It was one month ago that the 2013 IABC World Conference kicked off in New York City, where I was lucky enough to have joined more than 1,400 other communicators in a four-day whirlwind of ideas, connections, and inspiration.
In some ways, it’s been a tough year for IABC at the international level. We gained and lost an executive director, there have been several changes to our core programs, and in between, many members voiced their concern and frustration at the changes, the process, and some choices.
As the leader of IABC’s third-largest chapter, I wanted to ensure one thing amidst all of this swirl: that IABC/BC members continued to receive top-notch programming and services at the local level, and support International where we could with the changes they were implementing. And I think we were able to do just that.
For many members (and I would argue most), the value they receive from their membership comes from the local level. They may never attend a world conference, they may never engage with our international head office, and they may never concern themselves with the chatter on the LinkedIn group. And that’s okay. That’s part of what makes IABC such a great organization: it’s what you make of it and what you want it to be.
But part of delivering great local programming comes from knowing what’s happening at the international level. So I actively followed (and sometimes was a part of) the changes within our association at the international level, and was frustrated with the negativity of some. While I didn’t always agree with all of the changes, I commend anyone who takes on a volunteer role and initiates change. To do that kind of work takes a lot of courage and tenacity (never mind giving up their spare time), and their efforts should be commended and supported.
At a world conference, the I in IABC is never more apparent. I always enjoy meeting other communicators from around the world, and brim with pride when I bump into a fellow Canadian (and there are a LOT of us!). I was interested to see how others from across the globe reacted to this past year.
After the association’s annual general meeting, where I was proudly representing our chapter, a town hall was held, where any member could ask questions of the International Executive Board. Amidst all of the questions (some pointed, some more tame), one thing was apparent: that IABCers, no matter where they are from, are passionate about this organization. And I’m fairly certain that message has been received loud and clear.
We’ve had a tremendous year at IABC/BC. Attendance at our events is up, we’re providing more programming than ever before, and our volunteers are engaged and active. Whether it was at an event, or through an email or social media exchange, I have thoroughly enjoyed connecting with IABC/BC’s members this year—both new and seasoned.
During my year as president, I was reminded that just like our fellow IABCers from around the world, IABC/BCers are a passionate bunch, with a seemingly never-ending flow of innovation and ideas. So I hope that you continue to get involved—both at the local and international level. Because getting involved, no matter the level, is the best way to make the most of your membership.
Travelling down a new road can often be a bumpy ride, but in the end, you know what they say:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.