Posted By Mark Kretschmar, Monday, December 07, 2015

As an organization we need the injection of some youth. Our membership is robust with experienced senior communicators whom I really enjoy talking to at events. But we are missing the freshness of a younger membership. We need them to help bring new ideas and creativity to our ranks. I have personally experienced the benefit of talking with these people. They’re so energetic and filled with ideas that are obvious to them but may have escaped me. We can also help mentor them in those brief conversations without the requirement of an ongoing mentoring relationship. In so doing, we show them the value of membership in professional associations like IABC.

As a chapter we are working on initiatives to focus on college students and young professionals. Most are not yet ready for prime time, but they’re coming. This week I will be visiting UWRF (Unversity of Wisconsin River Falls) where several teams in Amelia Reigstad’s marketing class will be presenting final campaign proposals for marketing IABC to this younger audience. This not only alerts this class to IABC, but I expect some great ideas from them to increase our appeal.

Know any professional communicators that are early in their careers? Know any students studying comm. or marketing, or PR? Have you invited them to an IABC event?

Any internship opportunities for students or recent grads? Bring them in and bring them to an IABC event. As great as college is, we all know the real skills we use come through professional development after you start your career.

Going just a bit further down the youth scale, here’s a great opportunity to get a high school intern and help the community at the same time. The Step-Up program through Achieve Minneapolis works with high school students to get some real insight into professional careers. Perhaps you could show them what professional communication looks like.

Get more information here: and watch a great video about the program.

Our upcoming Convergence Summit at the University of Minnesota (April 11) will be amazing for professional communicators at all levels. Don’t think it a coincidence that we are doing it in cooperation with the University. We expect student involvement in this as part of our efforts to expand awareness of IABC to this currently under served market.

The future is bright.