Networking is better with IABC

By Susan OttenSusanOtten

What an amazing opportunity I have been given to serve communicators in Minnesota. Let’s start with the why, as Simon Sinek says, this is so important to me.

After growing up in Minnesota, my career, and that of my husband, moved our family to Chicago, Kansas, Houston and Atlanta before moving back home. When I knew I was coming back, the first thing I did was to connect with the Minnesota chapter of IABC.

Why?

I had been active in the Atlanta chapter, so I had already witnessed the level of professionalism and willingness to help from my IABC peers. I needed to build my network to either find a job or begin consulting. I knew I would find this help at IABC Minnesota.

And I wasn’t disappointed!

Photo: http://capitaleventsmarketing.co.uk/

Photo credit: capitaleventsmarketing.co.uk

My first connection was a networking event at a downtown brewery before a Minnesota Twins game. What’s not to love about beers, baseball and meeting new friends? After talking to IABC Minnesota President, Jen Doll, I volunteered to be the Director of Brand in the Communications Portfolio.

I was soon helping with a style guide, brand promise messaging and a new website. But more important, I was building relationships with communications professionals who were both very willing and able to connect me with potential hiring managers and clients.

This experience was played out again at our Best Peer Mixer earlier this month at Summit Brewery (take a look at the fun photos and tag yourself on our Facebook page). I met some amazing people who were perfectly poised to help each other network:

  • An independent video consultant who helps his clients with strategic problem solving
  • A recent graduate who is interning while looking for a permanent position
  • A marcom recruiter who wanted to meet candidates she said were like “gold” because the demand for good communications talent is growing

I met a young PR agency professional willing to help me, COO of a behavioral health consulting company, with an introduction to one of her clients looking for a similar solution. And I learned another friend was recently laid off, so I hope to connect him with potential opportunities.

The new board for IABC Minnesota determined our three priorities for the 2016-17 term:

–      Networking continues to be the priority for members. We are a community facilitating communicator connections and a group willing to provide advice.

–      Professional development is a close second as a reason to be part of IABC, with ongoing educational programs to help grow your knowledge of best practices and emerging trends, tools and technologies.

–      Serving a diverse membership continues to be a challenge we seek to address. Masterminds, for senior communicators, was expanded this past year and we grew our younger membership ranks, but we continue to work on programs for students, new graduates and corporate members.

Speaking of volunteers, I’d like to thank the following board members for their service:

  • Sara Kowski has been an amazing Internal Communications Portfolio VP, supporting member communications, emails and the website transition (twice!) with grace, charm and unbelievable intelligence. I look forward to the day I can hire Sara and leverage her talents for my own company.
  • Tom Bullington stepped in when we needed a Board Secretary midterm and did an excellent job in the midst of unforeseen professional challenges. We thank him for his agility and response to our chapter’s need.
  • Tami Wendt, Past President, who championed the Convergence Summit with the U of M’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications and has developed our refreshed website. Tami, we will miss you, but I have a feeling you will not be far as we work to deliver programs, education and networking opportunities for our membership.

In the spirit of collaboration and listening to the voice of our members, I welcome your thoughts on how to better serve you. Give me a call (cell 404-401-8546), send an email or connect with me at one of our events. We are only as strong as our ideas and volunteers can make us. Ready to get more involved? Check out our list of volunteer needs and begin building those deeper relationships while serving your fellow communicators.

Until then, be blessed, be safe, be bold!

Susan Otten, ABC, MBA

IABC Minnesota President and Masterminds Leader

Note: Simon Sinek’s TedTalk, How great leaders inspire action, explains why it’s important for communicators to “start with the why” in their messaging.

 

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