July 20, 2021

IABC-MN Board Insights: We’re ready for you – it’s time to re-engage

By: Andy Gardner, president IABC-MN

While this IABC-MN board transition is like years past, it’s also just a little bit different. Yes, another exasperating reminder of the odd times we live in today.

Just like the time you were hesitant to make a communication decision due to the lack of experience of handling a worldwide pandemic crisis or racial inequality issues. Even when you had to flip that well-thought-out communication plan upside down due to the uncertainty of where employees will be working from. Or learning how to show a leader the importance of communicating empathy during tough times.

Those are exactly the types of communications challenges that I’ve engaged with communications peers I’ve met through IABC. For that, I’m incredibly grateful. That is the value of IABC.

A year unlike any other

Throughout the 50-year history of the IABC-MN chapter, we’ve never had to rethink the role the association plays for our fellow communicators like we had to in the last year. Over the past 12 months, Michael Walsh, our immediate past president, focused on re-imaging the value of IABC-MN. Michael, along with the rest of the board, accomplished a lot:

  • Members attend events at no charge – buy Michael a beer when you see him at the next event – it was his idea!
  • New and expanded partnerships with other local associations and companies to enhance our reach and impact – thanks to Ellen Vander Linden for making numerous calls and networking via Zoom.
  • Formed a young communication professionals’ group – shout out to Cory Weaver and Ellie Bonin for bringing it to life during a pandemic.
  • 100+ communicators attended our virtual Convergence Summit – widely considered one of our best yet. There are not enough kudos to give out to Cindy Schmeig, Ann Krzmarzick and the rest of the committee!
  • Shared weekly job opportunities for communicators who have been impacted by the pandemic upheaval — keep those opportunities coming!

Let’s ALL re-engage

We’ve all undoubtedly been impacted by these unprecedented times, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you’re like me, it’s time to start to think about how to re-engage – both personally and professionally.

Earlier this year, I attended IABC’s virtual Gift of Communication event to help local nonprofits with their most pressing communication needs. It’s one of our premiere events organized by board member Anne Sonnee (you should check it out next winter). One thing that caught my attention was that most volunteers were NOT IABC members, and that’s OK. Our mission is to support our community of business communication professionals – all of them, members or not. With that in mind, we are setting the stage for the future by giving all local communicators an opportunity to engage with IABC-MN by:

  • Creating connection points for ALL Minnesota communicators – no one should feel left out regardless of membership status.
  • Showcasing the value of getting involved with our chapter – meet new lifelong colleagues (actually friends) from all over Minnesota and even the world!
  • Expanding our outreach to young professionals – the future of IABC-MN depends on the up-and-coming talent.

Our chapter doesn’t exist because of the 11 people who volunteer to be on the board. It exists because we have the best people associated with our chapter; members, nonmembers, sponsors, partnering associations and companies looking for advice.

I look forward to getting together and meeting people in-person, virtually, or anywhere in between.

I am ready to be re-engaged. The IABC-MN board is ready. Are you?

Special acknowledgement:

Six individuals leaving board positions deserve a special shout out for giving time to make IABC-MN what it is today: Camie Melton Hanily, Tammy Nienaber, Ellen Vander Linden, Amy Spencer, Ann Krzmarzick, Amelia Reigstad. Thank you for all of your contributions!