IABC-LA Nose Wine Cellar Networking Event 9-21-11

IABC-LA Nose Wine Cellar Networking Event 9-21-11

IABC-LA Chapter kicked off the beginning of the networking season with a warm toast of conversation, and networking at Nose Wine Cellar Networking Event in Pasadena on Wednesday, Chapter President, Paula Cassin welcomed members and very special guest, Adrian Cropley, IABC Chair in from Australia! Members were surrounded by brick “cellar” walls and stocked wine shelves, and enjoyed especially warm and lively conversation, deep red wine “legs” while sipping glasses from premium vineyards, bruschetta and cheeses, all while continuing that signature friendly-chapter atmosphere that is IABC-LA.  Cimone Farrell, volunteer event coordinator did a lovely job of putting the event together at Nose.

Paula Cassin welcomed everyone to a new networking event year, and noted the chapter’s collegial engine really does run on the steam of its volunteers.  New Zealander Paula and all of us were delighted to welcome affable international colleague, Adrian Cropley, who addressed the crowd with a few words on this year’s three-point focus of career, content and more value regarding IABC membership.  Adrian is the Principal for Cropley Communications in Melbourne.

Chris Cabrera invited members to “stay out a little later on a school night” for the After Dark after-event portion of the evening…which will continue throughout events this year so participants can connect a bit more over lattes.  Susan San Martin, our chapter career development volunteer and Christopher Swan enjoyed some chat time with Adrian.  Bill Spaniel welcomed members to assist in the process of judging the writing category for the Gold Quill Awards in January.  Paromita Ghosh and Rebecca Mikkelsen continue to bring their fresh energy to events, while Cheryl Farrell hit “the big time” recently in a professional video for diabetes including dozens of singing kids. Members attending or on the guest list included Greg Cash, Kerry Bonner, Shannon King,  Julie Lowe, Sandy Smith, Jessica Santana, and Jane Stenehjem and Dyanne Weiss.  And UCLA grad student Aubrey Kelly stated on Flip camera that this event helped her make up her mind to join the chapter as well as volunteer!  And Cimone’s  peer, Courtney is looking to join as well. Delighted to have all of you in attendance!

Our chapter sponsor and volunteer “paparazzi” Ed Carreon kept the flash bulbs going and we look forward to our visages posted on our website.

The chapter makes an effort to create plenty of networking and career development events throughout the year and in locations that give plenty of ease-of-access to members.  We’re off to a terrific start this year under Paula’s second direction with her second term as President.  Existing volunteers and members and our newest faces all toast to career, content and more value!

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

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.

September 23, 2010: IABC-LA’s Fall Networking Kickoff Mixer and “After Dark” Event


September 23, 2010 – IABC-LA hosted its free fall Networking Kickoff and Mixer to members in Pasadena with Indian flair and “After Dark” desserts.  Paromita Ghosh, Events Chair for the area, put together a lively, colorful, mouth-watering evening at Mezbaan Indian Bar & Restaurant, Pasadena.
Paula Cassin, President, IABC-LA, says the L.A. chapter’s plans for the 2010-2011 year will include more fun, more relaxed and casual networking opportunities in addition to the year’s schedule of heavy-hitter speaker and panel events.  So we Chicken Tikka’d and found some new friends and members along the Kickoff way. 
We welcomed new and existing members Karrie Hawbaker, who just moved from Washington, DC, Lisa Wendt, David Jamieson and Kelley Haggert of Disney, Ernest Greene from USC, Vivien Hughes of Resources U.S., Jim Wong, Dawn Pace of KPMG, Risa Koppel of Pacific Bell, and David Gordon Schmidt of DG Schmidt PR/Marketing Services. Rebecca Mikkelsen, Social Media Chair for the chapter enjoyed a social media topic chat with Jim Wong and David Gordon Schmidt, who recently relocated from Michigan.

The chapter also kicked into the new IABC-LA “After Dark” series of meet-ups after events to continue the conversation and fun at a nearby location for after dinner drinks, desserts and/or those foamy lattes we all enjoy. David Schmidt enjoyed “After Dark” at the buzzing Mi Piace in Pasadena on Thursday night after Mezbaan…well, he should…he’s a former Wolverine in his past Michigan life!  Chris Cabrera of Southern California Edison, mastermind of the “After Dark” series, welcomes L.A. chapters members to enjoy just a little more nightlife together at L.A.’s best haunts.

