Event Summary: May 8th, 2012 Master Storytellers: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Scientists are great master storytellers. One of the Voyager themes at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena is “reaching out to touch where no one has gone before.” IABC-LA members got to participate in an event never before offered through the chapter: “Master Storytellers: Jet Propulsion Laboratory”…an extraordinary look into NASA’s JPL California Institute of Technology where scientists and engineers have so many stories to tell.

Dana Edler, JPL’s Communications Specialist and IABC-LA Chapter President-Elect ’12-’13 led an out-of-this-world event featuring a tour of JPL’s von Karman Visitor Center and Space Flight Operations Facility before members heard insight into the use of storytelling communications.

Our tour guide explained JPL’s focus on robotic planetary spacecraft and astrophysics, not jet propulsion at this time, leading to missions such as the exploration of Mars. When visiting the Space Flight Operations Facility, the precise communications data told a story as code and numbers came through on big screens from satellites.  While we were not visiting the Facility during a launch of a  Mars mission, our tour guide explained the relatively quiet room was a good thing…it meant that all the robotics and satellites, missions and projects are humming along.

Dana welcomed all of us and briefly discussed utilizing storytelling as an alternative to formal, fact-filled yet dry presentations that simply do not get an audience excited.

Stephen Kulczycki, Deputy Director of Communications and Education, and Dr. Teresa Bailey, Information Science Specialist and JPL FIOA Liaison, discussed the methods of JPL’s storytelling to inform, educate and persuade audiences.  While scientists’ and engineers’ data can be as boring as a bad Powerpoint presentation, these two communicators presented just how lively scientists and engineers can truly be when their passion for the planets and for discovery is the focus.  Stephen presented a few videos with different tones…one example was an emotionally-charged video on the history of the NASA space programs and how a disconnect exists between what the U.S. public perceives as too much money spent on space exploration and what is actually spent.  “How much would you pay for the universe?” was the theme.

Dr. Teresa Bailey developed the JPL organizational storytelling program beginning in 2000 and wrote her dissertation “The Experience of the Storyteller: Moving from Personal to Collective Knowledge Sharing.”  Teresa emphasized the importance of experiential knowledge sharing and “stepping into the light”. Teresa shared insights with us that while she had to endure some teasing at first about the very concept of storytelling (“Will there be cookies, Teresa?” came from a few JPL participants!)…these events soon became an engaging part of the JPL communications culture, including a more opened-space remodel and arranging furniture, and using props and audience participation to better serve the storytelling events.  These events allowed scientists and engineers to connect his or her personal experience to a project or mission illuminating knowledge in a way that placed expected facts and figures in their rightful place: as supporting information, not lead information and therefore losing the passion of the “why”.  As Stephen noted, the scientists and engineers truly become stirred up when they are connected to “the why” they want to explore a specific planet or star…dream makers as opposed to machine makers.

Big universal thanks to IABC-LA shining star, Dana Edler, Membership Chair, who did a superior job in pulling all the JPL event pieces and parts together. Thanks also to Cheryl Farrell who was instrumental in helping with event registration and welcoming guests.  Adam Kevorkian also assisted Dana with the event.  Thank you, Adam! Catering provided by Jack M. Smiler of Black Diamond Catering.

We thank JPL for the overwhelming hospitality to IABC-LA during the tour and event.  And finally, JPL really is a cool, quirky place… I walked to my car post-event and was greeted by a live deer in the parking lot.  Perhaps a satellite directed him to go there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Networking with Surprise Guest – Sept 21st

Please join us for our kick-off networking event for the 2011-2012 year –  Registration is now open.

Breaking news: 2011-2012 IABC Chairman Adrian Cropley will be in Los Angeles and attending! Come along if you’re interested in meeting this global ambassador for business communications or want to quiz him on the state of the profession in other parts of the country, other parts of the world. I’ve met Adrian a few times at IABC events (Leadership Institute, World Conference) and not only is he talented and insightful, he’s fun and engaging – one of those people it’s a delight to be around. – Paula (IABC LA Chapter President 2011-2012)

This is one of 2 “Thank-You-For-Being-a-Member” events that the Los Angeles Chapter organizes each year (Pasadena/Burbank in September, South Bay in January/February). If you’re a member, it’s free of charge, venue, appetizers, drink tickets included. If you’re not a member but want to network with local business communicators, you’re warmly welcomed, too, and we’ve kept the price reasonable.

