Michael Walsh, ABC, APR

Looking to build real, lasting professional relationships that can move your career forward? Look no further than IABC

In my 20 + years as a member of IABC, one thing keeps me renewing year after year: the diversity of the members and the networking opportunities presented. In my opinion, that is the whole reason to be part of a professional association today – to build relationships with your peers, particularly those in your geography.

And believe me, those relationships can and do pay dividends. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve connected over the years through IABC that have resulted in new jobs, or internships, or even new business launches. Many of those people have become close friends, too.

In addition to members from corporations, nonprofits, and governmental agencies, IABC also has a robust contingent of independent and solo communications practitioners. I am one of them. Since I launched my own PR / communications consulting practice, IABC has been invaluable not only in helping to build my client base, but also to ideate …  and sometimes commiserate … with my peers. Likewise, for members who work for larger organizations, having access to such a talented, diverse group of consultants who can help with everything from media relations strategies, to brand building, to content marketing, to advanced social media strategies, is a huge benefit. It never ceases to amaze me the depth and extent of talent among IABC Minnesota members.

More recently, IABC Minnesota has expanded its Connections groups, bringing together communications professionals based on where they live in Minnesota and their years of experience. These small, intimate, highly relatable groups have been a lifesaver through the pandemic. Equally impactful is the peer-mentoring program that IABC Minesota has launched. These six-month, one-to-one pairings of local communication professionals are unique in that they are true peer-to-peer networking opportunities, regardless of where you are in your career. I’ve immensely enjoyed getting to know my peer mentors, who I now consider friends.

So in answer to the question, “Is IABC worth it in this hyper-connected online age?” I argue, absolutely. More so than ever, in fact. The networking and relationship-building that happens through IABC simply doesn’t happen through LinkedIn groups and Google searches. These are real, lasting relationships, which have been a godsend to me throughout my career, both as a solo PR / marketing / communications consultant and my previous life in corporate PR, and I’ve been thrilled to be able to pay it forward.