New leaders take the helm at IABC
As economies have begun to recover from the global financial crisis, business communication professionals are finding that they have to learn to navigate a "new normal." This was the theme of the 2011 IABC World Conference, held 12-15 June in San Diego, California. Over four days, nearly 1,300 attendees from 39 countries gathered to share ideas and inspiration for how to elevate the profession and take their work to the next level.
The conference kicked off on 12 June with a pre-conference community project: the Gift of Communication. For the past four years, the conference has included a community service project as part of the program. This year the project gave participants a chance to share what they do best by advising local nonprofits on developing and implementing communication plans.
This year's keynote speakers gave attendees plenty to think about. At the opening general session, science writer Jonah Lehrer shared the latest developments in the science of decision making: the subtle ways in which humans make choices, which are rarely based on pure reason.
In her Monday general session, the 2011 winner of IABC's EXCEL (Excellence in Communication Leadership) Award, Deborah Tabart, OAM, gave an impassioned talk on her work as CEO of the Australian Koala Foundation (AKF), a nonprofit dedicated to protecting koalas and their habitat. Tabart was the first woman to receive the award in its 50-year history. Tabart has challenged IABC to help raise US$5 million to aid the AKF's work.
In another keynote, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn spoke of the immense social and financial opportunities to be gained from empowering women and girls worldwide, and especially in the developing world.
The program closed with an interactive, uplifting address from executive coach Marshall Goldsmith on the concept of "mojo"-how to find happiness and meaning both personally and professionally.
A total of 85 sessions kept attendees busy learning about topics such as driving dialogue in an organization and lessons learned from crises like the BP oil spill and the tsunami in Japan. Sessions were focused into seven tracks: Career Builder; Employee and Change Communication; Global Trends; Marketing and Business, Media and Public Relations, Reputation and Brand; and Strategic Leadership.
It wasn't all work, though. Sunday night's Welcome Reception gave newly arrived attendees a chance to get to know each other while enjoying cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. And at the elegant Gold Quill Awards Gala on Monday night, sponsored by Towers Watson, more than 400 attendees gathered to celebrate the global communication excellence the awards represent.
As much as the World Conference focuses on learning, the most rewarding part can be the chance to meet, laugh and share ideas with like-minded colleagues from all over the world, and this year was no exception. Conference-goers make lasting connections at this annual event, in person as well as through social media channels. This year, people could share ideas, photos and videos through a dedicated World Conference Connections site. http://iabcwc11.ning.com/. The conference also created a buzz on Twitter with more than 3,000 tweets.
This year IABC recorded several videos during the conference featuring interviews with speakers, attendees, award winners, etc. Video highlights of conference presentations will be posted over the next few months. Visit http://www.youtube.com/user/IABCtv to see the videos.
IABC's next World Conference will take place 24-27 June in Chicago.
The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) is a global network of communication professionals committed to improving organizational effectiveness through strategic communication. Established in 1970, IABC serves more than 14,000 members in 90 countries. For more information, visit http://www.iabc.com./