Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2015 IABC Leadership Institute--Final Day Notes

IABCLI, Orlando, FL--The 2015 Leadership Institute is my fourth LI. I find that it's an emotional and satisfying event, giving me face time with colleagues that I often only connect with online. It also makes me a better leader, I hope--I learn what other chapters/regions are doing, their burning issues are, and their ideas and aspirations. I am excited to take these ideas back to Chicago and put them into action! My notes on the final day's discussions are below.

Thanks to Russell, Michael, Robin, Carlos, Melissa and everyone else from the IABC staff and international executive board for making this year's LI informative, friendly, open and useful, all at the same time.

Thanks, too, to our sponsors: Rust Insurance, Igloo Software, and Netweaver. We so appreciate you!

On Saturday morning, we were given the opportunity to pose a topic and invite others to join a discussion. I asked, as a representative of the IABC Ethics Committee, what chapters and regions were looking for from us as we review and update our Code of Ethics.

Here's what I heard:

  • We need to address citation of non-original content in online applications, specifically blogs and the "echo chamber of social media" (don't you love that phrase?).
  • Recent graduates/entry-level professionals don't seem to "get it." As an example, an agency exec was contacted by a photographer demanding payment for use of a copyrighted photo and demanding the photo in question be taken down. The exec discovered that an entry-level hire had copied a photo from a major news outlet and used it on a client's website. While the employee did properly cite the work, s/he did not purchase or get permission to use the work. This lack of knowledge cost the agency in terms of money, work, and reputation.
  • Another concern was the lack of honesty/transparency online, such as paid reviewers and bloggers.
  • IABC's code of professional ethics is part of our brand and sets us apart from others. but we're a society trained to automatically click "Accept" when presented with user agreements, rules, or other compliance information, without actually reading it. IABC members are no different--every year, we're asked to tick the box to acknowledge that we have read and agree to the Code of Ethics, but when did you last read it?
  • Lastly, I heard a concern about unethical behavior, not on the part of our professional colleagues, but of their employers. An IABC colleague noticed more than one award entry with communication objectives that were unethical: in one case, attempting to coerce minorities into purchasing unnecessary products by making unfounded health claims (fear-mongering). The communicator may not have know the deception, or may not have felt s/he could stand up to the employer.
Thanks to all who shared their thoughts on ethics. I promise to take these to the Ethics Committee for use as we reshape the Code of Ethics.

Professional Development Innovation
IABCers from four different U.S. chapters shared their professional development event successes. Some of the ideas:
  • Sarah Thornton and the Denver, CO chapter partnered with Denver University. DU provides the location for free and a discount if the chapter uses their catering. The chapter provides a box lunch--sometimes from DU catering, but often from local restaurants--at a cost of about $12. Members pay $30, nonmembers pay $45. Parking is inexpensive, the location is well-known and convenient. Also, the chapter gets three speakers per year from DU--known local experts--at no cost. DU gets to advertise its communication program to participants. Program is a mix between strategic, tactical and personal topics.
  • Dani Bader and the Seattle, WA chapter cold-called the Seattle Mariners for a year-end activity. The VP of communication did a presentation, followed by a ball game (worked with group sales). The chapter paid $32/ticket and charged $30/$50. They had 24 attendees, drawing some new faces, and cleared $350. The also offered a join-n-go option (join IABC at the time of registration and get the member price) but no one used it.
  • Shelby Curry and the chapter in Orlando, FL do a series of events (around 10 a year) at businesses around the Orlando area, priced to be competitive with other organizations: $25/$30, including a full lunch from Panera, Jason's Deli, etc. They also offer webinars that are free to members and $15 for nonmembers, plus $10 networking events. Each presenter receives a leather-bound journal as a gift ($17 each). The chapter has no VP of professional development. Instead, all board members are responsible for PD.
Discussion within the group included whether the international organization could offer templates, suggested topics, themes for the quarter or year, and downloadable assets for chapter use.

What registration software is used? Cvent, Eventbrite, yourmembership.com, Star Chapter ($100/month), and Constant Contact. 

Other ideas: offer a new member's first event free (use a coupon code), track a net promoter score (how likely is the attendee to recommend it to their friends and colleagues?). All good ideas to help local IABC chapters provide value to their members and raise revenue to continue to do so.

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