By Michael Walsh, president, IABC Minnesota Board of Directors

Michael Walsh

Everything is different.

The words almost read like a cliché as I type them. Alas, they are nonetheless true….

How, where and when we work is different. The way our kids go to school is different. The way we eat, date, shop, and visit with family and friends is different.

This of course is our “new normal” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

As communicators, we are certainly not immune. We are in the thick of communicating this new way of being, and that requires us to think differently, too. And as communicators pivot and evolve, so does IABC.

The IABC Minnesota chapter kicked off our new board year on July 1, and as the newly elected board of directors gathered for the first time (virtually of course), we quickly zeroed in on the following overarching priority for the year ahead: reimagine the value of IABC.

As the new president of the IABC Minnesota chapter, I made it clear that everything is on the table. No idea is too big or too out there. The question we need to ask over and over is: “What is the value of IABC today?”

Who better to ask than all of you? That’s exactly what we’ve done.

First, when the impact of the pandemic became clear last spring, the board made a point to reach out to every single IABC member to simply ask, “How are you doing?” and, “How can we help?” The response was overwhelming. What we heard from you was both powerful (and in hindsight not all that unexpected):  connection is key. Now more than ever, we crave connecting with one another for support, to share best practices, to share job leads, or to simply commiserate and laugh. IABC is committed to keeping us all connected.

We also launched a survey to several hundred IABC members (and non-members, too) to further gather insights on the true value of IABC and how we best support all of you. Here’s what you told us:

  • Put a greater focus on internal communications in IABC’s professional development events, specifically related to measurement, strategic planning and change management.
  • Make all regular monthly events free, or a greatly reduced cost, with IABC membership. We are pleased to say that the board has voted to make all regular events free for this coming year.
  • Give local communicators more opportunities to connect through virtual networking sessions.
  • Amplify IABC’s new peer mentoring program.
  • Use IABC to curate and share local job openings in communications.
  • Further collaborate and partner with other professional associations, such as PRSA and MIMA, for the greatest possible impact.
  • Explore more opportunities to engage young professionals in IABC.

The common theme in all of the takeaways above? You guessed it: connecting.

That is our promise to you: to keep you connected how, when and where is of the most value to you. Keep us honest. Tell us how we are doing. Send us additional ideas for how we can best demonstrate the value of IABC.

Lastly, speaking of keeping connected, I’d like to thank everyone who participated in IABC’s fifth-annual Convergence Summit that took place Aug. 12 and 13. More than 150 of you registered for this event, making it the biggest Convergence Summit ever. The transition to a virtual format was seamless, and the speakers and content were top notch. A special thanks to the Convergence Summit planning committee for making it all happen.

Be well, and let’s stay connected:linkedin.com/in/walshmichael.

X