Reflections on our chapter’s history

Back to Blogs By Fred Morley, Founding member of IABC/BC Posted: December 11, 2020

Just as the early history of the International Association of Business Communicators has been lost in the murky recesses of the past, the same thing has happened our our chapter’s past. At one time a banker’s box, containing IABC/BC’s current and past history was passed along to each new president as he or she took office. That box has long since disappeared and, so have some of my memories of those early days.


When I joined the B.C. Industrial Editors Association (BCIEA) in 1970 it was already a well-established association for in-house writers. 1970 was also the year the International Association of Business Communicators was formed. Somewhere in that 1970/71 period BCIEA members heard about this new organization and the opportunity to join it as an attachment to the U.S. District 6 which included the U.S. Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.


Some members, including me, joined this new association paying dues to both organizations. For a while the amalgam of BCIEA and IABC worked, but by 1973 the BCIEA affiliation disappeared and everyone became a member of IABC/BC. Around this time there were other western provincial associations joining IABC. I do remember joining IABC/Manitoba when I was transferred there for work in 1974.


Returning back to BC in 1975 I rejoined IABC/BC and took on a board position. Membership in those years was strong – memberships were being renewed and new members were joining – but the executive committee had a hard time attracting members to events.


Something had to be done. And it was. Three of the executive membership including myself, a member who did public relations for the Vancouver branch of the Canadian Red Cross and another member whose name is lost to memory, repaired to Umberto Menghi’s Il Giardino for a planning lunch.


As I recall, the three of us plus a newer member – Adrian Harper of Finning Equipment – reviewed the membership list looking for suitable candidates to fill the vacant executive positions. Over the summer various members were approached; some refused, others accepted only if they could have the position of their choice. Naturally there was a bit of horse-trading but in the end Anne Harvey was appointed president, and Steven Brewer vice-president.


Under their guidance and enthusiasm, IABC/BC began to grow again in membership and programming.


In 1980 Toronto joined IABC and the new Canada District One and Two were formed. But, to the best of my memory IABC/BC was the inaugural chapter in Canada!


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