrilled to welcome several new members to our chapter board. Please join me in welcoming Nick, Leslie and Vinca. We do still have openings for additional volunteer board members, so if you’re interested in any of the positions below, please let me know.

  • President – Mike Spasoff, HealthNet
  • Past President – Nicole Maury, The Project Curator
  • VP Events – Dustin Alipour, Psychoanalytic Center of CA
  • VP Communications – Nick Duggan, Citrix
  • VP Social Media – Leslie Dodson, Kaiser Permanente
  • VP Member Engagement – Vinca Russell, Amgen
  • VP Finance – open
  • VP Webmaster – open

Together these board members bring exciting new viewpoints and vitally important fresh energy to build the new IABC-LA.

We’re also always looking for event and membership volunteers to help with the month-to-month work of running the chapter.  To those of you who have already contacted us with interest about volunteering – THANK YOU! As our new VP of Member Engagement, Vinca will be reaching out to you soon. If you’re interested in volunteering, please send us an email.

Thank you for your membership in IABC, and your involvement in the Los Angeles chapter. Don’t forget, please do join us for the Learning Lounge on November 18. After that, enjoy your holidays and we’ll look forward to seeing you in 2015!

Best regards,
Mike Spasoff

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!

Photo Apr 22, 7 06 49 PM Photo Apr 22, 7 15 42 PM Photo Apr 22, 8 34 22 PM

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.

RGP Logo - Full Color - Lo-Res JPEG Format

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

IABC-LA June Gala 2011 with Father Greg Boyle at The Oviatt

June 15, 2011…IABC-LA welcomed members to the chapter’s end of the year celebration in the spirit of true kinship in a lavish 1920’s art deco setting at The Oviatt Building Penthouse in downtown Los Angeles.  Past Chapter President, Christie Ly produced an outstanding event.  We stepped into the historical past of L.A. while hearing keynote speaker, Father Greg Boyle, founder of HomeBoy Industries http://www.homeboy-industries.org who has gained significant respect for his model program for at-risk inner city youth. Paula Cassin, continuing as L.A. Chapter President for the 2011-2012, and Father Greg both spoke about the importance of kinship and connection, not only within the business side of things, but within our community.

The evening had that magical quality when guests rode up the detailed wood-paneled elevator to arrive in another world within the Oviatt Penthouse suite.  After cocktails and roaming around the suite to see autographed headshots of Errol Flynn and Leslie Howard, Parisian-inspired 20’s décor and artworks… guests mingled and chatted before going out to the beautiful large private patio underneath L.A. skyscrapers for the June Gala festivities.

Rebecca Mikkelsen, Social Media Chair  extraordinaire (2010-2011) welcomed Dana Edler, Communications Specialist, JPL, Acquisitions Division, to her first IABC event. Dana is taking on the Membership Chair position this year and we welcome Dana to the board.

For some light-hearted dinner conversation, T.J. Stevko of Mercer, Paromita Ghosh, chapter volunteer Geoff Thomas (with new haircut!), Dana and I talked about our favorite news sources, earthquake preparedness and the end of the world(!) which did not come months ago … T.J. had the best marketing shenanigans story …“we’ll  take care of your pets for a fee if the world comes to an end for you.”!

Pamela Corante-Hansen, Membership Chair (2010-2011) treated guests to an engaging and humorous five-minute version of the L.A. Conservancy’s two hour tour of facts, anecdotes and historical information of  The Oviatt.  Pamela is a volunteer docent with The L.A. Conservancy. She brought Mr. Oviatt and his building’s history to life!

Paula Cassin noted once again, the collegial quality of the L.A. Chapter, thanked board members and chairs for their outstanding efforts, welcomed new board members and discussed the highlights of the past year.

On a more serious note as the L.A. sunset created a once again magical setting, Christie introduced Father Greg Boyle.   Father Greg spoke of the seeds of HomeBoy Industries, the determination to have communities understand the importance of support even in the face of severe disdain for the most at-risk youth.  While Father Greg’s guests, former street gang members Robert and Jose joined us for dinner and festivities, Father Greg told stories of young men named Bandit and Puppet. Tattooed and formerly discarded youth truly make it through HomeBoy Industries yet some are not as fortunate.  Father Greg writes about kinship in his book “Tattoos on the Heart” and how he gets rival gang members to work alongside each other for the promise of jobs not jail time.  “I’m so tired of being tired” is the standard reply Father Greg receives when he asks a gang member why he or she finally decides to walk through HomeBoy’s doors.  The chapter thanks Father Greg for his bounteous work and has made a donation to HomeBoy Industries.  After a standing ovation for Father Greg, Christie and Paula announced each attendee to receive a gift back with a HomeBoy mug and an autographed copy of the book personalized to each attendee. Wow.

Paula reiterated the theme of “kinship”.   Chapter members not only enjoy tremendous connections business-wise, but we have made lifelong friends as well.

In the continued spirit of kinship, Paula Cassin presented the John F. Cartwright “Sunshine” Award to Events Board Member, Myra Jolivet, who received the award for her overall enthusiasm, infectious goodwill towards others and all-around volunteer efforts.  Myra’s smile is the warmest and her talents are boundless in bringing fresh ideas to events (like the Holiday Murder Mystery event last December.)

Throughout the event, chapter sponsor Ed Carreon snapped professional grade pics. Finally, Chris Cabrera and Myra presented Paula with our heartfelt thanks for her outstanding leadership as president over the past year.

The June Gala event was a shining example of a beautiful kinship of the past, present and future.

Please check out the two-part video under “Past Events”.

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 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.

Murder Mystery Holiday Luncheon 2010

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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