Moving forward together - Understanding the Power of IABC

I know I’m here for a reason. I thought this in 2006 – the first time I came to an IABC World Conference. 

I knew then I needed help. I thought “Will there be someone here that I can connect with?” 

As much as my day-to-day was surrounded with fellow team members, I remember feeling quite alone at that time. Why?

Well, no one wore the same hats I did. I was the only internal communications staffer. I managed most of the executive communications. 

But more than anything, there really wasn’t someone I could go to for help. My peers just didn’t live in my discipline. And, to be honest, my boss wasn’t always a good teacher, let alone mentor. Struggle seemed a regular part of the professional diet.

So, I took a chance and joined IABC. And, I signed up quickly for my first World Conference. The year was 2006. The place – Vancouver BC.

I joined because I wanted to move forward. I joined because I really didn’t want to be alone. Open to new possibilities, I dove in. The universe responded.

I arrived open to learning and ready to find members of the same tribe. 

It was good. Though, as much as I am extroverted, I can remember feeling a bit awkward. 

And, I can honestly say, that I did find a tribe. I can remember the breakout session where it happened. They sat in the front row of the session I opted to attend.

The speaker in the session, a gifted communications leader from Starbucks sharing some simple but rather brilliant email guidelines, would later become my next boss. The two colleagues who passed out hundreds of email guidebooks, would become my colleagues.

All of a sudden, I didn’t feel so much alone. And, all of a sudden, I was moving forward.

That’s what a conference can do. You never know completely what you might learn or who might just be able to help you move forward. 

I am incredibly grateful. My time at Starbucks and the companies I worked for following that role have taught me so much. I’ve learned plenty. I am no longer the nervous specialist feeling alone. I’ve grown.

So, now I’m back in Vancouver for another IABC World Conference and my focus has changed. Now it’s my time to help others move forward. 

So, I’m looking for you. You know who you are. You’re that communicator who wants to move forward. You’re here because you know that you need to grow and learn.

Today I am putting structure and form to my desire to help others move forward. Let’s call it the “100 Communicator Conversations Project.” While I may not have all the answers, I’m hoping that some of the lessons I’ve learned over my 29-year career might help you. 

If you can avoid even just one struggle or challenge, then our conversation will be time well spent.

If I don’t find you, feel free to come find me. 

You’re not alone. And, there are people who can help. An open mind, a curiosity to discover that there is more out there and a desire to move forward helped my career turn in such a wonderful direction. 

Let’s talk. I’m starting my “100 Communicator Conversations Project” now. Which communicator will you be?

Maybe you could be communicator number 2. My quest has taken flight, met a wonderful communicator during the opening receptions. The conversations have started.