September 1, 2010: IABC-LA, PRSA-LA and HPRA Presents “Marketing to the New America: Gaining a Share of the Trillion-Dollar Multicultural Economy”

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On September 1, 2010, IABC- L.A Chapter teamed up with PRSA-LA and HPRA for a powerful evening to discuss the new multicultural “general market” with expert industry panelists on the research, client and agency sides.  This event was held at the upscale Twist Restaurant & Bar at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel.  David Ono, ABC7 Eyewitness News Anchor, moderated this exceptional evening to hear from the industry’s most knowledgeable multicultural experts.  Sponsorship of the event included Nakatomi & Associates and Farmers Insurance.

After drinks and hors d’oeuvres, Ono’s opening remarks on diversity began with the ABC7 News station.  ABC7 was the first news broadcast to fully embrace and create diversity by hiring multicultural news anchors and reporters after the Walter Cronkite years.  It was very important to ABC7 Eyewitness News to create a viewership that felt represented.

Panelist David Morse, President & CEO, New American Dimensions, compared the record number of immigrants at the turn of the 20th century to the current influx today.  In the early 1900’s, U.S. labor demands brought southern and eastern Europe  immigrants, as well as Chinese who helped build the transcontinental railroad. Today, a record number of Hispanics and Asians are creating a revolutionary nation of immigrants all over again.  There are now 50 million Hispanics compared to 2.2 million in the 1970’s.  “No one knows where we’re going,” says Morse. 

Meanwhile, the African American and LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender) population are also changing buying power in the U.S.  Morse’s statistics also stated that African Americans have been viewed through the lens of history the last 100 years as either being ignored or represented as gross stereotypes. 
 • Barack Obama’s election has been part of the new American revolution.
 • There are now 17 million in the LGBT market segment.
Kimberley R. Thompson, Senior Project Manager, Global Diversity, Starbucks, stated Starbucks aims to be the most inclusive, equitable and diverse company through its partners, customers, communities and suppliers.
 • Kimberley presented a Starbucks marketing example of a blended Frappacino beverage, most popular among African Americans. 
 • Starbucks analyzes customer food attitudes and behavior, partners with companies that hold the same views on diversity to create integrated marketing solutions.
 • “Listening to their voice!” is a huge part of Starbucks’ and Kimberley’s action plan.
Panelist Luis Sahagun, Director, Media & Public Relations – North America, Farmers Insurance Group stated the Hispanic market is growing faster than the overall U.S. general market! Sahagun stated most companies today are not doing nearly enough to keep up with Hispanic market.
 • Hispanics put their trust in Spanish-language commentators who have smaller, more concentrated audiences, rather than general market social and political commentators such as on CNN.
 • Farmers Insurance sponsored a Jorge Campos and Mexican soccer tour.  Instead of utilizing expensive general market strategies, Farmers invested in Spanish-language advertising.  Results produced a much higher return at a fraction of the budget.

Sponsor and panelist, Joni Byun, Senior Vice President, Nakatomi & Associates, presented pithy statistics and research of the emerging Asian American market from decades ago.  Asians now have $600 billion in buying power!  Asian Americans focus on education, family and health.
 • Some of the highest and lowest statistics criss-cross in hot-button issues like teen pregnancy in the multi-segment Asian American population.
 •  Cultural differences produce a laugh: “tobacco-free environment” translated to some Asian Americans as free cigarettes! 
 • Asian American culture has influenced the trendy general market: Think “Kogi” food truck!
 • Asian Americans are gaining more roles of substance in the entertainment field.
 •  Multicultural research has taught U.S. companies like Chase Bank, Farmers Insurance and Southern California Edison to use the word “qualified” when marketing to lower-income Asian American families who would rather not be referred to as “poor” or “lower-income.”

Finally, Stephan Roth, Principal, OutThink Partners, presented statistics and information on the LGBT market.  The LGBT market is currently a $750 billion market growing to $845 billion by 2011.

 • There is lots of LGBT  income with predominantly double-income and no kids.
 • LGBT market is a great “influencer” market: first to adopt new technology, read and write blogs, involved creatively in business such as design, PR and advertising.
 • Brand loyalty: tremendous brand loyalty…however can backfire if bad press against an LGBT issue.
 • LGBT market travels more which allows more sponsorships and partnerships.
 • Trends/insights in the LGBT market show more mainstream integration: marriage rights as well as having babies.  Optimism is also a big trend among this population segment. 