We will have networking activities, several prizes to give away, and as always, a collegial, inclusive atmosphere (the reason so many of us keep coming back).

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Adrian Cropley  is currently the Chairman of the International Executive board of IABC and has held a number of  Voluntary roles. He was named IABC’s Volunteer Chapter Leader of the year 2008 and has been instrumental in the growth and development of Chapters across the Asia/Pacific Region.

Adrian is the Principal for Cropley Communications, Melbourne. Australia and has over 20 years
communication experience in the Private and Public sectors. Adrian has been in roles from HR Management, Change and Organizational Development Manager to heading up corporate Internal Communications.

Adrian works with a variety of clients on change and internal communication strategies and programs. He is also an executive coach working with organizations Including Ernst & Young, Shell, NAB, ANZ, National Foods, Kraft, Bunning’s, Aus Post, Telstra, Amcor, AXA RMIT, Latrobe, Deakin & Monash Universities and various government organizations. He is a sought after facilitator, lecturer coach and has spoken right across the globe at various, conferences and forums. He is widely published with a number of articles appearing in industry magazines globally.

 

 

 

 

Presidents Message – Welcome to the New Site

Dear Members,

Welcome to our new website. I hope you enjoy it and find it a step forward from the previous site.

Everyone on the Board has been working hard through the Summer and Fall on the website and other major projects for the Chapter.

I would like to tell you about how the current IABC-Los Angeles Board intends to provide value to members and fulfill our goal of connecting business communicators in Los Angeles.  It boils down to three things: Improving Online Resources, New Events, and Showcasing Members.

Improve Online

With our revamped website, we can now easily post our events calendar, showcase members, post news, and pass on best practice and resources.

If you attended any of our past events, odds are you found people to be friendly and welcoming.  IABC is known for providing great networking and for attracting professionals open to helping one another.  Unfortunately our online presence did not match this!  The old website was static and painfully difficult to update, especially when our longstanding Webmaster decided understandably to move on after volunteering on the Board for several years.

We intend for the new site to evoke the friendliness and accessibility of our face-to-face events, while staying true to IABC.  Now we have a website where great communication is possible!

We have taken up social media, too – please connect at our active LinkedIn Group, Facebook Page, or on Twitter if you have not done so already. We are using these tools to network, share knowledge and provide places to ask for help from fellow members and the wider communications community.

New Events

This year we are continuing our practice of holding regular meetings every month from September through June, rotating between Burbank/Pasadena, Downtown, and South Bay/Long Beach areas, so that members have at least 3 events close by each year. (At the moment we do not have anyone able to organize events in the Thousand Oaks-Woodland Hills area – let us know if you are interested!). We””””ll continue to have two major events a year within this schedule – the December Holiday Party and the June Annual Banquet.

Something new: we are organizing two events completely FREE to members as a way to say Thank You for staying with IABC through the economic downturn. We began with a free networking event in Pasadena on September 23rd, and will host a similar event in the South Bay in February 2011, to ensure at least one is accessible to all members.

This year, we are working more closely with other professional organizations such as Communitelligence and PRSA-LA, to pull in speakers and widen networking opportunities – sometimes our combined efforts enable us to tap into resources and people we could not reach alone!

Showcase Members

The Member Profiles feature on our website has been in demand – we will continue doing this, as many people have found it to be extremely valuable for career development and networking. Once all existing member profiles are migrated to the new site, we will put out all call for new profiles.

We intend to further showcase members by inviting them to guest post on the Chapter blog, providing their thoughts on a topic, raising issues, reviewing events or speakers, etc.  If you are passionate about a communications-related subject and would like to contribute, please contact us – we may be able to showcase your thoughts in an article, video, or at a face-to-face event.

Your Thoughts?

All of us on the IABC Chapter Board are members like yourselves, who choose to volunteer to make the Chapter happen. Please let us know if you think we are heading in the right direction – we welcome your ideas, suggestions, improvements, critiques. You can write to individual Board Members, email or head to the Linkedin or Facebook pages to connect!  And if you’d like to help run the Chapter, we warmly welcome your contributions.

Thank you,

Paula Cassin

President 2010-2011, IABC Los Angeles Chapter