Corporate America and communications pros have been shaken up in how we must collectively embrace multicultural marketing, PR and advertising.  We received information on multicultural trends that have reached way beyond a temporary phase, now a new American reality: a trillion-dollar multicultural economy reality. As communications and PR professionals, it is our responsibility to actively listen to the multicultural voices. 

June 16th: 2010 IABC-LA Annual Banquet: “Putting Communications at the Center – A Way to Frame the Future of Media, Public Relations and the World”

On June 16, 2010, at IABC-L.A.’s Annual Banquet 2010, the chapter presented “Putting Communications at the Center – A Way to Frame the Future of Media, Public Relations and the World” at the trendy venue of First & Hope Downtown Supper Club.

After cocktails, a Downtown family-style dinner and some lively networking, the chapter welcomed and was challenged by esteemed keynote speaker, Ernest J. Wilson III, Dean, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, to “figure out or fail” in the ever-changing new media environment.  Dean Wilson relayed a quote “The new rules environment has created both a blessing and a curse of the nearly unmanageable deluge of information essential to the communications function.”  The Dean also encouraged “weird experience and weird stuff” works to our advantage to figure it out (!)

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Collectively and individually, the L.A. Chapter has the brain power, determination, and the talent to figure it out.  As a new resident of Los Angeles over the last three years, The Dean spoke of “just listening” in his first year in The City of Angels resulting in four big issues facing communicators:

• The gap between C-level execs and the communication function of an organization.  Executive staffs don’t understand media, while communications professionals don’t always understand a CEO’s big-picture strategy.   He notes communicators get comfortable knowing what works, then a profound communication change comes along like the internet…then social media…then what’s coming by 2013. Dean Wilson has heard the same story from communicators whether it’s the White House, entertainment, manufacturing, oil companies…it’s a multi-industry-wide issue.

• “Who does what?”  This second big challenge issue is the reconfiguration of communications functions in the midst of new media.  Corporate communications, PR, Marketing, Strategic Communications all used to have clearly defined roles.  Yet a vast realignment of these departments and roles has shifted due to the new rules environment of new media and technology.

• With the expansion of dense communications through tweets, blogs, etc. beyond the traditional methods of communications and PR, the walls are falling away between these two functions.  The most trusted information now comes from employees, not the PR department of a company.  Who is managing the content?  Dean Wilson spoke of his faculty meeting which was reported in the L.A. Observer the next day.

• Finally, the “blessing and curse” and unmanageability of vast information increases the importance of metrics.  By measuring and evaluating messages, there are strong implications for organizational design, who gets promoted, and even on whole industries. Dean Wilson emphasized we’re only 10%-15% along in this social media revolution journey.

We appreciated Dean Wilson’s quest to thrive through “SAKE!”
• Skills
• Attitudes – we must embrace and adapt to change
• Knowledge – of technology, sociology, and globalization
• Experience – “We can’t afford to have identical people.”  Talk to innovative people who are doing weird stuff, weird experiences in new media and elsewhere.  The grid and demographics is constantly changing.
The quite accessible (and humorous) Dean took questions as the L.A. Chapter stood fortified and ready to take on his proposed issues.
Christie Ly, IABC-LA President, ’09-’10, presented the “State of the Chapter” thanking this past year’s board members and welcoming incoming President 2010-1011, Paula Cassin.  Paula presented Christie with a sincere “thank you” gift commemorating Christie’s dedicated service this past year, especially while the chapter faced strong challenges during a tough economy.  Paula also introduced new board members and their roles, as well as plans to update the website to become more social media-connected with the communications community.

A pregnant and glowing Jamie Lipson, past chapter president ’08-’09, presented the “John F. Cartwright – Sunshine Award” to a pregnant and glowing Jessica Schlotter, Chair, Membership ’09-’10!  The award is presented to a dedicated member of IABC for “infectious humor, kindness to others, enthusiasm and, above all, dedication and service to the Los Angeles chapter.”

Chris Cabrera, past chapter president, and Communications Project Manager, Corporate Communications, Southern California Edison, hosted Dean Wilson and chapter members at an “after-party” at the Downtown’s elegant-cool bar.

The event not only celebrated the success of the chapter this past year, yet also provided an extremely informative networking opportunity for all attendees.

The event was kindly sponsored by Toyota, VMS, and Cut Through Communications.